US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Oct. 18, 2021: What about 2022?

Limited-edition numismatic products offered by the U.S. Mint in 2021 attracted a lot of attention, both good and bad. What will 2022 bring?

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint.

For collectors of products offered by the United States Mint, just a few more new products remain to be offered in 2021, a year that has seen the Mint offer some stunningly popular coins and refresh the appearance of two popular series.

The 2021 editions of the Morgan and Peace dollars were, as expected, extremely popular with Mint customers. Every one of the five 2021 Morgan dollars and the sole 2021 Peace dollar “sold out” in minutes, fetes that at the same time both thrilled successful purchasers and enraged those unsuccessful in their purchases.

From one point of view, the various sales of the coins were a marketing success. The Mint marketing staff developed a program that kept collectors and dealers engaged for months, and sold out every time. However, the Mint failed to meet the demand for the coins — too many customers went unsatisfied, unable to purchase one or more of the coins. Maximum mintages were too low, even if planchet supply limitations forced the Mint to make some hard choices.

The transition to new designs for the reverses of the gold and silver American Eagles and the refreshing of their obverse designs can be considered (on one level) a marketing success as well, since most of the numismatic products marking the transition sold out rapidly. However, as with the Morgan and Peace dollars, many Mint customers were frustrated, their efforts to buy a coin or set repeatedly stymied even as the product was selling out.

Frustration seemed to be a recurring emotion all year among Mint customers. Mintage and product limits for many Mint products proved too small, by far, to meet demand, and many customers contacted Coin World after the completion of such sales to complain and vent.

One of the biggest complaints heard was about seeming perks associated with the Authorized Bulk Purchase Program — for dealers who bought sufficient quantities of Mint products to qualify for the program. Collectors almost universally hated the concept for multiple reasons: that it seemed to give deep-pocket dealers an advantage over small collectors (dealers, essentially, were guaranteed access to a certain amount of each product, while non-ABPP customers had no such guarantee); that the participants could pick up their purchases before the coins and sets went on public sale, allowing these dealers to pour the desirable coins into the secondary market at inflated prices before many lesser buyers could even receive their coins; and because Mint officials deny multiple media requests to identify the participants in the ABPP, keeping the identities of these businesses hidden from the public, as though they were in some Top Secret military plan.

So, 2021 will go down in history as a year in which the Mint made changes, some of which were welcomed and others that were not.

What about 2022?

The Mint will be operating under new leadership with the departure of David Ryder as director. It remains to be seen whether more collector-friendly decisions are made under the leadership of its former chief administrative officer, Alison Doone, now acting U.S. Mint director.

Collectors almost universally came to pan the direction the Mint took under Ryder’s leadership. While a number of innovative products were released during his tenure (circulating America the Beautiful quarter dollars from the West Point Mint were a welcome surprise), policy decisions that collectors believed were made to cater to dealers may forever taint Ryder’s reputation as director, rightly or wrongly.

What changes do you want to see at the United States Mint in 2022? Let us know. 
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