March of Dimes Proof Sets Sold at Mint’s Headquarters
The delay matters to buyers who want sets that are eligible for PCGS First Strike or NGC Early Release labels, and they are required to submit their sets in unopened boxes since there is no way to distinguish the silver dollar in the set from ones sold separately.
Although the Mint posted a message on its Facebook page stating that the sets would not be sold at any retail locations, they are being sold at its sales counter at the Mint’s Washington, DC headquarters, where approximately 50 sets were sold the first and even more the next day.
A Mint employee said that while products with household limits are typically not sold at retail locations, the management decided to allow them to be sold in-person in DC with a limit of five per person as on the web site.
Few people knew the sets were being sold there, but one of those who did, a local dealer, was seen trying to pay strangers to pick up extra sets on his behalf until he was advised against such behavior.
I applaud the Mint’s decision to sell the sets in DC, but it would have been better to get the word out before doing so. Or perhaps there was a conscious strategy to avoid the mayhem of the Rosemont, Illinois ANA JFK gold coin release.
Last year a dealer I spoke to about that incident said a big part of the problem was announcing a year in advance that the coins would be rolled out at the show.
I think the entire mintage of the March of Dimes sets would have easily sold out on day one if the Mint had anticipated how much demand there would be, as it did with last year’s special John F. Kennedy coins, and had more sets ready to ship.
Two issues are key going forward. One is how long it takes to ship orders. Those who ordered before the item was backordered are having their orders shipped quickly, making them eligible for special labels from the grading companies.
The second is how much long-term interest there will be in the dimes, especially in graded examples of the first reverse proof and the first West Point Mint proof since 1996.