Paper Money

Monday Morning Brief for Aug. 12, 2019: Not getting it right

The calls and email from upset collectors began arriving at our office as soon as readers began receiving their 2019 Native American $1 Coin and Currency sets.

Original images courtesy of Robert Lacewell.

The calls and email began arriving at our office as soon as readers began receiving their 2019 Native American $1 Coin and Currency sets. All the correspondents had a complaint, and one that was familiar to us.

As Paul Gilkes reports in his news article this week, many of the sets (which contain a Native American dollar and a $1 Federal Reserve note) are arriving with the note out of position in the packaging.

One of the first two persons to contact us was a former staff writer for Coin World, a steady customer of the U.S. Mint who keeps us well-informed of his experiences in buying (or attempting to buy) a Mint product.

The packaging problem is familiar because the same thing happened with the Mint’s 2015 American $1 Coin and Currency set. This is what made the problems with the new set so frustrating for some Mint customers. The ability of the note to slide around in the packaging was a known problem, and yet, based on the evidence in collector-provided photographs, it was not fixed in the intervening years before similar new sets were created and shipped.

The United States Mint and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (the set is a joint product of the two Treasury Department agencies) should share the blame for letting this happen again. Armed with the knowledge of what happened four years earlier, the product quality managers of both government agencies should have reviewed and tested the packaging for the 2019 edition. If such testing did occur, apparently no effective changes were made to correct the packaging before the new sets were shipped to Mint and BEP customers.

Collectors want — demand — the collectibles they buy to arrive in pristine condition. While sometimes products can become damaged through poor handling by the shipper delivering the product, it is the sellers’ responsibility to ensure that the packaging is designed to eliminate the kinds of problems many collectors experienced during this past week.

The Coin and Currency sets are attractive products. Let us hope that the Mint and BEP get the next one right.

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