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Gimme an 'ant-swer'

Questions from readers are an important part of the weekly Numismatic News. These are so important in fact that the Coin Clinic question and answer column is one of the most popular features in it. This has been true for many years.

Questions that make me scratch my head do come up from time to time.

When I opened my e-mail this morning, this is what I found:

“I just received my U.S. Mint order of two 2-roll sets of the Lincoln pennies ‘Professional Life.’ Upon opening one of the white sealed boxes, a dozen black ants came crawling out. I have never had this happen to me before and was wondering if others have had this happen. Have you ever heard of this?”

Well, I have certainly never heard of this. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has never happened before.

Perhaps readers of bygone days did not think such an occurrence was worth bringing to the attention of other readers. I can’t say.

Another recent letter raised an issue I have never seen brought to the attention of hobby readers before either. The writer complained about the smoking laws in Illinois that allowed people waiting in line to buy the Professional Life cents for face value in Springfield to smoke.

Neither of these issues should have any impact on the quality of the coins received or affect their current and future value.

Is there any other deeper meaning about the long-term vitality of the hobby? I imagine I will puzzle that over for awhile.

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One Response to Gimme an 'ant-swer'

  1. Not long ago, the US Mint changed fulfillment contractors from RR Donnelly to Pitney Bowes. There was a question of how well Donnelly was doing their job. However, there seems to be a fall off between how orders were fulfilled under Donnelly versus how they are fulfilled today under Pitney Bowes.

    Regardless of the fulfillment contractor, it is up to the US Mint to supervise their contractor. If the contractor is not performing up to their requirements under contract, the contractor can be fined or be told to leave. In government contracting, a contractor can be Terminated for Cause, where the government has to show cause for the termination, and a Termination for Convenience (T for C). The T for C is used when the contractor may be doing its job but they are doing it in such a bad way, it might be easier to terminate their contract without having to pay them any more money. The T for C is a tricky process and not to be used lightly.

    However, it is up to the US Mint to manage its contractor. Obviously, it sounds like they need better oversight!

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