That the Jefferson First Spouse gold coins sold out the first day they were offered Aug. 30 probably is no surprise to most collectors.
The limited mintages of 20,000 for proof and 20,000 for the uncirculated versions have attracted many an eBay buyer. However, the nearly as brief length of time to achieve a sellout when compared to the June 19 offer of Martha Washington and Abigail Adams coins might be a surprise in light of the great lengths the Mint took to assure the fairest and widest possible distribution.
Order limits were reduced from five per household for each finish to one and the Mint took additional steps to assure that no early orders slipped in ahead of buyers who played by the rules. Nevertheless, proofs sold out in two hours and 15 minutes. The uncirculateds sold out before the end of the afternoon following the noon Eastern Daylight Time starting point, according to a Mint spokesman.
A total of 26,000 orders were taken by early afternoon, the spokesman said. For both proof and uncirculated coins, extra conditional orders were taken to be filled only in the event that other sales fall through due to credit card or other problems. The spokesman said would-be buyers pushed the Mint's Web site to its capacity during the first hour.
"Call volume got very high when the Web got slow," the spokesman said, making it one of its busiest days ever. By 1 p.m. the pressure on the Web site eased.
The spokesman said at no time was the Web site not accesible. Anecdotal experiences of Numismatic News readers indicate that some buyers had to try multiple times to get through.
Even though delivery of the coins will not occur until Oct. 30, offers to sell them appeared on eBay just after the sellout, though at prices lower than what initially prevailed for the Washington and Adams coins.