Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Letita Tyler First Spouse Gold Coins

The release of the 2009 Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin will mark the end of the month-long dry spell for US Mint products. The coins will go on sale July 2, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will be the second of five releases for the First Spouse coin series during 2009.

The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Letitia Tyler, designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill. The reverse features a scene of Letitia Tyler and two of her children on Cedar Grove Plantation. She had supervised the operation of the 1,200 acre plantation, allowing her husband to focus on his political career. The reverse was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Norman E. Nemeth.

The Letitia Tyler First Spouse Coin will contain one-half ounce of 24-karat gold. Coins will be available in uncirculated or proof, with both versions produced at the West Point Mint. The maximum authorized mintage will be 40,000 coins across both options. The US Mint has not announced any ordering limits, however the last release carried an initial household limit of 10 coins per option.

Pricing for the coins will be determined under the US Mint's pricing policy for gold and platinum numismatic products. If the average London Fix price of gold from last Thursday to this coming Wednesday falls within the $900-$949.99 range, then the proof coins would be priced at $629.00 and the uncirculated coins would be priced at $616.00. If the average price of gold falls within a higher or lower $50 tier, the prices of the coins would be adjusted by $25 for each increment.

A bronze medal featuring the same design, less some inscriptions, will be released at the same time. The medals are priced at $3.50, with no household ordering limit.

When the Letitia Tyler coins go on sale, it is expected that sales of the Louisa Adams coins will end. The Louisa Adams First Spouse Coins originally went on sale May 29, 2008. The US Mint has stated that First Spouse coins will remain on sale for approximately one year or until the maximum authorized mintage has been sold. In this case, "approximately one year" will be stretched beyond 13 months, trying the patience of some collectors.

After sales of the Louisa Adams coin officially end, collectors will be able to determine if this coin represents the new mintage low for the series. The most recent sales figures for the Louisa Adams coins show 4,214 uncirculated coins and 6,931 proof coins sold. These levels are still below the low mintage leader for coins that are no longer available. This is the Elizabeth Monroe coin with 4,519 uncirculated coins and 7,933 proof coins sold.

As the popularity of the First Spouse series has declined, some have been watching for the low point of the series. Low mintage gold coins have often attracted attention after the fact, creating new demand for the coins and driving secondary market prices higher. On the other hand, some have argued that the First Spouse series is different than other gold series, and will never attract this additional demand. This topic has been debated frequently in the comments of other posts on the First Spouse Gold Coin series.

On a separate note, I will be leaving on a three week vacation this afternoon. While I am away, I plan to continue posting to Mint News Blog, although there may be some gaps and some posts may be less timely than usual. Please stay on board during this period, and feel free to post any breaking news over on Coin Network to keep the discussion going!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

John Tyler Presidential Dollar Coin Cover

The US Mint will begin selling the John Tyler Presidential Dollar Coin Cover on Thursday, July 2, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will be the tenth release in the ongoing American Presidency $1 Coin Cover Series.

Each coin cover will feature two John Tyler Presidential Dollars, one from the Philadelphia Mint and one from the Denver Mint. Each coin was produced on the first day of mintage from each facility. The coins are mounted on a custom display card with a 44 cent stamp, post marked May 21, 2009, Charles City, VA. This day marked the official release of the coins into circulation.

The covers are priced at $14.95 each and will be limited to 40,000 units. The US Mint's product page can already be viewed here.

The previously released coin cover for William Henry Harrison has sold 24,270 units since it went on sale March 17, 2009. All of the American Presidency Coin Covers released during 2008 are currently listed in the US Mint's Last Opportunity Sale and will only be available until June 30, 2009.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Last Opportunity Sale Ends June 30

The US Mint's "Last Opportunity Sale" will end next week on Tuesday, June 30, 2009. The sale began one month ago to offer customers a final opportunity to purchase some remaining 2008 products.

The sale has not caused too much excitement. The products offered include 2008 State Quarter Coin Covers, 2008 Presidential Dollar Coin Covers, 2008 Coin and Die Sets, and Greetings from America coin and stamp cards.

