June 14th, 2010

Buddy, Can You Spare a Quarter?

Here’s an excerpt from a recent U.S. Mint press release: 

The United States Mint today announced the America the Beautiful Quarters Bulk Purchase Program. The minimum purchase requirement under the program is one (1) bulk bag, which contains 200,000 coins with a total value of $50,000. A three percent processing fee of $1,500 per bulk bag will be applied to each order to offset the cost of the program. In addition to the processing fee, purchasers must arrange for pickup from either the United States Mint at Philadelphia or at Denver. A properly licensed commercial carrier is required to retrieve the coins. 

I can’t speak for everyone here, but my immediate reaction was, “Get out!” 

Well, I apologize. Apparently it’s not a joke. It’s a genuine program, and you can read all about it on the Mint’s Web site.

Here’s a portion of the Mint’s Q and A page regarding the program:

How do I pay for the coins?
The quarters may be paid for only by bank wire funds transfer.

Are there any special requirements for pickup?
A properly licensed commercial carrier is required to pick up coinage from the United States Mint. The company must arrange clearance from the United States Mint facility for the truck and driver prior to establishing a pickup date.

To be fair, the Mint is making an effort to circulate the new quarters.

According to the Mint’s Web site, “Recent economic conditions have led to an oversupply of prior year-dated quarters in the banking system. As a result, businesses relying solely on the banking system may be unable to obtain large quantities of America the Beautiful Quarters coins on a regular basis. This program provides an option to those interested in obtaining America the Beautiful Quarters in volume.”

Well, recent economic conditions have also forced small businesses to make some difficult choices. But asking them to pay $51,500 plus shipping for 200,000 modern quarters?

Get out!

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