US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for May 31, 2021: Collectors are angry

The rapidity with which the first 2021 Morgan dollars were snapped up by eager buyers, and the difficulties many collectors had acquiring the coins, led to a number of complaints to Coin World about U.S. Mint practices.

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint.

My office phone began ringing around 12:14 p.m. ET and the first email popped up in my inbox at 12:44. Every correspondent wanted to share their opinion, their anger, their outrage at the United States Mint’s first offerings of the 2021 Morgan dollars.

The two coins offered, both struck at the Philadelphia Mint with privy marks recognizing the Carson City Mint and New Orleans Mint, sold out in under 25 minutes. All of those calling our offices and most of those emailing us were unsuccessful in acquiring either of the coins.

In my Mint Sales commentary in the May monthly issue of Coin World, I wrote, “With product limits relatively high at 175,000 and 200,000 pieces per issue, customers might have a decent chance at buying the coins they want.” After witnessing the results of this first of three announced offerings, I am not so sure that my prediction was accurate.

I was accurate when I wrote in the same column, “When the sales days for the coins arrive, expect the U.S. Mint website to be jammed with customers attempting to buy the coins.”

Our Letters to the Editor and Guest Commentaries this week, as I suspect they will for weeks ahead, reflect the anger of customers who again feel betrayed by Mint officials. Many believe, as does our guest columnist this week, that the Mint caters to the dealer community to the detriment of collectors. Seeing dealers offering multiples of the coins at prices well above issue price, one can understand why so many collectors believe as they do.

Some of the ire is directed at Mint Director David Ryder, now serving in his second term in the office. A lot of readers want him fired, not just over this program but also because other coin programs under his watch sold out quickly. Some want everyone connected to the marketing decisions surrounding the Morgan dollar program driven from the Mint.

Getting a limited edition right is challenging. Mint officials, however, should have made these limited-edition coins less limited. That would have made a lot of our readers, and Mint customers, happier than they are now.

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