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Fast and furious?

Readers are getting delivery of the 2015 High Relief $100 gold piece with the new rendition of Miss Liberty.

The coin went on sale just last Thursday, July 30.

Kudos to the Mint for having a large number of coins ready for quick shipment.

Unfortunately, the first communication I have had from a reader is a complaint about the coin’s quality.

It arrived in the inbox of my email last night, just five days after sales began.

“Received my coin UPS today. Had looked forward to this for a long time. Packaged like a 2-year-old did it, rammed into a small box with the paperwork all torn up.

“The coin on the reverse edge is not a finished die strike above the 'States'. Contacted the Mint for a replacement and that is slim to none. It is on backorder until Oct 1

“Very disappointed with the quality of workmanship on this coin and packaging. This coin was $1,495. They could have done better.”

There is no question that anyone who spends almost $1,500 would be disappointed with a defective coin.

The open question this morning is how many defective coins might be out there. Even with the best quality control, there will be a small number of coins that miss the mark.

Over coming days I expect more emails from readers telling me of their experiences.

Lack of complaints about the ordering process itself is a strong indication that things went exceedingly well.

The Mint on July 31 even sent out some background statistical information as to how the first day of ordering went:

• Sales through the MyUSMint mobile app yesterday were just over $500k.

• In the first 10 minutes of sales, there were 5,231 orders placed (8.72 orders per second).

• In the first hour and 15 minutes of sales, we took orders for more than 30,000 coins, not factoring in credit card holds or order holds.

These numbers provided by the Mint are impressive. They speak well of the functionality of the Mint’s website in processing the huge order inflow.

However, through Sunday, the program has not sold out the 50,000 maximum. Sales stood at a very respectable 41,930.

That leaves 8,070 to go.

Will the High Relief sell out?

The number of coins remaining does not seem large, but there is a growing chance that the number left might prove to be just a bit too many.

With new orders now going immediately on backorder and delivery penciled in for Oct. 1, the possibility of getting an early strike designation from a third-party grading service has disappeared.

The fact that the gold Kennedy half dollar is still available one year after the ordering period began does not bode well. It has not reached its 75,000 mintage despite sales of 56,694 coins in the opening hours of availability and 62,341 in the first five days.

It has taken a year since to increase the gold Kennedy sales number by 11,000, to 73,215.

How rapidly the total High Relief order number changes in the next few days will likely give us the complete picture of likely sellout or long, drawn out availability like the Kennedy.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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