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Hail the Mail
February 12, 2008

A nice letter arrived in yesterday's mail from a reader who noted that he was one of the few people left who still does not have a computer.

He wanted to report on his experience with the Bald Eagle commemorative program. If you will remember, when the program began, the online ordering capability of the Mint ceased for about nine days, Jan. 15-Jan. 24.

This situation jammed the Mint phone lines and caused some frustration among would-be buyers.

The letter writer said he had received an order form from the Mint on Jan. 14. He sent in his order the same day. Ten days later he received the coin he ordered. As he put it, "I received my coin, that to say the least, is very well struck and beautiful.

Perhaps there is a lesson in this for the Mint and the rest of us. Retirement planners say it is a three-legged stool consisting of Social Security, private pensions and private savings.

Perhaps coin marketing is still a three-legged stool, online, telephone and mail. The last of the three has had many brickbats thrown at it in recent years.

Without seeing the Mint's own sales statistics broken down by order type I cannot say whether mail orders are profitable. However, where one person writes me, there are many others, so I think mail order still has some life left in it where new Mint issues are concerned.

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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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