Mint Queue Musings

January 10, 2010

I have been dwelling on this all week and I'd like to candidly write (that is what blogs are for) about my experience in the queue to mint the first dollar coin for 2010.

When all the keen collectors entered the Royal Australian Mint punctually at 10am, New Years Day 2010, quite a few collectors donned their white cotton gloves in preparation for striking their coins. I had forgotten my gloves but had stopped at the supermarket on the previous day and picked up a packet. There were 4 gloves in the packet and 2 friends I had gained in the queue who had come ill prepared so I gave a glove to each and some money bags I had picked up from the bank. Number one in the queue donned his white gloves, struck his first coin and subsequent coins were put into baggies for later placement in 2x2's. This is how I was going to do it and my friend and I went tag team, me with the gloves and him putting money into the slot. There was a guy a few people back in the queue who asked to use the gloves also so I gave him the last spare glove, he was very very grateful for this.

Helen, the Mint shop manager who was managing the queue saw the white gloves come out and and watched as other people got out tissues to pick up the coin with so as not to touch the coin surface. She dashed off and brought back clean paper towels from the bathroom and money bags from the shop for everyone who was starting to follow the lead from those in front with concern over putting the coin in the folder and how this damages the coin over time. I have to congratulate Helen for seeing the need and responding with a solution showing concern for the well being of the coin and ensuring that they were handled and stored correctly.

This brings me to my ultimate pang. There was a young boy with his Dad who had been waiting in front of me in the queue since about 4am I think. He got to the press to mint his coins and pulled out his 30 pocket pvc coin page and slipped each coin into the slot in the page as he struck the coin. My heart sank. This boy was obviously passionate about collecting and Dad was helping out his son with his interest and they had been waiting for hours to be one of the first to get the new 2010 dollar. To my disappointment these coins are now consigned to a pvc page to die a slow green death and become worth no more than the dollar of face value each holds.

Why do dealers still sell these pages when they know the damage this kind of storage does to coin collections? The only reason I can think of is that it's a cheap storage method. No need for the extra expense of holders or 2x2's, but it's to the detriment of the coin. I feel upset that dealers sell these types of pages simply because they are cheap. The uneducated collector or young collector is going to go for the cheapest option and if they are sold in the coin shops they must be safe for a coin...right? Wrong.

It's time for coin dealers to look beyond the very small profits that they make from selling cheap and harmful coin storage accessories and think about the long term welfare of their customer's collections. The Purple Penny and their archival quality PVC free coin accessories have a small voice in Australian coin collecting circles and some of the larger coin collecting personalities in this country have openly scorned the idea of archival quality coin accessories. I can only think that if these 'numismatists' cared more for the long term health of the coins they sell then the hobby would be a better one for all of us, both new collectors and experienced ones.

Posted by harrisk at January 10, 2010 12:13 PM
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