The U.S. Mint expected its 27,000 Uncirculated 2010-P Hot Springs
National Park 5-ounce silver bullion coins to be sold out sometime
April 29 after this issue of Coin World went to press.
As of midnight April 29, the Mint recorded sales of 20,426 pieces:
16,210 online and 4,216 by telephone.
Sales by the United States Mint were brisk beginning at the start
of sales at noon Eastern Time April 28 despite problems with the
Mint’s online ordering system, which had been anticipated.
Both the Mint’s website at www.usmint.gov and the contracted telephone
ordering fulfillment center in Indiana at (800) 872-6468 were flooded
with orders from customers seeking the 27,000 coins available. The
coins were offered at $279.95 each, plus a $4.95 shipping and handling
fee, with a restriction of one coin per household.
The price was to remain in effect during at least the first week
of sales, after which Mint officials would evaluate whether to change
the price, as long as coins remained available.
Mint officials plan to place the 5-ounce silver Uncirculated coins
on its pricing grid for precious metals products posted online.
The Hot Springs coin represents the first of five Uncirculated
2010-P 5-ounce silver numismatic coins to be offered under the America
the Beautiful coin program.
The Mint planned to accept more orders than the number needed to
exhaust the maximum mintage for the Hot Springs coin, with the excess
orders placed on a waiting list. Orders from customers on the waiting
list are to be filled in the order in which they were placed should
any earlier orders be canceled and coins become available.
Shortly after 2 p.m. Eastern Time April 27, Mint officials posted
a customer alert online warning of possible delays in online ordering
because of the Mint’s antiquated system that won’t receive a major
upgrade until mid-2012.
Many collectors who logged into their accounts on the Mint website
minutes before the opening of sales April 28 found the system sluggish
once sales began. About an hour after sales began, the Mint’s online
catalog was shut down and replaced by a notice recommending customers
call the toll-free telephone number instead in order to place any order.
Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Public
Affairs, said early April 29 that the Mint’s website performed as
officials had anticipated.
“In the first hour, we received just over 6,000 web orders,”
Jurkowsky said. “Unfortunately, the website went down shortly after 1
p.m. Eastern Time, but service was restored in about 45 minutes. The
web then resumed taking orders in its normal capacity of 120 to 150
orders per minute. We experienced a heavy volume of traffic throughout
the entire afternoon. By 9 pm Eastern Time Thursday evening [April
28], we had taken more than 19,000 orders.”
The 19,000 orders received by 9 p.m. represented both online and
telephone orders, with online orders placed at a 4 to 1 ratio over
telephone orders, Jurkowsky said.
As noted earlier, three hours later, the sales total was 20,426
pieces, according to Jurkowsky.
The Uncirculated 5-ounce silver 2010-P Hot Springs National Park
quarter dollar bullion coins were scheduled to be shipped beginning
The entire mintage of 27,000 coins for each Uncirculated 2010-P
America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver coin was struck during the fall
of 2010 at the Philadelphia Mint, with sales delayed until calendar
The same ready-to-strike planchets as for the bullion coin
versions were also used for the Uncirculated numismatic versions.
The 3-inch planchets for the bullion coins are delivered already
having been upset on the rim, annealed (softened through heat
treatment) and sonically cleaned.
The ultrasonic cleaning to the planchets helps eliminate buildup
of debris on the coinage dies that would require a halt in production
for cleaning or replacement of dies, according to U.S. Mint spokesman
However, unlike the bullion coins, the numismatic coins received a
“vapor blasting” technique after striking, resulting in a finish
replicating that used on 3-inch bronze Mint medals, according to White.
“The machine uses a water vapor and ceramic media mix,” according
to White. “It is similar to sand blasting, but instead of using dry
compressed air [propelled at high speed], it uses a compressed wet
vapor. The finish is applied to the coin after striking and not to the
die. This will provide a consistent coin-to-coin finish.”
U.S. Mint officials have not disclosed when the Mint plans to
offer the remaining four Uncirculated 5-ounce silver 2010-P America
the Beautiful coins or the five 2011-P coins. ■