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Shed a tear for end of mail orders?

The Mint is closing a chapter in its history. It will no longer accept orders by mail as of Oct. 1. Any received will be returned to sender with instructions on how to order coins by telephone or via the website.


It is nice to have advance warning. If you wonder why this particular date was chosen, it very likely is due to the fact that the federal fiscal new year starts on that date.

Out with the old, in with the new, many of us say on the calendar New Year’s. The same thinking seems to apply to the timing of this changeover.

It makes the Mint’s budget process easier to do. Collectors don’t care about that, but I expect they won’t object to the Mint’s new policy. It is time for an end to ordering by mail.


In this day and age, even telephone orders seem old-fashioned. If you want any of the hot Mint offers, you must order through the website.

Instant sellouts mean that any attempt to offer the coins the old-fashioned way by going to the expense of printing catalogs and order cards and mailing them to collectors simply means that any actual orders generated for hot items would have to be returned unfilled. This would raise collector blood pressure across the land. – Not a good thing for the Mint to do. Blood pressure readings are high enough among collectors who actually do use a computer to place orders.

Of course, the Mint could issue printed catalogs that offer none of the good stuff. They could then fulfill the orders they receive. But even those few collectors who still order by mail know the potentially hot stuff from the routine, and will not be particularly responsive to catalogs with no hot stuff in them.

So what’s the point of making such a catalog in the first place? The Mint has asked this question and come to the logical conclusion.

I had a hand-written letter from a reader asking me my opinion of the end of mail orders. This letter on this topic could not have reached me before the deadline of this issue without the writer having seen this latest bit of news online. That should answer the question. Speed is everything in this day and age. It makes no sense to read about a Mint sales offer online and then pop an order into the mail. The Mint is simply changing with the rest of the economy.

We are lucky the Mint has accepted mail orders as long as it has. The handwriting has been on the wall for mail orders for a long time.

But, of course, delivery of many of these orders placed by telephone or over the Internet will continue to be by mail. That part of the process will long be with us – at least until delivery by drone becomes commonplace.

I will miss the concept of sending mail orders to the Mint, but since I cannot remember the last time I actually did it, it is safe to say I will not miss it very much.

How about you?

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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