Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Saturday, May 30, 2009

2009 US Mint Bags and Rolls Sales Figures

Some of this year's most popular US Mint products have been bags and rolls of circulating coins. The popularity of the bags and rolls is being driven by a number of factors.

Primarily, circulating coins have much lower mintages for 2009 compared to prior years. In some cases final mintages are the lowest levels seen in more than 40 years. Circulating coins have become much more difficult to obtain. In the past, with a little bit of effort, uncirculated rolls of most denominations could be located at banks and exchanged for face value. This year finding coins for face value through the normal distribution channels have proven much more difficult.

These factors got the ball rolling, but the US Mint's offerings have taken on a life of their own. Secondary market prices for the US Mint issued bags and rolls of coins carry premiums far above those for generic unwrapped rolls. The US Mint's early 2009 bags and rolls sold out early and had short production runs, which caught many collectors off guard. Prices quickly increased for the sold out products. The profit potential has attracted many buyers to the newer releases.

In the past, I have not written any posts focused on the sales figures for bags and rolls, but with the increased interest in the products, I felt the numbers were worth a look. Listed below are the sales figures for the US Mint's 2009 bags and rolls offerings. The figures are the last reported mint statistics from Numismaster. Lines which appear in italics are no longer available at the US Mint. Figures for Guam Quarter bags and rolls are not yet available.
2009 Lincoln Cents
Birthplace Two Roll Set 96,000
Formative Years Two Roll Set 222,826

2009 Presidential Dollars
William Henry Harrison Roll - P 30,000
William Henry Harrison Roll - D 30,000
John Tyler Roll - P 25,561
John Tyler Roll - D 24,792

2009 DC & US Territories Quarters
District of Columbia 1000 Bag - P 653
District of Columbia 1000 Bag - D 704
District of Columbia 100 Bag - P 8,304
District of Columbia 100 Bag - D 10,394
District of Columbia Two Roll Set 31,021

Puerto Rico 1000 Bag - P 1,047
Puerto Rico 1000 Bag - D 953
Puerto Rico 100 Bag - P 20,000
Puerto Rico 100 Bag - D 17,295
Puerto Rico Two Roll Set 41,669
The earliest releases for the Birthplace Lincoln Cents, William Henry Harrison Dollars, and District of Columbia Quarters had slow sales and were only available for a brief time. After the sell outs, prices increased by many multiples on the secondary market.

Recently, the Birthplace Lincoln Cent Two Roll Sets have sold on eBay for around $65 to $75, compared to the offering price of $8.95. The William Henry Harrison Rolls have sold for over $100 for Denver rolls and over $200 for Philadelphia rolls compared to the offering price of $35.95. The District of Columbia two roll sets and 100-coin bags have sold for prices ranging from $60 to $100 compared to offering price of $32.95.

People have definitely noticed these prices and began ordering the newer releases in larger quantity. The John Tyler Presidential Dollar rolls went on sale less than 10 days ago and have sales already approaching the levels of the entire William Henry Harrison sales. The US Mint has also noticed the high demand for bags and rolls and are apparently increasing the number available. The Formative Years Lincoln Cent rolls have already recorded more than doubled the sales of the prior release and continue to be available.

If you are speculating on some of the current bags and rolls offerings take note of the increased orders and increased production runs, which may keep secondary market prices in check even after the eventual sell outs.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

US Mint "Last Opportunity" for 2008 Products

The US Mint has added a new section to their online catalog labeled "Last Opportunity." This section includes 2008 dated products that will only be available until June 30, 2009.

This is similar to the "Last Chance Sale" that the US Mint held late last year. The sale was held to clear the US Mint's inventory of prior year merchandise before a move to new fulfillment center.

The "Last Opportunity" sale is listed as a "limited-time, first-come, first-served offer" and primarily includes 2008 dated Coin Covers and Coin and Die Sets. A 7-day return policy is in effect for the items, with returns only accepted if the products are delivered damaged. All items appear to be offered at their original prices.

In general, the US Mint seems to be making more of an effort to keep their product offerings streamlined. In the past, lingering product offerings had caused their total number of products to swell. One example of this was the 2001 Kennedy Half Dollar bags and rolls, which were available continuously until 2008, when they were finally cleared out in the Last Chance Sale. The oldest dated products currently available at the US Mint are now some 2007 Presidential Dollar bags and rolls.

The following products are listed in the US Mint's Last Opportunity section:

2008 Oklahoma Official First Day Cover
2008 New Mexico Official First Day Cover
2008 Arizona Official First Day Cover
2008 Alaska Official First Day Cover
2008 Hawaii Official First Day Cover
2008 James Monroe $1 Coin Cover
2008 John Quincy Adams $1 Coin Cover
2008 Andrew Jackson $1 Coin Cover
2008 Martin Van Buren $1 Coin Cover
2008 Oklahoma Coin and Die Set - Philadelphia
2008 Oklahoma Coin and Die Set - Denver
2008 New Mexico Coin and Die Set - Philadelphia
2008 New Mexico Coin and Die Set - Denver
2008 Arizona Coin and Die Set - Philadelphia
2008 Arizona Coin and Die Set - Denver
2008 Alaska Coin and Die Set - Philadelphia
2008 Alaska Coin and Die Set - Denver
2008 50 State Quarters Greetings from America Portfolio
2008 50 State Quarters Greetings from America Card Set

You can find the US Mint's Last Opportunity section here.