All products are offered at their original prices. Any products ordered through the sale are subject to a limited return policy. Products can only be returned during a 7-day return period if they are delivered damaged.

The only product to sell out so far has been the 2008 Alaska Coin and Die Set from Denver.

For those interested, Numismaster's Mint Stats provides sales figures for the First Day Coin Covers that are available through the sale. The Presidential Dollar covers had a production limit of 50,000 and the State Quarters covers had a limit of 35,000 units. In earlier years, some of the coin covers had reached their respective limits.
First Day Coin Cover Sales
James Monroe Dollar 35,930
JQ Adams Dollar 31,244
Andrew Jackson Dollar 28,993
Martin Van Buren Dollar 25,476
Oklahoma Quarter 29,575
New Mexico Quarter 25,893
Arizona Quarter 26,107
Alaska Quarter 26,821
Hawaii Quarter 28,984


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Subscriptions Added for 2009 Lincoln Cent Roll Sets

Today, the US Mint announced that they will extend their subscription program to include the remaining 2009 Lincoln Cent Two Roll Set offerings. The subscription would cover the two remaining roll sets for the "Professional Life" and "Presidency" designs. It would not cover the first two releases for the "Birthplace" and "Formative Years" designs.

Under the subscription program, customers enroll in the program for a specified number of sets and the US Mint charges the credit card on file and ships the coins when they become available. The US Mint has offered subscriptions for certain annual or recurring products like Proof Sets, Mint Sets, Coin Covers, Presidential Dollar rolls, and the collectible Silver Eagles.

The main benefit of the subscription program is that products are ordered automatically, and you don't have to worry about fighting through potential bottlenecks on the US Mint's website on product release days.

There has always been discussion about whether products ordered under the subscription program ship earlier than orders placed on the first day. This was recently the subject of an experiment conducted by a member of Coin Network. Orders for the 2009 Proof Set were placed via subscription, within the first few minutes of sales, and later in the day. The result of the experiment was that the set ordered through the subscription was shipped and received more or less within the same time frame as orders placed on the first day.

Shipping for the 2009 Proof Sets in general seems to have been handled much more smoothly than prior 2009 products. For other products, I have seen reports of orders placed through subscriptions being shipped weeks after orders placed on the first day. Whether the results of the experiment are the exception or the rule is unknown.

The US Mint's subscriptions page can be found here. The option for 2009 Lincoln Cent Two Roll Sets does not appear yet. The option for the 2009 Lincoln Cent Two Roll Sets now appears in the subscription section.


Monday, June 22, 2009

US Mint Product Schedule Update

The US Mint recently updated their product schedule with release dates for several products to be released in the month of July. Here are the products and release dates along with some preliminary information. Closer to the release dates, I will provide a full post with additional details on the products.

Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin
July 2, 2009

This will be the second release for the First Spouse Coin series during 2009. The half ounce 24 karat gold coins will be available in uncirculated or proof versions. The release date had previously been scheduled for June 4, 2009, but was changed without explanation a few days beforehand.

The price for the Letitia Tyler coin will be based on the average price of gold for the preceding one week pricing period. If the average price of gold remains within its current price tier of $900 - $949.99, then the proof coins would be priced at $629 and the uncirculated coins would be priced at $616.

On the same date, the Letitia Tyler Bronze Medals will also go on sale. The medals carry the same design as the gold coins, without some of the inscriptions. They should be priced at $3.50 each.

Presidential $1 Coin & First Spouse Medal Set (Letitia Tyler)
July 14, 2009

These sets include the Presidential Dollar and First Spouse Bronze Medal for each Presidency. Since John Tyler had a first and second wife, it appears that the US Mint will be issuing two separate sets. The first will contain with the bronze medal for Letitia Tyler and the second will contain the bronze medal for Julia Tyler.

Prior releases for this product line have proven to be popular sellers. The only previous release still available is the coin and medal set for William Henry and Anna Harrison. This set had an issue price of $8.95, which will likely be the price level for the Tyler Set.

