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U.S. Mint Wants to Modernize its Lucrative Commemorative Coin Business

Coins from the initial strike of Arizona quarters tumble out of the press and into a collection bin during a ceremony at the U.S. Mint in Denver.

Coins from the initial strike of Arizona quarters tumble out of the press and into a collection bin during a ceremony at the U.S. Mint in Denver. // David Zalubowski/AP File Photo

The U.S. Mint is looking for a vendor to completely replace the hodgepodge of systems that currently manage its multi-billion dollar business in commemorative coin sales, solicitation documents show.

The Mint has made $2.6 billion from commemorative coin sales over the past five years, which it uses to fund its operations, according to the request for proposals posted March 22.  

The 12-year-old Integrated Retail Information System it uses to manage those operations has become increasingly outdated, however, and is ill-equipped to interact with customers on newer platforms such as via mobile phones and through online chats, the Mint said.

The IRIS system includes order management, e-commerce and order fulfillment systems, the Mint said. Many of those systems were brought on piecemeal and weren’t built to work together.

The Mint’s goal is for a vendor to take over all commemorative coin sales with a single end-to-end system that would be wholly owned by the contractor, the solicitation said. The proposed contract would include monitoring coins for fraud and should reduce the overall cost of Mint operations, the solicitation said.

The Mint has sold about 40 million commemorative coins during the past five years, the solicitation said. About 80 percent of its coin orders are online.

The vendor also would be charged with keeping pace with new technologies such as interacting with customers via mobile phones and online chats, the solicitation said.

The new system must be prepared to go live by October 2014. 

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