In an email simply titled, “Organizational Announcement,” Deputy Mint Director Richard Peterson announced on Dec. 11 that the Mint was making changes to make the organization more customer-focused.
The Mint has many groups of customers, from traditional coin collectors and bullion investors who may buy one or two coins at a time, to authorized purchasers who may buy thousands of coins in a single transaction, and the Federal Reserve, which buys coins for circulation.
In the last several weeks, the Mint has been addressing weaknesses and making improvements that will benefit its various customers.
It recently redesigned and updated its website at www.usmint.gov, which makes user navigation of the site easier. It has also beefed up the site’s educational component.
Impressively, it released its 2013 product schedule with far greater detail than in previous years. Though it has some omissions — such as 2013 First Spouse coins (in large part because the designs have not yet been authorized) — it is a vast improvement over past years. Schedules like this take the guesswork and mystery out of release dates, to the benefit of both collectors and dealers.
Some improvements are more subtle. On Dec. 13 the Mint announced that it was making changes to its Proof coin photography. Beginning with 2013 coins, it will no longer use a heavy black shadow to indicate that a coin is Proof quality. The announcement noted, “Digital photography capabilities have improved to the extent that we can now distinguish between the mirror-like background of a proof coin and the finish of an uncirculated coin without manipulating the image with a shadow.” This new practice will be consistent with how most dealers and international mints photograph Proof coins. More importantly, it means that the Mint’s coin images will better represent what Proof coins actually look like.
The coin hobby as a whole only stands to benefit from the Mint stepping up its game to meet the needs of modern coin buyers who expect accurate photography, an easy ordering experience and quality products.
Peterson’s email stated, “Calendar year 2013 will be another busy year with continued emphasis on improving our operation through new and exciting initiatives.” Let’s hope the momentum continues.