Buying coins directly from the United States Mint can save coin collectors a lot of money versus buying your coins from a coin dealer. This is especially true if you collect current modern issues of United States coins.
Ordering Online or over the Phone
The easiest way to buy from the U.S. Mint is via their Web site, usmint.gov. You can also buy through the toll-free ordering line, 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Numismatists have reported that the wait-time has been increasing over the years when calling the mint's toll-free line. The United States Mint used to accept orders through the mail, but that ordering option was discontinued in September 2017.
The U.S. Mint usually sells only current coins and coin sets, although you can often find the previous year's coins and sets for sale, too. Some of the most popular U.S. Mint offerings include the annual Proof Sets, Uncirculated Coin Sets, bags and rolls of America the Beautiful Quarters, and collector's versions of the American Eagle coins such as Silver Eagles and Gold Eagles. The bullion versions of these coins intended for investment purposes, rather than the numismatic value of the coins, must be purchased through coin or bullion dealers.
Be wary of U.S. Mint look-a-like companies that run misleading advertisements for their coins. The ads are designed to appear as official government agencies, releasing new issues direct from so-called "government vaults." These companies charge exorbitant premiums over the price you'd pay if you bought your coins and sets directly from the United States Mint. Several companies are advertising the Presidential Dollars for almost $10 each.
Limited Production Coins
Occasionally, the United States Mint produces coins with limited availability. These limited coins usually cause a frenzy in the market. People will "hover" on the website until the exact moment when the sales start. Other people will try to use the telephone to place the order. Calling on the telephone is usually the least productive method to secure one low mintage coins. During times of high-volume traffic on the website, there have been some issues that have sold out in as little as six minutes!
Numismatic writers and coin dealers have criticized the United States Mint for not producing enough coins to meet collector demand. Additionally, some large-volume coin dealers will pay people to order the coins and then send the coins directly to the coin dealer. Although this may be unethical, it is not illegal.
Also, during the high volume and limited production coin rushes, people trying to place their orders using the telephone usually find themselves empty-handed. The best way to order these coins directly from the United States Mint is via the mint's website. Patience and timing will usually result in securing one limited edition coins or sets.
The United States Mint allows you to subscribe to coins and coin sets that are offered every year. For example, if you order a United States Proof Set every year, the mint will automatically bill your credit card and send you the set when it becomes available.
This way, you do not have to "hover" on the Mint's website or remember to call in your order via the telephone. You will also be the first to receive your coins and sets before everyone else. Remember, not all coins and sets are available for a subscription. Please check the mint's website for more details. Additionally, you need to watch your email for announcements from the mint that a special coin or set is now available.
Commemorative Coins and Coin Sets
Commemorative coins and sets issued by the United States Mint are also available for purchase directly from the mint. The mint releases these coins throughout the year depending on the production schedule. On the menu banner near the top of the webpage, you can click on the "Product Schedule" link to see when the next available commemorative coins will be available for sale. If the mint has not yet created a production schedule, you may see "TBD" (To Be Determined).
Finally, it is well documented that common modern United States coins and sets usually decrease in value over time. With few exceptions, this makes them a terrible investment. However, if you enjoy collecting modern United States coins, purchasing them directly from the United States mint is the best way to do it.
Edited by: James Bucki