The First 2009 Roosevelt Dime

The first 2009 Roosevelt Dime that I have seen has turned up on eBay. A Mint News Blog reader left a comment with a link to the auction. The single circulated dime has already been bid up to $30 with two days remaining in the auction.

See the 2009-P Roosevelt Dime on eBay.

I wrote previously on the low production and unavailability of 2009 Nickels and Dimes. The denominations received some increased attention after Coin World reported that the US Mint had officially ended production of nickels and dimes for the remainder of the year. The US Mint's coin production figures through April 2009 indicate the following mintages:
2009-P Roosevelt Dime 96,500,000
2009-D Roosevelt Dime 49,500,000
2009-P Jefferson Nickel 39,840,000
2009-D Jefferson Nickel 39,360,000

The location of the seller of the 2009-P Roosevelt Dime is listed as Friendswood, TX. The description mentions that seller was able to get his hands on "a few of them." The seller has just listed second 2009-P Roosevelt Dime in a one day auction.

The price of the single dime has already reached a ridiculous level. At this point, the bidding is being driven by the desire to have the first (or one of the first) 2009 dated dimes. It shouldn't be taken as an indication of the value of 2009 Roosevelt Dimes. Nonetheless, it will definitely be interesting to see where the final price ends up in two more days.

Perhaps the upside of this auction is that collectors will start checking their change and hounding their local banks, searching for other 2009 nickels and dimes. The sooner a greater supply is located and comes onto the market, the sooner prices can descend to more reasonable levels.

Another development in the 2009 nickel and dime situation that I wanted to mention. There is a chance that the US Mint might produce more 2009 Nickels and Dimes even though they officially announced the end of production. Dave Harper recently interviewed US Mint Director Edmund Moy, who mentioned that the US Mint is considering creating a strategic coin reserve. The US Mint would produce and stockpile an extra supply of coins that could be tapped during periods of high coin demand or supply disruption. The prospect of striking additional nickels and dimes for the coin reserve was specifically mentioned in the interview. The US Mint hopes to make a decision on the coin reserve this year.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Puerto Rico Quarter Two Roll Set Sold Out

Just as the Guam Quarters Bags and Rolls went on sale today, the remaining Puerto Rico Quarter Bags and Rolls sold out.

Previously, the 1,000-coin Philadelphia and Denver mint bags had sold out. Last week, the 100-coin Philadelphia bags sold out. The two remaining options were the 100-coin Denver bag and Two Roll Set, which contains one 40-coin roll from each mint in custom wrappers.

According to Numismaster, sales statistics for the Puerto Rico bags and rolls as of last week, are as follows:
Puerto Rico Bags and Rolls Sales Figures

Phila. Denver Total
1,000 Coin Bags 1,047 953 2,000
100 Coin Bags 19,827 16,534 36,361
Two Roll Set - - 39,652

The timing of the sell out for the remaining options raises a question. Is the US Mint offering this year's bags and rolls until a certain number have been sold or until the next release goes on sale? In the case of Puerto Rico, the 1,000-coin bags sold out after an even 2,000 were sold across both mints. The 100-coin bags and Two Roll Sets were both close to an even 40,000, which could have been reached over the long Memorial Day weekend. The US Mint could have ended sales of the remaining options because the production run had sold out, or to coincide with the release of the Guam bags and rolls.

In the long term, I think buyers of the Puerto Rico bags and rolls will be rewarded. According to the US Mint's posted production figures only 53.2 million 2009-P Puerto Rico Quarters were produced and only 86 million 2009-D Puerto Rico Quarters. These represent the lowest quarter mintages in over four decades. As the case has been recently, the US Mint packaged bags and rolls may bring sustainable premiums over plain or generic wrapped rolls obtained from banks.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Guam Quarter Bags & Rolls

Sales of Guam Quarter Bags and Rolls will begin at the US Mint on May 26, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will be the third coin released for the 2009 DC & US Territories Quarters Program.

The reverse design features an outline of Guam and two symbols associated with the island, a sailing vessel known as the "Flying Proa" and an architectural stone pillar known as the "Latte." An inscription reads "Guahan I TanĂ³ ManChamorro" (translated: Guam - Land of the Chamorro). The reverse was designed by David Westwood and sculpted by Jim Licaretz.

The US Mint will offer 1,000 coin and 100 coin bags of Guam Quarters from the Philadelphia or Denver Mint priced at $309.95 and $32.95. Two roll sets will also be offered with one 40 coin roll from the Philadelphia Mint and one 40 coin roll from the Denver Mint, both in custom US Mint wrappers. The two roll sets are priced at $32.95.

Production figures have not yet been released for the Guam Quarter, but most collectors are expecting a very low mintage. The previous release for the Puerto Rico Quarter had production of 53.2 million coins in Philadelphia and 86 million coins in Denver. If the Guam Quarter has a mintage at or below this level, it could be a long term winner.

