If you had to reinvent the product line of the U.S. Mint from scratch, where would you start?
Currently the Mint offers many products that hardly seem worth the cost of storing inventory.
Each week I update numbers of things like Presidential Dollar First Day Coin Covers on the Mint Statistics pages.
First Day Covers contain two Presidential dollars, one from Denver and one from Philadelphia,, from the first day of production in an envelope with a special postal cancellation to mark that fact.
Gross sales figures are falling.
The current list of active products stretches all the way back to William Henry Harrison, which was the 9th one issued in the series.
Issue price then was $14.95, but you can still buy them at that price even though they have been offered since 2009.
Hot product, right?
Well, collectors bought 30,837 of these.
Sounds like a reasonably high number, doesn’t it? But stretch it over seven years and it doesn’t look so hot.
Sales of more recent First Day Covers are lower.
If we graphed each issue, the trend would look like a toboggan slide.
Sales are running at a little more than one-third the Harrison level for Gerald Ford. His sales number is 11,090.
But the other Presidents since Harrison also are still on sale.
I change figures by three here, seven there and perhaps a couple of dozen for the most recent Presidents each week.
How can the Mint pay the rent with so many sleepy products like this?
One way was to raise issue price. It is now $19.95 for a First Day Cover. You don’t have to sell as many covers if the price is one-third higher, do you?
The Presidential series is coming to an end this year.
Will all the coin covers be taken off sale when we ring in the year 2017, or will the Gerald Ford set be given a similar run to the Harrison set and still be available from the Mint seven years after first issued?
Let’s check back on this in 2023 and find out.
Yes, I know you are very excited about this.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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