2009 Silver Proof Set
July 17, 2009

The annual proof set, which contains 90% silver coins. Like the regular proof set, it will contain a total of 18 coins. This includes 4 cents, 1 nickel, 1 dime, 6 quarters, 1 half dollar, and 5 dollar coins. The 2009-S Lincoln Cents will be struck in a composition of 95% copper (or bronze). The 2009-S DC & US Territories Quarters, Kennedy Half Dollar, and Roosevelt Dime will be struck in a composition of 90% silver.

The expected price for the 2009 Proof Set is $52.95, which is $8 higher than the price for last year's set. This extra cost is likely due to the additional 90% silver quarter and additional three proof cents. This year's silver proof set has an earlier release date than prior years. Last year, the 2008 Silver Proof Set was not released until August 26, 2008.

American Samoa Quarter
Bags and Rolls
July 27, 2009

The fourth release for the District of Columbia & US Territories Quarters Program. The offering should include 1,000-coin bags from each mint priced at $309.95, 100-coin bags from each mint priced at $32.95, and a two roll set priced at $32.95. This year's bags and rolls have been popular due to the low mintages for this year's circulating coins and the (sometimes) low production runs for bags and rolls that have (sometimes) led to quick sell outs.

So far, each quarter released this year has had a lower overall mintage than the prior release. Will the American Samoa Quarter have a lower mintage than the Guam Quarter? The US Mint bags and rolls will go on sale a few days before the US Mint posts new production figures, which should reveal the answer.

Guam First Day Coin Cover
July 28, 2009

This year's first day covers for quarters have been priced at $14.95 and have been limited to 25,000 units. The covers are generally considered to be better designed than the State Quarter covers, but none of this year's releases has reached sell out levels. So far the District of Columbia cover has sold 11,695 units, and the Puerto Rico cover has sold 6,517 units.


Guam Quarter 1,000-Coin Bags Back on Sale

Over the weekend, the US Mint put the Guam Quarter 1,000-Coin Bags back on sale. These options had been unavailable for nearly a month, causing some to wonder whether they would ever return.

The US Mint's Guam Quarter bags and rolls initially went on sale May 26, 2009. Just two days later, the Philadelphia and Denver Mint 1,000-coin bags both went off sale with the message "This product is temporarily unavailable."

The Guam 1,000-coin bags were particularly strong sellers right out of the gate. In the few days of availability, the US Mint had sold 1,431 Philadelphia bags and 1,247 Denver bags. This already exceeded the total number of 1,000-coin bags that the US Mint had sold for the District of Columbia (653 Philadelphia bags and 704 Denver bags) or Puerto Rico (1,047 Philadelphia bags and 953 Denver bags).

The Guam Quarter has the lowest mintage of the DC & US Territories Quarters series to date with only 45,000,000 coins minted at Philadelphia and 42,600,000 coins minted at Denver. This also represents the lowest mintage for a quarter since 1962. The US Mint's 1,000-coin bags represent the lowest premium method for buying the Guam Quarters directly from the US Mint. The US Mint also offers 100-coin bags from each mint and two roll sets, which contain one 40-coin roll from each mint.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Take a second look at these US Mint Products

The summer doldrums seem to be setting in early. The frenzy for Ultra High Relief Double Eagles came and went. The mania for 2009 Lincoln Cents has subsided. The 2009 Proof Set went on sale and has already been received by many collectors. The wait for collectible Gold, Silver, and Platinum Eagles continues. Without any new US Mint products scheduled to be released until July, I wanted to write a post about some previously released US Mint products, which are worthy of a second look.

2008 Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set

This set was originally released on August 7, 2008. It contains an uncirculated version of each dollar coin released by the US Mint during 2008. This includes the four 2008-P Presidential Dollars, the 2008-D Sacagawea Dollar, and the 2008-W American Silver Eagle.

The Presidential Dollars and Sacagawea Dollars are the satin finish versions, which are also included in the annual 2008 Mint Set (now sold out). The Silver Eagle is the collectible uncirculated version with the "W" mint mark (sold out as an individual option).

