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You might just want to wait

Proof of how dependent we have all become on the Internet was given yesterday by the opening of the U.S. Mint’s Bald Eagle Commemorative Coin Program.

Because of the process of migration of the Web site from one server to another, online orders could not be taken when the program began at noon Eastern Time yesterday.

Hobbyists were referred to the Mint’s telephone ordering number, 1-800-USA-MINT. Enough collectors responded to jam the lines and the lines are currently still backed up as this is written. I received e-mails from readers yesterday afternoon asking what was going on and did I know that they were having difficulty getting through on the telephone.

My thanks go to all readers who provided me with the updates.

Because so many regular Internet buyers were being funneled through the telephones, it is probably a good idea that I point out that product order limits are in place and allowed quantities are high enough that collectors shouldn’t be too concerned about quick sellouts.

Last year, neither Mint commemorative program sold out its primary offerings and even the previously sure-fire Legacy Set did not reach its 50,000 maximum.

That, of course, doesn’t mean a sellout can’t happen. But let’s look at the numbers and see what you think.

Overall maximum mintages are 100,000 gold $5s, 500,000 silver dollars and 750,000 clad half dollars. These are pretty standard totals.

There are some special sets within these totals. A three-piece proof set will have a maximum of 25,000.

A Coin and Medal Set that features an uncirculated dollar and a bronze bald eagle medal from the National Wildlife Refuge System Centennial Medal Series has a maximum of 50,000.

A Bald Eagle Young Collector’s Set features an uncirculated bald eagle half dollar and its total production will be whatever is ordered Jan. 15-April 15.

Introductory prices end Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Prices below indicate the current price followed by the post-Feb. 14 price in parentheses.

Proof $5 $294.95 ($319.95)
Uncirculated $5, $284.95 ($309.95)
Proof dollar, $39.95 ($43.95)
Uncirculated dollar $35.95 ($37.95)
Proof half $9.95 ($10.95)
Uncirculated half $7.95 ($8.95)

There are no introductory prices for the set options. The three-coin proof set is $369.95, the Young Collector’s Set is $14.95 and the Coin and Medal Set is $44.95.

Order limits for 30 days are 100 coins per household for the individual coins, one three-coin proof set and five Coin and Medal Sets. Because there is no maximum, there is no order limit for the Young Collector’s Set.

Later this year a Legacy set with a proof dollar will be offered.

So if you have not yet gotten through to the Mint on the telephone, you now have the information you need to determine whether you want to wait until the online ordering mechanism is back up and running.

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One Response to You might just want to wait

  1. Patrick Dennis says:

    Dear Dave,
    I missed it! The announcement that FEMA has taken over operational control of the U.S. Mint. That is the only logical explination for why the marketing mavens at the Mint would have allowed a server migration to happen at the exact same time as the roll-out of highly touted and likely popular new product – the Bald Eagle Commeratives. I logged into the Mint web site shortly before the announced sale start time only to get the "announcement." My immediate reaction was "What heck are they thinking!" [Well, okay, those aren’t the words I really used but you get the idea.] I immediately grabbed the phone and dialed in only to be told "We are unable to process your call at this time. Call back later." After uncountable redials [our phones will need rehabilitation and counciling for a long time] I finally got through. After 15 minutes of elevator music a real person took my order for the three coin set. I hope I really do get in in "four to six weeks" [especially after this email to you!]. I mean, come on! How dumb can the Mint be? Given the problems with the First Spouse coins you’d think the brain trust would have understood just what they were perpetrating on the collecting public. Obviously not. Perhaps in a year or so we will have a new administration that understands how to serve their customers and these Katrina inspired miscues will give way to well managed customer service. All I can say to Mr. Moy is "DUDE!" Mahalo nui.

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