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New gold race starts tomorrow for Mercury

The buying frenzy for gold Mercury dimes might repeat itself tomorrow when the U.S. Mint puts 8,904 remainders back on sale on its website.

Start time is noon Eastern.

Price might even be $5 lower at $200 because gold bullion is cheaper than when the coin was placed on sale originally April 21.

The Mint had a maximum mintage for the coin of 125,000 and declared a sellout in just minutes on the date the coin was first offered.

However, order cancellation and problems with credit cards, returns and other things left sales standing at 116,096 when everything was accounted for.

Hence tomorrow’s sales.

Naturally, some are not pleased to hear about this.

A half hour after I received the Mint notification of the gold dime sale, I received a reader email:

“Will someone tell me please what is going on at the Mint? I just received an e-mail stating that the gold Mercury dimes are being released on Dec. 15.

“How can this be? They sold out. So I called and was told these were held back! Held back! Do you know how many collectors bought them at outrageous prices on the secondary market? These have to be the nine thousand that were returned.

“You cannot say sold out and then change it to held back. Do they think we’re all idiots?” he wrote.

I appreciate the email. It is real and in the moment.

However, this offer should not be a surprise.

I have mentioned it on a number of occasions in "Numismatic News" since the April offer.

However, I agree that the Mint’s hired telephone operators need a better script for communicating with collectors.

It might even be better to say they don’t know rather than use words that can be interpreted to be false.

The coins were not held back.

They could have been sold in April had the buyers not had some form of problem.

Disappointment can lead to hot words and this particular reader email had a few, though phrased for polite company.

The reader wrote, “When I think of people spending hundreds of dollars in the secondary market because the Mint said they were sold out is so wrong. I would sue the Mint for the difference. Maybe that would stop their tricks. Now it’s word games.”

There also was some advice at the end of the email to all readers:

“Thank you and don’t buy them!”

I do not think this advice will be followed.

While the frustration behind it is real, I expect the gold Mercury dimes will sell out rapidly tomorrow despite it.

I would like to thank other readers who emailed me to make sure I had become aware of the Mint’s announcement.

It’s nice to have numismatic friends.

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

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