I salute all of the plucky collectors who have been able to find the funds at the end of 2013 in order to buy this year’s First Spouse gold coins.
In the first couple of weeks, buyers of the Ida McKinley coins were able to scrounge up enough dough to pay for roughly half as many coins as the last issue of 2012 sold.
That’s actually not that bad a response rate for the opening of any offer, but this program begins from such a low base, that what it boils down to is a rather tiny number of collectors.
With sales of the last 2012 issue standing at roughly 3,000 proofs and 2,300 uncirculated coins, these numbers become the yardstick against which we measure responses to the 2013 program.
The thought occurs to me that this is a small enough number that the Mint could contact each buyer individually for special treatment.
It could be a numismatic equivalent of a hotel concierge service.
"You purchased the Ida McKinley issues, would you be interested in Edith Roosevelt? How about Helen Taft?"
Well, you get the idea.
The buyers comprise a small enough group that the Mint should figure out some way of making them feel extra special and appreciated.
Yes, I know that this s the opposite of the usual behavior of a government institution, but it might be worth the effort as part of an attempt to keep the program from completely sliding into irrelevancy.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."