Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin Images

Ahead of the official unveiling at the ANA World's Fair of Money, the US Mint has released images of the highly anticipated 2009 Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle!

I'll let the images speak for themselves:

Read my most recent post on the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle. It includes a full summary of the events surrounding the coin, predictions on the price and release of the coin.

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2007 US Mint Sets: Last Chance

Once the 2008 US Mint Sets go on sale tomorrow, the Mint will likely end sales of the 2007 US Mint Set. So today and tomorrow morning will be your last chance to order the sets directly form the Mint.

The 2007 Mint Set contains a total of 28 coins, in folders of 14 coins each. The coins contained in the sets have the special "satin finish" that the Mint has recently started using for Uncirculated Coin Sets.

Each set includes 8 Presidential Dollars, 2 Sacagawea Dollars, 2 Kennedy Half Dollars, 10 State Quarters, 2 Roosevelt Dimes, 2 Jefferson Nickels, and 2 Lincoln Cents.

Sales figures for the 2007 Mint Sets seem relatively low. According to the last update from Numismaster, 896,178 sets had been sold as of July 23, 2008. As Susan Headley mentioned on her blog, this low mintage may result in higher prices down the road.

If you've been delaying picking up some of these sets, get your order in before 12:00 Noon ET tomorrow!Publish Post


Friday, July 25, 2008

Double Prosperity Set Release 08-08-08

The US Mint has announced the second product in their Celebration Series- The Double Prosperity Set. The set will be available on August 8, 2008 at 12:00 Noon ET.

The Double Prosperity Set includes a one-half ounce Uncirculated 2008 American Buffalo Gold Coin and a one-half ounce Uncirculated 2008 American Eagle Gold Coin. Both coins will carry the "W" mint mark. The coins will be packaged in a hardwood box with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by the US Mint Director.

The sets go on sale August 8, 2008 or "08-08-08." This date was chosen since the number "8" is traditionally associated with prosperity in many Asian cultures. A date with the "triple 8" only occurs once every 100 years. The sets will be priced at $1298.95. There is no production limit placed on the sets.

Both of the coins included in this set are already available from the Mint individually. The one-half ounce Unc 2008-W American Gold Eagle is available for $565.95. The one-half ounce Unc 2008-W American Gold Buffalo is available for $539.95. This means that the Double Prosperity Set is priced $193.05 higher than the individual options for the special packaging.

Update: The US Mint has now released an image of the set and put up the product page here.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

2008 Proof Platinum Eagles Are Back

Despite some rumors to the contrary, the 2008 Proof Platinum Eagles are back on sale at the US Mint. The pricing is quite ridiculous.

Sales were suspended on June 30, 2008 when platinum was $1,921 per ounce. Since that time, platinum has dropped to $1,700 per ounce. Despite the 10% drop, the Mint has repriced the coins higher than pre-suspension prices.

For most ordering options, the premium above the value of the metal is now over 50%.

Here's a look at the new prices and the resulting premiums based on $1,700 per ounce platinum:

2008 Proof Platinum Eagle Pricing

Price Premium Percent
1 oz. 2,509.95 $809.95 47.64%
1/2 oz. 1,279.95 $429.95 50.58%
1/4 oz. 664.95 $239.95 56.46%
1/10 oz. 279.95 $109.95 64.68%
4 Coin Set 4,589.95 $1,444.95 45.94%

In all likelihood, the Mint probably came up with these prices shortly after the suspension. They basically adjust the prices of the proof versions in line with the Uncirculated versions that went on sale right after the suspension. But the market moved faster than the Mint reacted, rendering the adjustment ridiculous.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2009 Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle Unveiling

The US Mint will be unveiling the much awaited 2009 Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle Coin on July 30, 2008 at 9:30 AM ET. The unveiling will take place at the ANA World's Fair of Money in Baltimore, Maryland.

This is a modern version of August Saint-Gauden's 1907 Gold Double Eagle, which many consider to be the most beautiful coin ever created. Due to advances in technology, the Mint will be able to produce in quantity the high relief coin envisioned, but never fully realized.

US Mint Director Edmund Moy will officially open the United States Mint exhibit, which will remain open throughout the week. The exhibit will include plasters of the coin and real gold bars.

The 2009 Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle Coins are expected to be available for sale to the public next year.


Friday, July 18, 2008

2008 Proof & Unc Platinum Eagle Sales Figures

I still have not found any additional information on the missing 2008-W Proof Platinum Eagles that I posted about yesterday.

However, in the meantime, the Mint has done another odd thing. They have just released the official product release notification for the 2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagles. These had previously been released on July 1, 2008 with no official announcement from the Mint. Why the two week delay for the announcement?

