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What will work?

I received a mailing yesterday from the U.S. Mint promoting the new Civil Rights Act of 1964 commemorative silver dollars.

I am not used to getting Mint mailings since the website became the primary focus of Mint sales efforts, but in recent months, the number of pieces of mail from the Mint have increased.

Is this due to the decline in sales in 2013 of popular collector items?

It is possible.

Not everyone orders via the computer.

I am hearing more about that in recent days as Numismatic News is introducing its monthly Numismatic News Express.

The Mint could be reaching out to those collectors to bring them back into the fold.

That would be helpful both for sales numbers and for mass participation in numismatics.

Of course, the question for the Mint as it is for Numismatic News is the costs of paper, printing and postage. They keep escalating.

Another reason for the mailing might be to prevent another sales disappointment that prevents payment of surcharge income to designated recipients.

The Girl Scouts have the unenviable distinction of not attracting enough sales in 2013 and therefore not getting any surcharge income.

It is easy to see that this could become a pattern if some action is not taken.

The current mailing is it.

Might there be other things done to promote sales? I expect so.

The Mint is experimenting with online offers and discounts as well to see what works and what doesn’t.

It will be interesting to see what will continue to be done and what will be abandoned as nonproductive.

We live in a rapidly changing world and numismatics must change with it or we will return to what we were before the 1930s and the advent of Whitman and other coin folders.

Before the 1930s collectors were few and far between. It would be a shame to see a mass hobby lose its appeal. Going back to those roots is not a happy destination.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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