For collectors of products offered by the United States Mint, there are only a few new products to offer in 2021, a year that has seen the Mint offer some incredibly popular coins and refresh the look of two popular series.
The 2021 editions of the Morgan and Peace dollars were, as expected, extremely popular with Mint customers. Each of the five Morgan 2021 dollars and the only 2021 Peace dollar “sold out” within minutes, celebrations that both delighted successful buyers and enraged those who failed.
From a certain point of view, the various parts sales have been a marketing success. The Mint’s marketing staff developed a program that allowed collectors and dealers to stay engaged for months and sell out every time. However, the Mint failed to meet the demand for coins – too many customers remained dissatisfied, unable to purchase one or more of the coins. Maximum mintage were too low, although blank supply limitations forced the Mint to make difficult choices.
The transition to new designs for the American Eagles’ gold and silver reverse sides and the refresh of their obverse designs can also be seen (on a level) as a marketing success, as most numismatic products marking the transition are are sold out quickly. However, as with the Morgan and Peace dollars, many customers of the Mint were frustrated with their efforts to purchase a coin or set repeatedly stalled even as the product sold.
Frustration seemed to be a recurring emotion throughout the year among Mint customers. Mintage and product limits for many Mint products have proven to be far too small to meet demand, and many customers have contacted World of coins after the completion of these sales to complain and let off steam.
One of the biggest complaints heard was about the apparent benefits associated with the Authorized Wholesale Purchase Program – for resellers who purchased sufficient quantities of Mint products to qualify for the program. Collectors almost universally hated the concept for a number of reasons: that it seemed to give deep-pocketed dealers an edge over smaller collectors (dealers, in essence, had guaranteed access to a certain amount of each product, while customers non-ABPP did not have such a guarantee); that participants could pick up their purchases before parts and assemblies went on public sale, allowing those resellers to pour desirable parts into the aftermarket at inflated prices even before many smaller buyers could even receive their parts; and because Mint officials refuse multiple media requests to identify ABPP participants, keeping the identity of these companies hidden from the public, as if it were a Top Secret military plan.
Thus, 2021 will go down in history as a year in which the Mint made changes, some of which were welcomed and others not.
The Mint will operate under new management with the departure of David Ryder as director. It remains to be seen whether more collector-friendly decisions will be made under the leadership of its former executive director, Alison Doone, now acting director of the US Mint.
Collectors have come almost universally to embrace the direction the Mint has taken under Ryder’s leadership. While a number of innovative products were launched during his tenure (the circulation of The Beautiful Quarter U.S. dollars from the West Point Mint was a welcome surprise), the policy decisions collectors believed were made in response to the Dealer needs can forever mar Ryder’s reputation as a manager, rightly or wrongly.
What changes do you want to see in the United States Mint in 2022? Let us know.
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