Many of this year's quarter bags and rolls have sold out at the US Mint. All options for the District of Columbia Quarter are sold out. For the Puerto Rico Quarter, both 1,000 coin bags and the 100 coin bag for Philadelphia are sold out. Even though these previous releases sold out quickly with few units offered, the US Mint now seems to be increasing the number of units available for sale if the Rail Splitter Two Roll Set Sales are any indication.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

2009 Proof Gold Buffalo Coin Delayed

Update: Latest information on 2009 Proof Gold Buffalo.

The US Mint added a new notification to the product catalog page for the American Buffalo Gold Coins. This joins similar notifications that had previously been posted for the 2009 Gold Eagle and 2009 Silver Eagle product pages.

The notification is as follows:
Production of United States Mint 2009 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coins has been delayed because of the limited availability of 24-karat gold blanks. The 2009 American Buffalo one-ounce Gold Proof Coin is scheduled to go on sale in the second half of the 2009 calendar year after an acceptable inventory of 24-karat gold blanks can be acquired. The release date, once established, will be posted to the 2009 Scheduled Products Listing.

As a result of the numismatic product portfolio analysis conducted last fall, beginning in 2009, American Buffalo Gold Proof fractional coins and the four-coin set are no longer available. Additionally, the United States Mint will no longer offer American Buffalo Gold Uncirculated Coins.

The notification doesn't provide much in the way of new information. The delay had been presumed following the similar announcements for the collectible Gold and Silver Eagle coins. Additionally, the US Mint has not even produced the regular bullion version of the American Gold Buffalo for 2009.

The discontinuation of all but one option for the collectible Gold Buffalo coins had been announced previously, late last year. In 2008, the US Mint had offered a total of twelve products which incorporated the Gold Buffalo. This included 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz individual coins in uncirculated or proof, 4 coin sets in uncirculated or proof, the 2008 American Buffalo Celebration Coin, and the 08-08-08 Double Prosperity Set. For 2009, the single coin to be offered will be the 1 oz Proof 2009 Gold Buffalo.

Even though the availability of 24-karat gold blanks is limited, the US Mint has been able to obtain a relatively large number to use for other products. The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins are struck on special sized and specially prepared 24-karat gold blanks. To date, the US Mint has sold over 62,000 of the coins. The 2009 First Spouse Gold Coins are stuck on one-half ounce size 24-karat gold blanks. The US Mint has sold over 6,000 of the first coin released honoring Anna Harrison.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rail Splitter Penny Two Roll Set Sales

News has been popping up around the internet that sales of the 2009 Rail Splitter Penny Two Roll Sets have already exceeded 200,000.

The corollary to this news is that the US Mint is apparently issuing many more two roll sets for this release than they did for the first. The "Log Cabin" Two Roll Sets had sold out after 96,000 sets were sold over the course of two weeks. I have not been able to obtain any confirmation of exactly how many "Rail Splitter" Sets will be available.

The implication of these developments seems to be that the US Mint realized that they have been badly underestimating the demand for their Rolls and Bags offerings and are adjusting the number of units available to much higher levels. While this is good news for some, it may be disappointing for others. Since the US Mint is apparently allotting different numbers of units for similar products, it would be nice if they let collectors know exactly how many will be available instead of keeping everyone guessing.

The continuing availability of the "Rail Splitter" or Formative Years 2009 Lincoln Cent will likely have the impact of keeping secondary market prices at bay. For the first release, prices had reached manic levels even for unmarked generic rolls since initially there were few dependable sources for obtaining the coins.

At the Lincoln City, Indiana launch ceremony, the US Mint also took steps which had the impact of creating a broader distribution and preventing hoarding and profiteering. This included lowering the exchange limit to only six rolls per person and preventing buying and selling of coins within the park. At the first launch ceremony, some individuals had been able to obtain full 50 roll boxes from the coin exchange, since there were many rolls remaining at the end of the ceremony.

While these developments may create some renewed interest for the Birthplace Cents, particularly the US Mint issued two roll sets, the market for 2009 Lincoln Cents seems to be changing. In many ways, it seems like the US Mint is trying to deflate the Penny Bubble.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

2009 Proof Set

The US Mint has just posted the product page for the 2009 Proof Set. This provides collectors with a confirmed price and first glimpse of this year's annual proof set.

The 2009 Proof Set will contain a whopping eighteen different coins. This is an increase of four coins from the prior year. To accommodate the extra coins, the US Mint has added yet another lens (plastic case) for a total of four. The first lens contains the Lincoln Cents, the second contains the quarters, the third contains the Presidential Dollars, and the fourth contains the remaining coins.

The coins included in the set are as follows:

4 - 2009 S Proof Lincoln Cents - Birthplace, Formative Years, Professional Life, Presidency
1 - 2009 S Proof Jefferson Nickel
1 - 2009 S Proof Roosevelt Dime
6 - 2009 S Proof District of Columbia & U.S. Territories Quarters - District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands
1 - 2009 S Kennedy Half Dollar
4 - 2009 S Proof Presidential Dollars - William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor
1 - 2009 S Native American Dollar

The 2009 S Proof Lincoln Cents will be struck with the composition originally used for the first Lincoln Cents issued in 1909. The alloy consists of 95% copper, 3% zinc, and 2% tin. The US Mint has stated that this 95% copper (bronze) composition will be used for all 2009 Lincoln Cents included in annual sets as well as the upcoming 2009 Lincoln Coin & Chronicles Set.

