By Hubert Walker for CoinWeek ….
If you’re still interested in purchasing the Mayflower 400th Anniversary Silver Reverse Proof medal, then we have some bad news.
But by the time of publication, the Mint lists the item as on “Back Order“.
The Reverse Proof silver medal, struck at the Philadelphia Mint with a mintage limit of 20,000 pieces, was the last available item from this week’s November 17 release of the Mint’s collaboration with The Royal Mint (UK) on collector coin and medal products celebrating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower from England to American shores.
All other products were listed as unavailable within the first hour of availability.
The Mayflower 400th Anniversary Gold Reverse Proof coin, struck at the West Point Mint with a mintage limit of 5,000, was listed as “Currently Unavailable” within 20 minutes of going on sale. The same holds true for all 9,200 of the Silver Proof coin and medal sets issued by the US Mint. These sets contain a silver coin produced by The Royal Mint as well as a regular Proof silver medal struck at Philadelphia.
The Royal Mint/US Mint two-coin gold Proof set, with a mintage limit of 5,350 and a product limit of 4,850, sold out by 10 am. The Mint’s contribution to this set, the regular Proof gold coin, was struck at West Point.
U.S. Mint products usually go on sale at noon, but this one–presumably to allow for potential customers in the UK–went on sale at 9 am EST per a late-night press release by the United States Mint itself. Not only was the time of issue atypical but the Mint also usually announces its actions much, much further in advance than literally the night before.
And that wasn’t the only “last minute” change the Mint made when it came to the sale of the Mayflower collectibles, either.
When the pricing for all four products was originally announced on October 20, the US retail price for the silver Reverse Proof medal was given as $70. Yet when the item became available on November 17, that price had jumped to $76 with no intervening announcement of the price change. As usual, the original announcement stated the gold products would be priced according to the Mint’s precious metals pricing grid, and so the two-coin gold set went for $1,475 and the gold Reverse Proof sold for $702.50. The price of the silver coin and medal set was announced as $150 on October 20 and this price did not change.
But these are trivial obstacles compared to the now sadly predictable issues customers face when trying to order any hotly anticipated coin or numismatic product from the Mint’s website. As we are all woefully familiar with by this point, far too many collectors had to contend with a slow or crashing website and, despite their own best efforts, were unable to purchase the coins before they became unavailable. Numerous anecdotes present different variations on the scenario, but ultimately the United States Mint failed once again to plan adequately for the overload of web traffic–an especially frustrating failure in the Year of the Pandemic when more people than ever are staying at home and buying more of everything online.
Still, the Mint can’t please everybody and there are bound to be a few hiccups no matter what. U.S. Mint Director David J. Ryder issued a statement to address some of these issues.
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