After announcing the release of the reasonably priced 2019-S American Silver Eagle Enhanced Reverse Proof would be going on sale Thursday November 14th the coin and bullion industry went nuts. The US mint set the price at just over $65 and the mintage of the 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof Silver Eagle at only 30,000, which is extremely low for a silver coin. The powers that be at the US mint placed a strict rule of only 1 coin per household which likely assisted in the meteoric rise in the price of these coins on eBay. This news sent coin enthusiast, bullion dealers and numismatic collectors into a panic to try and figure out how many of these enhanced reverse proof silver eagles they would be able to get their grubby little hands on.
After learning of the low price, low mintage and predicted high demand of the 2019-S enhanced reverse proof silver eagle, my friends and I decided we would all try to get as many of our friends and family to buy these as humanly possible. In the days following we racked our brains to plan for the day of the sale.
How to Save Time Buying US Mint Coins like the Enhanced Reverse Proof Silver Eagle – Dick’s Tip
I got a text from my buddy Richard the day before the enhanced reverse proof silver eagle went on sale. The text was a reminder to our whole group of some tips he has used in the past to make the purchase go a little smoother on the day of the 2019-S enhanced reverse proof american silver eagle sale.
Richard’s Text: Tip for Buying High Demand Coins on the US Mint Website
“Little tip to save everyone time tomorrow when you go to buy the Enhanced Reverse Proof. Log into your accounts today to be sure you have your current shipping and billing address as well as your payment information updated. This will save you time when placing your order tomorrow, because God knows the US Mint website is going to have issues. The US Mint website SUCKS!!!”
~ Richard “Dick” Jerferson
Dick’s Extra Tip – Get High Speed Internet
Richard’s tips actually proved to be very helpful. My only tip to you is to work with an internet service provider that has internet speeds of at least a gig per second. Do not just use the WiFi. Make sure to plug your computer into the modem directly with an Ethernet cord. WiFi is about half as fast as a direct connection with an Ethernet cord. Many people have internet speeds of 40-100 megabits per second. 1 gig is equal to 1000 megabits per second. So if you want to buy a high demand coin like this 2019-S enhanced reverse proof american silver eagle in the future, I suggest you splurge on the faster internet.
We knew how many people were going to be on the US Mint website all at the same time so we wanted to make sure the US Mint website would reload quickly on our end. We knew how many issues the US Mint has had in the past when these high demand coins go on sale. We all thought we were savvy enough and smart enough to be able to beat the odds and get one of these rare enhanced silver eagle reverse proof coins. We would soon find out that about 80% of us were wrong.
Time to Buy – 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof American Silver Eagle
Let me set the stage. Our group had been anticipating and carefully preparing for this moment for days. We talked to all of our friends and relatives about buying a coin for themselves so we could pool as many of these rare coins as possible. We were all sharing tips and tricks on how to be sure to buy one of these enhanced reverse proof American silver eagles. We were all in a group text chatting with each other. In our group we had 26 friends and family ready to click the “add to bag” button on the Enhanced Reverse Proof ASE coin as fast as humanly possible. We all knew what was at stake. We were all seasoned US Mint buyers. Again, we had all taken part in buying coins in high demand that the US Mint had for sale in the past and we knew the drill.
Ten Minutes Before Go-Time – 11:50am EST
At about 10 minutes to noon eastern I got a text from one of my friends saying “It’s go time!” As we were all logging in we were noticing signs of the site slowing down already. I personally wasn’t able to click on the hamburger menu on the mobile version of the US Mint website and pages were already taking a few seconds to load. As soon as the clock struck 12:00 noon we all clicked refresh. Half of us got the error message and the other half got the live screen with the updated button. Instead of the button saying “REMIND ME” the button was now saying “Add to Bag”.
After All the Anticipation – What a Let Down
This is the moment where the majority of us had our day flushed down the toilet. From the folks I’ve spoken to pretty much everyone that clicked “Add to Bag” got an error message saying “Oops… Something went wrong.” With a button that said Refresh.
I immediately had a pit in my stomach. I thought to myself, “Am I going to be able to buy a 2019-S enhanced reverse proof American Silver Eagle?” Actually I didn’t really say the last part where I wrote the full name of the coin. I was just writing that again so Google will put me at the top of the search engine results for 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof American Silver Eagle. Hahaha. Anyhow back to my story.
