Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Price Performance for US Mint Sold Out 2008 Products


It's been a wild year for US Mint customers. Volatile precious metals prices combined with the strong worldwide demand for bullion related products has resulted in long suspension periods, numerous product re-pricings, and unexpected sell outs.

To date, more than thirty 2008 dated products have sold out. This is a huge number of sell outs to occur prior to year end. In the past few years, prior year dated products have been available for many months into the following year. Some of this year's sold out products even include the US Mint's "core" products such as the 2008 Proof Set. Another very early and unexpected sell out was the 2008 Proof Silver Eagle. This coin is a favorite for holiday gift giving, but it sold out in August, never to return.

Prices for the vast majority of sold out products have already moved higher on the secondary market, in many cases significantly. I recently compiled some data to find the approximate secondary market price levels for sold out 2008 US Mint products. The data is presented in a table below.

The first column lists the product description. The second lists the US Mint's last price before the sell out. The third column lists the price range for completed eBay auctions from the last ten days. And the fourth column shows the percentage price change between the US Mint price and the lower number from the current price range. The price ranges only include uncertified coins. The numbers also do not take into account shipping charges, or differentiate fixed price and auction listings. Although it's not perfect, I think the data provides a good indication of general price levels.

2008-W Uncirculated Gold Buffalo

Product Mint Price Recent Price Change
1 oz. 999.95 1500 - 1550 50%
1/2 oz. 524.95 650 - 720 24%
1/4 oz. 297.45 500 - 530 68%
1/10 oz. 129.95 275 - 300 112%
4 coin set 1902.45 2975 - 3250 56%
View current eBay auctions





2008-W Proof Gold Buffalo

Product Mint Price Recent Price Change
1 oz. 1049.95 1625 - 1900 55%
1/2 oz. 549.95 700 - 770 27%
1/4 oz. 312.45 484 - 579 55%
1/10 oz. 164.95 307 - 395 86%
4 coin set 2005.45 3295 - 3500 64%
View current eBay auctions









2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagles

Product Mint Price Recent Price Change
1 oz. 1069.95 1350 - 1650 26%
1/2 oz. 569.95 650 - 700 14%
1/4 oz. 319.95 380 - 420 19%
1/10 oz. 134.95 176 - 180 30%
4 coin set 2089.95 2800 - 3000 34%
View current eBay auctions





2008-W Proof Platinum Eagles

Product Mint Price Recent Price Change
1 oz. 1119.95 1700 - 1775 52%
1/2 oz. 599.95 829 - 849 38%
1/4 oz. 359.95 550 - 630 53%
1/10 oz. 199.95 290 - 350 45%
4 coin set 2179.95 3100 - 3100 42%
View current eBay auctions





Other 2008 US Mint Products

Product Mint Price Recent Price Change
Legacy Collection 100.00 150 - 170 50%
Pr Silver Eagle 31.95 80 - 100 150%
Proof Set 26.95 45 - 55 67%
State Quarter Pr Set 13.95 30 - 45 115%

Some observations and thoughts after compiling this data.

- The biggest winner so far is the 2008 Proof Silver Eagle. The US Mint's issue price was $31.95. Coins are currently selling for $80 to $100 each, representing an increase of at least 150%. These coins sold out the earliest, and the most unexpectedly. I think the latter is responsible for a big portion of the price appreciation. On a historical basis, the estimated mintage of 713,236 is far above the low mintage issues of the 1990's, most of which sell for lower prices.

- Another big winner includes the 2008 Proof Set. Once again the sell out was unexpected, which contributed to the fast price appreciation. The sell out is also not easily explained since this set does not contain any precious metals content, a factor that likely had a hand in most of the other sell outs. The estimated mintage of 1.4 million is extremely low on a historical basis. A regular proof set has not had a mintage this low since the 1950's.

- The Gold Buffalo coins and Platinum Eagles have both performed well. The fractional Gold Buffaloes now represent a one year only issue, which seems to be causing some excitement. All of the Platinum Eagles have relatively low mintages, with the proof versions seemingly having hte lowest mintage for any proof Platinum Eagles. Seeing the price performance and low mintages of these coins makes think sell outs for the remaining 2008-W Uncirculated and Proof Gold Eagles is not far behind.

- The sold out coins which seem particularly difficult to find are the 2008 Proof Platinum Eagles. In particular, the one ounce coin and 4 Coin Set only had a handful of completed auctions in the last ten days. The majority of the current auctions are fixed price listings with prices much higher than the ranges above.

Discuss this post on Coin Network!


I may not fit in another post before the end of the year- so if this is the last one Happy New Year to everyone and thank you for reading Mint News Blog throughout 2008!

Labels:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

National Park Quarters Bill Signed into Law

On Tuesday, December 23, 2008, the President signed H.R. 6184 into law. This establishes a program for a new series of quarters with rotating reverse designs featuring National Parks or National Sites in each of the 50 States, Washington DC, and each US Territory.

I wrote a previous post examining some of the pros and cons of the proposed National Parks Quarters.

Opponents of the series say that the concept of rotating reverse designs has been overused. When the concept was first introduced in 1999, the concept was new and innovate. Now it has become stale. For 2009, there will actually be more circulating coins with rotating designs than coins with static designs. Rotating designs for 2009 will include the Lincoln Cent, DC & US Territories Quarter, Presidential Dollars, and Native American Dollars.

Using several designs per denomination per year has also created an enormous number of coins. Next year, circulating coins will include four cents, one nickel, one dime, six quarters, one half dollar, and five dollar coins. This makes a total of 18 different coins. If you count the various versions of each coin, the number swells to 98 coins. This includes business strikes from Philadelphia and Denver, satin finish mint set coins from Philadelphia and Denver, proof coins, and silver proof coins.

