The United States Mint will make available the numismatic Hot Springs National Park 5 Oz Silver Uncirculated Coin on Thursday at noon ET for $279.95.
In preparation for the collector coin release, the US Mint has issued an alert on its website warning customers that it expects online order delays due to demand and a system that needs upgrading.
"Because of the anticipated demand for the coins, we expect that our online ordering management system will be much slower than usual. As we have previously indicated to our customers, our online ordering management system is in need of upgrade. Fixing the system is a priority. Unfortunately, we do not anticipate an upgraded system being in place until approximately mid-2012," the United States Mint says in its notice.
The US Mint goes on to apologize for any possible inconveniences and asks customers to "be patient during this time."
The United States Mint produced 27,000 of each of the five 2010-dated America the Beautiful Silver Uncirculated Coins, including that of the Hot Springs 5 oz issue for release on Thursday. The low mintage, one coin per household limit, and the pent-up demand for them is likely to result in tens of thousands of customers hitting the Mint website in a very short time span. Products in the past that have faced that type of customer attention have brought the Mint’s order management system to its knees.
The United States Mint has already indicated it will implement a waiting list, as it expects to take in more than 27,000 orders even though each Hot Springs coin is one of the higher priced products at $279.95. The US Mint describes the list as follows:
The United States Mint will institute a "waiting list" for orders beyond the maximum mintage. We may, however, be unable to post notification of a waiting list status in a timely manner so that the customer knows of this status prior to placing the order. A waiting list means that orders have been accepted for the maximum mintage, but if a product becomes available because of an order cancellation, we will fulfill orders from the waiting list on a first-in, first-served basis. The United States Mint will be unable to provide information about a customer’s position on the waiting list.
When an order is placed on a waiting list, you will receive an order receipt, but it is not a guarantee that you will receive your order. If we are unable to fulfill your order, you will receive a cancellation or sold-out notification within one to two weeks. If you paid by check, you will receive a refund.
When released, collectors interested in the Hot Springs 5 oz Silver Coin can place orders online (http://catalog.usmint.gov/) or call the United States Mint directly at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Both methods, if expected demand turns into reality, will be very slow on Thursday.
The US Mint warns that if paying by credit card to make sure the information remains current up through shipment time to avoid delays or cancellations.