With the growing importance of electronic commerce especially for new products that sell out online with greater efficiency than even telephone order, the U.S. Mint has announced that it will be discontinuing all mail order processing at the end of the current fiscal year, on September 30, 2016.
According to the statement released by the U.S. Mint, “The reality of the digital environment means that paper orders placed through the mail are increasingly not accepted as inventory is depleted quickly through online and telephone channels in real time. This is especially true for high-demand products with limited mintages. By eliminating mail orders and encouraging all customers to shop online or by phone, the Mint will be offering more ordering consistency and eliminating those hard copy orders that take longer to receive, process and fulfill.”
While existing order forms will be accepted until the deadline, catalogs and other U.S. Mint advertising material will no longer include paper order forms. Order forms received after September 30, 2016 will be returned with instructions to place the order using the online catalog or by calling (800) USA-MINT (872-6468).
There will be some people upset by this move, but considering the direction of online retail services and the reduction in cost to serve the broader market, the few people that might feel they are being excluded will be inconsequential. Dealers and the secondary market will pick up the business the U.S. Mint is expected to lose.
As with any change, the U.S. Mint will not make everyone happy. Some may point out the previous failures in their online ordering process while others might even say that telephone ordering should also be reduced without realizing that the U.S. Mint’s customer service representatives use a similar version of the website to place an order.
For those who use smartphones, the U.S. Mint does have an app that can be used to place orders. I have used the app (and should write a review) but it might be better to ignore the app and directly use the website.