Supporters of the new series cite the fact that the 50 State Quarters Program created millions of new coin collectors, inspired people to examine their pocket change and learn about the States. There is some validity to these arguments. The "new State Quarters" may keep some people collecting who would have otherwise stopped after the completion of the 50 States. The designs featuring National Parks and Sites will also bring greater awareness to some of America's most beautiful areas.

I've also stated that some of the designs for National Park Quarters might be superior to the prior State Quarters. Some of the State Quarter designs became cluttered by trying to incorporate a cacophony of different symbols. The National Park Quarters would more likely take focus on a single area of natural beauty or historically significant site.

Whatever your opinion on the National Park Quarters, the series has now become a reality. Look for them in 2010.

Labels:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2009 First Spouse Gold Coin Designs

Today the US Mint unveiled the designs for 2009 First Spouse Gold Coins. This will be the third year of release for the 24 karat one-half ounce gold coin series honoring the spouses of the Presidents. This year will feature five coins since President John Tyler had a first and second wife.

During 2009, First Spouse Gold Coins will be issued to honor Anna Harrison, Letitia Tyler, Julia Tyler, Sarah Polk, and Margaret Taylor. Below you should see a slide show presenting the obverse and reverse designs for each of the five coins.


Find more photos like this on Coin Network - Coin Collecting Social Network

Anna Harrison First Spouse Gold Coin - The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Anna Harrison, spouse of President William Henry Harrison. The obverse was designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Joseph Menna. The reverse portrays Mrs. Harrison teaching students. It was designed by Thomas Cleveland and sculpted by Charles Vickers.

Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin - The obverse features a portrait of Letitia Tyler, the first wife of President John Tyler. She had served as the Second Lady while her husband was William Henry Harrison's Vice President. She subsequently served as the First Lady after John Tyler obtained the office of President via succession until her death in 1842. The obverse was designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The reverse portrays Mrs. Tyler with her two oldest children at Cedar Grove Plantation. The reverse was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Norman E. Nemeth.

Julia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin - The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Julia Tyler, second with of President John Tyler. She served as the First Lady following their marriage on June 26, 1844. The reverse features Mrs. Tyler and President Tyler dancing at a White House Ball. The obverse and reverse were designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart.

Sarah Polk First Spouse Gold Coin
- The obverse features a portrait of Sarah Polk, spouse of President John K. Polk. The reverse portrays Mrs. Polk working to further her husband's career. The obverse and reverse of the coin were designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.

Margaret Taylor First Spouse Gold Coin
- The obverse features a portrait of Margaret Taylor, spouse of President Zachary Taylor. The obverse was designed by Phebe Hemphill and sculpted by Charles Vickers. The reverse portrays Mrs. Taylor comforting a wounded soldier. It was designed by Mary Beth Zeitz and sculpted by Jim Licaretz.

The US Mint has not yet published the details of the specific release dates, pricing, and ordering information for the coins. The Anna Harrison First Spouse Coin should be released some time in the Spring.

Labels: ,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Join Coin Network and Don't Miss a Thing


Have you joined Coin Network yet?

The new social networking site for coin collectors launched earlier this month and has already reached 350 members with more signing up daily.

The site has been growing on all fronts. Over 500 coin photos have been uploaded, including some incredible albums of early and modern US Commemorative coins. The video section is also growing. A new Coin Network member recently shared some of his own independently produced coin videos.

The forums have already become an excellent source of information and commentary on a wide array of numismatic topics. They are also becoming a source of breaking and inside information about the US Mint. There are already a few examples of news reaching Coin Network before it reached Mint News Blog.

After I posted a preview of the upcoming Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, a Coin Network member shared some "inside" information he had about the potential price for the coins. Today, I noticed that the 2008-P Sacagawea Dollar rolls were back on sale at the US Mint. The information was instantly posted on Coin Network for any members who wanted to take advantage. These rolls have been unavailable for a week and presumably sold out. They have already sold on eBay for over $50.

And finally, the best reason to join Coin Network is that you will have an opportunity to network and interact with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of coin collectors. If you haven't already, please check out Coin Network and consider joining!


Thanks for staying tuned! Tomorrow I'll be back to regular posting with an examination of recently sold out US Mint products.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Last Chance for US Mint's "Last Chance Sale"

The US Mint's Last Chance Sale will end today December 19, 2008 at 5:00 PM. This sale began on November 12, 2008 and was held to hep the US Mint clear their inventory before moving to a new shipping facility.

Many of the biggest bargains sold out on the first weekend. Below is a list of the products still available. Further down the page, you will find a list of all the products which have sold out.

Products Still available

Annual Sets
2007 United States Mint Proof Set
2007 United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set
2007 United States Mint Silver Proof Set
2007 United States Mint 50 State Quarters Silver Proof Set

50 State Quarters Bags & Rolls
Minnesota 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
Minnesota 1,000-Coin Bag (D)
Oregon 1,000-Coin Bag (D)
Colorado 100-Coin Bag (P)
Nebraska 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
Nebraska 1,000-Coin Bag (D)
Nebraska 100-Coin Bag (D)
Colorado 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
North Dakota 100-Coin Bag (D)
North Dakota 1,000-Coin Bag (D)
South Dakota 100-Coin Bag (D)
Montana 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
Wyoming 100-Coin Bag (P)
Wyoming 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
Wyoming 100-Coin Bag (D)
Wyoming 1,000-Coin Bag (D)
Utah 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
Utah 1,000-Coin Bag (D)
Oklahoma Two-Roll Set
Oklahoma 100-Coin Bag (P)
Oklahoma 100-Coin Bag (D)
Oklahoma 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
Oklahoma 1,000-Coin Bag (D)
New Mexico Two-Roll Set
New Mexico 100-Coin Bag (P)
New Mexico 100-Coin Bag (D)
New Mexico 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
New Mexico 1,000-Coin Bag (D)
Arizona Two-Roll Set
Arizona 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
Arizona 100-Coin Bag (D)
Arizona 100-Coin Bag (P)
Arizona 1,000-Coin Bag (D)

