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Caught Between Rock and Hard Place
April 02, 2009

It was bound to happen. I received my first complaint from a reader who received a package from the Mint by UPS and complained that he had to sign for it and arrange to be home to do it.

To be fair, what was in the package was the book that is supposed to accompany the Ultra High Relief Saint-Gaudens $20 gold piece that the Mint is selling this year.

The Mint had starting shipping coins without the books so that collectors didn't have to wait for their coins while the Mint worked out the problems in acquiring the books themselves.

The collector I heard from apparently received his coin before the new policy took effect because he contrasted not signing for the valuable coin but having to sign for the much less valuable book.

This event follows a change in policy on signatures. Prior to March 13, signatures for the very valuable coins were not required. After that date, they were.

This policy change occurred after collector complaints were heard about these gold coins being left on doorsteps without the recipients having to sign for them. So the Mint showed it was responsive to its customer base.

What's the Mint to do now?

In this case, the wise course is to treat it as an anomaly and ignore the complaint.

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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 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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