Meeting demand for special United States Mint collector sets
- Published: Sep 11, 2015, 8 AM
When the United States Mint offers customers a limited-edition product with highly restrictive household limits, dealers and collectors can end up competing for the same coins and sets.
For the ModernCoinMart division of Asset Marketing Services LLC, a company that focuses on modern U.S. and world coin products, buying the products is a matter of meeting its customers expectations, according to Andy Salzberg, who directs MCM and who recently provided insight into how it does that.
Salzberg said its customers expect the firm to have limited-edition U.S. Mint products available for sale soon after they are offered by the bureau. To do so, however, has not been an easy task. Because the Mint imposes household ordering limits on limited-edition products, dealers seeking to offer the products to their secondary market customers need to be creative to secure significant quantities.
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Dealers like MCM are under the same household ordering limits as any other U.S. Mint customer, since the Mint does not offer bulk discounts on limited-edition products.
MCM reaches out to multiple individuals or entities to secure a number of products to fulfill its customer demand. This often involves offering a customer a bonus: the customer orders the product from the Mint and resells it to MCM at a pre-established price that can be almost double the issue price, depending on the product.
For example, the 2015 Presidential Coin and Chronicles sets, featuring Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Each set contains a Reverse Proof 2015-P Presidential dollar and Presidential 1-ounce .999 fine silver medal, both of which are exclusive to each set. Each set also includes a U.S. postage stamp reflective of the president. The 2015 sets are priced at $57.95 each and have been among the Mint’s hottest 2015 sets.
Before the Harry S. Truman set went on sale June 25, ModernCoinMart solicited its customers offering premiums to any who would sell their sets to MCM. The Mint placed a household ordering limit of five sets on the 17,000 Truman sets available.
The sets sold out in 15 minutes on opening day.
MCM sent out another customer offer before the Aug. 11 launch of sales for the 2015 Dwight D. Eisenhower Coin and Chronicles set, which had a household ordering limit of two sets. The firm offered to pay its customers $250 total for the two sets they bought.
Despite the lower household limit, these sets, too, sold out of the maximum 17,000 the Mint offered within 15 minutes of the start of sales.
Salzberg said MCM was able to secure approximately 300 of the Eisenhower sets, though the majority came from MCM employees’ orders, not from customers. The employees were limited to the same two-set maximum as any other Mint customer.
Some of the set purchases from MCM customers came from collectors who do not normally buy limited-edition U.S. Mint products, Salzberg said.
In buying sets for resale, MCM seeks to serve two groups of customers. Some want to buy limited-edition sets in the original packaging as issued by the Mint, while others are willing to pay a higher premium for sets with coins graded by a third-party grading service.
“Our previous offers on the first two Coin and Chronicles sets were moderately successful,” Salzberg said. “Over the years, our customers have always appreciated opportunities to make some extra money for very little effort.
“With that said, when it came time to place orders with the U.S. Mint, the sets sold out faster than anyone could have anticipated. For that reason we were not able to get as many sets as we would have liked. Others in the business experienced the same problem.”
For the 2015 John F. Kennedy Coin and Chronicles set going on sale at noon Eastern Time Sept. 16 with a household ordering limit of two sets, MCM has sent its customers an offer to buy the two sets for a combined $60 profit.
“Our strategy to purchase the Kennedy Coin and Chronicles set was very similar to other products that have been released by the U.S. Mint with household order limits,” Salzberg said.
“In order to source enough coins for our customers, we had to do one of two things. The first is to wait until after the coins get released and buy them from other dealers who have coordinated a group of people to purchase on their behalf. The second option is to reach out to a group of our customers and offer them the opportunity to make a few dollars prior to the release date. It just makes more sense for us as a company to go with the latter.
“The overwhelming majority of feedback that I receive from customers is positive. Ultimately, it would be nice if the U.S. Mint eventually figures out a way to meet the needs of collectors and dealers alike, consistently, and in a timely manner.”
It remains to be seen how many takers MCM will have for its latest offer. The Johnson set, with a household ordering limit of two sets and product limit of 25,000, goes on sale sometime in October.
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