Other Bags & Rolls
2001 Kennedy Half-Dollar Two-Roll Set
2002 Sacagawea Dollar 2000-Coin Bag (P)
2002 Sacagawea Dollar 2000-Coin Bag (D)
2005 Ocean in View Nickel 1,000-Coin Bag (P)
2005 Ocean in View Nickel 1,000-Coin Bag (D)


50 State Quarters First Day Coin Covers
Georgia
Connecticut
South Carolina
New Hampshire
Virginia
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
Vermont
Kentucky
Tennessee
Ohio
Louisiana
Indiana
Mississippi
Illinois
Alabama
Maine
Missouri
Arkansas
Michigan
Florida
Texas
Iowa
Wisconsin
California
Minnesota
Oregon
Kansas
West Virginia
Nevada
Nebraska
Colorado
North Dakota
South Dakota
Montana
Idaho
Wyoming
Utah

Presidential $1 Coin Coin Covers
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison

50 State Quarters Coin & Die Sets
North Carolina (P)
Rhode Island
Maine (D)
Iowa (P)
Oregon (P)
Nebraska (P)
Colorado (P)
North Dakota (D)
North Dakota (P)
South Dakota (D)
South Dakota (P)
Montana (D)
Montana (P)
Washington (P)
Idaho (D)
Idaho (P)
Wyoming (P)
Wyoming (D)
Utah (D)

50 State Quarters Collector’s Spoons
Nevada
Nebraska
Colorado
North Dakota
South Dakota
Montana
Washington
Idaho
Wyoming
Utah
Oklahoma
New Mexico
Arizona

50 State Quarters Greetings from America Series
1999 Card Set
1999 Portfolio
2000 Card Set
2000 Portfolio
2001 Card Set
2001 Portfolio
2002 Card Set
2002 Portfolio
2003 Card Set
2003 Portfolio
2004 Card Set
2004 Portfolio
2005 Card Set
2005 Portfolio
2006 Card Set
2006 Portfolio
2007 Card Set
2007 Portfolio
Card Set Album
Portfolio Album

Sold Out Products

2007 United States Mint 50 State Quarters Proof Set
2004 United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set
2006 United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set
50 State Quarters And Euro Coin Collection
Official Coin Collecting Starter Kit
Wisconsin Two-Roll Set
Minnesota Two-Roll Set
Colorado 1,000-Coin Bag (D)
Utah Two-Roll Set
2001 Sacagawea Golden Dollar Roll (P)
2003 Jefferson Nickel Two-Roll Set
2004 Sacagawea Golden Dollar 2000-Coin Bag (D)
2005 Sacagawea Golden Dollar 2000-Coin Bag (P)
2001 Kennedy Half-Dollar 200-Coin Bag
First Day Coin Cover New Jersey
First Day Coin Cover Washington
First Day Coin Cover George Washington
First Day Coin Cover John Adams
Coin and Die Set Nebraska (D)
Coin and Die Set Tennessee (D)
Collector's Spoon West Virginia
Collector's Spoon Iowa
2004 Westward Journey Nickel Series Coin Set
2006 Westward Journey Nickel Series Coin Set

Labels:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

US Mint 2009 Product Schedule

The US Mint has now posted the first part of their 2009 Product Release Schedule.

A few notables:

- The first product available will be the 2009 DC & US Territories Quarters Proof Set on January 5, 2009.

- The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin will be available on January 22, 2009.

- The Abraham Lincoln Commemorative will be available on February 12, 2009. (Lincoln's birthday)

- Missing from the schedule are all Silver, Gold, and Platinum Eagles. Last year the Proof Silver Eagle was the first product released on January 3, 2008.

The full schedule appears below, as posted on the US Mint's website here.
Availability Date Product Description
January 5, 2009 United States Mint 2009 District of Columbia & U.S. Territories Quarters Proof Set™
January 15, 2009 Native American $1 Coin Rolls
January 22, 2009 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin
January 22, 2009 Kennedy Half-Dollar Bag and Two-Roll Set
January 26, 2009 District of Columbia Bags and Two-Roll Sets
February 10, 2009 2009 United States Mint Presidential $1 Coin Proof Set™
February 12, 2009 Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar
February 19, 2009 William Henry Harrison $1 Coin Rolls
March 26, 2008 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar
Spring District of Columbia Official First Day Coin Cover
Spring First Spouse Series One-Half Ounce Gold Proof Coin – Anna Harrison
Spring First Spouse Series One-Half Ounce Gold Uncirculated Coin – Anna Harrison
Spring Anna Harrison Bronze Medal 1 5/16"
Spring United States Mint 2009 District of Columbia & U.S. Territories Quarters Silver Proof Set™
Spring 2009 Presidential $1 Coin Uncirculated Set (P&D)
Spring William Henry Harrison $1 Coin Cover
Spring United States Mint Presidential $1 Coin & First Spouse Medal Set™ - William Henry Harrison
Spring Puerto Rico Bags and Two-Roll Sets
Spring 2009 United States Mint Proof Set®
Spring Puerto Rico First Day Coin Cover
Spring John Tyler $1 Coin Rolls
Spring Guam Bags and Two-Roll Sets
Spring 2009 United States Mint Silver Proof Set™

For anyone looking to run comparisons with last year, I have created an archived version of the US Mint's 2008 Product Release Schedule.

