Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2008 Proof Platinum Eagle Release Date

The US Mint has just announced the release date for 2008 Proof American Eagle Platinum coins as Monday, May 5, 2008. The brief product information update is here, although for some reason the date is only visible in the RSS feed here.

Pricing information for the upcoming coins has not yet been released.

Most of the 2007 Proof Platinum Eagles have been under product suspension due to the "increasing market value of platinum." In total the Proof Platinum Eagles have only been available for sale at the Mint for less than one week. See my previous post on 2007 Burnished and Proof Platinum Eagles for more details.

With the release of the 2008 dated coins coming next Monday, it looks like the 2007 dated coins will not go back on sale. I'll post further details on the 2008 release when they become available.


PCGS & NGC Designation for 2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007

Both PCGS and NGC grading services have now officially announced that they will recognize and attribute the 2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 variety.

NGC made the announcement first on April 17, 2008 when they confirmed the existence of the variety in this news release. According to the release, NGC will automatically assign the designation "Reverse of 2007" when applicable for any 2008-W Silver Eagles submitted. There is no additional fee necessary to receive the designation.

PCGS gave official confirmation yesterday April 29, 2008 in this release. PCGS will attribute coins with "Reverse of 2007." However, in order to receive the attribution, coins must be submitted under the "Variety Attribution Program" at an additional $20 fee.

So far, most encapsulated examples of the new variety offered for sale have been graded by NGC. This is likely due to the fact that they got off to a much earlier start recognizing and setting submission policies for the coins. They are also providing the attribution for no additional fees, which I think will keep most submissions flowing their way. PCGS's additional fee of $20 seems excessive, especially for a variety with such clear diagnostics.
2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 Mintage
2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 Discovery


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 Mintage Estimate

Since the 2008-W Burnished Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 Variety was confirmed a little over a week ago, collectors have been scrambling to check their existing coins for the variety or buy an example online. Prices on eBay quickly escalated even while the actual rarity of the variety was still unknown.

My previous post which includes basic diagnostics and details of the discovery can be found here.

Coin World has just posted a follow up to their initial story, which includes an estimate of the total population of the new variety. According to the article, there are approximately 47,000 coins bearing the 2007 reverse type. The number was provided by US Mint spokesman Michael White. The estimate is based on the fact that employees at the West Point Mint located 15 dies with the reverse type of 2007.

In the past week, prices on eBay have cooled somewhat from earlier levels as more of the coins have been put up for auction. It will be interesting to see if the mintage estimate will have any impact on prices. Based on a sampling of eBay auctions ended yesterday, current prices seem to be around the following levels:
  • Raw: approximately $300
  • NGC MS69: approximately $225
  • NGC MS70: approximately $400
Note that prices are still extremely volatile, with coins often going for much more or less. There are also current listings with Buy It Now prices below or above these levels. The following link will take you to the current eBay listings.

The question on everyone's mind- are today's prices a bargain for a rare variety or a peak as interest in the variety dissipates and supply continues to grow?

Many will point to the key date of the series, the 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle, which had a mintage of only 30,125. Today, this coin sells for $4,000 or more depending on the grade.

On the other hand, the total number of 2008-W Burnished Silver Eagles sold by the Mint as of April 24, 2008 is 208,410. (figure from Numismatic News) That means that over 20% of the coins sold by the Mint have the 2007 Reverse Type.

In either case, the story and the market for this new variety is still developing. I'll continue to post updates as events unfold.
2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 Variety Discovered
2008-W Silver Eagle with Reverse of 2007
Mint News Blog Mintage Summary

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Monday, April 28, 2008

2007-W & 2008-W Burnished Gold Eagle Mintage Figures

For the next few posts, I will be taking a look at the latest sales figures for some 2007 and 2008 precious metals related mint products. With one third of the year nearly gone and the Mint transitioning to from 2007 dated to 2008 dated products, it might be a good time to make some observations or catch some early trends.

