It shows that even for a retired expert, this computer stuff can be complicated. But for a government agency with a full-time professional staff and contractors with alleged expertise, the ordering experience of last week’s End of World War II 75th Anniversary American Eagle Proof Coins coins was not an acceptable situation.
My issue was coordinating a response with a hosting company to resolve my issues. The U.S. Mint should not have the same issues. They should have control over the systems and manage the contractor that is providing their service.
Unfortunately, I learned that government agencies do not manage contractors well. Contracts officers (CO) do not show the willingness to make contractors take responsibility for their work. Their technical representatives (Contract Officer Technical Representatives or COTR, pronounced CO-TAR) are ineffective since they tend to serve two bosses, the CO and the project leader.
When I worked for one of the bureaus in the Treasury Department, efforts to consolidate information technology functions did not end well. Each bureau had their reasons for the others not to play in their sandbox. However, the U.S. Mint’s network was a candidate for expanding Internet-related connectivity for applications. Their systems and network could handle more Internet traffic at the time than any other bureau. The U.S. Mint’s IT staff pushed back on the attempt to consolidate with them.
It appears that little has changed with the U.S. Mint. They seem to be circling their proverbial wagons to protect themselves while only tacitly recognizing a problem. After recognizing the problem, then they have to figure out how to fix it.
One of the most significant mistakes government agencies make is not producing proper requirements that contractors can answer. How do they know if the contractor can do the work if you have not told them exactly what to do? The biggest failure of government projects is the lack of appropriate requirements analysis. So far, it looks like attempts to update their web-based services were incomplete and may be a victim of this failure.
Let’s hope that the U.S. Mint will figure it out and make the necessary changes because it is frustrating for the numismatic industry.
And now the news…
As time and technology changes, we have to be able to keep up with the times. For the longest time, the Coin Collectors Blog and Coin Collectors News have used Google’s Feedburner to allow users to subscribe for updates via email. Starting in 2021, email updates for the Coin Collectors Blog and Coin Collectors News will use WordPress to send email updates exclusively.
Google stopped supporting Feedburner in 2010. Although it has continued to work, Feedburner cannot handle the growth of subscription requests. On several occasions, I had to fix issues manually. It has interrupted time I would rather spend on writing.
WordPress does not allow me to import email addresses from the old system. Those interested in receiving updates via email must subscribe via the form here or in the sidebar.
Both services will continue to work until 2021. On or after New Year’s Day, I will terminate the Feedburner service. Until then, there will be no support for Feedburner subscription issues.
Please visit the Coin Collectors News site to sign up for updates when the industry makes news.
Since writing the first article on the Coin Collectors Blog in October 2005, I shared my collecting experiences and collected knowledge with his worldwide audience. After 15 years, it was time to give back to the hobby by creating a guide book based on my experience.
The Coin Collector’s Handbook is by a collector from the perspective of a collector. The book takes the most popular posts and pages from the blog and republished them in book form for the average collector regardless of what you collect. I want to see people enjoy collecting coins or anything else they like without being told that they must create a specific set.
Coin Collector’s Handbook Guides
During the recent quarantine, collectors have been using their available time to learn more about their collections. In the last several months, the most popular posts have been about the American Eagle Bullion Program.
Using my previous posts about the American Eagle Bullion Program, posts from the blog are now available in e-book form. The book opens with an essay about the American Eagle Program’s start, followed by chapters that expand on the original posts with coin specifications, design details, and mintage statistics. It includes a glossary of terms used in the book.
Coin Collectors Handbook: American Eagle Coins is available to download as a PDF from the blog’s new Buy Me A Coffee Shop for $9.00, just three cups of coffee!
Based on what the blog readers are clicking on, there will be more guides to come. Stay tuned!
I have been writing the Coin Collectors Blog for almost 15 years. My first post was on October 29, 2005. I think the only person who read that first post was my (now late) mother. It was the only comment she made on the blog. Unfortunately, comments from before I moved from Google’s Blogger platform cannot be displayed, but I have the comments. I think she would be happy.
And so am I!
I thank everyone who has commented.
I thank everyone who has written to me in private.
THANK YOU TO THE NUMISMATIC LITERARY GUILD FOR THE RECOGNITION!
Stay tuned. There’s more to come!
Some have noticed the new buttons on the Coin Collectors Blog for Buy Me A Coffee. Buy Me A Coffee is a service for content creators to earn a little money on their content. It is like Patreon but more flexible.
Rather than sell advertising that gets in the way, this is a way to crowdsourcing the funding that will help offset the rising cost of hosting the Coin Collectors Blog and new projects.
Right now, I have two extras available through Buy Me A Coffee. Both are a small charge to help identify and give more information about your coin. For $5, I will help identify your U.S. coin, provide some background, and estimate its value. For $10, I will help with all other coins.
On my Contact page, there is an option to ask the questions through Buy Me A Coffee. But if you don’t want to pay, send a note anyway. I have been answering these questions for many years and will continue. After the answer, please consider Buying Me A Coffee.
Within the next week, I will make an e-book available through Buy Me A Coffee. Stay tuned for that announcement!
In the meantime:
May the holidays find you happy, hopeful, and healthy.
Since I missed posting the news from Sunday: and now the news…
The result of the sale of the Enhanced Reverse Proof 2019-S American Eagle continues to reverberate through the hobby. Industry reporters continue to hear from collectors that they feel like the U.S. Mint is taking them for granted.
The biggest question is, how did all of these dealers get these coins in inventory? How did others find the stock to flip on sites like eBay?
Dealers and speculators are at it again. It is similar to the chaos they caused for the opening of the 2014 JFK 50th Anniversary Gold Proof Coin. They hired people to shand in line for them who caused a near riot. Now, they have taken these manners to cyberspace.
How can the U.S. Mint fix the issue?
The best answer I have heard came from William T. Gibbs at Coin World, who suggested a dedicated sales window for established customers. Gibbs wrote:
What an excellent idea!
The U.S. Mint can create a “Collector’s Club” where non-commercial customers can earn points. The more points, the closer to the front of the line you get to access limited edition items. They can slowly add perqs for better customers, including levels for reduced and free shipping.
There is no reason to prevent the U.S. Mint from making the Collector’s Club a policy. The only question is whether they have the wherewithal to implement something like this. I do not think they do, but I hope they prove me wrong!
On a personal note, my wife and I just left Boomer at the vet hospital. Boomer is 12 years old and celebrated his 12th anniversary with us on December 2. Since we were never able to have children, Boomer was our first four-legged child. It will be hard to imagine life without Boomer so we are hoping for the best.