The rolls first went on sale on the US Mint’s website on January 15, 2009, priced at $35.95 for the 25-coin rolls. As of the last weekly sales report, the US Mint sold 59,000 of the Philadelphia rolls and 53,732 of the Denver rolls.
For much of the year, the premium priced individual rolls have been on sale along side the Native American Dollar rolls offered through the US Mint’s Direct Ship Program. This program allows individuals or businesses to order $250 boxes of coins at face value with no charges for shipping and insurance. The Direct Ship Boxes for the Native American Dollar finally went off sale in late October.
On the topic of the US Mint’s Direct Ship Program, I have wanted to mention an article published this week in the Wall Street Journal. It describes how enthusiasts of frequent-flier mileage programs have used the US Mint’s program to rack up huge amounts of rewards with zero net cost.
The article provides accounts of a few people who purchased $10,000 or $15,000 worth of coins and immediately cashed them in at the bank. They paid their credit card bill with the proceeds and earned rewards in the process. One man claimed to have purchased $800,000 in coins through the program.
The US Mint has since added this statement to the Direct Ship Dollar pages:
The purchase of $1 coins under the Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program is a cash equivalent or cash-like transaction. Ordinarily, such purchases are not eligible for credit card rewards, cash-back, cash rebate, and similar programs. Check with your card issuer for its terms and conditions.
The article also states that the US Mint sold a total of $130 million in coins through the program since it began in June 2008. This is frankly an astonishing number and represents a sizable proportion of the overall production. The total dollar coin production for the year to date is $423 million. How much of this production was prompted by the huge demand for dollar coins coming from the Direct Ship Program?