First up are the 2007-W and 2008-W Burnished Gold Eagle Coins. As a refresher, these are the "collectible versions" of the Uncirculated Gold Eagles, which are offered for sale directly from the US Mint. The coins are struck on specially burnished blanks and carry the "W" mint mark. Mintages are usually much lower than the bullion counterparts, although offering prices are usually only slightly higher.

On April 1, 2008, the Mint officially began sales of the 2008-W Gold Eagles and ended sales of the remaining options for the 2007-W Gold Eagles. Since that time, the price of gold has recovered from a dip below the $900 mark, only to fall below $900 once again. The sales figures represent the most recent Mint Statistic from Numismaster.

The first table shows the last reported sales figures for the 2007-W Burnished Gold Eagles for each product option. While final mintages have not been released by the Mint, these should provide a good early indication.

2007-W Burnished Gold Eagle Mintage Figures
1 oz. Gold
1/2 oz. Gold
1/4 oz. Gold
1/10 oz. Gold
Gold 4 coin set 8,178

The second table shows the mint sales figures as of April 24, 2008 for the 2008-W Burnished Gold Eagles for each product option.

2008-W Burnished Gold Eagle Mintage Figures
1 oz. Gold 730
1/2 oz. Gold 272
1/4 oz. Gold 244
1/10 oz. Gold 1,981
Gold 4 coin set 711

Looking at the data, it seems like the 2007 mintages will come in relatively low, with the 1/2 ounce coin being the lowest. Taking into account the coins included in the 4 coin sets, there were only 13,358 sold. This does not seem to be translating into a premium in the secondary market yet, but it is definitely worth watching.

Sales of the 2008 dated coins seem to be off to a very slow start. After the run up in gold across the $1,000 mark earlier this year, interest in gold products in general may be waning the ongoing pause/pull back. Looking ahead, if there is a renewed run up in the price of gold, I think sales figures will once again start to move. If gold continues to fluctuate around the current range, sales will likely remain relatively muted.
2007 & 2008 Proof Gold Eagle Mintages
Mint News Blog Mintage Summary

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Friday, April 25, 2008

2008 Sacagawea Dollar Bags and Rolls Officially Announced

The US Mint has now officially announced the availability and pricing of the 2008 Sacagawea Dollar Bags and Rolls. Coins will go on sale April 28, 2008 at 12:00 Noon ET. I had a previous post when the availability date was first known here.

The ordering options and pricing are as anticipated. The Sacagawea Dollars will be available in 25 coin rolls in official US Mint wrappers or 250 coin mint-sewn bags.

The 25-coin rolls are available from either Philadelphia or Denver Mints for $35.95 per roll. 250-coin Bags are available from either Philadelphia or Denver for $319.95 per bag.

You can view the Mint's product pages for the coins at the following locations:
In my opinion, this offering definitely is worth a look. The 2008 Sacagawea Dollars are not being struck for circulation so the rolls and bags from the US Mint will be the only way to obtain them. This will keep the mintage of the coins low.

(Note: 2008 Sacagawea Dollars will be contained in the annual mint and proof sets, but these will be different versions of the coin. Mint sets will contain a version with a satin finish. Proof sets will contain the proof version.)

Other factors may also come into play to keep initial interest in the coins low, which will result in lower mintages.

First, there was an initial delay for the offering that may have damped collector interest. The 2008 Sacagawea Dollars were first announced and scheduled for release in January, but were pulled when the Mint realized that they did not have the legal authority to produce and sell the coins.

Second, collectors may overlook this offering as it seems to be getting overshadowed by the Presidential Dollar series and the impending Native American Dollar series.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Michael DeBakey M.D. Bronze Medal

Michael DeBakey M.D. Bronze Medals will be available from the US Mint tomorrow April 23, 2008 at 12:00 Noon ET. The release will coincide with the presentation of the Congressional Gold Medal to Dr. DeBakey by President Bush.

Dr. Debakey is well known for his pioneering work in cardiovascular surgery and the artificial heart. He has operated on more than 60,000 patients including Russian President Boris Yeltsin. He is 99 years old and still practices medicine to this day. Check out his Wikipedia entry for more details, including the long list of awards he has received.

