When buyers want to buy, no retailer wants to turn them away.
But that is what has been going on with silver American Eagles in recent years when New Year’s rolls around.
I will be at the Florida United Numismatists convention Jan. 4-7, 2018, in Tampa.
One thing I would like to do there that I was able to do in prior years is buy the new silver American Eagle.
In recent years, this has been impossible because of the way the Mint has scheduled its Eagle releases.
With sales plunging off a cliff in 2017, it might behoove the Mint to think like a marketer and get these new 2018 coins out earlier so distributors can have them in quantity at the FUN show.
The bad habit of not having them available can be blamed on the years of shortage, when the Mint was rationing supply.
Why bother to do any marketing at all when you can sell all the coins you can ship no matter when they become available?
Well, this year’s sales figures show those days have now passed.
Though 2017 sales continue, there is no way the Mint can make up the 20 million fewer coins sold in 2017 than in 2016.
It is time to look at the buying habits of collectors and investors and cater to them.
In January 2017, the Mint was able to sell 5,127,500 coins even though they were not available at FUN.
That works out to 30 percent of the 17,233,500 silver Eagle coins sold so far in 2017.
Any month that has such a high level of demand should be targeted for an even higher level of total sales in the following year.
Why we collectors value getting the new date as early as possible in January we can debate until the cows come home.
I only know that I want one at FUN. Others do, too.
It is a little bit like asking why people buy all their gifts for Christmas in the last few weeks of the year.
Retailers cater to this demand pattern rather than try to persuade us to do something else.
Selling silver Eagles is similar.
For collectors of silver Eagles, January is Christmas.
While it is possible that silver Eagle demand will soar in 2018 for other reasons, the Mint needs to plan for current lower demand levels.
In that case, adding a million or two million more Eagle coins to sales in January is the way to go.
Do you want your silver Eagles in early January?
I’ll bet you do.
For the Mint, it is better to say “Here you go” than “Why?”
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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