Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

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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28 Comments:

At May 12, 2009 at 7:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the Mint draws the proper conclusion - that many of these coins' sales suffer from terrible art and composition, particularly on the reverse (much too busy and often downright "hokey") - though the obverse of the Harrison coin is dreadful as well. Strong, attractive design is what will drive collectors!

 
At May 12, 2009 at 7:24 AM , Anonymous Tom Maloney said...

I agree with the anonymous poster who commented on the 'poverty of design' of these so-called collectibles.

I don't believe a strong secondary market will ever develop for this crap.

The mint should focus on bullion and proof versions of the American Eagle and Buffalo coins. That is where the demand is, and where the profit is, too.

If they must make these spouse coins, they should be minted out of the same dross that the presidential dollars are made of, and circulate freely along side them - that is if the public will actually ever use them.

 
At May 12, 2009 at 8:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with the notion that a strong secondary market will never develop for these coins. Regardless of their artistic merit, at some point within the next handful of years, the shear rarity of the sub 5,000 mintage coins will become relevent to collectors and premiums will rise. Just my humble opinion which I am backing with my wallet.

 
At May 12, 2009 at 8:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me too. You pretty much can't go wrong with coins made of pure gold. The extremely low mintage for some of these is just icing on the cake.

There's little if any doubt that the Louisa Adams Uncirculated coin WILL have a mintage under 4,000. My guess is it will finish in the 3,700-3,800 range.

 
At May 12, 2009 at 8:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember the Postal Gold from 1980 to 1984--the first spouse coins are the premium priced versions of same. What did Postal Gold go for vs. Spot?

 
At May 12, 2009 at 8:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Postal Gold link on ebay:

http://coins.search.ebay.com/american-arts-gold_Coins-Paper-Money_W0QQcatrefZC12QQfromZR40QQsacatZ11116

Get 'em while they are hot :)!!

 
At May 12, 2009 at 9:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Postal Gold comparison is waaayyyyy off the mark. Those were medals. Were never monitized. The collector base for gold medals is way smaller than the collector base for gold coins. Not even close to being an analogous situation. But if you think so, there is an easy soluction. Just don't buy the Gold Spouses.

 
At May 12, 2009 at 11:20 AM , Anonymous Tom Maloney said...

OK, I'll concede that there are some folks who would want to collect these 'rare' coins ... but, in just about all cases, I would prefer to buy more gold with my dollars.

Just make sure you get these hot ladies slabbed to make them even more rare and collectible.

I await the high and holy PCGS and NGS population reports on these dubious dubloons! What a bargain!

 
At May 12, 2009 at 12:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The Postal Gold comparison is waaayyyyy off the mark. Those were medals. Were never monitized. The collector base for gold medals is way smaller than the collector base for gold coins. Not even close to being an analogous situation. But if you think so, there is an easy soluction. Just don't buy the Gold Spouses."

Monetized? Since when does gold have to be monetized by the mint to have value. In retrospect, I believe I was being unfair to the Postal gold for comparing it to the Spouse coins; I think the Postal coins are a much better value. Tom is right--slab da girlz and pay even more for the rarity! :)

 
At May 12, 2009 at 12:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Artistically, the First Spounse "coins" suck, but I really don't see much downside risk as long as (a) the mint sells the coins at close to bullion value, and (b) the price of gold does not go down.

As far as upside goes, it depends on the fads of the future, and those are anyone's guess.

 
At May 12, 2009 at 3:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of these coins are hideous and there will never be much of a secondary market for the ugly coins, regardless of the mintages.
These mandated by law coins are wasting production capabilty and raw material that could be used to produce Proof Gold Eagles or Buffalos that would easily sell,even at todays prices.

 
At May 12, 2009 at 4:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they're awesome.

 
At May 12, 2009 at 7:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I gather the Arts gold were relatively high mintage compared to the current spouse coins.

However the spouse coins could trade as any other coin series, where the lowest mintage coins have high premiums and most of them have a low premium if any at all.

The problem with the series is the high cost for a complete set, 39 coins at spot gold is over $17,500 dollars and that is not adding in the mint premium. If some of the lowest mintage coins go for a decent multiple then the total set cost could be $30,000.

I think that will hold down the potential of the set and since many collectors today are older males do they really want to collect a set that resembles their mother-in-law?

It would seem the numbers are getting low but if gold keeps climbing in price then fewer will be sold perhaps.

 
At May 12, 2009 at 7:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether some of these coins are "ugly" or not, I don't think it will matter very much WHAT they look like in the long run. This is a lengthy series of coins. Remember that all-important key word there: SERIES. It is human nature to try to get every item in a series. Several years from now, when the gold coins for first ladies that our generation is more familiar with or even remembers when they were alive are being minted and sold, human nature will kick in and collectors are going to take a shot at assembling a complete set of these coins. That's when the current lack of demand will come back to haunt future collectors, because there simply aren't going to be very many of some of these coins to be had. Elizabeth Monroe has already mandated that no more than 4,519 complete sets of Uncirculated coins can ever be assembled, and Louisa Adams is about to further reduce that number down to a paltry 3,700-3,800 sets. The way it looks now, that number will be reduced even further in 2009 or beyond. How low it will ultimately go is anyone's guess.

Later, when one of the extremely low mintage coins DOES show up for sale in an auction, it will only take two people who want it (and have deep enough pockets) to drive the price sky high.

Surely everyone has noticed the way that most items no one seemed to want when they were available later become very hot once the secondary market is the only option for acquiring them. That crazy phenomenon seems to repeat itself over and over again! I don't see this series being much different in the future.

If you have the dough, it wouldn't hurt to have some of these low-mintage coins hanging around. No matter what happens, they will always be worth their weight in gold. But, they could also provide some nice premiums in a few years.