At any rate, now is a good time to look at the most recent sales figures for both the 2008-W Proof and Uncirculated Platinum Eagles. Here are the latest sales figures from Numismaster. The "Coin Total" column is the total sales for each coin including the ones included in the 4 Coin Sets.

2008-W Proof and Uncirculated Platinum Eagle Sales
Product Sales Coin Total
2008-W Unc 1 oz 103 384
2008-W Unc 1/2 oz 87 368
2008-W Unc 1/4 oz 165 446
2008-W Unc 1/10 oz 320 601
2008-W Unc 4 Coin Set 281 N/A
2008-W Proof 1 oz. 1,135 1,655
2008-W Proof 1/2 oz. 443 963
2008-W Proof 1/4 oz. 571 1,091
2008-W Proof 1/10 oz. 1,040 1,560
2008-W Proof 4 Coin Set 520 N/A

The 2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagles went on sale July 1, 2008. The initial sales figures are very low. Part of this may be due to the large premiums above the platinum value priced into the coins. For example, the 1 oz. coin is priced at $2,349.95. The spot price of platinum is currently $1,824 per ounce. This results in a premium of $525.95 or 28.8%.

The 2008-W Proof Platinum Eagles went on sale May 5, 2008. Sales were suspended on June 30, 2008.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rumor: 2008-W Proof Platinum Eagles

Where are the 2008-W Proof Platinum Eagles?

The coins first went on sale at the US Mint on May 5, 2008. All product options were suspended on June 30, 2008. As of today, they have disappeared from the US Mint's Proof Platinum products page.

Here is a cached version of the US Mint Catalog's page for American Eagle Platinum Proof Coins: Cached version. (Note: As of July 20, cached page has caught up with the live page, so the previous version is no longer visible.)

Here is the current version of the page: Live version.

When the 2008 Proof Platinum Eagles were suspended, the reason cited was the standard blurb regarding increasing precious metals prices:
Due to the increasing market value of platinum, the American Eagle Platinum Proof Coins are temporarily unavailable while pricing for these option can be adjusted; therefore, no orders can be taken at this time.
In past instances where products have been suspended, the US Mint has left product pages up and simply disabled ordering options. The 2008 Proof Platinum Eagles followed this same format until today.

There was also this unsubstantiated rumor posted on a forum:
There is speculation, and I stress it is just speculation, that proof platinum production is over for the year with mintages limited to the amount already ordered/minted/fulfilled.
I placed a call to the US Mint's service number and was told that the product was suspended for repricing and no other information was available. Also, when a product is sold out, it is usually moved to the Mint's No Longer Available page found here. As of the writing of this post, the 2008 Proof Platinum coins are not listed.

So where are the 2008-W Proof Platinum Eagles? Temporary website glitch, removed for repricing, or something more?

Incidentally, if it is a repricing, today's spot platinum of $1,871 is below the spot price of platinum of $1,921 when the coins were first put on sale.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

2008 Uncirculated Mint Sets on Sale July 30

Although the official press release has not yet been issued, the US Mint recently posted the product page for the 2008 United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set. The sets will go on sale July 30, 2008 at 12:00 Noon ET.

The sets are offered at $22.95 per set. This is the same price that was charged for last year's Mint Set.

The 2008 US Mint Set contains a total of 28 coins. The coins come in folders of 14 coins each, one from the Philadelphia Mint and one from the Denver Mint. As the Mint has done in recent years, the coins contained in the Mint Sets will have a special "satin finish."

This year's set includes:
  • 8 Presidential Dollars: 2008 P & D James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Martin Van Buren.
  • 2 Sacagawea Dollars: 2008 P & D
  • 2 Kennedy Half Dollars: 2008 P & D
  • 10 State Quarters: 2008 P & D Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii
  • 2 Roosevelt Dimes: 2008 P & D
  • 2 Jefferson Nickels: 2008 P & D
  • 2 Lincoln Cents: 2008 P & D
The US Mint's product page for the offering can be found here, although ordering options won't be available until the official start of sales.
2007 Mint Set


National Park Quarter Series Proposal

Following the success of the 50 State Quarters Program, a new series of quarters with rotating reverse designs has recently been proposed. The new series would likely come to be known as the National Park Quarters.

The proposal for the new series was introduced on June 4, 2008 in a House bill known as "America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008." The format of the program would follow many aspects of the State Quarter program with a few notable differences.

If the proposal becomes law, each US State, US Territory, and the District of Columbia would select a national park or other national site to be featured on the reverse design of a circulating commemorative quarter. The new series would begin in 2010 after the completion of the State Quarter series and the six additional quarters for D.C. and the U.S. Territories in 2009.

In total the series would comprise 56 different reverse designs over a duration of 11 years. The bill contains provisions for the series to be extended for a second cycle of 11 years at the option of the Secretary of the Treasury.

