Release of Carson City Silver Dollar Bidders List

LCD-79-106: Published: Feb 15, 1979. Publicly Released: Feb 16, 1979.

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An investigation was requested to look into how Calhoun's Collectors Society received names for a mailing list. Concern was expressed that names may have come from a list of silver dollar subscribers illegaly sold to the society by someone in GAO. GAO was not involved in the sale of Carson City silver dollars, nor does it have a list of the bidders for the silver dollars. The General Services Administration (GSA) handled the sale of the silver dollars. Release policies for mailing lists are inconsistent among the Government agencies. Given the difficulties of determining whether bidders are acting in an individual or entrepreneurial capacity and the uncertainties of the law, no conclusions have been made when, if ever, releasing a bidders list should be considered improper. GSA was contacted to ascertain whether Calhoun's Collectors Society had requestd a listing of the Carson City silver dollar bidders. The society had not requested such a list. However, individuals or organizations commonly obtain lists of bidders for the purpose of selling the names to businesses wishing to advertise the products by mail. Calhoun's Collectors Society may have obtained the silver dollars list in this manner.

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