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Mint should cut items as well as add


2013-kennedyLast week I mentioned how much I was looking forward to the 2014 Kennedy half dollar set.

I haven’t changed my mind, but I think looking to next year also should involve taking a few Mint issues away as well as adding them.

I am sure you have spotted letters to the editor complaining about too many Mint issues. This buyer’s fatigue is of a peculiar numismatic variety. Often it is accompanied with plea for a very special brand new set that would be just great if it could be introduced.

We all have our daydreams about a numismatic issue. It would not be a collector hobby if this were not the case.

But the buyer fatigue is very real. Collector budgets are not unlimited. There is some flexibility, to be sure, but sooner or later our personal enthusiasms are reined in by the reality of our personal finances or the reaction of a spouse to hobby spending.

There need to be boundaries. They need to be reasonable. It is an easy excuse to blame Congress for each new commemorative coin that comes down the pike. It is true. Congress calls the shots. All we can do is buy or not buy on a case by case basis.

However, there are Mint products that have nothing to do with Congressional mandates. The Mint should review them with an eye toward freeing collectors of two burdens.

Getting started in coin collecting is as easy as 1, 2, 3 when you get your advice straight from the Answer Man of coin collecting.

Getting started in coin collecting is as easy as 1, 2, 3 when you get your advice straight from the Answer Man of coin collecting.

The first burden is psychological. If you look at the Mint Statistics column each week, you know it is two full pages listing quite a few available Mint products. The sheer number weighs on our minds. It is hard to keep everything straight for all but the most avid collectors.

Knock back some of these offers. prune the lists. I won’t specify which ones. I am sure each reader has his own list of likely candidates. I am sure the Mint can evaluate which products generate more revenue and profit than others.

Use this as the guide toward determining the number of future offerings.

Shortening the list will make collectors sigh with relief that there are a few things they will no longer have to keep track of.

The second burden is financial. Dollars not spent on discontinued products do not vanish. Collectors still have them. They very often will buy something else instead. If surviving products generate more sales as a result, the Mint still wins and the costs of order fulfillment are reduced because there are fewer products to keep track of.

Sure, some unspent dollars not used on discontinued products might not be spent with the Mint, but that is not a bad thing. They will be spent with other coin dealers. That strengthens the secondary market infrastructure. That, too, benefits the Mint.

After all, how many would buy some of the current products if they could not immediately flip them on the secondary market? The dealers that comprise this need to be financially healthy.

Can the Mint add and prune at the same time? I hope we will find out.

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• See what guides and supplies our editors recommend for keeping up with your collection.


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