The medals available from the Mint are bronze reproduction of the Congressional Gold Medal. The obverse depicts an image of Dr. Debakey in hospital scrubs with a surgery in the background. The reverse depicts a human heart placed over a globe. A ribbon encircling the heart bears the quote by Dr. DeBakey: "The pursuit of excellence has been my objective in life."

The medals will be available as a three inch bronze medal priced at $38 and a one-half inch minitiature bronze replica priced for $3.75.


Monday, April 21, 2008

2008-W Silver Eagles with Reverse of 2007

Coin World reports that an unknown number of the 2008-W Burnished Silver Eagles have been struck using the reverse die type of 2007. Coin World was first notified about the variety by John Nanney of Leesburg, GA.

The reverse type is most easily distinguished by the appearance of the "U" of "United States." Coins with the reverse of 2007 will have a bowl shaped "U." Coins with the reverse of 2008 will have a "U" with a spur on the right side of the letter. Other noticeable differences include the configuration of the stars and the tilde and spacing between the worlds "Silver" and "One."

NGC has confirmed that they will be specially designating coins with reverse style of 2007 as "Reverse of 2007." Check out their recent article for diagnostic images and details.

There has been no official word from PCGS about whether they will be designating the coins.

Although the relative rarity of the coins with the 2007 reverse style is still unknown, prices have quickly escalated. The coins were initially available for as little as $69 each on some websites. Those quickly sold out. Now eBay auctions have coins bid up to as much as $685 for examples graded NGC MS 70. Here is a list of current eBay auctions.
2008-W Silver Eagles Reverse of 2007


Friday, April 18, 2008

Bald Eagle Commemorative Sales Figures, Coin and Medal Set Sold Out?

Bald Eagle Commemorative Coins have now been on sale at the US Mint for just over 3 months. That makes it a good time to take a look at the latest sales figures to see how the program is tracking.

It also seems that another one of the product offerings may have sold out. In early March, the Three Coin Proof Set had sold out its product limit of 25,000 units. The Three Coin Proof Set contains proof versions of all of the Bald Eagle Coins: $5 Gold, $1 Silver, and 50c Clad. This morning the Bald Eagle Coin and Medal Set product page started displaying the message "Product is not available."

The Coin and Medal Set contains the $1 Silver Bald Eagle Coin and the Bronze Medal from the National Wildlife Refuge System Centennial Medal Series. This set was supposed to have a limit of 50,000 units. Sales figures still indicate far below this level, so it is possible that the set may go back on sale at some point.

Here are the full sales figures as of April 17, 2008 per Numismaster:

Sales Figures Per Product Type

Proof Unc
$5 Gold 27,374 12,245
$1 Silver 169,231 68,154
50c Clad 123,588 67,290
3 Coin Set 25,000 N/A
Young Collectors Set N/A 18,969
Coin and Medal Set N/A 21,759

And here are the sales figures per coin. This takes into account coins sold as part of sets.

Sales Figures Per Coin

Proof Unc Both Max
$5 Gold 52,374 12,245 64,619 100,000
$1 Silver 194,231 89,913 284,144 500,000
50c Clad 148,588 86,259 234,847 750,000

As you can see from the above the $5 Gold coins are closest to reaching the maximum coin mintage, now at 64.6% of the total. $1 Silver coins are at 56.8%. 50c Clad coins are at 31.3%.

This Commemorative Series has been one of the more relatively popular programs over the past few years. It will be interesting to see how the sales continue to track through the remainder of the year.

Update: As of April 29, 2008, the Coin and Medal Set is back on sale.
Bald Eagle 3 Coin Set Sold Out
Bald Eagle Coins

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Will 2007-W Burnished and Proof Platinum Eagles Go Back on Sale?

The price of platinum has been extremely volatile over the page 60 days, ranging from a low of $1,823 per ounce to a high of $2,276 per ounce. I think that this volatility has made it difficult for the Mint to reprice the currently suspended 2007 platinum products and put them back up for sale on its website.

