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My 2 Cents (and that ain't worth much)



How can I describe yesterday? All across America, collectors everywhere are getting up with less hair on their heads.

Greetings all, often I find humor very helpful in coping with disappointments and frustrations. A good night's sleep also helps to let clearer heads prevail, and with that comes my "two cent" assessment of yesterday's debacle.

What was the Mint thinking?????? How did they not see this coming? When it comes to assigning blame, the bulk of the responsibility lies at their feet. First, why is there such a low mintage on the 25th Anniversary Set when their much less popular commemoratives have a higher mintage and almost never sell out? Secondly, why did they start with a five-set maximum when they had to know there was a ground swell of enthusiasm among the buying public for their product? When it comes to special sets, I think the individual collector should come first before the dealer. Dealers can buy bulk boxes of Silver American Eagles from the San Francisco Mint without the "S" mintmark, grade them, and sell them at a profit. I have no problem with this because most collectors cannot afford to buy Silver American Eagles by the box. Furthermore, that dealer serves a collecting need by selling collectors a coin they could not otherwise purchase. However, when it comes to special collector sets, individual collectors must take priority with a strict one or two set maximum to protect them. Additionally, I remember the one (or was it two) set limit on the "Lincoln Coin & Chronicles Set" two years ago. Interestingly enough, all the coins in that set could be purchased separately, so in other words with a set production of 50,000, all you got different was a box that sold out within a couple of days! To be fair though, the box is rather attractive, and I am happy to own one of those sets. Even the unlimited mintage Ultra High Relief was limited to one coin per family for the longest time. Once again, to be fair I think the mint had production issues and did not want any bulk orders they could not meet in a timely manner, lest the gold market changed and they (the taxpayers) could lose their shirts. On another, more technological note, how many site crashes does it take the mint to learn their lesson? I work in the cell phone industry, and we always design our network for the heaviest usage times. If our network crashed regularly during our busiest times, you can be sure customers will flee our service for another's. Herein lies the problem, the mint is a monopoly, so where are its customers going to go, to the person selling the sets on E-Bay for $800? They may very well not respond to their customer's needs because they do not have to. Even though this is not likely to happen, I'd like to see the mint director appear before a congressional committee to answer the legitimate questions I am posing. Once again, to be fair, I think Congress (the source of much grief today) sets mintage levels.

Another area of blame lies at the feet of predatory dealers, who exploit the mints failure and collector fears to rake in an exorbitant profit. $800 for a set you bought yesterday at $300 is simply unconscionable. I do not begrudge a dealer who makes his living by buying low and selling high, but come on this is ridiculous. I must confess that, for the most part, I am a capitalist and capitalism allows me to enjoy this wonderful hobby; however, this smells of crony capitalism. Unfortunately, the collateral damage of a few unscrupulous dealers serves to smear the reputations of the honest dealers. It also leaves the collector all the more disappointed when the dust settles. This tends to drive away good and future "customers" from an enjoyable, satisfying, and honest hobby. Maybe a few of these dealers should have to answer tough questions before Congress.

Finally, in the midst of all this mess is the pure heart of "Cemonice" who only wants the set as an heirloom for his daughter (cute kid) born in 2011. Let me say this, I pray your daughter gets her eagles and if your fellow society members have anything to do with it, it's a done deal. Think about it, 25 years henceforth all that will be remembered of this fiasco is "my daddy got these for me the year I was born." This is special. Cemonice, let us know how this turns out for you. If I can help, zap me an e-mail and let me know.

Well, that's enough ranting for now, as the events of yesterday fade into our rear-view mirrors and eventually disappear, things will get back to normal. Next month will bring another of my "coin of the month" posts and I promise it will have nothing to do with Silver American Eagles!




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