US Coins

Limited edition silver American Eagle sells out in less than 20 minutes

In less than 20 minutes Nov. 14, sufficient single-coin orders were placed with the U.S. Mint for the Enhanced Reverse Proof 2019-S American Eagle silver dollar to reach the maximum product limit, and a lot of Mint customers are unhappy their orders were not among the successful.

The limited-edition numismatic product, restricted to a release of 30,000 coins, was priced at $65.95 each with a household order limit of one coin.

The coins went on sale at noon Eastern Time, and many collectors reported to Coin World and at other online venues their difficulty or complete inability to place an order for the coin.

The U.S. Mint released the following statement to Coin World at 1:54 p.m. Eastern Time Nov. 14:

“Due to overwhelming demand, the American Eagle 2019 One Ounce Silver Enhanced Reverse Proof Coin is currently unavailable.” 

The statement continued, “Should they become available, customers who signed up for remind me notifications will be notified.”

The U.S. Mint’s order fulfillment contractor, PFSWeb, will begin the process of order reconciliation to determine if any orders placed will be canceled because of expired credit cards or other payment problems.

Coins from canceled orders will be made available to those customers next in line in the ordering process.

Many customers shut out from ordering one of the coins are disgruntled at the possibility that many successful buyers may immediately sell their coins for a profit to online telemarketers and television promoters, who in turn will offer the coins on the secondary market for hundreds or even thousands of dollars apiece.

Numerous pre-sale promotions from dealers — who faced the same individual household order limits as collectors — offered premiums to successful buyers to resell their coins for an immediate profit. At least one firm was offering an immediate profit of $150 per coin.

Sellers on eBay had numerous listings leading up to the Nov. 14 sales launch, offering single examples of the coin, both to be graded and encapsulated by a third-party grading service or in the original U.S. Mint packaging.

Many of the uncertified offerings had prices ranging from $500 to $750 per coin, with certified coins being offered at much higher prices. One offering was for $1,500 or Best Offer for a coin advertised as graded Proof 70 by Independent Coin Graders. An example offered as Proof 70 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. carried a pre-sale price tag of $1,973.64.

Ordering problems

To share in what other collectors experienced when placing orders for the restricted product, Coin World tested trying to place an order. We were able to get onto the Mint’s website less than 30 seconds after launch, select the one-coin limit for placement in the ordering “bag,” then click the Checkout button to make payment. However, while in the process of filling in the information requested to complete the transaction, the website froze, kicked the staff member out and deselected the ordering option.

Mint customer Jeff Kelsey is among the unhappy. 

He reported, “The American Eagle 2019 One Ounce Silver Enhanced Reverse Proof Coin went on sale today at 12:00 noon EST. My wife placed an order on an iPad at exactly 12:00 noon when they went on sale and the screen promptly locked up, never to unlock. She immediately tried to place an order on her iPhone and all she kept getting [were] error messages. I am so frustrated with the U.S. Mint. Every time I try to place an order for something that is remotely ‘hot’ I run into these same issues. What is the trick to getting an order through? I am angry and bewildered.”

Collector Bill Olsen reported “I was on the mint website before noontime, put a number of items in my basket, and after the usual lockup, at noon, eventually managed to add the new reverse Eagle to my basket.” Olsen continued, via email, that he “even hit the order button … another lockup. It was 12:20 before I could attempt the process again, but now my basket was empty, and I had to start again … but the dollar was NOT available. How come the dealers always beat me?

“Wonder what I will do with all the money I just saved?

“BTW, $2,790 buy now on Ebay at 12:30. Hopefully no one will buy that one.”

Longtime Mint customer Robert Lacewell is also disappointed at not being to successfully place his order.

“No luck! The system went down numerous times and I had to keep pressing refresh on the Mint’s app that I use to place my orders,” Lacewell said. “After about 15 minutes, I finally got one in my shopping cart and got to the last step, and it did the circle processing symbol that it does to complete your order, and then it said ‘item in your cart is no longer available, please remove item!!’

“I don’t know any website I order coins or any type of non-numismatic products from that will actually take an item from your shopping cart while you are finishing the checkout process and sell your item to another customer. It is asinine! And very unfair too. Yes, I am upset. But, such is life.”

Donald Thies’ ordering experience has left him pondering whether to remain in the numismatic hobby.

“What a joke this morning on the US Mint web site,” Thies said via email. “Totally a ‘blank’ joke! Logged on got even to the point of checking the box for the final order to place order but then had to continue to refresh the page for 15 minutes and by that time it was sold out. This is [nonsense] in the biggest form.

“The TV coin shows will be promoting this coin for thousands of dollars tonight and this weekend.

“Totally I’m almost done with coin collecting and the US Mint in general. I’m going to have to think real hard if I want to continue in 2020. What a joke for the average collector to have these hucksters enlist their co workers, buddies and whom ever so the collector who really wants one can’t get it at the normal price.”

Experiences of collectors filled Coin World’s Facebook page:

Ernesto Aguilar — Horrible experience. Mint website kept crashing. Took awhile but got an order in. Unfortunately it hasn’t been confirmed yet.

Ryan Kordziel — I had an overall good experience — took a little time but I was able to get one after all; from reading all the comments here it seems like I was lucky!

Scott Simmons — My order went through after 10 minutes of freezing up. But the prices for these on eBay are insane!

Steve G. Schumann — I nailed one, but it was 15 solid minutes of refresh-back-reload madness. ... And after hitting the submit order button, the page never refreshed to tell me the order was successful ... but I saw the confirmation email hit my inbox and then checked my order status which confirmed my order slid in there.

Michael S. MacKenzie — Tried numerous times and many times it said I had it in my basket. Crashed each time and then finally said not available. I bet I’ll see that [person] on HSN selling them tonight for outrageous prices.

John Baumgart — “Oops...Something went wrong” ad infinitum every time I tried paying until eventually I was told I had an illegal item in my cart when it sold out. So ... bad experience.

Karl Edelmann — Absolutely HIDEOUS! I was able to sign in, get a coin in my bag, and the system crashed MULTIPLE times! When I finally got to the payment section, the system crashed 4 separate times while trying to accept my payment. When it came back the fifth time it said it was sold out and to remove the item from my bag!!! If I was on time, have it in my bag, and the vendor’s system crashes, how can it be sold out? Major FAIL!!!

Mark Parrish — I think my coin collecting days are over, a very bad experience!

Serial-numbered COA

The Enhanced Reverse Proof American Eagle silver dollar is the first numismatic product offered by the U.S. Mint to be accompanied by a serial-numbered certificate of authenticity (COA).

During the Oct. 24 to 25 Fourth Annual U.S. Mint Numismatic Forum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mint Director David J. Ryder said the first 100 serial-numbered COAs would be hand-signed by him, near his facsimile signature. 

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