As of the writing of this post, the Mint only has two platinum products available for sale:
  • 2007 10th Anniversary Platinum Set
  • 2007 1/10 oz. Proof Platinum Eagle
The following products are currently suspended due to the increasing market value of platinum:
  • 2007 1/2 oz. Proof Platinum Eagle
  • 2007 1/4 oz. Proof Platinum Eagle
  • 2007 4 Coin Proof Platinum Eagle Set
  • 2007-W 1 oz. Burnished Platinum Eagle
  • 2007-W 1/2 oz. Burnished Platinum Eagle
  • 2007-W 1/4 oz. Burnished Platinum Eagle
  • 2007-W 1/10 oz. Burnished Platinum Eagle
The following products appear to be sold out, the product pages list "Product is not available" rather than the suspension message.
  • 2007 1 oz. Proof Platinum Eagle
  • 2007-W 4 Coin Burnished Platinum Eagle Set
I think that a return for the suspended platinum products may be coming soon. In the past two weeks the price of platinum has finally stabilized enough to perhaps get an accurate repricing. The Mint recently brought back the 10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set.

In total, the suspended 2007 Platinum Eagle products have only been available for sale at the Mint for less than one week during 2008. The current two month suspension was preceded by another lengthy suspension, making the coins available for only a small window of time. I am sure the Mint would like to clear its remaining inventory of 2007 platinum products before 2008 are ready to be released and now seems like the time to do it.
10th Anniversary Eagle Set Back on Sale
Mint Suspends Platinum Eagle Coins
Platinum Eagle Coins


Monday, April 14, 2008

Louisa Adams First Spouse Gold Release Date May 29

The release date for Louisa Adams First Spouse Gold Coins has just been posted on the US Mint's website as May 29, 2008. This will be the sixth coin in the ongoing First Spouse Gold Coin Program and the second release of 2008.

The obverse of the coin will feature a portrait of Louisa Adams. The reverse design depicts the First Lady and her 8 year old son making an arduous journey across Europe to join her husband in Paris. Following the format of the series, the coins contain 1/2 ounce of 24k gold and carry a $10 face value.

Pricing and ordering options have not yet been announced for the offering, and it will definitely be interesting to see this information.

The pricing for coins in the series has been a point of contention this year. Two coins from the program are currently available at the US Mint, but at different prices. The Dolley Madison coins are available at $529.95 and $509.95, while the Elizabeth Monroe coins are available at $619.95 and $599.95.

See my prior post on the price of Dolley Madison vs. Elizabeth Monroe.

This pricing disparity has contributed to slack sales of the Monroe coins. The following table shows the latest sales statistics according to Numismaster.

Proof Unc Total
Madison 17,458 10,885 28,343
Monroe 6,307 3,573 9,880

Ordering options will also be interesting to note. The most recent release of Elizabeth Monroe coins were initially limited to one per household. Sales data shows that this limit was not really necessary. The limit was recently raised to ten per household.

The First Spouse Gold Program was a hot ticket for the US Mint, but started to fizzle with the fourth release. Enthusiasm was further doused by the fifth release due in part to the pricing. For the sixth release, the pricing and ordering options may again play a part in the coin's performance.
First Spouse Gold Coins Release Schedule
First Spouse Gold Coins


Thursday, April 10, 2008

10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set Back on Sale

After a long suspension, the 10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set is back on sale at the US Mint, but the resumption of sales comes with a hefty price increase. The set is now being offered at $2,649.95. The Mint has also removed the previously imposed ordering limit of one per household.

The set contains two one-half ounce Platinum Eagles, one proof version and one reverse proof version. The set was released following the success of the 20th Anniversary Gold and Silver Eagle Sets, which also contained reverse proof coins.

While the revised pricing seems shocking at first glance, it actually re-establishes the Mint's initial premium on the sets over the spot price of platinum. The following table takes a look at the the price of the set compared to the spot price of platinum on three key dates.

