Since the Internet became a part of our lives, we assume everybody learns everything almost as soon as it happens.
Have you found yourself thinking that as I have?
An email that I received yesterday should make us all do a bit of rethinking.
The writer said:
“It appears that the Mint may be lying to customers. On October 10th, I went online to the US Mint, and discovered that the 225th Anniversary Enhanced Mint Set was for sale online. When I went online on the first day of issue, I was refused because it had reached its limit of 225,000 sets, and all sets had been sold. Now, I am being told that the sets were never sold out, and they are still available. Have they upped the limit on the sets?”
To say I was surprised to receive this short missive is an understatement.
The email implies that the writer has been out of touch for 10 weeks.
The Mint did indeed announce an online sellout Aug. 1 of the 225,000 Enhanced Uncirculated sets in just a few minutes after they became available.
The news flashed throughout the Internet.
Two days later, the sets went back on sale.
I wrote blogs and stories about both events.
My Sept. 6 blog laid out the timeline:
“The Mint said it had sold 217,514 sets as of Aug. 6.
“Buyers pushed that number up to 223,310 by Aug. 13.
“Sales even were suspended again for two days as of Aug. 14. But still the set could not stay sold out.
“The sales number reversed by 12,037 to 211,273 as of Aug. 20.
“An even larger fall then occurred. Subtracting another 23,969 took the sales figure down to 187,304 by Aug. 27.”
In all, the sales total was reduced by 16 percent. Then sales began rising again.
The latest figure from Oct. 8 is 197,133, leaving 27,867 sets that need to find homes with collectors.
What can we conclude from this?
We can all miss things online. But the surprise is the writer missed everything I wrote about the event, yet he thinks well enough of me and Numismatic News to send an email labeled “letter to the editor.”
The email also reveals the continuing corrosive power of collectors making allegations about the Mint without knowing the facts.
This is a problem both for the collectors who do this and for the Mint, which would like to sell new products to them.
I will never again assume that something is common knowledge moments after it happens.
Perhaps, too, I need to put bigger headlines on my stories.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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