US Coins

Mint resumes sales of Enhanced Uncirculated Coin set

Customers got a second chance at buying the 2017 Enhanced Uncirculated Coin set from the U.S. Mint at issue price when the sets were placed back on sale at the Mint website nearly two days after sales began and ended in less than 10 minutes Aug. 1.

They went back on sale at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Denver on Aug. 4.

The 2017 Enhanced Uncirculated Coin set went to “currently unavailable” status at the Mint website within minutes after it went on sale at noon ET on Aug. 1. Two days later, on the morning of Aug. 3, the set reappeared for sale at the Mint website. Sets remained available well into Aug. 4 during this second round, with some Mint customers probably unaware that the sales had resumed.

According to Coin World senior editor Paul Gilkes, speaking with a Mint employee at the ANA World’s Fair of Money on Aug. 3, additional sets became available through orders that were canceled because of payment or processing problems. According to the Mint employee, the canceled orders included one for 20,000 sets from a dealer.

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Collectors and dealers had multiple Mint sites from which to buy the sets initially on Aug. 1.

They were made available at the U.S. Mint booth on the bourse floor of the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Denver at 1 p.m. MT and were sold out the same day by 6:10 p.m. according to Mint staff at the show.

According to the Mint, 25,000 sets were shipped to the ANA show, which includes 800 shipped on Aug. 3 for sales on Aug. 4. The Mint sold 24,000 sets at the ANA convention on Aug. 1, with 200 sets damaged in transit (24,200 total were sent for Tuesday sale). The Mint was not making a public address announcement of the sets’ availability on Aug. 4, according to Gilkes. The additional sets were availabe only if customers asked about them. Sales were limited to five per pass through the line during this second round of bourse sales.

The set was initially also sold in the sales areas of the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, and at Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C.

When the initial sales via the Mint website and telephone order line ended on Aug. 1, minutes after sales began, for collectors it was deja vu. In April, the 2017 Congratulations set sold out in about two minutes. For both sets, the U.S. Mint imposed no household limits (though officials did limit the number of Enhanced Uncirculated Coin sets that could be purchased at the ANA convention and Mint sales areas). Customers were permitted, however, to make more than one trip to the sales counters at the ANA convention and Mint sales sites. 

Gilkes, on hand at the Denver Mint when the sets went on sale at 10 a.m. MT, said a short line of about a dozen individuals had formed and that customers were permitted to buy the 20 sets maximum allowed per transaction, and then return to the sales counter to buy more. He said that when a Denver area collector had begun to wait at 8:30 a.m. MT, no line had formed.

Gilkes was also present at the Mint booth at the ANA convention three hours later, where he observed approximately 100 people in line at the start of sales. 

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Once sales got underway, some customers were observed buying a dozen or more boxes of the sets, with each box containing 38 sets. Customers were permitted to buy a maximum of 500 sets per transaction, but could also return to make additional transactions.

One dealer at the convention, Eagle Eye Rare Coins, reported that one business purchased 4,000 sets from the Mint at the convention.

The last sets available at the Mint booth on the ANA floor Aug. 1 were sold at 6:10 p.m. MT, according to Mint staff at the convention.

After the set became “currently unavailable” at the Mint website on the first day of sales, U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White, responding to Coin World’s inquiry about the set’s availability, on Aug. 1 said: “As is our standard procedure, we cannot confirm that until we have all the order reconciliations taken care of; we will go with ‘unavailable’ until then.”

Secondary market

As has become common with limited edition sets, purchasers with multiple sets quickly began offering them for sale at prices above the $29.95 issue price, both for sets in their original packaging and for sets that were graded and encapsulated by one of the major grading services. Services at the convention were offering slabs with special labels noting the “Denver Release” for sets certified as being purchased at the show.

The Coin Vault, a television and online seller of coins, by Aug. 2 was offering sets in Professional Coin Grading Service Specimen 70 condition for $479.98, or 16 times issue price. Sets of the coins offered at that price bore a PCGS label identifying them as “FDI” or “First Day of Issue,” in an edition size of 1,000 sets. Sets graded PCGS Specimen 69 with the FDI designation were being offered at $199.98 by the same firm.

Promoters at The Coin Vault were calling attention to the fact that some of the coins in the set, like the Lincoln cent and Jefferson 5-cent coin, had not been previously been issued with an Enhanced Uncirculated finish. (Other U.S. coins have been issued with Enhanced Uncirculated finishes previously.)

Modern Coin Mart, another firm, was offering the sets in their original Mint packaging at prices of $45.95 to $49.95 per set depending on the number of sets purchased, with the low price good for purchases of 20 or more sets.

Observers have had varying opinions on the future potential for the sets.

Gilkes reported that Boulder dealer Mark DiLauro believes the numismatic product is a “set for the masses” that will have wide appeal. Purchasers at any venue were able to take the sets to grading services at the convention to get special labeling along with getting the 10 coins in each set slabbed. With grading fees costing more than $300 per set, DiLauro envisions the retail price of a set earning the coveted Mint State 70 grade on each coin to be driven up to $1,000 or more before settling back.

Unhappy collectors

The rapid end to sales of the set and the news that some dealers had purchased thousands of the sets (total edition size was 225,000) led to some collector anger and disenchantment as soon as the status of the set reached “currently unavailable.”

However, when Coin World learned that sales had resumed at the Mint website, it posted that news at its Facebook page and website on the morning of Aug. 3, enabling readers to buy the sets. Multiple collectors who had been unsuccessful in buying a set on Aug. 1 reported success Aug. 3. A few also reported that after the initial end of sales, they had bought sets on the secondary market.

This article was updated at 1:53 p.m. Aug. 4 to report that the sets had gone back on sale at the ANA convention.

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