Swissmint Overwhelmed by Demand for Coins Honoring Tennis Star Federer
Posted on 12/11/2019
Switzerland’s federal mint, Swissmint, sold out of all 33,000 orders of a coin celebrating Swiss global tennis star Roger Federer, despite an avalanche of orders that knocked the mint’s website offline. Because of its crossover popularity among coin collectors and tennis fans, third-party certification service Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) is bracing for many of the coins to be submitted to it for grading and encapsulation.
|Swissmint is producing limited-edition silver 20 Franc Roger Federer coins. NGC’s holders are
tamper-evident and offer
protection so the coins’ grade remains as good as the day they were encapsulated.
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The 20 Swiss Franc silver commemorative coins celebrate the winner of 20 major singles titles, the most of any male tennis player. It is the first time in Swissmint’s 172-year history that it has struck a coin featuring a living person. The coin also was offered in the mint’s first-ever pre-sale, which was to end December 19 or whenever the coins sold out. That happened in less than four days of pre-orders, which began Dec. 2. The ordered coins, which cost 30 Swiss Francs (slightly more than $30 USD), will be shipped January 23, 2020.
People who want to buy the coins still can.
On the day they are to be issued, January 23, 2020, 22,000 more coins of higher “Proof” quality will be put on sale with a special folder. A further 40,000 Roger Federer silver coins will be issued in May 2020.
People attempting to buy one of the coins when they went on sale online Dec. 2 found that the swissmintshop.ch website was slow to respond or offline entirely because of the tremendous volume of people trying to order the coin. Two days later, the site was slow but functioning. A day after that, on Dec. 5, all 33,000 pre-order coins were sold out.
The online shop was visited by 12.9 million people in just three days, at times causing the site to crash, Swissmint said. Officials had anticipated high demand but the level was unprecedented.
“We had 2.5 million clicks. It was too much for the shop to handle,” Swissmint CEO Marius Haldimann told atptour.com, the website of the governing body of the men's professional tennis circuits.
“We expected and planned for high demand, but we never imagined it would be this big,” Haldimann told the website. “When Roger posted a link on his social media channels, the website immediately had problems due to all the traffic. Some fans could access the shop but could not finish the order. Others could not get onto the website.”
The 20 Franc coins already ordered are 83.5% silver and 16.5% copper, 32.8 mm in diameter and weigh 20 grams, according to Swissmint. They were struck in with an “uncirculated” finish.
If they were ordered with a special folder (5,000 were available), they cost 40 Swiss Francs (slightly more than $40 USD).
The coins that will go on sale January 23 will be struck in Proof quality, which has a special finish. These coins will be individually packed in coin capsules and sold in a presentation case complete with a numbered certificate of authenticity. They are expected to cost 60 Swiss Francs (slightly more than $60 USD).
A gold 50 Swiss Franc Roger Federer coin also will be issued, with a different design, in May 2020, according to Swissmint. The mint’s 50 Franc coins are 90% gold and 10% copper, 25.1 mm in diameter and weigh 11.29 grams. The price of the gold coins has not been announced.
Federer spent 237 consecutive weeks as world No. 1, holds the most grand-slam men's singles titles and has won 103 singles titles so far. He has been one of the top three male tennis stars for more than 15 years.
He also has made a name for himself off the court. In 2003, just as he had begun to win major tournaments, Federer established a foundation to support aid for children. In 2006, he was named the first Swiss UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. The mint also cited his easy-going nature and accessibility to his fans as reasons to honor him with a coin.
"Thank you Switzerland and thank you Swissmint for this incredible honor and privilege," Federer said in a tweet.
NGC is the world’s largest and most trusted third-party authentication, grading and encapsulation service for coins, tokens and medals, with more than 44 million collectibles certified since 1987. Its experts authenticate coins, grade their condition on an internationally recognized scale of 1 to 70 and encapsulate them in protective, tamper-evident holders with unique certification numbers.
For more information on NGC’s services, go to NGCcoin.de