Labels:

2008-W Uncirculated & Proof Gold Eagle Sales Figures


The 2008-W Uncirculated & Proof American Gold Eagles have been somewhat overlooked this year. The coins were somewhat out shined by other gold offerings from the US Mint, such as the Gold Buffalo, and also hampered by a summer decline in the price of gold. With the recent rise in the price of gold and the potential for some low mintage keys, the 2008-W Gold Eagles deserve a fresh look.

As of the writing of this post, the one-ounce 2008 Proof Gold Eagle has sold out. All of the other individual coins and 4 Coin Sets remain available.

Below are the sales figures as of December 16 from Numismater's Mint Stats. The first column indicates the sales for each individual product offering. The second column indicates the total sales per coin (individual sales + 4 Coin set sales).

2008-W Uncirculated Gold Ealge Sales Figures
1 oz 4,463 6,381
1/2 oz 1,601 3,519*
1/4 oz 2,250 4,168
1/10 oz 6,911 8,829
4 Coin Set 1,918

2008 Proof Gold Eagle Sales Figures

1 oz 16,327 25,896
1/2 oz 3,169 12,738
1/4 oz 4,639 14,208
1/10 oz 10,335 19,904
4 Coin Set 9,569

*plus an unknown number included in Double Prosperity Set

Immediately apparent are the extremely low sales levels for the uncirculated "W" coins. For each coin, this year's sales figures are less than half of last year's final reported numbers. The numbers are also far below the sales figures for the recently sold out 2008-W Unicruclated Gold Buffalo coins, which are already selling for big premiums.

The question is how much longer the 2008-W Unc Gold Eagles will remain on sale, and how much will sales grow during that time? Since one ounce Proof Gold Eagle coin has already sold out, this might be an indication that the US Mint's inventory levels are low and other sell outs might be close behind.

Personally, I like the one-quarter ounce 2008-W Uncircualted Gold Eagle. Although the chart above shows it with a slightly higher mintage than the one-half ounce coin, there are an unknown number of the one-half ounce coins sold as part of the Double Prosperity Set. I have not seen any sales figures for this set, but I would guess that at least 10,000 or more have sold. After this figure is added to the individual sales and 4 coin set sales, the one-half ounce coin becomes less remarkable.

The one ounce 2008-W Unc Gold Eagle also seems like a bargain. After the recent move in the price of gold, this coin has only a small premium over the price of regular bullion versions of the coin. The potential for this coin to be a low mintage key more than makes up for this premium.

What are your thoughts on the 2008-W Unc & Proof Gold Eagles? Join the discussion on Coin Network.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2008 Sacagawea Dollars Sold Out


The pace of sell outs at the US Mint continues to surprise me. Two coins that I recently mentioned as potential Sleeper Hits have sold out for most ordering options. Additionally, two bullion related products have gone on backorder, which recently has been a precursor to the official sell outs.

The sold out products include the following:

2008 Sacagawea Dollar 25-coin rolls- Philadelphia
2008 Sacagawea Dollar 25-coin rolls- Denver

2008 Sacagawea Dollar 250-coin bags- Philadelphia

2008 Sacagawea Dollar 250-coin bags- Denver
2008 Kennedy Half 200-coin bags (Philadelphia & Denver)


The recently backordered products include the following:

2008 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set
2008 Proof Gold Eagle 1 ounce individual coin


As written in my "sleeper hits" post, I see some good potential for the 2008 Sacagawea Dollars and 2008 Kennedy Halves. Business strikes for these coins were not minted for circulation and only sold in bags and rolls. Based on the most recent US Mint production figures, these coins will both have the lowest (business strike) mintages for each respective series. The 2008 Kennedy Half P&D Roll Set is the only option still available, but I think these will sell out soon.

Regarding the backordered products, so far the 2008-W Uncirculated and Proof Gold Eagles have taken a back seat to the excitement around the 2008-W Unc & Proof Gold Buffalo coins. With the Gold Buffaloes gone and the price of gold rising daily, I think there will be a pick up in interest for the Gold Eagles. I will be taking a closer look at the 2008-W Gold Eagles tomorrow.

Labels:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Direct Ship Native American Dollars


The US Mint has announced the availability of the 2009 Native American Dollar under the Direct Ship Program. The coins can be ordered starting on January 2, 2009.

The US Mint's Direct Ship Program was launched in June 2008 as a way to remove barriers and improve circulation of dollar coins. Consumers and business are able to order quantities of 250 or 500 dollar coins directly from the US Mint at face value, with no additional charges for shipping. Traditionally, dollar coins have been distributed by the Federal Reserve Banks in bulk quantities to depository institutions. This bulk distribution may prevented some retailers and smaller banks from obtaining smaller quantities coins.

Coins ordered through the Direct Ship Program come in 25-coin rolls in bank style wrappers. The coins are not separated by mint mark and are "circulation grade." Based on experiences so far, the coins have been uncirculated. This makes the rolls very similar to those offered under the US Mint's Bags and Rolls Program. These coins are sold for a premium, but the only difference seems to be the US Mint branded packaging and the fact that you can order coins from a specific Mint.

The first dollar coin offered under the program was the John Quincy Adams Presidential Dollar. The offerings were later expanded to include all prior releases of the Presidential Dollar program, and subsequently the Andrew Jackson Presidential Dollar.

To date, the Martin Van Buren Presidential Dollar has not been offered under the program. Direct Ship rolls for John Quincy Adams and James Monroe are currently shown as unavailable on the US Mint's website.

Labels:

2010 National Parks Quarters

It looks like we're going to have another lengthy series of circulating commemorative quarters with rotating reverse designs.

In all likelihood, the bill known as H.R. 6184 America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 will soon become law, authorizing a new series of National Park Quarters. The legislation passed in the House on July 9, 2008 and recently passed in the Senate on December 10, 2008. The bill now awaits the president's signature.

The new program would be similar to the prior 50 State Quarters Program. The legislation would authorize a new series of quarters with reverse designs emblematic of a National Park or National Site in each State, the District of Columbia, and each US Territory.