The 2009 Proof Sets are priced at $29.95 and will go on sale June 1, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. No ordering limits are indicated on the product page posted on the US Mint's website. You can view the product page here. You can also check out the US Mint's subscription page, which indicates the composition of the Lincoln Cents. (The main product page does not include this information.) The subscription page is now showing information for the 2010 set.

There has definitely been a lot of anticipation for this year's proof set. The main driver has been the inclusion of the 95% copper Lincoln Cents. While the zinc 2009 Lincoln Cents struck for circulation will each have a mintage in the hundreds of millions, the copper versions produced for collectors will have mintages in the low millions.

An interesting side note, the US Mint has already released two separate sets which contain 2009 proof coins. These were the 2009 Presidential Dollar Proof Set containing the four Presidential Dollars and the 2009 District of Columbia & U.S. Territories Quarters Proof Set containing the six quarters. Each set was priced at $14.95. If you purchased them both, you would have received ten proof coins for a total price of $29.90. By waiting for the full 2009 Proof Set to be issued, you get the remaining eight coins for only 5 cents.


John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls

The US Mint will offer John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls starting on May 21, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will mark the second Presidential Dollar coin release for 2009.

The offering will include 25-coin rolls from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mints. The rolls will be priced at $35.95 each and come in custom US Mint wrappers.

The previous William Henry Harrison Presidential Dollar Rolls sold out after attain sales of 30,000 Philadelphia rolls and 30,000 Denver rolls. The sell out was unexpected since Presidential Dollar Rolls and Bags are still available at the US Mint for all prior Presidential Dollar coins from Thomas Jefferson to Martin Van Buren. All of the rolls still available for sale have all sold more units than the 30,000 allocated for each WHH Roll.

The recent trend has been for unexpected sell outs to result in secondary market prices which quickly ratchet higher. The William Henry Harrison US Mint Rolls are no exception. Some Philadelphia Mint rolls have sold for over $300, and Denver rolls have sold for over $100. Here are the current eBay auctions.

Although the John Tyler Dollar has not yet been released into circulation, the US Mint has already posted the final production figures for the coin. As might be expected, the overall mintage represents another new low for the series. The overall mintage is 87,080,000 coins with production divided at an even 43,540,000 each for the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. The previous low was held by the William Henry Harrison Dollar with an overall mintage of 98,420,000 divided at 43,260,000 at the Philadelphia Mint and 55,160,000 at the Denver Mint.

There will be an official launch ceremony for the John Tyler Presidential Dollar today, May 19 11:00 AM at Sherwood Forest Platation in Charles City County, Virginia. The ceremony takes place two days before the official release of the coins into circulation. Children in attendance will receive a newly minted coin, however there will be no coin exchange after the ceremony.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

2009 Lincoln Penny Launch at Lincoln City, Indiana

Yesterday, May 14, 2009, the launch ceremony for the second redesigned 2009 Lincoln Cent was held in Lincoln City, Indiana. Thousands of people attended the event to witness the ceremony and have a chance to receive some of the first new Rail Splitter Lincoln Pennies.

The event was held at the Lincoln Amphitheatre in Lincoln State Park. It was estimated that 3,000 people attended. This is double attendance estimate for the first ceremony held in Hodgenville, KY.

The ceremony was presented by the United States Mint Director Edmund Moy. Over 200 elementary school students were included in the ceremony along with the actor portraying Young Abraham Lincoln in the theatrical production "Lincoln - Forging Greatness" which opens June 12 at the Lincoln Amphitheatre. About 800 people actually watched the ceremony. One account said that only one third of the seats at the amphitheater were filled, since most people remained waiting in line for the coin exchange.

There were 20,000 penny rolls exchanged at the event. All coins were from the Philadelphia Mint. This is double the number exchanged at the previous Hodgenville event. Attendees were allowed to exchange a minimum of two rolls or a maximum of six rolls. Some people were lining up as early as 3:30 AM for the coin exchange.

After exchanging coins, attendees had their hands stamped to keep track of who had a turn. While the ceremony was taking place, there were more than 1,400 people in line that stretched over half a mile. Some people were able to go through the line twice. Some reported that they managed to go through the line three times.

There was a Post Office across the highway at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial that was postmarking the rolls. There was a continual line of attendees waiting to get their rolls stamped.

No buying or selling of coins was allowed inside the park. However, at the edge of town there was a reports of someone offering to purchase rolls from attendees for $10 each.

As expected, the rolls are already selling for even bigger premiums on eBay. Unmarked rolls have sold for $20 to $30, USPS stamped and canceled rolls have sold for $50 to $75 dollars each, and some single coins have sold for $2 or $3. View the current eBay auctions.

The report from the Associated Press indicates that Director Moy stated that about 700 million of the pennies will eventually reach circulation. Interestingly, this is higher than the total combined mintage of 634.8 million for the Birthplace Penny. There was speculation that mintages for subsequent designs would be much lower following the US Mint's announcement that overall coin production would be cut by 70% this year.

