Mary S. Lhotsky, deputy associate director of Sales and Marketing at the U.S. Mint, held a Collector’s Forum on Feb. 28 during the American Numismatic Association National Money Show in Atlanta.
During the forum, she stressed that the U.S. Mint has a new vision in its sales and marketing department, focused on customer service. She said that the Mint is committed to grass-roots efforts to grow the base of people interested in coins and to get more young people involved in the hobby.
She said that an enhanced “Mint education initiative” would be introduced to help people understand why they should collect coins, and programs like Young Collector sets will be continued to educate young people about U.S. coin basics.
Lhotsky emphasized that the Mint is in “listening mode” right now and that it is going to embark on expanded surveys and outreach, “right down to the details, what we’re doing wrong and what we’re doing right.”
She said the Mint hopes to build on programs with widespread interest to casual collectors and numismatists alike — like the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin program — to help the hobby grow.
She pointed out innovations in producing sets such as the 2013 Theodore Roosevelt Coin and Chronicles set which combines two of the Mint’s current goals: to explore new packaging ideas and to re-energize the medals program.
Making it easy for consumers to order coins is a key concern at the Mint currently as it makes investments in changing its ordering system.
Lhotsky said she anticipates that the enhancements will be operational by October. Lhotsky said that she can relate to consumer problems, expressing, “It doesn’t make me happy when I have a sister’s birthday coming up and I can’t order a Happy Birthday coin set online.”
She added that many of the Mint’s special sets aren’t profit centers and that the Mint is working to develop a pricing model so as to produce products that people can afford, while also carrying an educational component.