The quarters would be issued in the order that the park or site was first established as a National Park or National Site. The series feature five new designs per year until a site or park has been featured from every state, Washington DC, and every US territory. The legislation also allows for a possible extension for a second round of designs, at the option of the Secretary of the Treasury.

When the legislation was first introduced in June, many coin collectors were already criticizing the new program as "too much of a good thing." The 50 State Quarters Program created millions of new coin collectors and made countless others start to take a closer look at coins in circulation. The idea of frequently changing coins designs was novel and exciting in 1999.

Ten years later, the concept of rotating designs is now approaching the point of being over used. In fact, in 2009 there will be more circulating coin series with rotating designs than series with static designs. Coins with rotating designs will include the Lincoln Cent, DC & US Territories Quarters, Presidential Dollars, and Native American Dollars. This compares to coins with static designs: Jefferson Nickel, Roosevelt Dime, and Kennedy Half.

On the other hand, the series does have the potential to create some beautiful and unique designs. Some of the better designs for the State Quarter series have featured National Parks, such as the Arizona State Quarter featuring the Grand Canyon, the Oregon State Quarter featuring Crater Lake, or the West Virginia State Quarter featuring New River Gorge.

The new series would also help bring a greater appreciation of the US National Park System just as the 50 State Quarters showed Americans the diversity and uniqueness of each state.

What do you think? Discuss the pros and cons of the National Park Quarters on Coin Network.

Labels:

Monday, December 15, 2008

2009 Washington DC & US Territories Quarters

Update: View 2009 Quarter Coin Images and Release Dates

Today, the United States Mint unveiled the designs for the upcoming Washington DC and US Territories Quarters Program. Below you should see a slide show featuring all of the six new reverse designs for 2009.


Find more photos like this on Coin Network - Coin Collecting Social Network

This program will follow the popular 50 State Quarters Program. Quarters will be issued to honor the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The coins will be released in roughly two month intervals throughout 2009. The obverse design will continue to display the rendition of George Washington designed by John Flanagan after the William Cousin's original for the Washington Quarter.

Washington DC Quarter
- The design features Duke Ellington seated at his piano. An inscription includes the District's official motto "Justice for All" and "Duke Ellington." This reverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart.

Puerto Rico Quarter
- The design features a view overlooking the sea from a sentry box in Old San Juan. A hibiscus appears at right. An inscription reads "Isla del Enchnto" which translates to "Island of Enchantment." This reverse was designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna.

Guam Quarter
- The design features a boat known as the flying proa, an outline of the island, and a latte stone. An inscription reads "Guahan I Tanó ManChamorro" which translates to "Guam Land of the Chamorro." Chamorro is one of the official languages of Guam which holds an important place in Guam’s identity as a link to their ancestors. The reverse was designed by David Westwood and sculpted by Jim Licaretz.

American Samoa Quarter - The design features items used in Samoan ceremonies, the ava bowl and whisk and staff. The coastline of the island is visible in the background. An inscription reads "Samoa Muamua Le Atua" which translates to "Samoa, God is First." The reverse was designed by Stephen Clark and sculpted by Charles Vickers.

US Virgin Islands Quarter - The design features the Banana Quit bird, Yellow Cedar flower, and a Tyre Palm. Outlines of the three major islands is also included. An inscription reads "United in Pride and Hope." The reverse was designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna.

Northern Mariana Islands Quarter
- The design most prominently features a latte stone and a Carolinian canoe with sail. Other native birds and plants are depicted with a pacific basil framing the design. The reverse was designed by Richard Masters and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.



Labels: ,

2008 US Proof Set Sold Out


The 2008 US Proof Set has sold out. The sell out appears to have occurred some time over the weekend. A call to the US Mint's customer service line confirms that the coins are sold out and will not return.

Along with the sell out of the 2008 Proof Silver Eagles in August, this is one of the US Mint's most unexpected sell outs. The Proof Set is one of the US Mint's core products and has usually been available for sale well into the following year. This set also has no precious metals content. Some of the recent sell outs for gold and platinum products are potentially related to precious metals issues.

The latest sales statistics indicate that 1,377,242 2008 proof sets were sold as of December 11. For comparison, the 2007 Proof Set sold more than 1.7 million sets.

Perhaps as a testament to the US Mint's poor inventory planning, last year's 2007 Proof Set is currently available for sale as part of the US Mint's Last Chance Sale. The implication is that the 2007 set was vastly overproduced while the 2008 set was vastly under produced.

The unexpected nature of the sell out combined with the relatively low production of the set have resulted in soaring prices on the secondary market. Recently completed eBay auctions show the sets selling for prices ranging from $40 to $50 each. The US Mint's issue price was $26.95.

Remaining 2008-dated annual sets which still available from the US Mint now include the 2008 Silver Proof Set, 2008 Mint Set, 2008 Silver State Quarters Proof Set, 2008 Presidential Dollar Proof Set, and the 2008 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set.

What are your thoughts on this unexpected sell out? Share your opinion on Coin Network.

Labels:

Friday, December 12, 2008

2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin Preview

In January 2009 the US Mint intends to release the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin. Out of all of next years announced releases, this coin seems to have garnered the most interest. The coin will recreate Augustus Saint Gaudens' original 1907 design for an ultra high relief double eagle coin.

This post will provide a summary of events surrounding the coin, description of design modifications from the original, and some predictions and opinions about the pricing and release of the coins.
Summary of Events

The upcoming coin was first announced by US Mint Director Edmund Moy at a CCAC meeting on March 13, 2008. From the outset, it was billed as the recreation of the "nation's most beautiful coin."

The designs for the recreation were officially unveiled on July 30, 2008 following the opening ceremony for the ANA World's Fair of Money in Baltimore. The coins were part of a four case, museum-like exhibit at the United States Mint's booth.

