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Sellout breeds envy

Wild accusations were flying around numismatic Internet circles after the 15-minute sellout Aug. 11 of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Coin and Chronicles set on the U.S. Mint website.

The Eisenhower Coin and Chronicles set went on sale Aug. 11 and sold out in 15 minutes.

The Eisenhower Coin and Chronicles set went on sale Aug. 11 and sold out in 15 minutes.

At the request of Numismatic News, a statement was issued Aug. 17 by Tom Jurkowsky, director of the Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications addressing the most inflammatory of these.

“There is absolutely no truth to the contention that the Mint sold a total of 12,000 Eisenhower Coin & Chronicle sets to two shopping networks. We took 10,097 orders for 16,820 sets. As you know, no order was permitted for more than two sets and we took more than 3,000 orders for single sets.

“The Mint sold the set on a household order limit. In cases where we have limited-mintage products (e.g., legislatively mandated or Mint established production or mintage limits), the Mint may impose order or household limits. Order limits help us ensure that we provide fair purchase opportunities to the broadest audience possible. We use a computer system to monitor household order limits.

“As long as a customer has proper payment and is not violating household order limits, we sell the customer the products he or she requests. We do not ask a customer about his or her intentions regarding the product. Once we mint and issue a product, it belongs to the customer to do with as he or she determines.”

Jurkowsky concluded with the words:

“I can assure you and your readers that the Mint is deeply committed to the collector. We do our utmost to maintain the integrity of the system.”

In addition to the rapid sellout, helping to fuel the rumors were problems that some would-be buyers had taking the final step to purchase sets on the Mint’s website during those fateful 15 minutes.

On Aug. 11, the Mint had addressed this issue with this statement:

“The main United States Mint web page, www.usmint.gov, was down from 12:04 p.m. to 12:21 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) due to an issue with a computer application unrelated to the launch of the 2015 Coin & Chronicles Set – Dwight D. Eisenhower. This application issue did not have an effect on any catalog pages, including the web page for the 2015 Coin & Chronicles Set – Dwight D. Eisenhower. Customers were still able to order the 2015 Coin & Chronicles Set.”

When all was said and done, a total of 16,820 sets were sold in approximately 15 minutes.

The Mint said, All accepted orders will be processed and fulfilled on a first-in, first-served basis according to existing United States Mint policies. The product inventory is at the fulfillment center for immediate shipment to customers. No additional inventory will be produced.”

Trading of the sets began almost immediately on secondary markets.

Read Connor Falk's analysis of secondary market prices here.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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