12:02 pm EST – The Beginning of the End
At about 12:02 I started getting phone calls, texts and chats from all of my friends and relatives. They were all freaking out that the site was down and they couldn’t make the purchase, in spite of all of my warnings that this was going to happen. I did my best to calm everyone down and just told them to keep refreshing the US Mint’s loaded cart screen. The only advice I had for them was to “keep trying”. I told them to keep refreshing the US Mint website until you get to a screen where you can take the next step in the purchase process.
The Frustration of a Government Run Website Constantly Crashing
For the next 15 minutes tens of thousands of people were dealing with the same problem on the United State Mint website with the site crashing and having to be reloaded over and over and over again. Many tried and failed to purchase the 2019-S Silver Eagle – Enhanced Reverse Proof but only 30,000 were successful. All 30,000 coins ended up selling out in approximately 15 minutes.
We Secured 5 Coins out of the 26 People That Tried to Buy the Enhanced Reverse Proof ASE’s
Needless to say despite all of our groups experience and tips in buying high demand US Mint coins like the 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof Silver Eagle we were only able to secure 5 coins out of the 26 people that were trying to get one. Due to the website constantly crashing having to be reloaded 25-50 times throughout the entire purchase process, the coin and bullion community is outraged with the US Mint’s lack of action. As a member of the coin and bullion community; on behalf of all the people I know that did not get a coin, I am putting an APB out to any representative at the US Mint. We are BEGGING you to fix the official US Mint Website. There has to be a better way.
My Conclusion on the US Mint’s Doo Doo Website
I’ve been buying coins and bullion since 1997. Everyone I know that has purchased coins through the US Mint website has had a bad experience at one time or another when buying one of these high demand coins. I have personally been extremely disappointed with the leadership of US Mint and their inability to fix the same problems they’ve faced for many years of their website crashing. Every time they have a coin go on sale that they anticipate may have a high demand, they should increase their band-width so they don’t have so many people frustrated as heck after they had the site crash 100 times while trying to make a purchase. The amount of people that are going to be on the site at one time is kind of predictable. The US Mint knows when the product is going to go on sale. So therefor you should be able to be prepared for the sale and avoid a website that constantly crashes.
I think we can all agree that the US Mint’s website is seemingly going to suck from now until the end of time. Unless the United States mint starts to put an emphasis on specifically hiring people with a tech background that can focus on solving some of the US Mint’s problems with their website, we can expect a LOT more of the same for the foreseeable future.
***UPDATE*** 2019-S Enhanced Reverse Proof Selling for $1000-$2000 on Ebay
WOW!!! Word is on the street that there were approximately 1.9 million people trying to purchase this coin on the US Mint website. I knew these were going to be popular but I had no idea they were going to be selling for $1000-$2000 on Ebay. This is making me even more sick to my stomach knowing what we could have done if all of my family and friends were able to secure one of these 2019-S Silver Eagle Enhanced reverse proof coins. Now more than ever I wish the US Mint would fix all the crashes on their website so it can handle more people on the site at one time.
One of the YouTuber’s (with a video I posted above) had a good idea to solve the US Mint website crashing problem. They suggested the US Mint break the sale down into time zones. They could reserve a certain number of coins for each time zone. One of the problems I foresee is verifying the user’s IP address actually came from that time zone. Tech savvy buyers would definitely mask their ip addresses to look like they were logging on from each time zone. Verification would be a nightmare, but I like the idea of breaking the sale down somehow so there aren’t so many people on the website at one time.
Any way you dice it, the US Mint has had a huge problem on it’s hands. For over 10 years, this problem has persisted and they refuse to put any time or energy into fixing it. The US Mint website has been crashing ever since the America the Beautiful 5 oz ATB coin launch back around 2009, and they still have not fixed it. The US Mint needs to spend a little time and energy finding the right personnel to help update their systems and come up with a strategy or some solutions to solve this issue. My suggestion is hire a guy like Shaun Ek (the old CTO from Provident Metals) or one of these other chief technology officers from a private sector bullion retailer. They need to find a person with some experience in the real world that has had to deal with huge launches for an e-commerce retail investment grade bullion company. I guarantee they will have the answers to solve all these issues. Shaun Ek or someone like him would know exactly what to do.
Will the US Mint respond and actually spend a little effort fixing this issue? I doubt it. Maybe in 20 years when all of these relic old school coin guys retire and some new blood is injected into some of these government roles. Time’s have changed. The US Mint needs to update it’s plan for the future. The launch for this one coin should show them that the demand is there. The United States Mint just need to capitalize on it like the Royal Canadian Mint has.