US Coins

Near sellout of Congratulations set still upsetting

Sufficient orders were placed within the first two minutes of sales of the 2017 Congratulations set to render the numismatic product option "currently unavailable."

Original images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

If the United States Mint were to decide to offer unsold 2017 Congratulations sets in a second round of sales, only a small number would be available.

United States Mint officials have finally released sales figures for the 2017 Congratulations set. According to the Numismatic Sales Report for the week ending April 16, Mint customers purchased 74,497 of the 75,000 sets made available.

That total may not be the actual number of sets purchased during the two minutes they were available at the Mint website April 4. The recently announced total may actually be somewhat smaller than the original total because of orders rejected due to problems with a customer’s credit card or because of some returns of sets.

Figures for the Mint’s numismatic sales, generally updated weekly at the Mint website, had not been revised after the Congratulations set was offered for sale, and Mint officials did not reveal the number of sets that had been sold until website sales updates were resumed.

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The Mint offered the set beginning at noon Eastern Time April 4 and within two minutes accepted enough orders to exhaust the maximum mintage of 75,000 sets. The super-fast sellout time was the result of a decision by Mint officials to place no household limit on purchases, a decision that some collector customers saw as benefiting commercial buyers to the detriment of individual collectors.

While Mint officials have not answered Coin World’s questions about large purchases of the sets, some firms are offering multiples of the sets, both in original packaging and with the set’s key draw, a Proof 2017-S American Eagle silver dollar, encapsulated and graded by third-party grading services, all priced well above the issue price of $54.95. The same coin will be offered in the 2017 Limited Edition Silver Proof set later in the year, at a price expected to be several times the price of the Congratulations set.

The possibility remains that the unsold Congratulations sets could be offered again at a future date, a Mint spokesman said earlier.

Comments from readers

Readers commenting at the Coin World Facebook page have been vocal about the sellout, the difficulty collectors had in purchasing the set from the Mint, and the news about the number of sets sold. Here is a sampling of their remarks, lightly edited:

Shawn Savage: And 90 percent of them were sold to big time dealers and not collectors. Scam.

Cecil Guillote: Yea, sold out in two minutes. Not fair to the collectors that wanted to buy one.

Thomas Gates: Meanwhile 70,000 of these sets are most likely on eBay with insane prices. Just incredible how the Mint doesn’t learn from past mistakes. In this case no household limit. Either that or they just don’t care about their customers.

Mike Welch: The Mint does not care who they sell to just as long as they sell their product. If nobody buys from the dealers/stealers ... then maybe things will change. But we all know that won’t happen. It’s all about the hype and making a quick buck.

Kenneth Bond: If that’s the case, why are orders still in back-order status? 

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