There are a few interesting aspects to this set. First, this set contains the only collectible American Eagle coin available from the United States Mint in any form. All other 2008 dated American Eagles have sold out long ago, and the 2009 dated coins remain in limbo. The 2008-W Silver Eagle currently has a combined total mintage around 500,000 (444,558 individual coin sales plus 66,521 and counting via the Uncircualted Dollar Coin Set). This is a fraction of the number of regular bullion coins minted for 2008 at 20,583,000, and also lower than the number of proof coins minted at 713,353.

As an added bonus, this set might be the source of potential errors. A Coin Network member reported finding a James Monroe Presidential Dollar with missing edge lettering. While missing edge lettering was common for early Presidential Dollar releases, by 2008 it became much less common and downright scarce for most issues. Are these sets a potential source for errors? I have not seen any other reports, but I would guess that people aren't taking a close look at the edges of the dollars.

The set is priced at $37.95 and the US Mint's product page can be found here.

2008 Silver Proof Set

This set was originally released on August 26, 2008. It contains a total of 14 proof coins, including 90% silver versions of the half dollar, quarters, and dime. This set was somewhat overshadowed by the unexpected sell out of the regular (clad) 2008 Proof Set, and the subsequent release of the 2009 Proof Sets.

Ever since the US Mint start issuing multiple variations of the proof set, such as the State Quarters Proof Set, Silver State Quarters Proof Set, and Presidential Dollars Proof Set, mintages for the full versions have showed declines. The 2008 Silver Proof Set currently shows sales of 765,076. Unless the sales rise significantly, this will be on the low end historically and below the levels for 2007 Silver Proof Set which sold about 875,000 units.

The sets are priced at $44.95 and the US Mint product page can be found here. Most likely these sets will go off sale when the 2009 Silver Proof Set is released this summer.

2009 Kennedy Half Bags and Rolls

These were released on January 22, 2009. The offerings include a 200 coin bag, which contains 100 coins from the Philadelphia Mint and 100 coins from the Denver Mint, and a two roll set, which contains one 20-coin roll from each mint.

Since 2002, the United States Mint has not released Kennedy Half Dollars for circulation. They have only been issued in proof sets, mint sets, and within US Mint packaged bags and rolls. On one hand this has resulted in extremely low mintages. On the other hand, nearly the entire mintage is held by coin collectors and dealers. This balance has kept prices mostly in check.

None of the US Mint issued bags and rolls of Kennedy Halves have ever really taken off in price, which seems to have contributed to waning interest in the products over the years. This year, most people have been focusing on the bags and rolls of Presidential Dollars and DC & US Territories Quarters, perhaps overlooking the Kennedy Halves even more so. Overlooked products have a way of emerging as winners later on. Could the 2009 Kennedy Halves become a sleeper hit?

The 200 coin bags are priced at $130.95 and can be found here. The Two Roll Sets are priced at $32.95 and can be found here. These will likely remain on sale until next year's bags and rolls are released.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gold and Silver Eagle Bullion Allocation Programs End

Yesterday, the US Mint announced the end of the long standing allocation programs for Gold and Silver American Eagle bullion coins. This should have implications for coin collectors who have been eagerly awaiting the collectible proof and uncirculated versions of the coins.

The news comes via a brief memorandum sent to authorized purchasers of US Mint bullion coins, which stated, "Effective immediately, the United States is lifting the allocation process. You may place your orders under the standard ordering procedures."

Gold and Silver Eagle Bullion Coin Shortage and Rationing

The US Mint sells gold and silver bullion coins through a network of authorized purchasers. Last year, heavy demand and a tight supply of precious metals blanks had forced the US Mint to temporarily suspend sales of bullion coins and eventually instate allocation programs. These programs limited the number of gold and silver bullion coins that authorized purchasers could order.

The US Mint would divide weekly bullion coin production into two pools. The first pool would be divided equally amongst authorized purchasers, and the second would be divided based on past sales performance. The silver allocation program had been in place since April 2008, and the gold allocation program had been in place since August 2008.