Despite a little bit of rain, long lines, and traffic, every report I have received or read is generally favorable. People enjoyed the day, thought that the ceremony was well done, and the exchange line was orderly.

Thank you to several people who provided accounts of the ceremony and pictures. This includes Michael Forader, who had also previously provided the pictures for the Hodgenville KY event, Melissa Miller, the Executive Director of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau, and T.J. Milam, who provided an account in the comments section of Wednesday's post.

Enjoy the pictures of the event below. The first four photos are provided by Michael Forader, the last two by Melissa Miller.

Edmund Moy and Young Abe Lincoln Actor during the ceremony

Brinks Truck full of Rail Splitter Pennies

The Coin Exchange Line

The Post Office Line across the street

View of the Lincoln Amphitheatre

Another view of the Coin Exchange Line


District of Columbia & U.S. Territories Quarters Map

The US Mint will offer the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program Map on May 19, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This map will provide a way to collect the quarters and learn about the different locations.

Each map will have coin holders to contain the six 2009 quarters honoring the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. The map will include photos of scenes from each location as well as facts about each location.

The DC & US Territories maps will be priced at $12.95 each. Production is limited to 50,000 units. The US Mint's product page can be found here.

The US Mint had previously offered a collector's map for the 50 State Quarters Program. These maps are no longer available for sale on the US Mint's website, although they can be found on eBay for under $10.

Note: Additional coverage of the 2009 Lincoln Cent launch in Lincoln City, Indiana will be coming later today, including photos and some firsthand accounts!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2009 Lincoln Rail Splitter Penny Launch Tomorrow

Update: For coverage of the ceremony go to 2009 Lincoln Penny Launch Lincoln City, Indiana

Tomorrow, May 14, 2009, will mark the release of the second redesigned 2009 Lincoln Cent. The second design represents his "Formative Years" spent in Indiana and depicts a young Abraham Lincoln taking a break from splitting rails to read a book. The release of the coin will be accompanied by an official launch ceremony, several coin exchange locations, and the start of sales for the two roll set offered by the US Mint.

The unavailability of the first 2009 Lincoln Cent in circulation caught many by surprise and also created a profit bonanza for some of the attendees of the Hodgenville, Kentucky launch ceremony and others who were able to obtain rolls of the coins early. This time around, more collectors are paying attention, and the US Mint also seems to be taking steps to ensure a broader distribution and curtail bulk purchases.

The Lincoln City, Indiana launch ceremony will take place at the Lincoln Amphitheatre located inside Lincoln State Park, beginning at 10 AM CDT. The coordinators of the event recommend that people arrive at least one hour in advance due to parking limitations and restricted traffic flows.

After the ceremony, attendees will be allowed to exchange bills for rolls of the new Lincoln Cents from the Philadelphia Mint. A minimum of two rolls or a maximum of six rolls may be exchanged. After everyone has had a chance to go through the exchange line and if supplies permit, attendees will be allowed a second pass for a maximum of twelve rolls per person. The exchange limit was reduced from a previously announced maximum of ten rolls. The maximum of two passes through the exchange line was also added. The limits are still indicated as "subject to change." At the first launch ceremony in Hodgenville, some attendees were actually allowed to purchase full $25 boxes of the new coins after everyone had a chance at the exchange line.

Additional exchange sites will be available in Washington, DC. The sites include the US Mint Sales Counters at Union Station, 50 Massachusetts Ave. NE and the first floor of the US Mint headquarters at 801 Ninth St. NW. The coin exchange will be available on May 14 from 10 AM to 4 PM. The Senate Credit Union on Capitol Hill will also have the coins available for exchange on May 15 from 10 AM to 3 PM.

For anyone not fortunate enough to be located near one of the exchange sites, the 2009 Lincoln Cent Formative Years Two Roll Set will go on sale at the US Mint on May 14, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. Each set will contain one 50-coin roll from the Philadelphia Mint and one 50-coin roll from the Denver Mint in custom wrappers. The sets are priced at $8.95 each, plus shipping and handling. There will be a limit of 5 sets per household.

Even though many complained about the pricing, the last offering sold out in approximately two weeks, and prices quickly rose on the secondary market. Following the sell out, eBay prices rose to nearly $100 per set, before receding to the current level around $50 per set. Here are the current auctions.

If the same number of rolls are available from the US Mint, expect the sell out to come even faster. Here is a link to the US Mint's listing page for the product, although ordering options won't be available until the official start of sales.


Monday, May 11, 2009

First Spouse Gold Coin Sales Figures

The First Spouse Gold Coins continue to be the only gold coins on sale at the US Mint besides the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle, which is limited to one per household. Despite being the "only game in town" sales continue to move higher at a very slow pace.

Since I last examined the sales figures for the series, the numbers have crept higher for three issues and the Anna Harrison coin has gone on sale. The italicized lines indicate coins that are still currently for sale at the US Mint.

