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You Got a Signature; What's Next?
March 04, 2009



What's your problem? I might say that to some collectors who were acting like a bunch of old ladies, but that is an insult to old ladies. I apologize to every single one of them in advance.

However I ask the question because coin collectors seem to be morphing into Internet-fed gossip mongers who are up to no good.

The most recent target was the Mint's policy of not requiring signatures when coins are delivered to collector homes.

These collectors complained so loudly that the Mint has now changed its delivery policy effective March 13 to require signatures for packages containing $300 or more in value or precious metal coinage.

Why?

The complaints sprang less from what actually happened in the way of losses suffered to the simple conjecture of what might happen.

What's next? Demands that collector packages be blue, delivered only between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. and that uniformed drivers wear the colors of the local powerhouse football team?

If a business like the Mint thinks the risk of theft is so low that it need not require signature, why should that matter to the collector recipients?

All they need do is accept the coins and enjoy them.

Apparently that isn't good enough.

I feel like I'm watching an Old West movie scene where someone is waving a pistol at the bar.

"OK, Mint, start dancing."

Sure enough, the Mint starts dancing.

Is this healthy in the long run?

Collectors often ask what they can do to attract future generations.

The first thing I can think of is to stop acting like creepy old men with too much time on our hands complaining that the world today is nothing like it used to be.

I also remember the complaint letters I used to receive from readers who missed deliveries when signatures were required and then had to drive somewhere to pick up a package that couldn't be left behind.

Oh boy, I will start getting those complaints again.



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Recent Comments
On March 4, 2009 said
The signature requirement should never have been dropped in the first place.  $300+ packages and those containing gold or platinum should NEVER just be left lying around on the porch or doorstep.  I've come home to discover that UPS did that several times since the Mint moved it's distribution center to Indiana.  That NEVER happened when they were in Memphis and using FedEx.

I don't understand why you feel the outcry over leaving valuable packages just lying around was unreasonable.  When that happens, from the Mint's perspective the UPS tracking shows that the package was delivered.  If a collector comes home from work and the package is not there, it is their word against the Mint's.  Who do you think is going to lose in that situation?  The collector, who could have paid $1,000+ for a package that someone just passing by spotted on the porch and decided to pick up to see what they might find inside.  If that ever happened to me, the thief would make a VERY pleasant discovery, and I would be out a tremendous amount of money (not the mention the coin I was buying!)
On March 4, 2009 B Bart said
I'll just note my experience.  Ordered the Territorial Quarter proof set and UHR Double Eagle.  Mint notified me when the Quarter set was shipped.  Several days later checked UPS tracking; UPS said it had been left on my doorstep.  It was never there.  Called Mint to initiate replacement; the Mint assured me signature would be required on the UHR portion of the order.

Last week was notified UHR was shipped.  UPS tracking indicated it was left at door.  At least this time it was actually there when I got home, and seemed to have suffered no damage from sitting in sub-freezing weather half a day.
On March 4, 2009 Susan Headley said
Dave,

I think one of the biggest problems with eliminating the signature requirement is that it opens the Mint itself up to fraud and abuse.  Collectors could falsely claim they never received the coins, and the Mint would be in a position to have to replace them.

By requiring a signature, the Mint is not only protecting the customer, but protecting itself.

One thing that does worry me about the Mint's expanded signature policy now - will shipping and handling fees rise as a result?

Susan Headley
About.com Guide to Coins

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News, Bank Note Reporter and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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