Twelve-year-old collector and Baltimore Orioles fan Cole Bank was the first in line to buy a Proof 2014-W Baseball gold coin March 27 at the Whitman Baltimore Expo. The coin shown is representative, but not the coin Cole purchased.
Anticipating heavy demand, the U.S. Mint invoked the use of its “waiting room” feature on its website at www.usmint.gov to prevent the possibility of the website crashing. The feature allows collectors to be placed into an ordering queue in the order in which they signed in online to buy the coins.
The online waiting time for Mint customers varied depending on the time of day when logging into individual customer accounts.
Two Coin World staff members had signed into their Mint customer accounts soon after the start of work at 8 a.m. EDT, four hours before the start of the sales of the Baseball coins online and by phone.
Two other Coin World staff members signed into their accounts later in the morning, but before the Mint blocked access to the entire website at 11:45 a.m.
Once sales went live at noon, the first two Coin World staff members who had logged into the Mint’s website waited less than 10 minutes, while the waiting time for the other staff members was an hour or more.
All four were able to gain access to the website to successfully place orders.
Jurkowsky said the waiting room feature worked well to meet the demand, despite some opinions of some collectors suggesting otherwise.
Participants at the Collectors Universe U.S. Coins Forum reported a range of experiences.
Some said they were able to enter the waiting room and then quickly move to the Mint catalog, where they completed their transactions for the coins in minutes.