First Spouse Gold Coin Sales History

Unc Proof Total
Martha Washington 20,000 20,000 40,000
Abigail Adams 20,000 20,000 40,000
Jefferson's Liberty 20,000 20,000 40,000
Dolley Madison 12,541 18,355 30,896
Elizabeth Monroe 4,519 7,933 12,452
Louisa Adams 3,509 6,233 9,742
Jackson's Liberty 3,879 6,850 10,729
Van Buren's Liberty 3,080 5,669 8,749
Anna Harrison 1,983 3,993 5,976

Sales figures that would be surprisingly low for other series have become somewhat expected for the First Spouse Gold series. Just before the Elizabeth Monroe coin went off sale at the US Mint, I had written a post noting that the uncirculated version would have the lowest mintage for any modern gold coin issued by the US Mint. Despite this fact, the coins have not seemed to catch much excitement on the secondary market.

While the supply of the coins on the market appears to be very low- there are only two coins currently listed on eBay- the demand for the coins remains equally low, keeping prices at reasonable levels. Collectors may also be justifiably expecting even lower mintages from future issues of the series. This is supported by sales trends which suggest all current coins might fall beneath the low bar set by the Elizabeth Monroe coin sales numbers. The question may be, how low can mintages go?

Collectors considering the First Spouse Gold Coin series should be aware of two near term events. First, the price of the coins will likely increase this week. Under the US Mint's current pricing policy, if the average London Fix price of gold from last Thursday AM to this Wednesday PM falls into the $900 to $949.99 range prices for the coins will move to the next tier. The current prices of $591 for uncirculated and $604 would be increased to $614 and $629.

The second near term event is the impending end of sales for the Louisa Adams First Spouse Gold Coins. These coins first went on sale May 29, 2008. The US Mint keeps First Spouse coins on sale for approximately one year or until the maximum authorized mintage is met. The uncirculated coin has only sold 3,509 coins. If the final sales number remains under 4,000, will this be enough to start drawing interest from collectors?

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

2010 Lincoln Cents

While collectors eagerly await the release of the next 2009 Lincoln Cent, design candidate images for the 2010 Lincoln Cent reverse were recently released.

The same legislation which authorized the four different reverse designs for the 2009 Lincoln Cent also provides for a new reverse design in 2010. This design will be "emblematic of of President Lincoln's preservation of the United States of America as a single and united country." The new design is expected to be be used as the permanent reverse design for the Lincoln Cent for the foreseeable future.

The slide show below displays the seventeen different designs which are currently being considered.

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

Eight of the design candidates feature different views of the US Capitol building, with one of them incorporating the United States flag (LP-01 to LP-08). Two other designs portray the flag on its own (LP-09 to LP-10). One design features the Statue of Freedom, which sits atop the Capitol Building (LP-11). Three designs feature shields (LP-12 to LP-14) and three designs feature eagles (LP-15 to LP-17).

There were initially 18 candidate designs candidates before one was removed from consideration. The design previously identified as "LP-18" contained an image of thirteen wheat stalks bound together with the inscription "One Nation." This was intended to represent the thirteen original colonies. The design also revisited the concept of a wheat themed reverse, which had been used on the Lincoln Cent from 1909 to 1958.

This wheat sheaf design was included in the candidates provided to the Committee of Fine Arts for their April 16 meeting. The members present had unanimously supported the wheat design. According to Coin World, the US Mint subsequently removed this design from consideration stating that it was "inappropriately similar to a 1920's era German pfennig." Several individuals in the coin collecting community had also noted this similarity, as well as a similarity to coins issued during communist eras of some countries. See this blog post from Coin Network.

Pictured above are the LP-18 design which was removed from consideration, a German 1-pfennig coin from 1936, and a 1948 coin from Czechoslovakia.

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee reviewed the shortened list of 17 candidate designs on April 28 and gave their support to the shield design identified as LP-13. During the meeting, CCAC members also reportedly spoke about changing the obverse design of the 2010 Lincoln Cent to a more modernized version. This issue will be discussed further in their next meeting. Ultimately the design choice for the 2010 Lincoln Cent will be made by the United States Secretary of the Treasury.

What are your thoughts on the 2010 Lincoln Cent design candidates? Join the discussion on Coin Network!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

US Mint Product Schedule Update

The US Mint's product schedule has been updated with release dates for two major products coming in early June. These products are the 2009 Proof Set and the Letitia Tyler first Spouse Gold Coin.

While the US Mint has not yet issued the official product release notifications, this post will provide some preliminary information on the products. I will follow up with additional details and some opinions closer to the actual release dates.

2009 Proof Set

The annual proof set is one of the core products of the United States Mint. The set contains proof versions of all coins issued for circulation. The proof coins are struck at the San Francisco Mint and carry the "S" mint mark. The 2009 Proof Set will see the number of coins included expand to 18. This is an increase by four from last year's proof set which contained 14 coins.

Each 2009 Proof Set will contain the four different 2009 Presidential Dollars, Native American Dollar, Kennedy Half Dollar, the six different quarters released under the DC & US Territories Quarters Program, Roosevelt Dime, Jefferson Nickel, and the four different 2009 Lincoln Cents. The Lincoln Cents will be struck with a composition of 95% copper, 3% zinc, and 2% tin that matches the original composition of the coin used in 1909.

The price of the 2009 Proof Set is expected to be $29.95. This would represent an increase of $3.00 compared to the prior year. The increase is likely attributable to the inclusion of the additional coins. The currently scheduled release date is June 1, 2009.

Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin

The Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin will mark the tenth release for the First Spouse series overall. It will be one of five total releases for 2009, more than the typical four releases. The increased number is due to the fact that John Tyler had a first and second wife while serving as president.

The coins will contain one-half ounce of 24 karat gold. Unless there are any developments before the release of the coin, this is only one of two fractional gold coins issued by the US Mint so far this year. The other is the Anna Harrison First Spouse Gold Coin.

The price of the Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin will be determined under the US Mint's pricing policy for gold numismatic products. If the average London Fix gold price for the week is within the $900 to $949.99 range, the proof coins would be priced at $629.00 and the uncirculated coins would be priced at $616.00. A bronze medal duplicate of the coin should also be available for $3.50. The currently scheduled release date for the coins is June 4, 2009 July 1, 2009. (US Mint product schedule update)


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2009 Gold and Silver Eagle Bullion Coins

The US Mint has been posting high sales numbers for American Gold Eagle and American Silver Eagle bullion coins.

These bullion coins are not to be confused with the collectible versions of the coins that the US Mint typically sells directly to collectors. The bullion coins are distributed through a network of authorized purchasers and can be purchased by individuals from bullion dealers or coin dealers typically at a mark up above the price of the precious metal.

So far during 2009, the US Mint has only produced two bullion coin offerings, the 2009 American Silver Eagle and 1 oz. 2009 American Gold Eagle. At the end of 2008, the US Mint announced the delayed release of all other 2009 bullion coins. Typically, fractional Gold Eagles, 24 karat Gold Buffalo, and Platinum Eagle bullion coins would also be offered.

The monthly sales totals for the 2009 Silver Eagle and 1 oz. 2009 Gold Eagle bullion coins appears below.
2009 Silver Eagle Monthly Sales
January 1,900,000
February 2,125,000
March 3,132,000
April 2,518,000
Total 9,675,000

2009 Gold Eagle Monthly Sales
January 92,000
February 113,500
March 136,500
April 147,500
Total 489,500

If the current pace of sales continues for the rest of the year, Silver Eagle sales would reach about 30 million and Gold Eagle sales would reach 1.5 million. This would represent a new all time high for Silver Eagles. The previous all time high was set last year when 19,583,500 coins were sold. The all time high for 1 oz. Gold Eagle sales was reached in 1998 when 1,518,000 coins were sold.

While it might seem that increased demand is driving this year's potentially record breaking Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coin sales, I would offer a different interpretation.

The US Mint has been selling gold and silver bullion coins to its authorized purchasers on an allocated basis since March 2008 for Silver Eagles and August 2008 for Gold Eagles. These allocations are necessary because the US Mint has not been able to obtain sufficient supplies of precious metals blanks to meet full demand. The increased sales levels of recent months suggest that the US Mint has been able to obtain greater supplies of precious metals blanks. In other words, demand is not increasing, but rather a greater portion of existing demand can finally be satisfied. This is further supported by the fact that premiums charged by precious metals dealers for Gold and Silver Eagles have been falling over the past few weeks.

The possibility that the US Mint is fulfilling more demand, might mean good for coin collectors is on the horizon. Earlier this year, the US Mint had announced that the production of collectible versions of the 2009 Silver Eagle and 2009 Gold Eagle would be temporarily suspended. Under law, the US Mint is required to produce bullion coins in quantities sufficient to meet public demand. Therefore, until the demand for bullion coins could be met, collector versions of the coins (which are not required under law) would have to wait.

In some cases, the length of delay for the collector coins is already substantial. Last year, the proof Silver Eagle was released on January 3, 2008. The uncirculated version was released on March 17, 2008. The proof versions of the Gold Eagle had been releaesd on March 4, 2008 with the uncirculated versions released on April 1, 2008.

The collectible Silver Eagle coins expected to be released this year are the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle and 2009-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle. The collectible Gold Eagles expected for this year are the 2008-W Uncirculaed Gold Eagle (one ounce coin only) and a full range of 2009 Proof Gold Eagles including 1 oz, 1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz coins, and the 4 coin set.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

US Mint 2009 Coin Production Figures Updated

The US Mint has updated their 2009 coin production figures to reflect the coins minted through April 2009. This is an important update since the figures may represent the final mintages for the 2009 Jefferson Nickel and 2009 Roosevelt Dime. Production for both denominations has officially ended for 2009.

The numbers reported for 2009 Jefferson Nickels are now 39.84 million for Philadelphia and 39.36 million for Denver. This represents an increase of about 4 million and 6 million from the prior month. If these are the final mintages, they will represent the lowest since 1959.

The numbers for the 2009 Roosevelt Dimes are now 96.50 million for Philadelphia and 49.50 million for Denver. This represents an increase of 18 million and 8 million from the prior month. The relatively larger increase for the Philadelphia mintage might make the coin less attractive than the Denver minted coin. The 2009-D Roosevelt Dime marks the lowest mintage since 1958.

