US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for March 8, 2021: Early bulk sales

The U.S. Mint let some bulk purchasers buy thousands of Proof 2021-W American Eagles and pick them up three days before the coins went on sale to collectors with a 99-coin household limit.

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint

The decision by United States Mint officials to permit bulk buyers to purchase and pick up Proof 2021-W American Eagle silver dollars, a coin many collectors were unable to obtain even a single example of, three days before the coin officially went on sale, only reinforces the belief that the Mint purposely caters to dealers to the detriment of collectors.

As Paul Gilkes reports, an unidentified number of Authorized Bulk Purchase Program dealers were able to buy thousands of Proof 2021-W American Eagle silver dollars early and take physical possession of them on Feb. 8, three days before the coins were offered to collectors and other dealers on Feb. 11. Some dealers have already placed their orders for the first Proof 2021-W American Eagle gold coins, which do not go on sale to the public until March 11.

The Feb. 11 offering proved frustrating for many Mint customers, with the “currently unavailable” status reached within minutes. Household limits of 99 were in place Feb. 11, a high number but still well below the number of coins the ABPP dealers were permitted to order on Feb. 8.

Collectors have long believed that, for certain high-interest products, big dealers have special access when it comes to buying. While we had seen no serious proof of that in the past beyond normal bulk purchase offerings, the Feb. 8 offering is clear evidence that the rules are different for different classes of customers of the U.S. Mint. Spend big bucks and you get special deals — early access and relaxed order limits — unavailable to an average collector who would happy to purchase just one coin or set at issue price.

We agree that the Mint should be able to offer bulk sales to bulk dealers, for some products. However, doing so for a limited-edition product like the Proof 2021-W American Eagle silver dollar was a bad move from a public relations perspective.

Collectors have long been angry to see limited-edition products sell out in minutes, then appear in the marketplace in quantity at vastly inflated prices. This ABPP deal will likely anger them even more.
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