Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

First Spouse Bronze Medals Outperform Gold Coins

First Spouse Bronze Medals have been surprising winners for recent US Mint products. These bronze duplicate medals have actually been outperforming the First Spouse Gold Coins on which they are based.

The bronze medals have been released on the same date as the corresponding gold coin and priced at an affordable $3.50 each. For the past two years, Four Medal Sets have also been offered at $12.95 which contain one of each medal for the year. The US Mint has also offered Presidential Dollar Coin and First Spouse Medal Sets priced at $7.95.

The medals which have sold out at the US Mint are selling for premiums of 200% or more based on recently completed eBay auctions. The 2007 First Spouse Four Medal Sets in original packaging have sold for $40 or more, compared to the original issue price of $12.95. Some of the individual 2007 First Spouse Medals have sold for $10, compared to the original issue price of $3.50. The 2007 Presidential Dollar Coin and Medal Sets have sold for $60 up to $100, compared to the original price of $7.95.

By comparison, the 2007 First Spouse Gold Coins have basically tracked the price of gold. The first two coins featuring Martha Washington and Abigail Adams were originally priced at $429.95 and $410.95 each, for proof and uncirculated versions. The coins now seem to sell for around $520 to $550 each. Since each coin contains one-half ounce of gold, this represents only a small premium above spot gold.

Why are the medals selling for so much?

I can only guess that the medals have gained popularity as a relatively more affordable way to collect the first spouse series. A medal priced around $10 remains relatively more affordable than a gold coin priced over $500. Also, the 2007 medals seem to have been mostly overlooked and under ordered while they were available at the US Mint, which may be creating a limited supply on the secondary market. Current eBay auctions show about twelve 2007 First Spouse Medals compared to over one hundred 2007 First Spouse Gold Coins available.

Lastly, a recently discovered mule error in 2007 First Spouse Four Medal Sets may be bringing attention to the bronze duplicates. The obverse of the Abigail Adams medal was inadvertently paired with the reverse of the Louisa Adams medal. Three examples were reported to Coin World. One example of the error recently sold on eBay for $700. It's possible that some people are paying premiums to buy the Four Medal Sets to check for the error.

The US Mint currently has available all of the 2008 medals, the 2008 Four Medal Set, and the Dollar Coin and Medal Sets for Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren.

Will the 2008 medals perform as well as the 2007's?

In my opinion I think it would be unlikely. Once an unexpected winning product like this becomes known, enough people jump into the market to prevent it from happening again. However, for the average collector ordering one or two of the medals to appreciate the First Spouse series, they are a nice acquisition at only $3.50 each.



At February 24, 2009 at 8:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible that the bronze are outselling the gold because the US Mint is no longer shipping gold? I've had gold orders in for some time to no avail.

At February 24, 2009 at 9:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all knew they would outperform. The mint knew that not everyone could afford gold, so these were created for the common man.

At February 24, 2009 at 9:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said... the post by Anonymous on Feb 24, 09 @ 8:16AM: It's possible all the gold is being used to meet demand of the UH1 Double Eagle Gold Coin. I do agree though, it seems like the mint is having issues with gold this year.

At February 25, 2009 at 11:23 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi, Michael,

Did you notice that the UHR Double Eagle Gold Coin is now priced at $1,339 on the US Mint site? When the Mint announced the new pricing policy, they stated that price changes would take effect on Thursday but it seems as though they have been initiating price hikes on this and other gold products, e.g., the First Spouse Gold Coins, on Wednesday. Did I understand this incorrectly or have they changed from Thursdays to Wednesdays?

Incidentally, the shipping date for the UHR Double Eagle Gold is now shown on the Mint website as May 24, 2009, for new orders.

As for someone's comment that the US Mint is no longer shipping gold, that is not correct. My UHR Double Eagle Gold was shipped on February 24, coincidentally the same date my Lincoln Commemorative Silver coins were shipped. The Double Eagle Gold was ordered on January 22 and the Lincoln Silver was ordered February 12, but both were shipped on February 24.

Be that as it may, it does mean the Mint is still shipping gold orders. Anyone who has an order in just needs to be patient. The Mint will get to them eventually.

Take care.

At February 25, 2009 at 11:32 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...


Regarding the price change, I noticed that as well. Their official publication plainly states that new prices will become effective Thursdays at 10:00 AM.

I am going to mention this in a full post.


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