In an e-mail message to its customers Thursday, the United States Mint acknowledged the difficulties buyers experienced in ordering or attempting to order an American Silver Eagle 25th Anniversary Set.
The sets went on sale Thursday, October 27, and all 100,000 sold out within about 4 and 1/2 hours. The quick sellout would be less of an issue if every customer who wanted one was able to place an order.
However, as has happened in the past when tens of thousands of customers are attempting to purchase an extremely popular United States Mint product all at the same time, mayhem ensued. For many, the Mint’s online site was inaccessible and its phone ordering lines busy — after multiple, multiple attempts. Even for those who were able to eventually get in to place an order, it was common to hear that it took much of the afternoon.
The following is the message sent by the Mint in regards to the American Silver Eagle 25th Anniversary Set:
Dear United States Mint Customer:
We are fully aware of the difficulties many customers encountered last week with the release of the American Eagle 25th Anniversary Set. We would like you to know that we have undertaken an aggressive review of how we brought the product to market so we can better serve all of our customers in the future. Dick Peterson, the Deputy Director of the United States Mint, has also directed that the bureau review all future product offerings to ensure that we apply to them the lessons we learned from the marketing of the American Eagle 25th Anniversary Set.
One of the principal sources of frustration was our web and phone order-taking system. As many of you know, we are in the process of updating our order management system. Our current system is very outdated and we recognize that it does not serve our customers well. Accordingly, we recently selected a contractor that will develop and implement our new system — one that will be modern and comparable to other top-rated retail Web sites. Unfortunately, this transition will take some time; we are anticipating that the new system will be in place by fall 2012.
Our aim is to work earnestly to ensure that the inconvenience and frustration that our regular customers may have encountered last week is mitigated in 2012 as we re-examine our product launch strategies and systems. We value our relationship with you and are committed to serving you professionally and responsively. You deserve no less!
The American Silver Eagle was first issued by the United States Mint in investment-grade bullion and in collector proof versions back in 1986. The Silver Eagle 25th Anniversary Set includes:
- One 2011 Bullion American Silver Eagle (released individually on January 3)
- One 2011-W Proof American Silver Eagle (released individually on June 30)
- One 2011-W Uncirculated American Silver Eagle (released individually on September 15)
- One 2011-S Uncirculated American Silver Eagle (not sold separately, and not an annually released product)
- One 2011-P Reverse Proof American Silver Eagle (not sold separately, and not an annually released product)
The United States Mint priced the sets at $299.95, and had a per household order limit of five in place.