We collectors of US coins cannot live without the US Mint since they are the government’s exclusive manufacturer of coins. They run the world’s largest coin factory in Philadelphia, second largest in Denver, and they control the market for present-day collectibles. Last week, the Mint suspended the sale of uncirculated American Gold Eagles with the “W” mintmark because of the rising price of gold. It was reported that sales of gold American Eagles will be repriced and returned to sale on or after September 27.
Today, I visited the Mint’s website to order proof sets. On their front page is a graphical changing area that tells the web surfer about available coins. The first banner was for the uncirculated gold American Eagle coins. When I clicked on the image, I was sent to the on-line catalog that shows that these coins are are “not available.”
Even though I am not in the market for gold American Eagle coins, I found it distressing that the Mint would announce the situation to the media and leave the publically accessible website to provide conflicting information. The Mint public relations department should be more diligent at ensuring the website as the correct information, especially since the Mint wants more people to use it rather than the telephone services.
Since the recent growth in the collecting market, I have not had problems with orders from the US Mint. I once had problems with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing that was blamed on their mishandling of technology. But this example of conflicting information and careless treatment of public information can cause problems for some customers. As a government agency with exclusive manufacturing rights to our coinage, the Mint must be held to a higher standard for the integrity of the country they represent.