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When is a sellout not a sellout?

The U.S. Mint was still taking orders for the Marine Corps 230th Anniversary silver dollar, despite reporting a sellout on Sept. 15 – but there is a catch – someone has to have their order cancelled.

In recent days, Numismatic News has received a number of calls regarding the matter. The Mint issued a statement in an attempt to clear up any confusion.

Would-be buyers are simply being put on a waiting list.

According to the statement, “The U.S. Mint is accepting orders for the Marine Corps 230th Anniversary Silver Dollar Proof and Uncirculated Coins. If the maximum mintage limit of 600,000 is reached for the program, we will continue to accept orders in the event cancellations occur. In that event, you will be considered ‘next in line,’ and will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis based upon any remaining inventory that may be available.”

The statement continues, “The U.S. Mint cannot provide information on specific customer placement status either online or by telephone. If paying by credit card, please ensure the expiration date is not before Dec. 31, 2005. If we are not able to fulfill your order, you will be notified that your order was cancelled. If you paid by check, you will receive a refund. The U.S. Mint reserves the right to accept or reject product orders in any combination or options it determines to be in its best interest.”  

A hot-seller from the date of issue, July 20, the Marine commemorative was originally supposed to have a mintage of 500,000. The figure was adjusted upwards to 600,000 by the Treasury secretary in June before sales began.

“The popularity of the Marine Corps 230th Anniversary silver dollar says a great deal about the admiration this nation has for its Marines,” says Acting United States Mint Director David Lebryk.

Proceeds from the sale of the commemorative will go to help build the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va.

The Mint is now filling orders for the commemorative. Currently, about 30,000 Marine Corps 230th Anniversary silver dollars are produced weekly. So far, 200,000 have been shipped.

The Mint says some orders will not be filled until mid-November. Postcards are being sent to customers who have ordered coins and not received them yet, informing them of the expected delivery date. 

Exacerbating the problem is the fact that the Mint’s annual fall catalog, which lists the commemorative, was printed before the sellout. 

Another problem cropped up when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. A number of orders for the commemorative were received with mailing addresses in areas hard hit by the storm. Shipping services are no longer accepting packages for zip codes affected by Hurricane Katrina.  The Mint says it will provide guidance next week on its Web site, www.usmint.gov, on how customers in the hurricane area can update their information to enable them to receive their coin orders.

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