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Order crush slows Mint response

Were you among the initial wave seeking to buy proof American Buffalo gold coins?
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More than 50,000 American Buffalo gold proof coins were sold during the first few hours of their availability June 22 as eager collectors overwhelmed the U.S. Mint's ability to take orders via its Web site and phone system.

Demand settled down to a more measured pace thereafter. In the first five days, sales totaled 75,072, roughly one-quarter of the maximum 300,000 mintage that will be allowed.

Perhaps egging buyers on was the news just prior to the commencement of sales that the price would be reduced from $875 to $800 each.

Becky Bailey, public affairs director for the Mint, said, "The heavy volume of Web site orders and calls that first day was a real challenge to keep up with."

Bailey related a story that on that day a customer told Michael White, a public affairs specialist, "that he was buying an American Buffalo gold proof coin because his eight-year-old had told him he'd better get it. When White asked him, 'Your eight-year-old wants an $800 coin?' The caller responded, 'He's a rich eight-year-old.'"

Bailey said the high order traffic settled down by evening.

Shipment of the new proof coins will begin July 13. Some may be shipped sooner, Bailey said.