In recent months there had been signs that the heavy demand and tight supply, which necessitated the allocation programs, were easing. After reaching extreme levels during the shortage, premiums for bullion coins charged by precious metals dealers were finally dropping. At the height of the Silver Eagle shortage, bullion coins carried premiums as high as $4.50 per coin. Since last month, these premiums have declined back to their historical norms around $2.00 per coin.

Another sign had been a recent decline in monthly sales levels for the US Mint's gold and silver bullion coins. For 2009, sales had recorded month to month increases before peaking and finally declining. Sales of Silver Eagle bullion coins had risen to a peak of 3,132,000 ounces in March, before receding in April, and falling further in May to 1,904,500 ounces. Sales of Gold Eagle bullion coins had reached a peak of 147,500 ounces in April, before dropping to 65,000 in May. Notably, even the reduced sales figures from last month remain far above year over year and historical sales comparisons.

Gold and Silver Eagle Collector Coins on the Horizon?

The end of the allocation program should be welcome news for coin collectors. Because of the high demand for gold and silver bullion coins, the US Mint had suspended production of the collector versions of the coins. By law, the US Mint is required to provide bullion coins "in quantities sufficient to meet public demand." Because they were unable to meet full demand, they had been diverting their entire supply of blanks to the production of bullion coins in lieu of producing any collector coins.

At the time of this post, there still has not been any indication of when production of collector coins will begin, and when the coins will eventually go on sale for collectors. However, recent developments suggest that a window of opportunity has opened for the US Mint to produce the collector coins. The end of the allocation program can be interpreted to mean that the US Mint is reasonably confident that their supply of incoming precious metals blanks is sufficient to satisfy full bullion coin demand with a reasonable cushion. Presumably, some of these extra blanks can now be used to produce collector coins.

The collector versions of American Gold and Silver Eagles expected to be produced this year are the following:

2009 American Gold Eagle One Ounce Proof
2009 American Gold Eagle One-Half Ounce Proof
2009 American Gold Eagle One-Quarter Ounce Proof
2009 American Gold Eagle One-Tenth Ounce Proof
2009 American Gold Eagle Proof Four Coin Set
2009 American Gold Eagle One Ounce Uncirculated
2009 American Silver Eagle One Ounce Proof
2009 American Silver Eagle One Ounce Uncirculated

Note that this product line up is slightly reduced from last year. The fractional versions of the 2009-W Uncirculated Gold Eagles were previously announced as discontinued.

Even though the collector versions of Gold and Silver Eagles are now closer to becoming reality, there still has not been any additional news on the American Platinum Eagle coins and American Buffalo Gold Coins. For 2009 to date, the US Mint has not produced or sold any bullion or collector coins from these two programs.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

95% Copper 2009 Lincoln Cents in 2009 Proof Sets

The 2009 US Proof Set went on sale June 1, 2009. Some readers who ordered early have already reported receiving their sets. In this post, I wanted to briefly mention the latest US Mint sales figures and revisit the topic of the 95% copper (bronze) 2009 Lincoln Cents.

According to Numismaster's Mint Stats published June 10, 2009, the US Mint recorded sales of 437,178 sets. This seems like a faster pace of sales than usual for the proof set, although I haven't been able to track down any interim sales figures from last year to compare.

Last year, the 2008 Proof Set sold just over 1.4 million sets in total.This number was lower than average due to an unexpected sell out in mid-December 2008. Typically, annual proof sets will remain on sale through the holiday gift giving season, and for some time into the following year.

The 2009 Proof Set will likely sell more units than the 2008 Proof Set, especially if it remains available for the entire year. Even if the final mintage for the set comes in higher, the long term prospects for the 2009 Proof Set remain solid. The set has a few unique aspects, which should help to maintain a heightened interest and demand for the sets in the future.

The 2009 Proof Set is the largest size regular proof set since the US Mint began issuing complete proof sets for collectors. It contains a total of 18 coins, which includes the entire six coin District of Columbia & U.S. Territories Quarters Set and the four different 2009 Lincoln Cent designs. The cents are struck in 95% copper, as opposed to the zinc based composition currently used for Lincoln Cents struck for circulation.

