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Wait, wait, wait – Panic – wait

After waiting for almost five months for delivery of their sets from the U.S. Mint, buyers of the World War I Centennial Silver Dollar and Medal Sets were startled May 17 when an erroneous message was sent to them by the Mint saying their orders would be canceled if they did not telephone.

A later email sent to them on the same day apologized for the erroneous notification.

I had several emails from readers who sent me copies of what they had received.

The erroneous notification read this way:

“Thank you for your recent order. Unfortunately, we are not able to fulfill it at this time. Please call our Customer Service Center at your earliest convenience at 1-800-872-6468.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If we do not hear from you within 48 hours, we will automatically cancel your order. This is to protect you against any fraudulent activity on your account.”

The correction and apology is as follows:

“Dear Valued Customer,

“You may have received a message this morning alerting you that an order you placed for World War I Silver Dollar and Medal Set(s) will be canceled. This message was sent in error, and your order is being processed without issue. A shipment confirmation will be sent to you once this is complete.

“Please accept our apologies for this erroneous communication and any inconvenience or concern it may have caused.”

Naturally, recipients were not likely to wait for the correction. They sprang into action.

As a reader explained in his email to me:

“I just received the email below from the U.S. Mint concerning my order for the WWI Centennial Dollar and Medal Sets.

"So I called the Mint. That was no fun. Finally got to speak to a human.

"The nice lady informed me the order system had generated this email in error and had sent it to thousands of customers.

"Needless to say they are getting thousands of phone calls.

"She did check my order and said everything was fine. She did warn me that the orders aren’t shipping until late this month or early June.”

It is nice to see that the mistake was quickly corrected.

The lengthy wait these set buyers are patiently making is almost a throwback to earlier times a generation or more ago when long waits were common.

The sets in question were on sale Jan. 17-Feb. 20. Price of each was $99.95.

If you had wanted medals for all five branches of the armed forces, the cost was nearly $500.

The Army set was most popular, with orders of 15,058.

This was followed by the Air Service medal, 12,038; the Navy medal, 11,907; the Marine Corps medal, 12,162; and the Coast Guard medal, 9,377.

Maximum number available for any of the five options was 20,000.

I hope the next emails I receive from these doughty collectors and readers is that they have received the sets they had ordered and that the sets are in superb condition.

For all of them, May 17 proved to be a day when it definitely didn't pay to check email.

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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