Paul Gilkes

Mint State

Paul Gilkes

Paul is a senior editor and has been a member of the Coin World staff since 1988. Paul covers the U.S. Mint beat and has memorably reported for more than two decades on many of the hobby's most important stories including the record sale of the Farouk/Fenton 1933 double eagle and the ongoing legal proceedings of the Langbord 1933 double eagles. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania and collects autographs and memorabilia from The Andy Griffith Show.

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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.

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Older Comments (8)
I was 60 seconds late. There needs to be a limit per person. I am sure someone like Gov mint coins or another retail outlet bought all of them. The public gets screwed again. The mine needs to change is policy. NOW!!!!!
Until the US Mint gets legislation passed that provides for real penalties for abuse of per person or household limits and enforces them, it risks losing the numismatic community. The Royal Canadian Mint is a far better run and is exponentially more customer-friendly mint to deal with... for individual collectors. I can't speak for others, but I will not be purchasing any 2017-S Silver Proof Eagles, whether slabbed or not, at 2 to 5 times the Mint's sale price. Seventy-five thousand is a LOT of coins to get stuck with, and I hope that's exactly what happens to the greedy outfits that have destroyed our mint's credibility.
Once again the Mint sticks it to the everyday collector. There's no way they sold out in two minutes other than several large orders. The mint's computer system would have crashed. So that means a couple of large companies bought out the coins. The coins are already on the secondary market at double and triple the issue price. The Mint certainly knew better and knows how many of their customers collect the silver eagle. So someone should lose their job over this, whoever ok'd the 0 limit ordering limit should be fired.
Then the mint has the nerve to follow that with an email to buy the new gold coin with the worst design since the SBA dollar, good luck selling that one, I won't be buying it. After 50 years of buying mint products I'm fed up.
Poorest run establishment I have ever seen but typical for a non regulated government entity they make up their own rules other than bills that are passed. If any of the sales execs worked for me they would be fired in two seconds. Must be on others payroll as well ?????

First Commemorative Mint company is bragging that they bought 25,000 of these sets since there was no per purchase limit! No wonder it only took 2 minutes to sell out. That coin company alone got one-third of all the 75,000 sets. The Mint only cares about a quick sell-out & not about its loyal collector base.
the same event occurred just this month, april, 2017, when the congrats S-mint mark silver eagle sold out in 60 SECONDS. the mint had no customer limit or any other methods to allow more people to buy the coin as were suggested in the coin word article by paul gilkes. this is ridiculous and the main reason I buy Canadian, Perth, and other mints' coins.
I placed my order in 45 seconds. There was no lag and everything went quickly. My order was immediatly place to in process. This is the normal cycle for orders that are going to ship. Then after 5 days I woke up and checked my order status on the next Monday an. d to my surprise my order was no longer in process, it was now on backorder. After calling the mint to see what was going on they told me that the subscriptions took a lot of the inventory. I checked the web site and couldn't find these issues in the subscription area.

It looks like Modern Coin Mart, must have ordered thousands (Gov mint and Modern Coin Mart are the same company.) and got a lot of the inventory according to ebay listings. Can you believe they want up to 349.00 for a proof 70. Thats 6 times the value. They had over 423 coins listed just under the PF70 labels. Thats 86,552 plus 45,325. For a total of $131,877.00 Just for the PF 70's???. Not to mention the PF69's. This is how these coin company's whored out their customer base.