Collectors still peeved at U.S. Mint over gold dime sales

?As I write this editorial on May 12 it has been three weeks to the day since the U.S. Mint offered and “sold out” of its 2016 Winged Liberty Head gold dime, and yet, I continue to receive daily email, phone calls and traditional letters from collectors upset with the U.S. Mint and dealers over how sales unfolded in a period of 20 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, as we now know, the program is not sold out. More than 6,200 of the dimes remain unsold because of credit card declines, order cancellations, and returns from buyers (some being returned because of damage to the packaging or coins, and others because of imperfections that might result in a grade that is unacceptable to the customer). Mint officials have said that at least some of the unsold dimes will be offered again but we are still waiting on details of how and when those coins will be sold.

A Mint spokesman said May 12 that the remaining dimes likely would not be offered until order reconciliation is complete. He could not say how long that might take, so collectors are left wondering whether it be a matter of days or weeks or even months. And when sales resume, how much advance notice will collectors receive.

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One thing that I can guarantee is that collectors will be even more upset than they are already if the Mint offers the remaining coins under the same 10-coins-per-household limit imposed during the initial day of sales, April 21. That approach made it easier for certain dealers and marketers to purposely circumvent the household limits to snag much larger numbers of the dimes, including at least one television seller who acquired several thousand coins.
Many collectors who were locked out the first time believe that anyone successful during the first round of sales should be barred from buying any more (especially dealers, they say).
In addition to waiting on the resumption of sales for the dime, the marketplace is waiting on the Mint to announce plans for the second coin in the gold centennial program — the 2016 edition of the Standing Liberty quarter dollar, which like the dime was struck in 1916 in silver. And after that coin is the 2016 Walking Liberty gold half dollar.
Will the Mint sales and marketing division learn from the sale of the dimes and make these later offerings fairer, with lower household limits and better monitoring of customers who might be trying to exceed the limit? Or will that division’s officers continue to anger its base — the collectors of U.S. coins?