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Most collectors buy coins from the Mint

Do you buy coins and sets from the U.S. Mint?

Most collectors have done so over the years.

There are those who limit or have reduced the number of their purchases.

There are those who pounce only on offers that they think will sell out fast so they can flip them on eBay.

There are those who say they have learned their lesson and have quit buying from the U.S. Mint.

Where do you fall among these options?

There is one option I have not listed because it is so rare in my experience.

However, I do so now.

My Monday morning email contains something written by a long-term collector who says he has never purchased anything from the U.S. Mint.

This is unusual.

Read his missive below and see what you think:

“Every couple years I write in the same letter basically. The Mint is this horrible monster who exists only to get coin collectors irritated, frustrated, disappointed, or downright ticked off and severely depressed!

“A recent dramatic letter claimed it could take years for the Mint to ‘win back it’s customers.’

“I see this as mind boggling.

“Been collecting coins for over 50 years. Have Barber coins, Indians, Walkers, Mercuries Morgans. I have never in 50 years ordered anything from the Mint. How do I survive?

“People I read about seem almost brainwashed that they have to order every new product that the Mint throws out there ‘for their kids or grandkids.’ Really?

“Once upon a time way back in the mid 1960s I started trying to fill Whitman folders. It was fun. That’s what a hobby is supposed to be … fun!

“I could never take the stress that these complaining collectors put on themselves.

“Ask yourself why do I collect? For fun, history, etc, or simply to drive yourself nuts!”

Let these words from the email sender sink in.

The writer raises a good point.

If you are being driven nuts by your purchases from the Mint, you aren’t doing it right.

However, how this collector managed to stay away from the Mint completely is not an experience I shared.

For me, buying from the Mint was a rite of passage.

In my early years in the hobby, at the same time as the writer, the Mint sold hardly anything to collectors.

Proof sets were eliminated after 1964.

The hullabaloo about the return of proof sets in 1968 got my attention, but only after the sets soared on the secondary market.

I ordered the 1969 proof set. It was the very first item I ever ordered from the Mint.

At that time, I had an income from my paper route.

Then for years, like clockwork, I would order at least two proof sets and two uncirculated coin sets.

Those are fond memories of mine.

I enjoyed ordering and receiving the sets.

I enjoy thinking about those days when all things seemed possible.

The idea of never ordering from the Mint simply never entered my head.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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