If looking to purchase bullion coins or proofs from the United States Mint (USMint.gov), you’ll need to know that they sell proof versions of their coins directly to the public, but not the bullion coins. These coins are sold only to coin dealers, precious metal firms, coin brokerage dealers, and at times, participating banks.
Selection and Service
The US Mint offers single coin proofs, rolls of coins, bags of coins and Gift Boxes when you order for individual coins. The US Mint charges an additional $5.95 for each gift box and it’s actually a beautiful navy blue box wrapped with a gold cord and garnished with the US Mint emblem in metallic gold. Each box holds only one coin.
The US Mint website offers historical data, information on the individual mints, learning activities, and statistical information. However, the payment options, delivery, and return policy is very different from mainstream online coin dealers. The online ordering process for the US Mint only accepts credit cards or E-Gift Certificates bought online directly from the Mint.
Payments and Shipping
Although they cannot accept debit cards, you can use a debit card issued by your bank as a check card under the VISA or MasterCard system. Cards must have the logo for either VISA or MasterCard on them. If you need to use another payment option, you’d have to call customer service and find out how to use a check or money order sent in by mail.
The US Mint does ship to International addresses at a charge of $14.95 plus a $2.95 additional charge for handling. And oversized items in your order such as bags of coins over 500 in quantity will incur additional shipping and handling charges.
If you need to return your order, the US Mint requires the full order to be returned—no partial returns. They will refund your money 100% and do not indicate any additional return fees will be applied. They make it easy to return your order by providing a return slip on the back of your packing slip. The initial shipping of your purchases from the US Mint will be slow in arriving, and if you are replacing an order in its entirety, the whole process will be drawn out.
Reputation and Production
Consumers tend to feel safer and more apt to receive pristine coins when buying them from the US Mint. Prices are normally higher from the Mint and shipping is usually slow. But there is also the factor of authorized limits and how many coins can be minted. Many coin dealers and collectors will sign up for subscription orders to gain access to coins as they are made available.
On January 7, 2013, trays of American Silver Eagle bullion coins were made available at the San Francisco Mint. For the first time in 27 years when the first American Silver Eagle was minted, a record 3,937,000 were sold on the first day of issue.
In less than two weeks, the 2013 American Silver Eagle silver bullion coins were bought out and the supply depleted. Authorized dealers had ordered 6,007,000 coins and sales came to a halt until the supplies could be built back up. Although it is typically more expensive, there are some advantages to ordering from the US Mint such as the subscription service.