Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Slowing Pace of 2009 UHR Double Eagle Sales


Sales of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin started off strong, selling more than 40,000 coins in the first four days. Following the opening week, the pace of sales has experienced a sharp and continuing decline.

The table below presents the weekly sales figures reported by Numismaster. The last column shows the incremental increase from the prior report.
2009 Ultra High Relief Sales History
Date Total Sales Change
1/26/2009 40,727
2/8/2009 45,420 +4,693
2/16/2009 47,999 +2,579
2/22/2009 49,788 +1,789
3/1/2009 51,398 +1,610
3/9/2009 52,373 +975

Reasons behind the slowing pace of sales

After watching the pace of sales slow for the first few weeks, I thought that the increasing price of the coin may have been impacting sales. In accordance with the US Mint's new pricing policy, the price of the coin can be adjusted weekly in response to the changing price of gold. The price of the coin was adjusted upwards several times in the first weeks of offering. These increases may have caused some customers to delay placing orders until the price retreated. While the price increases may be a contributing factor, they are probably not the main driver. Last week, the price of the coin was reduced, but sales showed a sharper decline.

A bigger contributor to the slowing sales is probably the one per household limit, which has been in place since the start of sales. The US Mint has stated that they evaluate the limit weekly, but there has been no indication that the limit will be lifted or changed. Although some people have gotten around the limit by enlisting the help of friends and family, the household limit still puts an ultimate cap on orders.

A final potential contributor might be the numerous problems surrounding the offering, which may have put off some customers. Problems have included the initial blank supply, miscommunications on shipping dates, website security, shipping security, not following FIFO for shipping, and production problems for the companion book. With problems mounting, some may have decided to forgo or delay their order until the issues have been resolved.

Observations and Projections

One interesting observation is that for the last three out of four weeks, the 2009 Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollars have outsold the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles. This is computed based on the dollar amount of sales for each offering. For much of the past year, the US Mint has heavily promoted the UHR Double Eagle. They have not very heavily promoted the Lincoln Commemorative. It's very interesting to see customers having basically the opposite reaction.

If the average pace of 2009 UHR Double Eagle sales manages to stay around the 1,000 coins per week level, this would put the final mintage around 90,000 coins. A lot can certainly happen to impact the pace of sales such as lifting the household limit or changes in the price of gold. Nonetheless, I think a mintage of less than 100,000 is possible.

An interesting point of reference is the 2006 Proof Gold Buffalo Coin. This was the first year for the new American Buffalo Gold Coins and the first time the US Mint struck coins in 24 karat gold. Similar to the UHR, it also featured a classic coin design. The 2006 Proof Gold Buffalo was priced at $800 when gold was at $583.10 and had a household limit of ten. The US Mint sold over 250,000 coins.

Before the UHR was launched, I thought we might see a similar final mintage. Now the possibility seems remote.

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18 Comments:

At March 13, 2009 at 8:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any idea how many have been delivered so far?

 
At March 13, 2009 at 2:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The current pricing policy makes premiums too high for all mint products made with precious metals. If premiums were more reasonable, like after the second price adjustment last year, sales would be much higher.

My UHR is finally on it's way. Order #30833XXX, roughly an hour after sales began. I'm still mad at PB & the mint for the lousy way this program was handled.

 
At March 16, 2009 at 10:14 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just received my coin, ordered the first day of release, and postmarked one day past the PCGS cutoff for First Strike designation.

Is the coin supposed to have a proof-like finish? Mine does, and does not have the "matte" quality that appears in the official drawing. It's not quite mirror-finish, but it looks pretty buffed up.

Any input on this?

 
At March 17, 2009 at 6:17 AM , Blogger Michael said...

All of the UHR Double Eagles I have seen have this proof like finish. I was also a bit surprised since it is much different than the photos the US Mint has of the coin.

 
At March 21, 2009 at 11:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got one UHR 2009 from the U.S. mint. I also got two more on eBay. One of them is slabbed PCGS First Strike MS70. As I lined them next to each other, I clearly see the differences in the quality. The slabbed First Strike MS70 is definitely crispier and proof-like, because it was struck when the die was brand new and sharp. The other two looks more frosty and the image is not as sharp. The U.S. Mint has already struck over 53,000 coins, so the die must be eroded by now. I predict only the slabbed First Strike MS70 will significantly appreciate in value in the near future. I will only buy the slabbed MS70 from now on.
It's only my opinion.

 
At March 21, 2009 at 4:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to the matte vs shiny prrof-like finish. I see what you mean. The coin with matte-like finish is probably due to die erosion. The U.S. Mint has struck over 53,000 coins, so the coin is showing a matte-like finish. I also have one PCGS First Strike MS70. This one looks so crisp and shiny like proof-like, b/c this coin probably was one of the few that was struck when the die was still brand new and sharp.

 
At March 23, 2009 at 10:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

has anyone else received the UHR survey from the u.s. mint today monday march 23? and is the survey legitimate?

