No sellout. No complaints?
You underestimate the ingenuity of coin collectors to carp about the U.S. Mint.
All day yesterday it looked like a very smooth offer for the gold Standing Liberty quarter. I checked from time to time to see if the coins were still being offered.
Fewer than half of the 100,000 available were sold. In the first day, 47,884 were taken.
The lack of a sellout became abundantly clear to me thanks to an old friend and longtime reader in Iowa who was first to send me an email 20 minutes into the order period yesterday.
“Just an update on my ordering experience this morning. Began calling (land line, even) at 11 A.M. CST. “Got thru to a live operator in about 6 minutes ... placed on hold twice and got a confirmation number by 11:12 A.M. I am satisfied with their service!”
Sales of the silver Liberty medal Aug. 23 had been so rapid by computer that telephone callers were shut out. This email was a strong signal that sales of the gold Standing Liberty were not as rapid and would perhaps continue for a while.
Chalk it up the impact of a household order limit of 1 and a mintage of 100,000 compared to four (two from each mint) and 25,000, respectively, for the Liberty medal.
Another regular correspondent chimed in an hour and two minutes into the sale. He offered a lengthy analysis.
Here are excerpts:
“My prediction is that the Mint will either be selling this coin way into 2017, or that somewhere along the line the Mint will open up the household limits to greater amounts.”
I liked his personal touch with this comment: “Nevertheless, the price point and premium over spot of about $160 is way over my budget, as I would think many others, and I will sit this one out.”
But like a moth to the flame, he could not resist looking.
“As of 1 p.m., an hour after these went on sale … they’re still readily available and can easily and briskly move through the web checkout process which I did … but didn’t buy it now, as I know this one will go for melt in 2 years like the Kennedy.”
This morning I received another reader email that bears repeating or at least justifies the beginning of this blog.
“After 20 minutes of being locked up and kicked off the Mint’s website yesterday, I was able to successfully order the 2016 Centennial Standing Liberty Gold coin."
Great news, right?
He couldn’t resist adding couple of mild zingers.
“This morning I see that they are still available on the Mint’s website, so it looks like the big coin companies were not able to buy them all out first. I think that the 1 coin per household limit was a good idea but it would have been better, in my opinion, if it were maybe 2 or 3. But at least this way all the collectors should be able to get one directly from the Mint.”
That’s two standard collector complaints for the price of one, the activities of coin marketing companies and the urge to suggest to the Mint a better household order limit.
Naturally, on eBay, it is rather like an electronic ghost town.
Why pay more than the $485 issue price when you can still obtain the coin from the Mint?
But if you want to take advantage of pre-sale offers of third-party slabs, Professional Coin Grading Service SP70 First Strikes, or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation SP70 Early Releases can be ordered for $749 each.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
- If you enjoy reading about what inspires coin designs, you’ll want to check out Fascinating Facts, Mysteries & Myths about U.S. Coins.