The US Mint began selling the Hot Springs National Park 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin on Thursday at 12:00 noon Eastern Time for $279.95. Demand was strong, as the US Mint expected and warned.
By 9:00 PM Eastern Time, the Mint had taken in more than 19,000 total orders by phone and web. The collector coin is limited to a total mintage of 27,000. It is the debuting issue in the Mint’s America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin series. Each coin in the series features a 5 ounce weight, .999 fine silver purity, a three-inch diameter and a reverse design emblematic of a national park or national site.
The United States Mint received over 6,000 web orders for the Hot Springs Silver Uncirculated Coin within the first hour alone. A figure not truly indicative of the rush since many customers fought consecutive web time outs and could not place an order. Just after the hour mark, the online ordering portion of the Mint website went down, replaced with the message:
"The United States Mint is experiencing technical difficulties. During this time period, you will not be able to use the website. To place an order please call 1-800-USA-Mint (872-6468). We apologize for the inconvenience."
The Mint indicated that its online ordering service was "restored in about 45 minutes" and that it was able to take orders in a "normal capacity of 120-150 orders per minute." The Mint again wanted to apologize to customers for their inconvenience as relayed in a statement by United States Mint spokesman Michael White:
"The Mint apologizes for any delays that our customers may have had in placing orders for the coin. As we have said previously, the Mint has an antiquated order management system. Replacing the system is clearly a priority. Unfortunately, the system is not expected to be replaced until mid-2012. We appreciate the continued patience of our customers."
As of this writing, the Mint has not called a sell out for the Hot Springs issue. It has implemented a waiting list policy for the time when orders exceed the 27,000 mintage level.
The Mint explains on its site that it 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."
The Hot Springs 5 oz Silver Uncirculated Coin is available for order online (http://catalog.usmint.gov/) or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
The US Mint has not indicated when the four remaining 2010 issues will be made available. They will honor Yellowstone National Park Quarter in Wyoming, Yosemite National Park Quarter in California, Grand Canyon National Park Quarter in Arizona and Mount Hood National Forest Quarter in Oregon. For information on each and the companion 5 oz silver bullion versions, see this site’s National Park Silver Coins page.