It took less than five hours Oct. 27 for U.S. Mint customers to buy all 100,000 of the 2011 American Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin sets offered for sale at $299.95 per set.
The United States Mint sold out its complement of 100,000 2011 American Eagle 25th Anniversary Silver Coin sets in less than five hours during the opening day of sales Oct. 27. Sales began online and by phone at noon Eastern Time. The sets were offered at $299.95 per set.
Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Public Affairs, said the morning of Oct. 28 that the Mint had received sufficient orders to exhaust the maximum allocation of sets. Those placing orders were limited to five sets per household.
A sales report as of 5 p.m. Eastern Time Oct. 27 indicated that the orders placed by that time represented 100,709 sets, Jurkowsky said. A waiting list for excess orders was put in place and will be filled in the order received should any earlier orders be canceled because of expired credit cards, duplicate orders or other problem that would negate the order, he said.
The 100,709 sets represented a total of 27,254 orders, an average of 3.7 sets per order. Of the 5 p.m. total, 22,413 orders were placed online and 4,841 by telephone. The online orders represented 84,168 sets, with the remaining 16,541 sets ordered by telephone.
Mint website slow, but stable
While some collectors contacting Coin World claimed the Mint website, www.usmint.gov, crashed during the sales period, the website was sluggish but did not crash, Jurkowsky said. Jurkowsky said the Mint’s information technology personnel continually executed patchwork fixes to keep the system up and running. The entire online sales system for the Mint is scheduled to be completely overhauled in 2012. Mint officials expect the upgrades to eliminate the problems the Mint has encountered when limited edition products are offered.
Mint customers reported trying multiple approaches while attempting to place their orders.
Some tried accessing the Mint website using multiple web browsers on their computers. Some used mobile devices such as cell phones and iPads to successfully place an order.
For those attempting to purchase by telephone, customers reported it often took multiple calls before reaching a customer service representative. At least one customer trying to place a phone order was greeted with the message that the call might be monitored, followed by a busy signal.
No matter the method used, some collectors reported spending hours attempting to place an order, either successfully or unsuccessfully.
Circumventing sales limits
Although the Mint imposed a five-set-per-household limit on the sets, applicable to collectors and dealers alike, some buyers apparently circumvented the limitation. Coin World received multiple complaints from collectors about people using various techniques to order more than the maximum five sets, including using different credit cards and shipping addresses. Similar comments were registered over online coin forums.
Dealers used various strategies to acquire sets for their inventory. One, Modern Coin Mart in Florida, sent an email Oct. 25 to customers on its subscriber list offering to pay $360 for each set obtained, or a $60.05 profit per set, as long as the price remained at $299.95 from the Mint. The firm also offered to pick up the cost of shipping and insurance, up to a $35 total, if five or more sets were being shipped within two days of receipt from the Mint (otherwise it was the responsibility of the shipper to pay shipping and insurance costs).
Even before the sale began, dealers were offering premiums for the sets and pre-sale offerings were found on eBay (see this week’s Market Analysis, Page 38).
Shipping of the 100,000 sets was scheduled to begin in mid-November, since all of the coins for the sets had been struck at three different facilities weeks before sales began.
The sets, assembled at the San Francisco Mint, comprise:
➤ One Proof 2011-W coin bearing the W Mint mark of the West Point Mint in New York.
➤ One Reverse Proof 2011-P coin struck at the Philadelphia Mint with the P Mint mark.
➤ One Uncirculated 2011-S coin struck with the S Mint mark of the San Francisco Mint.
➤ One Uncirculated 2011-W coin struck at the West Point Mint.
➤ One bullion coin struck without a Mint mark at the San Francisco Mint, identical to all of the other 2011 bullion coins.
The Reverse Proof and 2011-S coins are unique to the set. The maximum mintage of 100,000 pieces for each will make them among the lowest mintage American Eagle silver dollars. ■