Latest Communication!In regard to what I encountered at the Mint the other day, I wrote a letter to them:
Sent: April 3, 2009 8:57 PM
To: Reeves, Alexandre
Subject: Montreal Canadiens Circulation Loonie
Dear Mr. Reeves,
I live in Winnipeg, and just returned from the Mint's Boutique here after a search for the new Montreal Canadiens loonie. To say that it was a wasted effort would be charitable.
I figured that I could just pick up a half dozen or so; that was all I really wanted.
Asking the lady behind the counter about it, she pointed down inside the display case, mentioning that I could buy them for $44.95 per roll, to which I replied, "What do I get for the extra $20? Just pretty wrapping?"
She defended this by saying, "It's a collector's item."
Now, I've collected coins since I was in grade school, some 40 years or so. I know all about "collector's item[s]", so my reply to her was, "Yes, I know but—"
In a real snarky voice she says, "Well, I know too", cutting me off, and then she walks away to another section of the counter where other people are looking in the display case there.
The gent there was looking for the same thing I was, and she again tried to sell the over-priced roll of loonies, but to him this time. He wasn't agreeable either, and said he only wanted a few, and asked if they would be released to banks for general circulation. Her answer was that if you ran across them in your change, it would be because someone opened their roll and spent them.
Now, this is totally ridiculous. Apart from being a bold-faced lie (your press release says "Metro, Quebec's largest grocery chain, will begin the exclusive distribution of the Mint's Montreal Canadiens Centennial $1 commemorative circulation coin across the province"), it also seems to buck common-sense. Who would open a $45 roll of coins only to be able to spend them for $25? That is not at all logical.
It's all well and good that the population of Quebec will be able to get this coin, but what about the rest of the country? You state that "Canadians fans across Canada can now look in their change for these new coins…" but how can that be if they are not being released to banks? You also refer to this as being a "circulation coin", which is a total misnomer, considering the fact that from what I can see, they will likely do anything but circulate freely. This coin is not a "circulation coin" at all; it is a different coin from that in the proof set, but you can hardly call it a "circulation coin", because what it actually is is a limited mintage business strike released exclusively in one province.
The funny thing is, though, that as far as I can see, you are still The Royal Canadian Mint, not "The Royal Quebec Mint". There are coin collectors and hockey fans (and some are even both!) in the other nine provinces and three territories, and the Mint would do well to realize that. If these coins are to be released generally throughout the rest of the country, you would do well to mention that, as well as when that will occur.
It would also make sense for the Mint to teach their Boutique workers some manners, as well. They are supposed to be there to serve the public and to be truthful in their replies to inquiries from the public, not to make up answers that don't make any sense.
cc. Shelley Glover, M.P., Winnipeg SouthIt would seem that they considered my letter worthy enough to be answered:
Good afternoon WpgLwr.
Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding the availability of the newly introduced Montreal Canadiens Centennial one-dollar commemorative circulation coin through our Winnipeg boutique and general circulation channels.
I am pleased to inform you that the Mint's Winnipeg boutique has a new supply of commemorative circulation coins which are being exchanged with the general public visiting our facility. As the supply of these sought-after coins remains limited, I would recommend that you call the boutique at 204-983-6429 as soon as possible to make sure that coins remain available.
I also wish to point out that 2.5 million of these commemorative one-dollar coins are entering general circulation. This quantity is over and above the quantity distributed exclusively in Quebec by Metro grocery stores.
It is important to further note that only 10 million of these $1 circulation coins were struck, as the Mint must carefully evaluate the number of circulation coins it produces on an annual basis so as to prevent oversupplying the market. When dealing with high-value denominations such as one- and two-dollar coins, the market's ability to absorb new coins is understandably limited. Nevertheless, these coins will gradually emerge in general circulation across Canada not as a result of collectors "breaking their commemorative rolls", but as banks and retailers order new supplies of $1 coins.
I regret that you did not receive a satisfactory explanation on this question, but please be assured that staff have been reminded of the number of Montreal Canadiens centennial circulation coins are going into circulation in the rest of Canada.
I hope this helps address your concerns and thank you again for your message.
Royal Canadian Mint/Monnaie royale canadienne
320 Sussex Drive, Ottawa Ontario Canada
(613) 949-5777 (Tel)
(613) 884-6370 (Mobile)
for Vancouver 2010 keepsakes and gifts
Découvrez les souvenirs Vancouver 2010 à http://www.monnaie.caSo, I'm off to the Mint today, to see how many I can actually get.