The third question allowed readers to provide their thoughts or comments on 2009 US Mint products or developments in an open format. More than 200 readers took the time to provide comments that filled over 14 single spaced pages. I have read all of the comments and will do my best to distill some of the common themes as well as provide a selection of comments republished here.
The most frequent comments were in relation to the cancellation of the 2009 Proof Gold and Silver Eagles, with most of the emphasis on the Silver Eagle. The loss of this coin was seen as a break with tradition, a blow to the average collector, and many expressed the opinion that the coins could have been produced if the Mint made more of an effort.
Other frequent comments were related to the lack of fractional weight collectible precious metals coins. In past years, gold and platinum collector coins were offered in a range of fractional weights which allowed the US Mint to cover array of pricing points for precious metals products.
There were other recurring comments critiquing the US Mint’s quality and selection, their website design and function, and coin design selections.
Below I have published a variety of the comments provided by Mint News Blog readers. I couldn’t include everything, but I have tried to cover the array of reactions and topics that were mentioned.
“There were some nice coins this year from the mint. My favorites in no particular order are the Lincoln cents, Lincoln dollars, Platinum Eagle, Proof Buffalo, uncirculated and proof sets. I think the uncirculated sets will be the big winners a few years down the road when people realize that there are less than a million of the bronze uncirculated cents.”
“Would have liked all of the Presidential Dollar products from 2007 and 2008 produced in 2009. Specifically the Signature Series and the Individual Proof Series. I have the first 8 in both.”
“Only my opinion, but after collecting and buying Mint products every year since the early 1960’s, the Mint has deteriorated both in product offerings, service, availability, and pricing. I believe they have lowered their operation for collectors to third rate status, and no one in authority is either watching or seems to care.”
“The 2010 penny design is hideous, such a let-down from the 2009 series. The 2010 commemorative dollar designs I’ve seen are equally lack-luster. Take more inspiration from coins such as the Saint-Gaudens UHR coins, something American coin collectors would be proud to own. Otherwise, what’s the point?”
“Just wish there could be a ‘popular vote’ type of thing on new coin designs, to reflect the collector community’s take on alternatives that make it to the final round.”
“2009 was bittersweet for modern coin collectors and a year of transition. The U.S. Mint knocked our socks off with stunning renditions of Ultra High Relief and Platinum Eagles, but tarnished collectors with ambivalent communications and uncertain product availability.Within the community of modern coin collectors, a sharp digital divide emerged as those who collect for the sake of collecting clashed with ebayers and a whimsical secondary market. At the end of the year, it’s fair to say that the Mint tried to hedge a terrible international economy and soaring metal prices with a limited mix of mandatory and discretionary product lines. Whether or not this strategy worked remains to be seen until the Treasury Department discloses calendar year financials.”
“This is the first year that I’ve ordered products. The web site seemed a little slow at times – but overall a good experience”
“I think the Eagle cancellation was inexcusable. Any other business would have found a way to make it work, and the mint could have too. It is much easier to say ‘we cant’ rather than we can.”
“Canada offers circulating coins for a very small premium over face. I would like to see our Mint offer the same service… Also, the gold & silver bullion coins should be offered direct. This having to find a dealer is a pain, and I often do not get the annual silver Eagle coin because of that.”
“Common coins packaged differently was the theme of 2009.”
“The mint needs to respond better to the wants of the average coin collector. Thousand dollar coins may make the mint money, but the average collector is the long time tradition for the future. My thoughts are also that the large buyers are getting way more than their share. If the mint wants to sellout to the large coin retailers, than maybe the rest of us collectors should just go directly to eBay. At least they are fast at shipping and my buy is guaranteed.”
“Return production of the fractional gold and platinum coins. Dump the dealer distributor network for uncirculated eagle coins and allow direct purchase from the mint. Dump the presidential wife gold series. Reduce mint fees for golden dollar and quarter rolls.”
“Designs remain far too literal and ‘busy’. Better coin designs use allegorical images.”
“Still cannot believe that they killed a 23 year collection for my silver and gold eagles… They need to send several employees on a fact finding trip to the Perth Mint. The Aussies know how to treat their loyal & paying customers properly.”
“The Ultra High Relief St. G. is a beauty–and was plainly a labor of love on the part of the Mint and its Director. The 2004, 2006 and 2008 W platinum Eagle reverses were stunning! 2009 isn’t up to the standard they set.”
“The cancellation of the 2009 Silver Eagle proof and uncirculated version are by far the most disappointing development of 2009 US mint products. This has been a cherished coin for the last few decades. Many collectors have expressed their disappointment with the US Mint regarding these coins. This is the coin that get me started collecting. As the new year approaches I hope that the US Mint has heard the feedback from its supporters and will make a solid effort to make this coin available in 2010 and beyond.”
“The Mint does what it does and we react. When the Mint makes mistakes we gain opportunities for unusual coins. I think they create good products and I have no complaints.”
Other posts covering survey results:
Favorite 2009 US Mint Product and Biggest Disappointment