The United States Mint has delivered another blow to sagging first-class mail.
In a Dec. 15 announcement, the Mint, a branch of the U.S. Treasury Department, said that it will no longer accept mail orders for coins and medals after Sept. 30, 2016.
Michael White, a spokesman for the Mint's office of corporate communications in Washington, emailed the notice in a "note to editors."
In the note, the Mint blamed booming sales via the Internet for the change.
“The reality of the digital environment means that paper orders placed through the mail are increasingly not accepted as [the Mint’s] inventory is depleted quickly through online and telephone channels in real time,” the Mint said.
“This is especially true for high-demand products with limited mintages.
“By eliminating mail orders and encouraging all customers to shop online or by phone, the Mint will be offering more ordering consistency and eliminating those hard copy orders that take longer to receive, process and fulfill.”
The note said the Mint will no longer distribute mail-order forms with its catalogs and mailings as of Jan. 1.
It said those notices will advise customers to place their orders by telephone (800-USA-MINT), through the mint’s website, or via the Mint’s sales counters in Washington, Philadelphia and Denver.
After Sept. 30, any mail orders "will be returned to customers with instructions to place the order by telephone or online, provided the products are still available," the notice said.
“Oh well. Another paper option bites the dust,” said Gene del Polito, president of the Association for Postal Commerce.
White said the Mint will continue to ship coins and medals by mail to its customers.