November 9th Mint Roundtable: Morgan and Peace Silver Dollar 2021

On Tuesday, November 9th at 2:00 p.m., I virtually participated in the second Mint Roundtable Discussion, which focused on the US Mint’s priorities and new key issues. The mint’s second roundtable was also an opportunity for members of the numismatic press present to introduce the newly appointed acting US Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson. A biography of Director Gibson, provided via email by Mint spokesman Michael White, has been posted here on Coin Update if you would like to learn more about their service. This roundtable discussion was more focused on customer and reader acceptance of the recently released Mint products, particularly related to the Morgan and Peace 2021 silver dollar issues with some additional questions about the United States Mint’s authorized bulk purchase program.

Acting Director of the US Mint Ventris C. Gibson.

The meeting began with Director Gibson making an introductory statement and thanking attendees for attending the Mint Round Table. Gibson director was assisted by Matt Holben, chief marketing and sales officer, and Dave Croft, associate director of manufacturing, to answer local press inquiries. Dave Croft began the discussion by acknowledging that they are aware of customers’ concerns about the Morgan and Peace silver dollar releases in 2021 and that manufacturing has been affected by the pandemic, with staff hiring and retention a major concern . Matt Holben went on to say Dave Croft said that the Mint prides itself on the quality of its products. The numismatic press members present were then asked to introduce themselves briefly, including: Mike Unser, owner and editor of CoinNews; myself (Brandon Hall, editor of Coin Update and Mint News Blog); Rob Oberth, President of RoundTable Trading; Numismatic author and journalist Louis Golino; freelance journalist and editor Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez; Paul Gilkes, managing editor of Coin World; and Coin Collectors blog author Scott Barman. Although the discussion was centered on the Morgan and Peace Dollars 2021, the first question centered on the Mint’s Authorized Bulk Purchase Program.

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Authorized bulk purchase program and ordering difficulties

Paul Gilkes was the first to ask his question, expressing the concerns of collectors about the Authorized Bulk Purchase Program, where 18 retailers buy up to 10% of the product runs. He listed the various means by which he had obtained information about the identity of these dealers, including FOIA inquiries and appeals to Congress, none of which provided details. Dave Croft interjected that such discussions should be directed offline to the Mint legal team.

Scott Barman described the Mint’s online ordering system as “an utter disaster,” citing the Morgan and Peace dollars as the worst culprits and the American Eagle coins issued that summer as “not much better,” but acknowledging that under The Eagles’ release was better received by his audience. He asked what the Mint was going to do to correct such errors and quoted one of the Mint’s contractors who could handle much higher call volumes. Holben asked the question that the Mint was their largest customer with the highest volume, orders had to be processed for multiple systems and that there was still significant bot activity – although this had been reduced to the single-digit range. A “waiting room” was one of the possible solutions considered by the mint, along with a randomization system to increase fairness between those who access the system at the same time. Director Gibson continued, “Consumers Determine Who We Are,” stated that this was one of the first issues she was informed about two weeks ago when she began her tenure two weeks ago, and that it was for the mint as well solving them is a high priority.

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez’s question centered on the Mint’s plans to market future products and whether they intended to develop new marketing strategies or perhaps even reintroduce old ones to allow more fairness for those trying Mint products to order. Holben explained that the mint is investigating both, but the problem with using multiple strategies at the same time is that orders for phones and internet, for example, are being processed by the same call center. He stated that such a strategy would potentially allow certain customers to “duplicate” and “plug in” our system. In addition to the implementation of a waiting room with a randomization system, Holben asked customers to use the possibilities of product registration. McMorrow-Hernandez also asked if the Mint’s subscriber and customer base had increased in recent months, to which Holben said “yes,” but acknowledged that some of that increased activity was due to fins.

I later reached out to Whitman publisher Dennis Tucker regarding the flipping phenomenon for his thoughts on the subject:

Many buyers just seem intent on tossing the coins for a profit while they can. Some collectors wait patiently, convinced that the secondary market will collapse after the initial excitement. At the moment the market is robust. And we’ve seen an active trade develop with collectors offering mintmarks or secret marks that they have for those who need them to build their own complete set. It has the fun energy of baseball card swapping by day.