 
At March 23, 2009 at 3:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have received three coins. All were very shiny/proof like. However, one had some rough areas on the reverse rim. I sent the two best coins to PCGS. The third coin will be an office decoration piece. It takes careful study to see the rough area of the rim. It will be interesting what grade they will receive.
I did get the Mint survey invitation, but I was unable to supply the 9 digit code that was requested.

 
At March 24, 2009 at 2:09 PM , Blogger Michael said...

Regarding the survey from the US Mint-

I have not received one, but like the comment above, I have heard that they ask for a special code, and no one has been able to figure out where they are supposed to get this code.

 
At March 25, 2009 at 1:33 PM , Anonymous Steven said...

Hey,

Any suggestions how to find out about the status of a UHR from the mint? I've never gotten an email since the order confirmation and they always seem to be "unable to answer your call" on the 800 number. So I'm lost.... how do you find out if the order even went through?

 
At March 25, 2009 at 3:54 PM , Blogger Michael said...

If you signed up for an account at the Mint you can use your order number to track the status.

If calling, I would recommend trying calling during nonpeak hours to increase chances of getting through

 
At March 25, 2009 at 4:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the mintage number stays low enough at the end of the year for the UHR 2009. That way we can help maintain the value of this coin high in the future. What I am curious about is how many people are aware that the die is probably no longer good enough to strike a crisp image after over 53,000 strikes. We don't want to increase the mintage number unnecessarily, while we can get the very crisp First Strike MS70 in a slab. It's just my opinion.

 
At March 25, 2009 at 4:28 PM , Blogger Michael said...

Regarding the dies, the US Mint is reportedly changing these very frequently.

There was a Coin World article that stated the dies only last for 500 coins before being changed.

 
At March 27, 2009 at 5:18 PM , Anonymous GRLampton said...

I received my UHR book today. I had to sign for it, something I did not need to do for the coin itself.

 
At March 29, 2009 at 9:43 AM , Blogger Nybears34 said...

I ordered my 2009 UHR coin on February 13, 2009 and I received it a little over a month later on March 18, 2009 ( I would have received it on 3/17th but no one was home to sign for it and I had it re-directed to my work address the following day for signature....Book is on backorder until April 1st). Ever since I ordered it I was on pins and needles not quite expecting the US Mint to get it right....but I must honestly say they pulled out all the stops for this baby of a coin. It is absolutely gorgeous and I was hoping for an MS-70 grade when I shipped it to NGC 2 days later??
The coin is now on it's way back to me by registered mail and it received a final grade of MS-69. I am a little bummed to say the least but then I read an article somwhere on the web that told of how many coins are actually graded MS-70 & 69 by NGC & PCGS. THe article went on to say that even though MS-70 will always be the best....maybe somewhere down the line the MS-69's will be the sleeper of the 2 grades?? The total's for both grading services are as follows up til March 26, 2009: NGC: MS-70: 567 coins, MS-69: 391 coins, MS-68: 5 coins.....Grand Total: 963 coins graded; PCGS: MS-70: 398 coins, MS-69: 190 coins, MS-68: 2 coins.....Grand Total: 590 coins.....Total coins graded for 2 grading firms: 1,553 coins.
If there have been appx 200,000+ coins produced so far and these total's reflect how many have been graded I am going to assume here that many customers have chosen to keep their coins in the original holders and not chose grading??
Guess only time will tell to see which of the 2 grades will rise in price??

 
At March 31, 2009 at 11:18 AM , Anonymous Ross said...

I'm somewhat annoyed by the "greedy" comments made by some alleging wide quality differences mant to hype the value of "first strike" coins and hoping mintages will be low so that "their" coins will maintain a high price.

I say, with more coins sold, more examples will ultimately be available to future generations of the ultimate esthetic american numismatic achievement. The investment motive once again tarnishes the nobler aspects of this mint offering. I'd like nothing better than that they coin a billion of them!

 
At April 6, 2009 at 12:57 PM , Blogger Christopher said...

What is the best way to get my 2009 UHR Double Eagle Graded? I have never done that before and don't want to be taken.

 
At April 6, 2009 at 3:47 PM , Blogger Michael said...

Christopher-

Here is some basic info to get you started. I posted this as a comment in a prior post.

An individual can submit coins to PCGS by submitting through a PCGS Authorized Dealer, or by joining the PCGS Collectors Club.

I personally think the second method is the easiest. You pay an annual fee and then have direct submission privileges to PCGS.

See more info here:

http://www.pcgs.com/join/

If you want to try to find an authorized dealer instead, PCGS lists their authorized dealers here:

http://www.pcgs.com/dealers/

On the other side of the fence, NGC has similar policies. For direct submission you can join their Collector's Society.

https://coins.www.collectors-society.com/join/Join.aspx

Hope this gives you enough information to get started.

 

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