Mint Price Spot Platinum Premium %
Dec 13 2007 $1,949.95 $1,474.00 $475.95 24.41%
Feb 12 2008 $1,949.95 $1,911.00 $38.95 2.00%
Apr 10 2008 $2,649.95 $2,015.00 $634.95 23.96%

  • December 13, 2007 - the day when the sets first went on sale at the Mint
  • February 12, 2008 - the day before sales were suspended
  • April 10, 2008 - today, after the resumption of sales at the new price
Even though the premium is now the same as when sales began, I don't think the sets will be quick sellers unless the price of platinum starts rising once again. Collectors had gotten used to the relatively cheaper sets during the months of rising platinum prices. For a small window of time, the sets could be purchased for practically no premium at all. Re-establishing the initial premium seems like a disincentive to buy.

Based on stats from Numismaster, so far the Mint has sold 17,681 of the 10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Sets out of the maximum 30,000.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Presidential Dollar Coin Historical Signature Set

The US Mint has quietly launched another Presidential Dollar related offering- The United States Presidential Dollar Coin Historical Signature Set.

The first set in what seems to be a new ongoing offering features George Washington and can be found here. The set includes a 2007 Proof George Washington Dollar and a Presidential intaglio print with the official presidential signature from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. These come in a textured, leather-like folder with a certified of authenticity.

These sets went on sale yesterday April 8, 2008 at 12:00 Noon ET. The sets are priced at $19.95. This set seems to be a little bit of a surprise since the Mint made no prior product announcements or release notice. A reader mentioned the new set in yesterday's comments.

This offering is the latest in a plethora of Presidential Dollar products. The Mint has offered the new dollars in bags, rolls, annual proof sets, annual uncirculated sets for each mint and both mints, individual proofs, single uncirculated dollars paired with First Spouse medals, First Day Covers, and as part of the Annual Uncirculated Dollar Set.

The appeal of the Presidential Dollar Coin Historical Signature Set would seem to be the intaglio print plus the fancy packaging. I don't anticipate that this will be a very popular offering, but at least it's different than some of the other recombined Presidential Dollar products.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

2008 Sacagawea Dollars Coming on April 28

Collectors may finally have the opportunity to purchase 2008 Sacagawea Dollars. The scheduled products listing section of the US Mint's website now includes an entry for the coins with a release date of April 28, 2008.

The 2008 Sacagawea Dollars had previously been scheduled for release by the Mint on January 17, 2008. However, the offering was pulled before any coins were sold after the US Mint realized they did not have the legal authority to produce the coins. Legislation to allow the continued minting and issuance of the 2008 Sacagawea Dollars was finally signed into law on February 29, 2008.

No further information on the coins or release is currently available on the Mint's website, but the offering will presumably be for the previously announced 250-coin bags and 25-coin rolls.

Based on the previous announcement, 25-coin rolls will be available from either Philadelphia or Denver Mints for $35.95 per roll. 250-coin Bags will be available from either Philadelphia or Denver for $319.95 per bag.

Notably, 2008 will be the final year for Sacagawea Dollars in their current form. Starting in 2009, Native American Dollars will be issued. These coins will feature Sacagawea on the obverse with different reverse designs each year to celebrate important figures or events from Native American history.

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Palladium Saint Gaudens Coins Proposed

The story on a proposal for Palladium Saint Gaudens coins. This follows last month's announcement that the Mint intends to recreate the Ultra High Relief Saint Gaudens Coin.

Palladium is a silvery-white metal in the platinum family. It is often referred to as a less expensive investment alternative to platinum. Over at Coin Update, I recently linked to an article about investing in palladium. The spot price of palladium is currently $454 per ounce, so it is a less costly precious metal than either gold or platinum.

The proposed legislation states that coins would be minted in .995 pure palladium, but provides that during the first year of minting and issuance, coins may instead by minted and issued in .999 pure gold. If coins are minted in gold during the first year, they would be issued only in proof version, also no coins would be minted in palladium during the first year.

This legislation bears watching, especially for all of the collectors looking forward to seeing this classic design resurrected.


Friday, April 4, 2008

2007 United States Mint Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set

Although the 2007-W Burnished Silver Eagles have been sold out at the Mint for over a month, a reader pointed out that these coins are still available as part of another set. This is the 2007 United States Mint Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set.