Figures for the 2009 Lincoln Cents have been updated. The US Mint does not split out production figures for each design. However, the final mintages for the 2009 Birthplace Lincoln Cent design have been confirmed elsewhere as 284.8 million at Philadelphia and 350 million at Denver. If you back out these numbers, that leaves production of 156.8 million and 72.8 million "Rail Splitter" design coins from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. I will try to confirm whether production of this design will continue or if these will be the final mintages.

The production figure for the 2009 John Tyler Presidential Dollar has now been reported. As might have been expected, the overall mintage represents another new low for the Presidential Dollar series.

Lastly, the figures for the 2009 Native American Dollars are either incorrect, or will need to be produced in much greater numbers before the end of the year. Under the authorizing legislation, the mintage of Native American Dollars must represent at least 20% of the total mintage for all dollar coins during the year. (Update: see comments for possible explanation.)

The complete figures from the US Mint's production page are listed below:
2009 Coin Production January 2009 to April 2009

Philadelphia Denver Total
Lincoln Cent 441.60 M 422.80 M 864.40 M
Jefferson Nickel 39.84 M 39.36 M 79.20 M
Roosevelt Dime 96.50 M 49.50 M 146.00 M
District of Columbia Quarter 83.60 M 88.80 M 172.40 M
Puerto Rico Quarter 53.20 M 86.00 M 139.20 M
Kennedy Half Dollar 1.70 M 1.70 M 3.40 M
W.H. Harrison Dollar 43.26 M 55.16 M 98.42 M
John Tyler Dollar 45.22 M 43.54 M 88.76 M
Native American Dollar 7.28 M 11.90 M 19.18 M

Thoughts on the new figures? Discuss on Coin Network!


Friday, May 1, 2009

Prices Decline for Ultra High Relief Gold Double Eagles

Although the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins remain available directly from the US Mint, some collectors purchase the coins on the secondary market. In recent weeks, these secondary market prices have been declining.

The US Mint has sold the coins for prices ranging from $1,189 to $1,339. Under the current pricing policy, the prices for numismatic gold products can be adjusted weekly in response to changes in the underlying market price of gold. The US Mint's current price for the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle is $1,239.

On the secondary market, the largest price decline has taken place for coins graded MS70 by PCGS or NGC. Back in March, I examined the apparent high ratio of UHR Double Eagles grading MS70. This high ratio has continued, with grading data from PCGS and NGC showing roughly two-thirds of coins grading MS70. With so many coins receiving the highest possible grade, the prices for these "perfect" coins has fallen.

Based on a review of this week's completed eBay auctions, 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins graded PCGS MS70 have sold within a range of $1,725 to $2,000. Coins with the often controversial "First Strike" designation sold within a higher range of $2,075 to $2,300. When I reviewed prices in mid-March, PCGS MS70 coins were selling within a range of $2,650 to $3,500.

The Ultra High Relief coins graded NGC MS 70 have sold within a range of $1,883 to $2,000. Back in mid-March, NGC MS 70 coins were selling from $2,400 to $3,000.

View current auctions for MS70 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles.

The prices for ungraded or "raw" coins have also declined. This week's completely eBay auctions show prices ranging from a low of $1,325 to a high of $1,550. As recently as mid-April, the coins were selling within a higher range of $1,500 to $1,650. The recent low price of $1,325 is actually below one of the prices that had been in place at the US Mint.

View current auctions for uncertified 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles.

In my opinion, it never made much sense for these uncertified coins to sell at such high premiums while they still remained available directly from the United States Mint. The secondary market premiums existed due to the US Mint's one per household ordering limit and the potential for a long wait for delivery. People were willing to pay significant premiums to buy an additional coin and/or buy a coin for immediate delivery.

The US Mint now seems to be delivering the coins more quickly. I saw one report of a customer who ordered the coin and received it within one week. This may be an isolated case, but shipping is definitely not taking the six to nine months that was initially feared. The only factor still supporting secondary market premiums for raw coins is US Mint's one per household ordering limit. If and when the ordering limit is raised or removed, I think there will likely be further declines in secondary market prices.

While these short term fluctuations are always interesting to watch, prices for the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins in the long term are still wide open. After the US Mint stops producing and selling the coins, another set of factors will serve to determine the eventual price of the coin. These factors include the final mintage, the distribution of the mintage, collector demand, and of course, the price of gold.


Puerto Rico Quarter First Day Cover

The United States Mint will offer the Puerto Rico Official First Day Coin Cover on May 12, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET May 26, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. (Release date revised by US Mint.)

This will be the second coin cover offered for the 2009 District of Columbia and US Territories Quarters Program. The first offering for the District of Columbia Coin Cover only recently went on sale on April 24, after the initial release date was delayed.

The Puerto Rico Coin Cover will feature two Puerto Rico Quarters, one each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. The quarters will be mounted on a custom display card with a canceled 42 cent postage stamp. The post mark will be March 30, 2009 from San Juan, PR.

The covers will be priced at $14.95 each and will be limited to 25,000 units.

A few readers commented in the post about the prior release that these First Day Covers might have the potential to be relatively quick sell outs. With the US Mint's shrinking product line, customers might consider products that they have not previously collected. Products containing the 2009 Quarters also seem to be quite popular with numerous bags and rolls products already sold out. It would not take a lot of additional demand to quickly exhaust the 25,000 production run.

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