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. ■