Regarding the demographics and ages of newer Mint customers, Louis Golino inquired if younger people are joining the fray at the Mint. Holben noted that while they are not allowed to collect personally identifiable demographic information about customers, anecdotal reports indicate an increase in below-average Mint customers.

2021 Morgan and Peace silver dollars

After his first question about the Authorized Bulk Purchase Program, Paul Gilkes asked if Mint employees could clarify the validity of the statement that Morgan and Peace dollars would also be released “dated 2022 and beyond”. Matt Holben replied, “That’s right. . . Our intention is to have Morgan and Peace as an ongoing program in the future. ”Gilkes continued his inquiry by asking if the same six options would be offered. Holben replied that the legislation was very flexible with regard to what the mint offered (including different versions).

Louis Golino inquired about the possibility of a bullion program given the interest of collectors in the original Morgan and Peace Dollar publications. Holben replied that he was unsure whether the legislation would leave enough room for the introduction of precious metal options.

Rob Oberth’s inquiry focused on order issues, particularly cancellations, and the mint’s plans to resolve such matters to facilitate customer transactions. Holben investigated the question and found that the canceled orders were primarily for reasons of fraud protection. However, according to Holben, 12,900 of these potential cancellations were forwarded to the mint’s call center to maintain their orders as questions arose about these accounts. Holben also mentioned that the orders were stopped because the call center was overloaded and would start again as soon as capacities became manageable. Some reports that Holben mentioned included “broken capsules or capsules that do not fit neatly on the platform” and “color variations in the Morgans”.

My questions

After Louis Golino’s question about a possible gold bullion program for Morgan and Peace Dollars, I asked my first question: In view of the fact that despite the late year (and therefore very unlikely) I asked whether it would still be possible to mint Peace Dollars in high relief in 2021 . Holben acknowledged that it was indeed too late for such a problem to materialize this year and that “some research and development” was required on current blanks, but that a peace dollar in high relief would be an “intrinsically beautiful offer”.

Following the Mint Round Table, Dennis Tucker said of the Morgan and Peace Dollars in 2021:

These coins have definitely caught the interest and imagination of the hobby community. We have heard about it daily at Whitman for the past few weeks from collectors and dealers. The conversation goes all the way – admiration, skepticism, frustration, excitement. Some hobbyists love them, others aren’t that impressed. Many collectors are interested in the 2021 coins because of the mint’s approach that emulates Morgan and de Francisci’s original artistic intent in the designs. They see them as a tribute to the historic Morgan and Peace dollars, a triumph of modern mint capabilities. In 2009, Mint Director Ed Moy had a similar vision with the Saint-Gaudens MMIX Ultra High Relief Gold.

When asked how the new Morgan and Peace dollars should be classified in works by the numismatic publisher, Tucker commented:

There were discussions about how the coins should be cataloged by the publishers: are they regular editions? Memorabilia? a new hybrid animal? We have planned how we will cover them in the Guide Book of United States Coins (the “Red Book”) and will announce this shortly.

Another question I had about the 2021 Morgan and Peace Dollars concerned both their publication as numismatic editions in general and the publication of the mintmark variants “CC” and “O” (“Privy Marks” in the wording of the mint), which were not received very positively by collectors. I asked if, given some of the feedback received, the mint intended to continue such issues and whether the secondary market would be taken into account in making such decisions. Holben replied that I should let him know if there are repeated concerns here in the Coin Update or the Mint News Blog, as this provides useful feedback directly from customers. He also admitted that he stays up at night reading the blog comments.

Although it wasn’t a direct answer to my question or was terribly shocking after some thought, this initially surprised me with intrusive, paranoid thoughts like:

“I was warned. They are watching us! “

Seriously, however, this is an excellent opportunity for all of you on the Coin Update and Mint News Blog to communicate directly with the Mint about what you would like to change. So don’t let it go to waste. Instead, make sure your voices are heard and strike while the iron is hot.

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