This set was released by the Mint on December 3, 2007. It contains uncirculated versions of the following coins:
  • All 4 2007-P Presidential Dollars Dollars
  • 2007-D Sacagawea Dollar
  • 2007-W Silver Eagle
The set is priced at $31.95 and can be found on the Mint's website here.

So far 80,389 sets have been sold according to the latest stats from Numismaster.

The 2007-W Burnished Silver Eagle by itself seems to be selling for around $24 - $26 on eBay. If you apply this value to the set, you are getting the other 5 Uncirculated Dollars for around face value. This set is definitely one to watch for an upcoming sell out, especially if the price of silver bounces back.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Happy Birthday U.S. Mint!

On April 2, 1792, The Coinage Act was passed by Congress creating the U.S. Mint. Today marks the 216th Anniversary of this date.

The U.S. Mint is currently featuring a Happy Birthday message on its home page plus a link to download a copy of the legislation.

Some Birthday Facts from the Historian's Corner section of their website:

  • The legislation authorized the Mint to make gold coins (Eagles, Half Eagles, and Quarter Eagles), silver coins (Dollars, Half Dollars, Quarter Dollars, Dimes, and Half Dimes), and copper (Cents and Half Cents)
  • The President was authorized to construct buildings in Philadelphia. The Mint would be the first federal building constructed under the Constitution.
  • Annual salaries were set at $2,000 for the Mint's Director, $1,500 for the assayer and chief coiner, $1,200 for the engraver and treasurer, and $500 for clerks.
  • The Mint's first Director was David Rittenhouse. He was appointed by George Washington.
  • The first circulating coins produced by the Mint were 11,178 copper cents delivered in march 1793.
And here's a link to Wikipedia's entry on the Coinage Act of 1792.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

2007-W Burnished Gold Eagle Sales End

The remaining options for 2007-W Burnished Gold Eagles are no longer available for sale from the US Mint. This coincides with the start of sales for the 2008 versions of the coins.

The remaining 2007-W Burnished Gold Eagles available were the one-fourth ounce and one-tenth ounce versions. The one-ounce, half-ounce, and 4 coin set had recently sold out as covered in this prior post.

This series ends with a whimper as the price of gold has experienced a steep decline over the past week. However, even before the final week, sales had been tracking low. This was in part due to the fact that the offering had spent a significant amount of time under sales suspensions due to the volatile price of gold. The series is also somewhat obscure, as it is positioned between the popular bullion versions and the more widely collected proof versions.

The most recent sales figures for the 2007-W uncirculated Gold Eagles are below. Figures are as of March 27, 2008.

For Option Total for Coin
1 oz. 2007-W AGE 16,724 24,902
1/2 oz. 2007-W AGE
5,180 13,358
1/4 oz. 2007-W AGE
6,239 14,417
1/10 oz. 2007-W AGE
15,982 24,160
4 Coin Set 2007-W AGE

Although these are not the final numbers, it looks like at least a few coins are in for extremely low final mintages.

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2008-W Burnished Gold Eagle Sales Begin Amidst Sharp Decline in Gold

Today, the 2008-W Burnished Gold Eagles went on sale at the US Mint. Pricing and ordering options for the products have been previously outlined in this prior post. Sales have begun amidst a steep decline in the price of gold, which is sure to impact sales and collector impressions on the offering.

When the pricing for the coins was initially announced on March 27, 2008 gold was trading at $953.90 per ounce. Today, gold closed at $883.50. The Mint did not make any adjustments to their previously announced prices despite the $70 decline in gold value per ounce.

I think that the Mint will eventually adjust their prices downwards if the recent decline in precious metals values does not soon reverse itself. Before any price decreases, I would hope that the Mint temporarily suspends sales similar to how they perform price increases. This would avoid a situation where a collector purchases coins one day and finds the price significantly lower the next day without any corresponding move in gold prices.

But what is the Mint's threshold for deciding to implement a price decrease? I personally haven't seen the Mint adjust prices for a product downward in the years I have been following their offerings. So I guess we will all find out together!