A Treasury Department Office of Inspector General
probe closed in 2015 confirmed that the U.S. Mint oversold
and overshipped the 2014-W National Baseball Hall of Fame $5 gold
coins to customers by more than 100 coins above the statutory
authorization. However, no provisions exist for civil or criminal
penalties for the federal law violation.
Auditing of program sales indicate that, although the Mint oversold
the coin, the final net mintages combined in Proof and Uncirculated
for the commemorative gold half eagle fell just below the 50,000 limit
after all returns were reconciled.
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An oversight that resulted in selling more coins than were permitted
under provisions of the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative
Coin Act, Public Law 112-152, is being blamed on the
Mint’s transition between order fulfillment contractors.
The Mint switched contractors late in 2014 from Pitney Bowes
Government Solutions, later Novitex, in Plainfield, Ind., to PSFweb in Memphis, Tenn.
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The transition required that numismatic product inventory be moved
between warehouse facilities in the two cities. According to the
report, stock was not properly segregated to prevent the sale and
shipment of too many coins.
The transition between order fulfillment contractors occurred with
the close of the federal Fiscal Year 2014, which ended Sept. 30, 2014,
and the start Oct. 1, 2014, of FY2015.
The transition also coincided with the Mint’s conversion to a
multimillion-dollar online order management system that replaced a
system more than a decade out of date.
According to the TOIG investigation report, the Mint’s then acting
(and now chief) counsel Jean Gentry was notified internally through
the Mint’s Office of Protection of a possible breach in the production
and sales protocol for commemorative coins.
The probe determined that the West Point Mint struck 32,500 Proof
and 17,750 Uncirculated Baseball gold $5 half eagles for a combined
total of 50,250 coins — 250 coins more than the legislated authorization.
It was determined through the investigation that the Mint commonly
produces coins above the statutory limit to replace “damaged or
The overproduction is executed when “demand indicates a potential
sellout,” according to the TOIG investigation report.
In the case of the Baseball coins, the additional 250 coins were
produced in August 2014. TOIG investigators learned that the extra
quantity of the Baseball gold coins was maintained by Pitney
Bowes/Novitex in Plainfield, Ind., as “do not sell” product, but in
the transition, the overproduction was somehow recategorized from
protected to “available for sale” and was distributed by PSFweb.
The snafu resulted in an oversell recorded as 104 coins above the
Audited mintages for the program provided to
World by the U.S. Mint on June 15, 2017, recorded a total
final mintage of 50,104 coins — 32,427 Proof pieces and 17,677
It is customary during the order reconciliation process that product
is made available to customers next in line when orders are canceled
because of returns or expired credit cards. This practice usually
allows product to be sold and shipped to customers without exceeding
the issuing limit established under the enabling legislation.
Examples of the gold coins still in their original Mint packaging
are selling on the secondary market for nearly $900, more than double
the issue price, with certified examples trading much higher.
Subsequent to the TOIG investigation, the Mint has implemented
procedures to prevent recurrence of the overselling above statutory maximums.
For future coin programs, any additional production above
established limits to cover damaged coins and returns will now be
maintained at the production facility where the coins are struck. The
extra production will not be delivered to the contracted fulfillment
center until customer returns actually occur. Such “overage”
production is then to be properly marked and segregated at the
fulfillment center warehouse.
The Mint’s online electronic sales system has been modified to
automatically prevent sales beyond authorized limits.