The first of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles were struck at the West Point Mint on November 24, 2008. The first coin struck was sent to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. The second coin struck was retained by the US Mint as an addition to their heritage assets.

Design Modifications

The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle will be struck in .9999 fine gold. The coins will have a diameter of 27 millimeters and a thickness of 4 millimeters. This is will make the coins thicker than other one ounce gold coins. The coins will be issued only as a business strike and will not be available in proof version.

There will be a number of design modifications from the original. On the obverse, the date will be changed to "MMIX" to represent next year's date in Roman Numerals. The number of stars will be increased from 46 to 50, to represent the current number of US States. On the reverse, the motto "In God We Trust" has been added between the sun and its rays. Both sides of the coin will have a small border to create a more consistent edge.

Raised lettering will be used on the edge of the coin. The motto "E Pluribus Unum" will appear with stars between each letter.

Pricing

The US Mint has not yet announced pricing and ordering options for the upcoming coin. In their most recently released public statement, the US Mint stated that pricing would be "based on production, packaging, and other related costs, as well as the prevailing price of precious metals at the time."

In my opinion, the coins will be priced at a premium to the Mint's other one ounce gold offerings. The most recent prices for the US Mint's collectible uncirculated one ounce Gold Eagle and Gold Buffalo were $974.95 and $999.95. Assuming the price of gold remains around the same level, my guess would be that the price for the Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle would be around $1,100, if not more.

(Update: Based on info posted in the thread on Coin Network, it looks like the price might be as much as $1,200!)

Availability and Release

The US Mint intends to strike the coins to demand. That means that the US Mint will strike coins in whatever quantity is necessary to fulfill orders for the new coin, allowing for a theoretically unlimited mintage. The coins are expected to be available in January 2009 and orders will be accepted throughout the entire year.

Personally, I am a little bit skeptical about the smooth release of these coins.

On the bullion coin side, the US Mint has had numerous recent problems keeping pace with demand. This has resulted in several sales suspensions, and an ongoing allocation program for available products. The US Mint also publicly stated that they would prioritize production of bullion coins over collector coins. This is likely what is behind the unavailability 2008 Proof Silver Eagle and the low inventory levels for collector Platinum Eagle and Gold Buffalo coins which have contributed to quick sell outs.

Additionally, the US Mint intends to obtain blanks needed to produce the new coins from Gold Corp, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Western Australian government, the operators of the Perth Mint. The Perth Mint was recently forced to suspend all orders for bullion products for nearly a two month duration. Their explanation for the suspension was current catch phrase of "unprecedented demand" for gold and silver bullion products.

If Gold Corp is having trouble supplying their parent company, there are bound to be similar or perhaps more severe problems supplying external customers like the US Mint. A recent article in Coin World mentioned that the US Mint's initial order of blanks from Gold Corp has been delayed. This has already pushed back the start of full scale production for the Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle.

So far, the US Mint has not indicated any changes to their planned release for the coins in January 2009. Based on some of the circumstances mentioned above, I think its possible that the US Mint might delay launch of the coin until they can build up sufficient inventory for initial orders. I also see it as possible that they may implement a household ordering limit and/or put many of the initial orders on back order.





What is your opinion on the 2009 Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagle? Share your opinion on Coin Network.

Labels:

2008-W Uncirculated & Proof Gold Buffalo Sales Figures


This post will take a look at the most recent sales figures for the 2008-W Uncirculated and Proof Gold Buffalo coins. Most of the US Mint's offerings for these coins sold out earlier this week.

The sold out coins include all of the individual and four coin set offerings for both proof and uncirculated coins. There are two US Mint products still available which include Gold Buffalo coins.

The first is the 8-8-08 Double Prosperity Set. This set includes a 1/2 ounce 2008-W Gold Buffalo and 1/2 ounce 2008-W Gold Eagle. From what I have been able to determine, these coins do carry the "W" mint mark. So the Gold Buffalo coin included is comparable to the sold out individual coin. The set is priced at $1,078.88.


The second available product is the 2008 Gold Buffalo Celebration Coin. This is a one ounce 2008 Gold Buffalo coin in special packaging. It appears that this coin does not bear the "W" mint mark, which makes it comparable to the regular bullion coins. This coin is priced at $968.88.

The sales figures below come from the latest Mint Stats published by Numismaster, which report US Mint sales through December 7, 2008. That means some of the numbers may continue to increase (or decrease) from these levels. I will post another round of updated sales figures once the numbers settle down. The first column lists the sales per individual ordering option. The second column lists the cumulative totals per coin (individual sales plus 4 coin set).

2008-W Uncirculated Gold Buffalo Sales Figures

Individual Total
1 oz. 3,138 9,699
1/2 oz. 3,580 10,141
1/4 oz. 4,108 10,669
1/10 oz. 12,626 19,187
4 Coin 6,561

2008 Proof Gold Buffalo Sales Figures


Individual Total
1 oz. 11,640 19,571
1/2 oz. 4,637 12,568
1/4 oz. 5,985 13,916
1/10 oz. 11,337 19,268
4 Coin 7,931

While these numbers are definitely higher than those of the sold out 2008-W Unc & Proof Platinum Eagles reviewed yesterday, this is might outweighed by the broader collector base for the Gold Buffalo coins.

Another interesting aspect this year's Gold Buffalo offerings is that they will stand alone as the one and only year of issuance. The 2008-W Uncirculated versions and fractional proof versions were just introduced in 2008. The US Mint recently announced the discontinuation of all collectible Gold Buffalo coins except the one ounce proof coin.

Labels:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2008-W Uncirculated & Proof Platinum Eagle Sales Figures


This morning the last of the US Mint's 2008 platinum products sold out. The only platinum product which remains available for sale is the 2007 10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set.

