US Mint Issues Press Release on New Pricing Strategy
Today the US Mint issued a Press Release on their new pricing strategy for precious metals products. The new policy had already been published in the Federal Register on January 6, 2009 and reported here on Mint News Blog the same day.
The policy has actually been in effect since January 12, 2009. New prices have been set under the new policy twice, on January 12 and January 15, 2009. The first repricing was an increase, and the second was a decreased. Even after today's decrease, prices for nearly all products remain higher than they were prior to when the new policy went into effect.
Product pages which contain the products covered by the policy now contain a link to the United States Mint Coin Pricing Grid. Here is a link to the grid (pdf link). I think it would also be helpful if the product pages also had a brief explanation about when pricing can be adjusted to help customers understand the process better.
The grid answers at least one of the questions included in my post Reactions to US Mint's New Pricing Policy. Sold out products appear highlighted in the chart and indicated as "Not on Sale." Some collectors thought the inclusion of these sold out products in the chart suggested that the products might unexpectedly return.
Also of note, the 10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set is highlighted, suggesting that this product will not go back on sale. The set had been unavailable on the US Mint's website since December 31, 2008 without explanation.
Many customers responded negatively when the 10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set was put back on sale in mid-November. The price of the set was lowered to $1,249.95, down from the prior price of $2,649.95. By putting the sets back on sale at such a low price, secondary market prices for the sets fell to the same level. In effect, this devalued the sets for anyone who had purchased them at the old price. Many thought that collectors would have been better served if the US Mint had not put the set back on sale. If the US Mint put the sets back on sale with the intention to sell them for only another month and a half, they probably did more harm than good for their customers.
The US Mint also recently made a few tweaks to the online catalog. One change that I like is the inclusion of a link to the $1 Coin Direct Ship page in the main sidebar menu. Prior to the change, the Direct Ship Dollars (sold at face value) more difficult to find than the Rolls and Bags (sold at a premium). Previously, the Direct Ship Dollar page could only be accessed via a link at the bottom of the Presidential Dollar Coin product page.
Labels: US Mint