 
At May 12, 2009 at 7:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like 'em. Ok Martha may look a bit dowdy,but hey it's the Nation's
First Lady. The old classic flowing hair Libery obverse for the Jeff looks terrific. I think it's cool to see such a neat historic design being pulled out of the archives and being used only 20,000 more times,and the Jack is even cooler, the obverse is terrific and the General on his horse is a pretty impressive design as well. I would howevere concede that most of the other designs are not too remarkable. But hey, mabey if more women were to be come aware of these coins it might eventually attract a greater secondary market interest.

 
At May 13, 2009 at 8:37 AM , Blogger Jay said...

I think Louisa Adams is the only good one so far besides the Liberty ones. There will probably be others too. Jackie Kennedy will probably sell out, but that's about it. If Jackson's Liberty is going to stay low, then I don't see too many even coming close to a sell out. I think Jackson's Liberty in proof is one of the nicest coins I have ever had. This is just my opinion of course. I will get the ones I like which have only been the Liberty ones so far.
I do agree that the Mint should start using this gold for Eagles and Buffalos. And where's the Platinum coins? There's no bullion or proofs. They're not satisfying anyones demand, guess the Mint just can't get any??

 
At May 13, 2009 at 9:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say that I like this series. I am collecting the uncirculated coins. Being a history teacher it is interesting to see women as a primary focus on something so valuable. We never show the great woman behind the president. I have actually used these coins to take time out and read about each first wife. They have done some incredible things. I use my part time job to help pay for these coins. Being in my late thirties I have concluded that these coins will make my grandchildren very happy one day. I hope that each of you will try and find a new point of view in which to view these coins. Good luck to all.

D.T.
Georgia

 
At May 13, 2009 at 11:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many people have any collection of 39 gold coins?

Of all the gold coins to collect would this be the first one they pick?

I don't think so.

 
At May 13, 2009 at 1:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it will only take two people who want it (and have deep enough pockets) to drive the price sky high."

It is all about fleabay!

 
At May 13, 2009 at 10:52 PM , Blogger suppie said...

I have collected all the coins so for. I have had the last one on order for over a month and still get the message of in stock and reserved. You would think with them selling so badly the mint could get it out quicker. It is only about 3 weeks before the next one comes out

 
At May 15, 2009 at 7:36 PM , Anonymous Del Shannon said...

He's right.

It is all about fleaBay.

 
At May 19, 2009 at 10:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

10 years from now... most of 'the spouses' will trade at or near spot.

15 years from now... 'the spouses' will be the 'most melted' gold coins in U.S. Mint history.

25 years from now... numismatic prices will skyrocket for the few thousand remaining examples of each.

30 years from now... the U.S. Mint, finally feeling completely vindicated in producing 'the spouses', will announce the Presidential Mistress series of platinum coins.

 
At May 24, 2009 at 9:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see the jefferson spouse coin reminted with a likeness of his "alleged" black slave mistress, after all wouldn't she be considered a common law wife by today's standards... I'm sure that this remint would be a sell out coin...

 
At May 26, 2009 at 8:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out eBay for someone's custom-made "Presidential Dollar and First Spouse Medal Set" for Thomas Jefferson and his slave mistress. It fetches about $50.

 
At May 29, 2009 at 2:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometime this afternoon, the Mint changed the release date for the Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coins from June 4th to July 1st.

I wonder if they will still pull the Louisa Adams coins off-sale on June 4th as originally planned, or if they plan to milk one more month of sales out of those. If they do, they will violate their own policy of only selling the coins for one year. Technically they should have been pulled off-sale today, 5/29. That is the true one-year mark.

I guess it isn't the first time the Mint changed the rules in the middle of the game. I'm sure it won't be the last time, either.

 
At September 7, 2009 at 9:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello,

in 2009 the UHR eagle took all the news. So if somebody wanted to buy a proof half ounce american gold coin that was monetized, the only way to get one was with the gold spouse series.

Ugly or not, the rarity will keep the prices relatively higher even if bullion falls. Look at the jackie robinson 5 dollar commem bu. The way it is looking right now, there will 2 or 3 with mintages lower than the jackie robinson. If people knew what the Jacjie BU would be worth today back then. . .It wouldn't be worth it today.

 
At November 12, 2009 at 9:10 PM , Blogger Phillip said...

The ones without the bonnets are babes! So beauty can't be the issue. The premium is the same as a buffalo. The historical significance is high. Really interesting reading about them all. Sort of makes the point that women didn't even have the right to vote for about 1/2 our presidents, with the suffrage coin not coming until midway. Then there is the liberty subset and interest in the more famous spouses. We've all heard about the presidents, but what does it take to make first spouse? Fascinating! So what's the problem with the numismats -- sexism?

 
At March 19, 2010 at 5:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thoughts on the first spouse gold coins is rather simple. With the recession in play and no end in sight, paying for the coins seems to be a daunting task for even the seasoned collector. As the recession worsens, people just do not have the money to put towards 1 coin must less 44 of them all costing 700 dollars or more. That said, to collect all the coins you can imagine the total cost in the end....ALOT!! With the decreased sales from 1 series to the next fewer and fewer seem to be selling. That means for those who have collected all of the coins not only have a hugh in terms of the dollars spent, they are also sitting on a VERY, Very valuable set sure to be well worth more than its own weight in gold...Some say the artistry is no good, i happen to think that they are all beautiful coins each in theeir own way...If all of them were the same how boring would that be...So, to sum it all up...I think that if one does collect all the coins (NONE MISSING) it will indeed be the most valuable mordern coin series that the mint inadvertently ever produce...I am no genius here...Just using common sense!!

 

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