A new special from the United States Mint offers free standard shipping on any order placed online at www.usmint.gov/catalog.
Standard shipping has been $4.95 for several years. That is the amount waved by ordering coins and products online instead of picking up the phone or using snail mail. Free standard shipping will also apply to subscription orders.
There are limits. The promotion is time-based, with a start date of today at 9 a.m. ET and an ending date of September 30, 2013 at 5 p.m. ET. And free shipping does not apply to international orders, including those that are placed from Canada.
"The Web-only promotion is designed to encourage our customers to purchase products online," the Mint described in a news release, adding it wants to "encourage more Web-based sales to enhance the overall customer experience."
Summer months tend to be slower for the Mint. This new promotion may prompt more buying as $4.95 adds up, especially when considered against smaller ticket items like products with America the Beautiful Quarters or Presidential $1 Coins. As an example, in mid-August the 2013 Presidential $1 Four-Coin Set will go on sale for $12.95. It would have been $17.90 when coupled with the $4.95 standard shipping fee. Striking the fee cuts the overall cost of the set by nearly 28%.
There is another stated motive with the promotion. The U.S. Mint hopes to encourage a few more orders in August specifically as that coincides with its rollout of a new online shopping cart.
"The free standard shipping promotional window will be the ideal opportunity for customers to try out this updated feature," the Mint stated.
If successful, the Mint notes that the promotion may recur. That seems likely based on similar returning promotions from other world mints. The Royal Canadian Mint actually has an all-year round free shipping policy, but that is limited to its Master’s Club Members. These are Royal Canadian Mint customers who spend at least $1,000 a year in coins and products.