The U.S. Mint
April 5 left open the possibility that sales for the 2017 Congratulation set, which recorded an
apparent sellout in two minutes April 4, could be reopened.
The sets went on sale at noon Eastern Time April 4 with no household
order restriction. Sufficient orders were placed almost immediately to
exhaust the maximum mintage of 75,000 sets, according to the Mint,
although bureau officials have yet to declare the numismatic product a
sellout. Many attempting to buy the set reported that their orders
were rejected starting around 12:02 p.m., suggesting that virtually
the entire edition was purchased in about two minutes.
The set’s attraction is the Proof 2017-S American Eagle silver
dollar, struck at the San Francisco Mint. The “regular” Proof American
Eagle silver dollar is a West Point Mint product.
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The U.S. Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications released the
following statement to the media at 10:09 a.m. ET April 5 concerning
sales of the 2017 Congratulations set: “Sales attrition from
cancellations, returns and credit card declinations could result in a
very limited quantity being made available for sale.”
Mint officials are still trying to determine how many sets would be
available and if the number will be sufficient to warrant reopening sales.
The bureau faced a similar dilemma in 2016 with the April 21 sales
for the 125,000 2016-W Winged Liberty Head gold dimes. Customers
placed enough orders within minutes of the start of sales to consume
the maximum number of coins available, even with a household order
limit of 10 coins.
However, reconciliation of orders over the ensuing weeks resulted in
the Mint amassing between 8,000 and 9,000 coins in inventory, from
returns and canceled orders for coins that were never shipped.
The Mint waited eight months before reopening sales on Dec. 15 for
the remaining gold dimes in inventory. With a one-coin-per-household
order restriction, it took 90 minutes to sell those remaining coins.
The Mint’s offer of the limited-edition 2017 Congratulations set
without a household order limit upset some collectors who were shut
out from successfully placing an order.
Collector Chris Hale contacted
World via email April 4 before 1 p.m. ET, asking, “Is there
any way to find out from the U.S. Mint how many individuals/dealers
were able to purchase this item?” (See his full letter in this week’s
Letters to the Editor column.)
Hale told Coin World in an interview that he tried placing
his order at 12:02 p.m. ET and received a message advising him to
remove his order for five sets because they were no longer available.
Another collector, Henry Bonke, also expressed his displeasure with
the Mint’s offering of the numismatic product.
“Less than 3 minutes and sold out,” Bonke wrote via email. “Canceled
by the Mint at 3 minutes. I’m through with the U.S. Mint.
“This continued unfair treatment of the collecting community for the
profit of a few is testament to their corrupt policies. I used to
collect U.S. stamps, but their inattention to the stamp collecting
community drove me away. SAME reason here. I will not buy the coin on
ebay and I hope other collectors follow my lead.”
A collector from Laguna Niguel, Calif., reported he was able to
successfully place an order for four sets.
From Coin World’s Facebook page:
Michael Bruni: “Lots of angry people out there posting on the Mint’s
website. What were they thinking with no ordering limit on something
like this? Another black eye for the Mint. ... Whenever someone asks
for reasons the hobby is slowly dying it’s examples like this that
should be brought up as part of the problem. Simple collectors out to
put together a nice set of current issue coins can’t because of
mismanagement of product releases — so many just stop trying over
getting gouged on the secondary market.”
Shawn Savage: “It is BS. Some of the big dealers were buying
thousands at a clip. The U.S. mint should be for selling to the
collector, not to let dealers hoard and corner the market for big
Mint customers posted a significant number of negative comments on
the Mint’s Facebook page but the link to those comments was
deactivated, according to the Mint, because the product had gone into
“currently unavailable” status.
Following the apparent sellout April 4, examples of the sets quickly
appeared on eBay, posted by sellers with confirmed orders. Subsequent
completed sales ranged from $110 to $225 per set. The Mint sold the
set for $54.95.
A number of eBay auctions offered multiple sets. One auction for 99
sets with a Buy It Now option at $17,500 and free shipping ended with
The auction was relisted with the Buy It Now offer at $14,500 with
an added Make Offer option. As of April 6, the offer was still active.
Collectors will have the opportunity to obtain the Proof 2017-S
American Eagle silver dollar in another numismatic product to be
offered by the U.S. Mint later in the calendar year.
The regular annual Proof American Eagle silver dollar in recent
years has been struck at the West Point Mint with the W Mint mark. The
Proof 2017-W American Eagle went on sale on March 23 at $53.95 per
coin, with no product limit or household order restriction and
Collectors will have a second opportunity to obtain the Proof 2017-S
American Eagle silver dollar in 2017 when the coin is included in the
2017 Limited Edition Silver Proof set. Details on the 2017 Limited
Edition Silver Proof set — including pricing, product limit and
household ordering limits, if any — are yet to be disclosed by the Mint.