When I was a kid coin collector, I thought about the U.S. Mint just twice a year.
One of those times was when it was time to order proof sets. The other of those times was when sales began for what we called the mint set, now with the longer formal name of U.S. Mint Uncirculated Coin Set.
Most collectors were like me.
Even though delivery times ran to many months, my opinion of the Mint was still quite high. For me, it was a bit like visiting Aladdin’s cave in my mind’s eye.
Rare and beautiful treasures could be acquired.
The rest of the year I was happily focused on filling my Whitman albums, stopping by a local coin shop, and, of course, reading my Numismatic News to find out what other collectors were thinking and doing.
Nowadays, Mint delivery is far better, but instead of being happy with the Mint, on average we collectors bounce back and forth between critical and angry.
We are critical to the point of nitpicking in the best of times – griping when delivery takes a few days longer than expected and even criticizing shipment methods.
Collectors as a group get angry when surprise sellouts occur. Why didn’t we get one is the ongoing cry.
So why are collectors in such a foul mood?
I don’t think it is for any one event no matter the magnitude of the problem of that single event.
I think the real reason collectors are in a foul mood is because the Mint is always in our face and in our minds.
The Mint has so many products nowadays that we collectors are always forced to think about it. The Mint is like a guest in our homes who never leaves. Everything it does gets on our nerves.
I know I can never return to those happy times of thinking about the Mint twice a year, but if the Mint doesn’t pedal back some, collector opinion won’t even return to nitpicking. It will stay at angry 24/7.