The proposal also calls for the production of over-sized silver bullion duplicates of each coin. The duplicates would be three inches in diameter, contain five ounces of silver, and have edge incused lettering.

The bill has passed the House of Representatives unanimously. The newly proposed series doesn't seem to be generating much of a response from the general public, who have perhaps gotten used to the idea of coins with constantly changing designs. The proposal has generated a fair amount of criticism from some coin collectors who feel that another long series of quarters with rotating reverse designs might too much of a good thing.

In order to become law the bill must pass the Senate and then be signed into law by the President.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

2008 Uncirculated Presidential Dollar Coin Set

The US Mint has announced the release date for the 2008 Uncirculated Presidential Dollar Coin Set. The offering will go on sale July 24, 2008 at 12:00 Noon ET.

This set contains uncirculated versions of the 2008 Presidential Dollars honoring James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Martin Van Buren. The set will contain eight coins, comprised of one Philadelphia and one Denver mint coin for each President.

The coins come in a special folder which includes biographical sketches, quotes, and portraits of each president. The sets are priced at $15.95 each.

For 2007, the Mint has a similar offering, but they sold three different versions: one Philadelphia folder, one Denver folder, and one combined folder with both P & D coins. Offering only one combined version this year seems to make more sense.

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First Spouse Gold Coin Sales Figures

With gold once again on the move, it's time to take another look at the First Spouse Gold Coin series.

The US Mint currently has three First Spouse Gold Coins available for sale. This includes the final issue of 2007 honoring Dolley Madison and the first two issues of 2008 featuring Elizabeth Monroe and Louisa Adams. Check out the Mint's website here.

The Dolley Madison coins are priced surprisingly close to the value of the gold content at $509.95 and $529.95 for the uncirculated and proof version, respectively. Each coin contains one-half ounce of gold. Based on today's spot price of gold, the coin premium is less than 4% for the uncirculated version.

The Elizabeth Monroe and Louisa Adams coins are priced at $619.95 and $599.95 for the uncirculated and proof versions, respectively. This higher pricing may be part of the reason for the slack sales.

The maximum authorized mintage for each of the First Spouse coins has been set at 40,000.

Here is a full table of the First Spouse Gold Sales Figures as of July 10, 2008 from Numismaster.

Unc Proof Total
2007 Dolley Madison 11,517 17,785 29,302
2008 Elizabeth Monroe 4,087 7,018 11,105
2008 Louisa Adams 2,264 3,914 6,178

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Fractional Gold Buffalo Coins Release Date

The US Mint has announced the release date for the much awaited Fractional Gold Buffalo Coins. Both proof and uncirculated versions will go on sale July 22, 2008 at 12:00 Noon ET.

The American Buffalo Gold Coin was introduced in 2006. The obverse and reverse designs are based on James Earle Fraser's Indian Head or Buffalo Nickel. The coins were the first .9999 fine 24 karat gold coins ever struck by the US Mint. Until now, coins sold as one ounce gold bullion coins from authorized bullion dealers and in proof version directly from the US Mint.

The new offering from the Mint is for a full line of fractional Buffalo Gold Coins in both proof and uncirculated versions. This includes a one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, one-tenth ounce, and 4 coin set.

All coins will carry the "W" mint mark. The uncirculated bullion coins currently available do not have a mint mark, so this will differentiate the one ounce uncirculated coins offered by the Mint.

There are no maximum product limits set for any of the coins. They will be produced based on customer demand.

Pricing for the coins is as follows:

Ordering Option Price
Proof One Ounce $1,199.95
Proof Half Ounce $ 619.95
Proof Quarter Ounce $ 329.95
Proof Tenth-Ounce $ 159.95
Proof Four-Coin Set $2,219.95
Uncirculated One Ounce $1,059.95
Uncirculated Half-Ounce $ 539.95
Uncirculated Quarter-Ounce $ 289.95
Uncirculated Tenth-Ounce $ 129.95
Uncirculated Four-Coin Set $1,959.95

The prices for this new offering are more or less in line with prices for the comparable American Gold Eagle fractional offerings. The Buffalo Uncirculated Coins are actually priced lower than the Uncirculated Gold Eagles (except for the one-tenth ounce version). For example, the one-ounce Unc Buffalo is $1,059.95 vs. the one-ounce Unc Gold Eagle for $1,119.95.

One aspect of this release to consider is the impact on sales of the US Mint's fractional American Gold Eagle coins. If the fractional Gold Buffaloes prove popular, this may cannibalize sales of the US Mint's fractional American Gold Eagle coins. Sales have already been relatively slow this year and adding a competing option probably won't help.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

2008-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle Sales Figures

It's been over three months since the 2008-W Uncirculated Gold Eagles went on sale at the US Mint. So far sales figures for the coins have been notably slow.

