Yesterday at noon, the U.S. Mint released its remaining supply of 2016 Mercury Dime Centennial Gold Coins. The number of first-round sales (122,510), less subsequent returns (6,414), suggested that about 8,900 coins of the maximum mintage of 125,000 would be available.
The first time the coin was released, on April 21, the Mint set a household limit of 10. The coin was marked as being on back-order within 20 minutes; after another 20 minutes or so, it was marked “unavailable.” 122,510 were sold in roughly 45 minutes, so the rate of sales averaged about 2,722 a minute.
Collectors were eager for a second chance to get one of the gold commemoratives, although many worried about getting a reject from the first round of sales. That concern, plus the Mint’s order limit of one per household, plus the reduced size of the buyer pool (those who’d purchased during the first round of sales were not allowed to order), slowed the sell-out time to about an hour and a half—about 99 coins per minute.
Although most commenters reported a smooth checkout process, the event didn’t exactly go off without a hitch. When the date of the second release was first noted on the product page, there was no indication of whether prior orders would count against the new order limit. When Mint News Blog asked the Office of Corporate Communications about this, the reply seemed clear: this was an all-new order limit, and those who’d placed orders in the first round were eligible to order in the second. The lines of internal communication at the Mint must have been tangled, however, because at about the same time, a new statement was added to the product page: “Household Order Limit includes previous purchases of this product.”
Most previous buyers who gave it a shot anyway were rejected, but a few reported success in placing an order. It’s unclear why; perhaps there was a glitch in the website, or the buyers used different information and it got past the system. It may also be that as the physical orders are process, second-time orders will be canceled and the money refunded.
The other two coins in the 1916 centennial trio are still available for purchase on the Mint’s website. As of the Mint’s last sales report, 84,625 of the Standing Liberty Quarter Centennial (16XC) had been sold, leaving more than 15,000 of the maximum mintage of 100,000 available. In the same report, the Walking Liberty Half Dollar Centennial (16XA) had sold 58,682 of its maximum of 70,000, leaving more than 11,000 available.
So far, then, the maximum possible number of complete three-coin sets is 58,682. We’d be curious to know how many sets have actually been assembled; Mint News Bloggers’ guesses are welcome in the comments. ❑