Can collectors stand a stretch of good news from the U.S. Mint?
I think so, but they probably won’t remember it.
People tend not to remember good news.
When I was taking journalism courses in college many years ago, one of the overused cliches was that when dog bites man it is not news, but if man bites dog, that’s news.
Why? Because it is unexpected. It turns conventional wisdom on its head.
If the Mint is selling traditional products that collectors treasure and deliveries go wonderfully well, it is a given. It is the baseline expectation.
However, facts of this kind, no matter how true they are usually are skimmed over and rapidly forgotten.
Why do I remember when I ordered 1969 proof sets?
They were sold out in six days. Many collectors had their orders rejected. I was lucky to get my two sets.
Bad news combined with my good fortune set this memory in stone in my brain.
As I was just beginning to order sets every year at that time I also know that I sent in an order for the 1970 proof set.
I have absolutely no memory of it. The process apparently worked to my expectations.
In 1970, it was the uncirculated set that defied conventional expectations when the decision was made to issue the circulation strike 1970-D half dollar only in that set.
There was no other way to get the coin. This information was revealed only after order acceptance had closed..
Since I was now a regular Mint customer, I had placed my order for two sets and felt very lucky to get the low-mintage half dollar when others did not.
That gives my memory a hook that I can use to retrieve it from my brain.
So it is with some reluctance I share the following report from a Connecticut collector.
It is good news.
He writes: “Just wanted to let you know that the Mint is starting to get their act together. I placed my order for the U.S. Marshals commemoratives on 1/29/15 at 12:05 p.m. with no problems. On 2/2/15 they were shipped to me by UPS and I received them on 2/5/15 at 12:30 p.m. I ordered all 6 coins and they look great.”
The sender of the email is obviously one happy collector. I am grateful that he took the time to write to me the other day.
It is a pleasure to offer a pat on the back to the U.S. Mint.
But will I or anyone else in the hobby remember this blog post for very long?
Not a chance.
Only the bad news, or an unusual bit of luck makes a permanent impression.
Sad, but true.
Now go about your day.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."