US Coins

$1 million in First Spouse gold coins wrongly sent for destruction

The U.S. Mint’s former order fulfillment contractor, Pitney Bowes Government Solutions, mistakenly arranged for the incineration, without metal reclamation, of more than $1 million worth of First Spouse gold $10 coins.

The U.S. Mint was compensated through PBGS’s insurance provider for the lost coin claim totaling $1,015,941.87.

The U.S. Mint has detailed protocol for “detrashing” unsold numismatic products kept in inventory. The protocol includes separating the coins from the packaging. The packaging is destined for incineration and the coins are to be melted for metal reclamation.

Disappearing gold coins

According to a July 28, 2017, Treasury Office of Inspector General memo to David Motl, then acting principal deputy director of the U.S. Mint, on Jan. 16, 2013, PBGS personnel could not locate a pallet of 1,449 2007-W Dolley Madison First Spouse half-ounce .9999 fine gold $10 coins.

“PBGS conducted an internal review and determined that the missing pallet of gold coins had been inadvertently placed next to 23 pallets of ‘detrash’ packaging to be incinerated at a waste disposal and incineration facility,” according to the memo.

A review of security video disclosed all 24 pallets being loaded on a truck bound for the incineration facility and added to the pit, the first stage in the incineration process.

U.S. Mint officials filed a claim for the gold coins on Feb. 6, 2013, after it was determined PBGS was not consistently following proper de-trashing protocol.

In 2013, the same year that the results of a program audit and a simultaneous Treasury OIG investigation were disclosed, the Mint replaced PBGS. The Mint instead awarded a 10-year, $599 million contract to PSFWeb to operate the Mint’s website, to process customer orders (operating from the Dallas area), and to fulfill and ship the orders (from a complex in Memphis, Tennessee).

Pitney Bowes Government Solutions operated from a facility in Plainfield, Indiana, south of Indianapolis International Airport.

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