Skip to main content

Mint can’t sell what it doesn’t have

I get a lot of e-mails from frustrated collectors. When it is about a sold out item, I can sympathize with the U.S. Mint, because somebody is always disappointed in a sellout.

Most collectors think it wonderful that something sells out as long as they get one. I know. I have been there, done that myself.

However, in any sellout, there are more potential buyers who could not have their orders accommodated. This is what breeds disappointment.

When everyone can get something for weeks on end, there might be less disappointment but suddenly fewer collectors seem to really want it. Just look at the pattern of sales for the First Spouse gold coins. The first three sold out 40,000 mintages within hours. Sales totals since have declined by as much as 75 percent, but you can still buy them.

E-mails have begun to reach me with complaints of canceled Lincoln commemorative silver dollars orders. It is a popular coin that sold out within six weeks.

Someone had to lose.

The salt in the wound seems to be the electronic messages that show that orders are accepted and then canceled later. Is there anything that can be done about that? That might help.

But then again, disappointment is bitter no matter how it is coated. Hence my sympathy for the Mint. Even with a success, it just can’t win.