Last week, Mint News Blog reported that the 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Silver Proof and Uncirculated Coins would be delayed after being given an initial release date of January 14. The coins’ launch was first moved to January 27, with Mint officials commenting that it was a matter of ensuring they had adequate inventory to handle the release. Later that day, however, the silver Twain commemoratives no longer showed a release date on the product schedule, and had been moved into the “To Be Determined” category, where they remain.
The gold Twain issues are still set to go on sale this Thursday, so the abrupt changes for the silver coins were surprising. Now the mystery appears to have been solved by Dave Harper of Numismatic News. Apparently a small oversight led the product description for the coin to attribute the reverse design’s use of characters Huckleberry Finn and Jim to Twain’s novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, rather than the correct book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A minor oversight when included in a press release, perhaps, but this description went on to be used in the Mint’s certificates of authenticity printed to accompany the coins themselves.
Now the Mint has to print and process new certificates before it can move ahead with the release. Harper had this to say about the importance of providing correct information on certificates of authenticity, and the subsequent need for a reprint: “Collectors value them. They also notice errors on them. The Mint has no choice. We therefore await the new COAs and the availability of the Mark Twain silver dollars.”
Here’s hoping for a speedy resolution to the problem, and in the meantime we can look forward to the release of the $5 gold Twain commemorative coins on Thursday.