As it stands, all 2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagles are gone, including the 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz individual options and the 4 Coin Set. All 2008 Proof Platinum Eagles are gone, also including the 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz individual options and the 4 Coin Set.

The official sell outs for these products mark a somewhat bittersweet ending. In November the US Mint announced a large number of product discontinuations for 2009, which included the majority of the collectible Platinum Eagle offerings. The only platinum coin that will return next year is the One Ounce Proof Platinum Eagle.

Over at Numismaster, the latest Mint Stats through December 7th have been posted. The sales figures for all platinum coins are included below. The first column shows the individual totals per product type. The second column shows the cumulative totals per coin (individual sales plus 4 coin set sales).

2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagle Sales Figures
1 oz 1,951 4,109
1/2 oz 1,257 3,415
1/4 oz 1,778 3,936
1/10 oz 2,485 4,643
4 Coin 2,158

2008 Proof Platinum Eagle Sales Figures

1 oz 2,432 4,728
1/2 oz 1,056 3,352
1/4 oz 1,293 3,589
1/10 oz 2,810 5,106
4 Coin 2,296

For the uncirculated coins, the sales number increased for the 1 ounce coin and decreased for the 1/4 ounce coin. The last time I looked at these sales figures, I ran comparisons to the prior 2006 & 2007-W Platinum Eagle mintages. Low numbers for 2008 are now the 1/2 ounce coin and 1/10 ounce coin, which are lower than 2007 numbers, but still above 2006.

On the proof side, the numbers will continue to grow since they only report sales through December 7th. It appears that a big rush of buying may have taken place early this week, which might have a big impact. The current numbers are still comfortably below the 2007 Proof Platinum Eagle mintages. However, we will have to revisit this next week when new numbers for 2008 become available.

Labels:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2008 US Mint Sleeper Hits

One of the ironies of coin collecting is that coins or sets which are overlooked or neglected while available can later become expensive and desirable rarities.

With all of the attention on the US Mint's gold and platinum products, there are definitely a number of other offerings that are being overlooked. In this post, I will examine some 2008 US Mint products that have the potential to become sleeper hits. I will specifically look at some non precious metals related offerings which are still available for sale.

While these coins all have potential, circumstances can change quickly. The US Mint can always fire up production one more time and change everything.

2008 P & D Sacagawea Dollar Rolls

Interestingly, these coins almost didn't happen. The 2008 Sacagawea Dollars were originally scheduled for release on January 17, 2008. The coins would not be issued for circulation, but sold to collectors in bags and rolls. The offering was pulled before sales started, after the US Mint realized that they did not have legal authority to produce the coins. Authorizing legislation was eventually signed on February 29, 2008, and the coins were re-released on April 28.

The most recent US Mint production figures show only 1.82 million coins produced at the Philadelphia Mint and 1.82 million coins produced at the Denver Mint. If no other coins are produced these will be the lowest mintage coins of the series. The current coins with the lowest mintage are the 2005-P and D coins with 2.52 million produced.

In addition, this will represent the final coin of the Sacagawea Dollar series. Next year it will be replaced by the Native American Dollar series.

2008 P & D Kennedy Half Rolls

Similar to the 2008 Sacagawea Dollars, the 2008 Kennedy Halves are showing some incredibly low production figures. These coins were also not issued for circulation, but sold directly to collectors in bags and rolls.

The most recent production figures published by the US Mint show 1.70 million coins produced in Philadelphia and 1.70 million coins produced in Denver. If no further coins are produced, these would be the lowest mintage coins of the entire series.

The 1970-D Kennedy Half Dollar is usually considered to be the key date and its mintage is 2.15 million. The current lowest mintage date is the 2006-D Kennedy Half at only 2.0 million.

2008 US Mint Set

The 2008 US Mint Set is one of the US Mint's core offerings that has become increasingly overlooked. The most recent US Mint sales figures show 626,214 of the sets sold. If the final sales ends up anywhere close to this, it would represent a shockingly low number. The 2004 Mint Set, which sells for a premium, had a mintage of 842,507. You actually have to go all the way back to 1963 to find a mint set with a mintage of less than 800,000.

While the current low sales figures suggest a final low mintage, this one may or may not pan out.

On one hand, last year's 2007 Mint Set was available for sale from the US Mint until July of 2008. (It also reappeared in the US Mint's Last Chance Sale.) If the 2008 Mint Sets remain on sale for another 8 months, sales may continue to grow to levels which would make the set less remarkable.

On the other hand, countless 2008 dated products which usually remain available for sale well into the new year have been selling out. Even one of the annual sets, the 2008 State Quarters Proof Set has quietly sold out. If the 2008 Mint Sets unexpectedly sell out early, the sets would become more remarkable.

Agree? Disagree? Post your own picks on Coin Network.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2008 Proof Platinum Eagles Selling Out Fast


When I posted about the sold out Gold Buffalo coins yesterday, I predicted that the next likely candidates for sell outs would be the 2008 Proof Platinum Eagles.

Only one day later, all 2008 proof offerings are either sold out or on backorder. In the recent past, backorder status for gold and platinum products has been closely followed by an official sell out.

The sold out coins include:
2008 Proof Platinum Eagle - Individual One Ounce
2008 Proof Platinum Eagle - Individual One-Half Ounce
2008 Proof Platinum Eagle - Individual One-Quarter Ounce


The backordered coins include:
2008 Proof Platinum Eagle - Individual One-Tenth Ounce
2008 Proof Platinum Eagle - 4 Coin Set


The furious pace of sell outs suggests two things:

1.) Collectors see 2008 as having the potential to produce future key date coins, and they are not delaying in placing large orders. A number of factors have come together to make 2008 a year for low mintage coins. The announcement that many products would be discontinued in 2009 has also played a part in creating a unique allure and urgency to buy the coins.