The alternate composition was authorized under Public Law 109-145, which also provided for the redesign of the Lincoln Cent. With regards to composition, the law provides for the issuance of one cent coins "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 US Mint has stated that these 95% copper (bronze) versions would be included "in the United States Mint's annual product offerings."

Although its been reported on Mint News Blog, other coin websites, and coin print publications that the 2009 Proof Lincoln Cents would have a composition of 95% copper, the US Mint's product page for the 2009 Proof Set curiously makes no mention of the fact. The US Mint also did not mention the composition in their press release announcing the product. Because these curious omissions, the true composition of the 2009 Lincoln Cents contained in the proof set have caused some confusion.

Now that some collectors have received their sets, there is confirmation of the composition. A Mint News Blog reader wrote wrote via comments that he had received his set on June 5, 2009 and the certificate of authenticity states, "Each Lincoln One-Cent coin has a composition of 95% copper, its original metal content when first introduced in 1909."

Other annual sets which should include 95% copper Lincoln Cents are the 2009 Mint Set and 2009 Silver Proof Set. Separately, the US Mint confirmed that the 2009 Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set will also contain the 95% copper Lincoln Cents. This special set will contain proof versions of the Lincoln Commemorative and all 2009 Lincoln Cents. A release date for this product has not yet been announced.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

John Tyler Rolls, Anna Harrison Medal Sold out

There are two products sold out at the US Mint. The John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls are sold out again, and the Anna Harrison Bronze Medal is now listed as sold out.

The John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls had first sold out on June 2, 2009. The ordering options were removed and the "sold out" message was added to the product pages. Mint Stats had indicated sales of 30,000 rolls from each Mint, the same sales level as the prior William Henry Harrison Dollar Rolls.

The rolls unexpectedly went back on sale this Wednesday. I wrote a post to inform Mint News Blog readers. As of this morning, the rolls are once again listed as "Sold Out." The mysterious return and rapid sell out seems to suggest that the rolls went back on sale after order cancellations or invalid credit numbers reduced original sales. We will need to wait a week to confirm, but it seems likely that the 30,000 sales numbers previously reported won't change, since the additional sales are replacing canceled orders.

The Anna Harrison First Spouse Bronze Medal has been listed as "Sold Out" for approximately one week. The medal originally went on sale February 25, 2009 at the same time as the corresponding gold coins. About four and a half months later the individual medals are no longer available.

Based on last year's medal sales, it seemed reasonable to expect that the Anna Harrison Medal would remain on sale for the entire year. Unlike the gold coins, the bronze medals have no production limit and no ordering limits, and all four last year's First Spouse Bronze Medals remain available for sale. However, similar to situations for other 2009 products, the US Mint seems to be changing the rules.

The Anna Harrison Bronze Medal still remains available for sale in the Presidential Dollar Coin & First Spouse Medal Set priced at $8.95. These sets have proven popular for prior releases, with all 2008 versions sold out. The William Henry Harrison & Anna Harrison Set has recorded sales of 12,676 to date.

The Harrison Bronze Medal will also appear later this year in the First Spouse Bronze Medal Set. This set contains one of each First Spouse medal issued during the year. The US Mint's product schedule currently lists this set with a "winter" release date.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls Back on Sale?

After apparently selling out more than a week ago, the John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls are now back on sale at the US Mint.

On June 2, 2009, the US Mint product pages for the Philadelphia and Denver rolls had both clearly indicated that the products were "Sold Out." Some time today, ordering options for the products reappeared and the sold out message was removed. This is not the first time the US Mint has listed a product as "Sold Out" only to have it return for another round of sales without explanation.

After the coins were listed as "sold out" on the US Mint's website, secondary market prices quickly rose. Days after the coins were no longer available at the Mint, some individual rolls had sold on eBay for prices in excess of $100. This compares to the original offering price of $35.95. Even with the rolls back on sale, they are still being bid up to the $60 to $70 level.

