Eisenhower set sells out in 15 minutes
- Published: Aug 14, 2015, 10 AM
The 2015 Dwight D. Eisenhower Coin and Chronicles set sold out within about 15 minutes of its noon Eastern Time Aug. 11 sales launch despite the U.S. Mint imposing a household ordering limit of two sets.
The set had a product release limit of 17,000 sets, each priced at $57.95.
The eBay auction site had confirmed sales as of Aug. 13 of Eisenhower sets in their original Mint packaging for between $250 and $400 per set.
The sellout of the Eisenhower set follows the June 30 sellout, in 15 minutes, of the 17,000 2015 Harry S. Truman Coin and Chronicles set, which had a household ordering limit of five sets.
The two sets are in demand by dealers and collectors because the Reverse Proof 2015-P Presidential dollar and 1-ounce .999 fine silver Presidential medal in each set are exclusive to the sets and not available for sale individually. The sets also include a U.S. postage stamp and information booklet on the featured president.
The sets have been made available only through the Mint’s website and via telephone at 800-872-6468.
None were made available at the sales outlet at U.S. Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C., or contracted sales centers at the Denver and Philadelphia Mints.
Some Website problems
The Aug. 11 sales were not executed without technical difficulties with the website at www.usmint.gov.
Adam Stump, deputy director of the Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, issued the following statement at 1:45 p.m. ET Aug. 11: “The main United States Mint web page, www.usmint.gov, was down from 12:04 p.m. to 12:21 p.m. due to an issue with a computer application unrelated to the launch of the 2015 Coin & Chronicles set — Dwight D. Eisenhower.
“This application issue did not have any effect on any catalog pages, including the web page for the 2015 Coin & Chronicles set — Dwight D. Eisenhower,” Stump said. “Customers were still able to order the 2015 Coin & Chronicles set — Dwight D. Eisenhower which became ‘Unavailable’ at 12:16 p.m., meaning the U.S. Mint is currently out of this item, but more may be available later.
“Any customer who may have normally entered the catalog site, which is any page that starts with catalog.usmint.gov, would not have experienced any issues. Any customer who attempted to enter through www.usmint.gov from 12:04 p.m. to 12:21 p.m. would have encountered an error trying to get to the catalog site. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused customers.”
During an Aug. 11 interview with Coin World at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill., Rhett Jeppson, principal deputy director of the U.S. Mint and President Obama’s nominee as the 39th Mint director, said: “We regret any issues customers may have had. We will conduct a post-mortem to see where the problems and bottleneck were and cure them.
“I do think it’s impressive that a product can sell out so quickly,” Jeppson said. “It shows the numismatic community is alive and well. Even with this issue, this system is far better than what we had a year and a half ago.”
Even with the imposition of a household ordering limit of two sets, the fact the product became unavailable in about 15 minutes shows more than 8,000 people may have been able to place orders, if most opted to buy the two-coin limit.
“It does say something about the product and the demand for our product,” Jeppson said.
Jeppson said the Mint’s website is actually two sites meant to function seamlessly. The pages beginning with the web address catalog.usmint.gov are maintained as the Mint’s e-commerce component by order fulfillment contractor PFS Web in Texas. The Mint maintains the informational component www.usmint.gov, which uses older technology, Jeppson said.
Without the catalog component in place, ”I would hate to have seen what would have happened if we didn’t have that system. Everything would have crashed and we would have had a lot of angry people,” Jeppson said.
Two more 2015 Coin & Chronicles sets will be offered — one on Sept. 16 for John F. Kennedy and one sometime in October for Lyndon B. Johnson. The product limit on the Kennedy set will be 50,000, double what was initially announce, while the maximum release for the Johnson set is being raised to 25,000, from its former 17,000-set maximum.
Jon Cameron, the Mint’s acting associate director of sales and marketing, said Aug. 11 that at the time of the June 30 sellout of the Truman set, the 17,000-set limit was already established. The decision was then made to increase the product limits for the Kennedy and Johnson sets, Cameron said. Whether sales of the Kennedy and Johnson sets will have household ordering limits has not been disclosed.
Collectors posted comments on Coin World’s Facebook page about the Eisenhower sets:
Christopher Brant: I was able to purchase 2 sets, myself, but it honestly didn’t feel like it. I didn’t believe my order actually went through due to all the website problems going on at the time. I was surprised to find out about 30 minutes later when I received an email confirmation from the US Mint that they received my order. Then I checked my order history and there it was. I was pleasantly surprised
Lester Self: All that matters is we didn’t get them ... through whatever happened. It’s over so I’m off on another adventure!
Timothy Gatz: So all these comments beg the question of who was able to purchase the 17,000 sets?