2.) US Mint inventory levels were incredibly low. When the Platinum Eagles returned a few months ago, I speculated that the US Mint might be selling the limited remaining inventory from their last production run. It looks like this was not far from the mark. Is this also true for remaining products such as the 2008-W Uncirculated and Proof Gold Eagles or the 2008-W Uncirculated Silver Eagles?

At this point, I think the remaining 2008 Proof Platinum Eagle options will soon officially sell out. After that, there might be a brief lull before the remaining 2008 Gold and Silver Eagles start to sell out, but once the first ordering options start to disappear, the rest will quickly follow.

A discussion thread in the US Coin Forum recently started asking the question: Will 2008 Platinum Proofs become the new king? Share your opinion on Coin Network!

Labels:

Copper 2009 Lincoln Cents


I wanted to do a full post on something I mentioned in the forum of the newly created Lincoln Cent Group on Coin Network.

One aspect of the upcoming 2009 Lincoln Cents that does not seem to be getting much attention is the 95% copper numismatic versions of the coins that will be issued. Authorization to produce these coins was included in legislation for the 2009 redesign. From the legislation:
The Secretary of the Treasury shall issue 1-cent coins in 2009 with the exact metallic content as the 1-cent coin contained in 1909 in such number as the Secretary determines to be appropriate for numismatic purposes.
The current composition of the Lincoln Cent is 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper. The original composition was 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc.

So far the only mention from the US Mint on this copper version of the 2009 Cents is included on their website as follows:
The Secretary of the Treasury shall mint and issue numismatic one-cent coins in 2009 with the exact metallic content as contained in the 1909 one-cent coin (95% copper, 5% tin and zinc). These numismatic versions will be included in the United States Mint’s annual product offerings.
Based on this, it sounds like the Copper 2009 Lincoln Cents would only be included in 2009 Mint Sets and 2009 Proof Sets. In my opinion, this would be a very anticlimactic way to offer this special version of the cent.

The copper Lincoln Cents would be included along with 14 other coins (or 28 for the Mint Set) in sealed Mint packaging. The composition difference would barely be noticeable, and the distinction of these specially issued coins would be lost.

My recommendation to the US Mint: offer the 95% copper 2009 Lincoln Cents in bags and rolls.

The US Mint has not announced their product line up for 2009, but presumably Lincoln Cent bags and rolls would be a part of it. Offering a special version of the cents would be preferable to offering the regular zinc cents at the typically high premiums charged for US Mint issued bags and rolls.

I think that this kind of offering would be popular with collectors. The cents contained in the bags and rolls would represent the only circulation quality strike 2009 Lincoln Cents with a composition of 95% copper. By comparison, the Mint Set would contain a satin finish (SMS) version of the copper cent. The Proof Sets would contain a Proof version of the copper cent. Coins found in circulation would have the zinc composition.

No matter how many of the bags and rolls the US Mint sells, the final mintage for these circulation strike copper cents will end up in the millions. This would compare to final mintages in the billions for the zinc versions. The Copper 2009 Lincoln Cent would become a unique, lower mintage coin for this important year.

So far, collector response to the upcoming 2009 Lincoln Cents has seemed relatively muted. The US Mint has the opportunity to do something interesting with this special offering. Let's see what they do in 2009.

Labels:

Monday, December 8, 2008

2008-W Uncirculated & Proof Gold Buffalo Coins Sold Out


The US Mint has now sold out of all individual and 4 coin set offerings for the 2008-W Uncirculated & Proof American Gold Buffalo Coins. The final coins went dark today, joining others that had steadily disappeared over the past few weeks.

The sold out 2008-W Uncirculated American Gold Buffalo Coins include all individual options for 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz coins, and the 4 Coin Set. The sold out 2008-W Proof American Gold Buffalo Coins include all individual options for 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, and 1/10 oz coins, and the 4 Coin Set.

There are two American Buffalo products still listed as available on the US Mint's website. These are the 8-8-08 Double Prosperity Set and the 2008 Celebration Coin. These products were released earlier in the year as special products targeted towards Asian consumers.

The Double Prosperity Set contains two one-half ounce gold coins, the American Gold Eagle and the American Gold Buffalo. These coins have an uncirculated finish and carry the "W" mintmark. This set may see more attention now that one Gold Buffalo coin contained in the set is sold outas an individual option.

The 2008 Celebration Coin contains a one ounce Gold Buffalo coin. This "Lucky Buffalo" coin does not carry the "W" mintmark, which makes it comprable to the regular bullion coins. It simply comes in special "lucky" packaging. The coin is currently listed as backordered.

In prior posts, I predicted that many 2008 dated products would be sold out before the end of the year. This has certainly come to pass, with the pace of the sell outs seemingly accelerating in recent weeks. I think the next likely candidates for sell outs are the 2008 Proof Platinum Eagles. The individual 1/10 oz, and 1/4 oz coins are currently listed as backordered. Recently, backorder status for gold and platinum coins has been closely followed by an official sell out.

Labels:

Coin Network Contest Winner


Last week I announced the launch of a new coin collecting social network called Coin Network.

To help get the network started, I also announced a contest open to anyone who signed up for the network between December 1 and December 7. From a total of 158 members who signed up during this period, Coin Network member Scott was randomly selected as the winner!

His prize is a 2008-W $10 Uncirculated Platinum Eagle!

Thank you to everyone who joined during the first week and started building their profiles, creating groups, sharing photos, and contributing to discussions in the forums. There are now a total of 189 members of Coin Network and growing.

If you haven't already, please check out Coin Network! It's a great place to meet other collectors, show off your collection, and discuss coins. Membership is completely free and open to everyone. I'll also be holding other free contests in the future open to all members.