Can you imagine throwing out more than $1 million in gold coins? That’s what Pitney Bowes Government Solutions (PBGS) did to 1,449 2007-W Dolley Madison First Spouse $10 .9999-fine half-ounce gold coins in 2013 when the company accidentally incinerated, without metal reclamation, a pallet of the gold bullion coins.
PBGS’s insurance provider compensated the United States Mint $1,015,941.87 for the incident, in which the unsold coins were discarded along with their packaging. The U.S. Mint’s protocol calls for separating unsold coins from their packaging, with the packaging materials heading for incineration and the coins melted for recycling.
The matter was recorded in a 2017 memo, stating the coins could not be accounted for on January 16, 2013. The memo states, “PBGS conducted an internal review and determined that the missing pallet of gold coins had been inadvertently placed next to 23 pallets of ‘detrash’ packaging to be incinerated at a waste disposal and incineration facility.”
Security video confirmed the coins and packaging were both sent to the incinerator. This and other findings from an audit led the U.S. Mint to cut ties with PBGS, awarding a 10-year contract to PSFWeb to handle a variety of duties including operating the U.S. Mint’s website and processing of customer service matters, and shipping and handling of orders.