William T. Gibbs

Bill’s Corner

William T. Gibbs

William was appointed the managing editor effective May 1, 2015. He joined the Coin World editorial staff in 1976 as an assistant editor for "Collectors' Clearinghouse" and later became a senior staff writer before being appointed news editor. As managing editor, he manages the day-to-day editorial operations for Coin World, both print and online, and leads the editorial staff. He also serves as chief copy editor for all Coin World publications, including for all books published by Coin World since 1985. He has been project editor of mulitple editions of the Coin World Almanac. Bill began collecting coins at the age of 10 and soon discovered Coin World. As a teen interested in numismatics and journalism, he identified a writing position on the staff of Coin World as a dream job, which was realized shortly after he graduated from Bowling Green State University with a major in journalism. He collects store cards and medals depicting Adm. George Dewey of Spanish-American War fame.

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How long should the U.S. Mint keep offering older products?

How long should the United States Mint keep offering coins, annual sets, and other products past the end of the calendar year?

A look at the U.S. Mint’s online catalog shows that products that are now six and seven years old remain available to customers. In the America the Beautiful quarter dollars program, for example, three-coin sets containing coins from the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints remain available to the beginning of the program in 2010. Is that too long?

Allowing products to remain available for two and three and even six years might be beneficial to collectors who are just getting started and might be interested in acquiring older sets at issue prices, but it also leaves collectors who bought the products as soon as they were offered uncertain about whether sales will ever end. It can be disconcerting to see a product’s sales figure or “mintage” continuing to rise year after year.

A number of 2016 products remain available today, including the Standing Liberty quarter dollar and Walking Liberty half dollar in the Centennial gold coin series. Is it appropriate to keep selling these two coins, with mintages maybe rising or falling by a handful of coins each week? They are labeled “Limited” at the website, but an end to sales seems nowhere in sight.

The Mint does have some limitations imposed upon it. Commemorative coin programs by law have to close at the end of the calendar year. But the vast majority of products have no restrictions imposed.

Many collectors would probably tell Mint officials to take annual sets off sale more quickly than occurs now. Why are some 2014 sets in the America the Beautiful quarter dollars program still available at issue price nearly three years after sales began?

Collectors like to know how many of a particular set or coin exist. When sales continue for years, they wonder if they will ever know. 
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