The 2008-W Uncirculated Gold Eagles are the so-called "collectible versions" of the regular bullion Gold Eagles. These coins are offered directly by the US Mint and carry the "W" mint mark. They are also struck on burnished blanks and sometimes referred to as Burnished Gold Eagles.

Sales figures from Numismaster as of July 2, show the numbers coming in very low. Full table is below:

2008-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle Mintages
1 ounce 1,382
1/2 ounce 586
1/4 ounce 710
1/10 ounce 3,219
4 coin set 1,105

Most notably, the one-half ounce and one-quarter ounce coins are showing extremely low sales thus far. The one-half ounce has sold 1,691 coins and the one-quarter ounce has sold 1,815. (These take into account coins sold as part of the 4 coin set.)

There is still plenty of time to go in the sales cycle, but these coins bear some watching as potential sleeper hits. The "W" Eagles from the Mint seem to be increasingly overlooked and this may result into low mintages which will pay off down the road.
2007-W Gold Eagle Mintages

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Presidential Dollar Historical Signature Set - James Madison

The Thomas Jefferson Presidential $1 Coin Historical Signature Set will go on sale at the US Mint on July 8, 2008 at 12:00 Noon ET.

The Historical Signature Set series includes the proof version of the Presidential Dollar Coin, a special Presidential intaglio print, and the official Presidential signature. These are contained within a textured leather like folder along with a certificate of authenticity.

The sets are priced at $19.95. There are no ordering limits in place.

The US Mint has already posted the product page for the offering. It can be found here.

This set is the fourth release of the Historical Signature Set series. The previous releases honored George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagles

In a surprise move, the US Mint has put the 2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagles on sale today. There had been no release date set in their product schedule or press release to pre-announce the sale.

These are the so called "collectible versions" of the American Platinum Eagle Bullion Coins. They differ from the regular bullion coins by the inclusion of a "W" mint mark to denote West Point. The coins are also struck on specially burnished blanks and are sometimes referred to as "Burnished Platinum Eagles."

Earlier today, I had posted that the Mint suspended sales of the 2008 Proof Platinum Eagles. I had speculated that a potential reason for the suspension was a pricing conflict with the upcoming Uncirculated Eagles. Generally the proof versions of coins are sold for a premium above non-proof versions. My speculation may have been correct, since the prices for the Uncirculated versions are higher than the previous prices for the Proof versions.

Pricing information for the new release is in the table below:

2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagles
1 ounce $2,349.95
1/2 ounce $1,199.95
1/4 ounce $ 619.95
1/10 ounce $ 259.95
4 Coin Set $4,289.95

It's a little bit ironic that if you were buying Platinum Eagles from the Mint yesterday, you could have gotten proof coins for a cheaper price.

The product pages and further information from the Mint can be found here.


2008 Proof Platinum Eagles Suspended

Yesterday evening the US Mint suspended sales of the 2008 Proof Platinum Eagle Coins for all remaining options.

A previous suspension has been in place for the past five weeks for the 4 coin Proof Set. The one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce individual proof coins now join the suspension.

The 2008 Proof Platinum Coins initially went on sale May 5, 2008 when the price of platinum was $1,921 per ounce. Yesterday the closing price of platinum was to $2,063 per ounce.

The timing of the suspension is somewhat odd. In the past 30 days the price of platinum has sometimes been higher yesterday's price. Around mid-June the price spiked as high as $2,100 per ounce. Also, platinum was above the $2,060 level on at least four other occasions last month.

One possible reason for putting the suspension into place now, might be the upcoming 2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagles. These coins will go on sale at the Mint some time in June/July (no specific date yet).

Traditionally, the proof versions have a slight premium above non-proof versions. Perhaps the Mint wants to price both offerings together in order to make sure the prices correlate.


Circulating Presidential Dollar Direct Ship Rolls No Longer Available

The Circulating Presidential Dollar Direct Ship Rolls for John Quincy Adams are no longer available for sale on the US Mint's website.

This comes less than one month after the program began and the rolls first went on sale. See: Circulating Presidential Dollars Direct Ship Program.

Sales began June 11, 2008 and appear to have ended yesterday June 30, 2008.

I haven't been able to locate any information on how many rolls were made available under the program and sold by the Mint. The offering was picked up around the internet as an easy way to earn points or cash back on your credit card. It is possible that this kind of activity accounted for a significant amount of sales, accelerating the sell out.

Time will tell whether the Mint's new program will be successful at actually putting the new dollar coins into circulation. Personally, I have already spent one roll into circulation. Only 9 more to go!
Update: Susan Headley has posted that the Mint sold more than 6,500 boxes or an estimated 1.6 million John Quincy Adams Dollars through the program!