Gone in 120 seconds
The apparent two-minute sellout April 4 of the 2017 Congratulations set left the U.S. Mint in the position, once again, of not being able to please everyone.
And it’s not likely that position will change with any future limited-edition offerings.
Sufficient orders were placed within the first two minutes of the noon Eastern Time offering of the 75,000 sets containing a San Francisco Mint-struck Proof 2017-S silver American Eagle to fulfill the maximum number of sets available.
Unlike the 2017 set, Congratulation sets from 2012 through 2016 contain West Point Mint Proof strikes of the silver American Eagle.
The 2017 Congratulations set was offered by the U.S. Mint for $54.95, just $1 more than is being charged for the single 2017-W Proof silver American Eagle that went on sale March 23 without production limits or ordering restrictions.
The Congratulations set is a numismatic product the U.S. Mint offers as a gift-giving option.
One would have to live under a rock not to know that silver American Eagles, especially the Proofs, are likely the most popularly collected numismatic product the U.S. Mint offers.
Demand was anticipated to be strong for the 2017 Congratulations set, and more so because the set was a limited edition.
Add to that the fact the U.S. Mint did not impose any household order limits, the issue was bound to sell out quickly.
But in two minutes? Unbelievable.
The secondary market price for the 2017 set has doubled at minimum. Those able to capitalize are those who were successful in getting their orders accepted and confirmed during the miniscule window of opportunity and immediately shipped.
Collectors of Proof silver American Eagles, and speculators, will have a second opportunity later in 2017 to obtain a Proof 2017-S silver American Eagle that will be included in the 2017-S Limited-Edition Silver Proof set.
The release date, product limit, and pricing for that set has not yet been announced, but demand is also expected to be high for that option as well.
The U.S. Mint is in the business of making money, no pun intended.
This may sound like a broken record, but the U.S. Mint should consider a household ordering limit of two sets, at least for the first two weeks, then lift the restrictions.
This will open availability to more customers, and lower the number of potential disgruntled hobbyists should they get shut out of ordering a set.
No matter what the Mint chooses to do, somebody’s going to be unhappy.