If you missed ordering your John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls, go to the US Mint website where they are still available at the original price. You can find the Philadelphia roll at the regular product page here. The Denver rolls are also available via the product page, although the page is not listed in the John Tyler Presidential Dollar section. You can find the Denver rolls here.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

2009 Formative Years Lincoln Cent Doubled Dies

Several collectors have identified doubled die varieties for the 2009 Lincoln Cent Formative Years design. The story made the front page of this week's issue of Coin World, which describes four different doubled die reverse varieties.

The doubling occurs on the reverse of the coin, around the area of Lincoln's hand, which holds the book. The first variety shows a completely separate "extra finger" between Lincoln's thumb and index finger. This one is the most visually dramatic and might get the most attention. The second variety shows doubling on Lincoln's thumb. The third shows an "extra thumb" just above Lincoln's index finger. The fourth variety shows an extra finger just below the thumb, but not as dramatically as the first variety.

The rarity of these Doubled Die Formative Years Cents still remains to be seen, but there are already over 100 listings on eBay. Earlier completed auctions show the coins selling for $20-$30, but the influx of new listings following the Coin World coverage might drive prices down.

Last week, I had opened one of my 2009 Lincoln Cents Formative Years Two Roll Sets before news of the doubled dies became more widespread. I had come across two coins with a significant die crack on the reverse that extended from the rim, almost all the way through Lincoln's head. I also found two coins that were higher grade. I put these few examples aside and put the remaining coins in a plastic tube.

After seeing the reports of the doubled dies, I went back through the Philadelphia roll and found at least one example of what appears to be the third variety with an "extra thumb." The images below show the coin with the doubling compared to a regular coin.

My pictures are not the best since I only have a scanner. Clearer images can be seen in Coin World's article, or on this page from

Has anyone else found doubled dies? You can describe your finds in the comments, or post pictures over on Coin Network.


Friday, June 5, 2009

The First 2009 Jefferson Nickel

The first 2009 Jefferson Nickel has surfaced! There has been a lot of buzz around 2009 nickels and dimes since they have historically low mintages and have remained completely elusive until recently.

Coin collector and Mint News Blog reader Emmanuel Rodriguez made the lucky find. After hearing about the low mintages for this year's nickels and dimes, he contacted a bank to ask whether they had any 2009 coins. As luck would have it, the bank had 2009 nickels and dimes, but would only sell them in complete $500 or $200 bags of pre-rolled coins. At the time of purchase, he was still unsure about whether the rolls would contain 2009 coins, but examination revealed solid 2009 rolls. The location of the bank was within a US Territory.

Single coins and rolls have been put up for auction on eBay. The 2009-P Roosevelt Dime roll has been bid up to $46 and the 2009-P Jefferson Nickel roll has been bid up to $76. You can view all of the auctions here.

Interestingly, all circulating 2009 coins except for nickels and dimes have been or will be available directly from the US Mint via their bags and rolls sales. The US Mint's 2009 Products include 2009 Lincoln Cents in two roll sets, all of the 2009 DC & US Territories Quarters in bags and rolls, 2009 Kennedy Half Dollar in bags and rolls, and all of the 2009 Presidential Dollars and Native American Dollars in rolls.

Since the 2009 Nickels and Dimes cannot be easily acquired from the US Mint, this should ultimately reduce the number of coins that collectors are able to acquire and hoard. In the long run, this may bolster the prices for nickels and dimes compared to other low mintage 2009 coins.

The latest Production figures for the 2009 nickels and dimes appears below. These numbers come from the US Mint's most recent production figures.
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

As I have mentioned in the post about the 2009 Roosevelt Dime, the US Mint did officially announce the end of production for 2009 nickels and dimes, however, they subsequently announced the possibility of creating a strategic coin reserve, which might entail producing and stockpiling nickels and dimes.


Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar Sales Figures

The 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar Commemorative has now been on sale for more than two months. Initial sales of the coin were strong, but have leveled off since the pre-issue discount period ended.

From the launch on March 26, 2009 through April 27, 2009, the coins were priced at $31.95 and $37.95 for uncirculated and proof coins. Prices were subsequently raised to $33.95 and $41.95. During the pre-issue discount period, an ordering limit of 50 per option per household was in place. This ordering limit has now been removed.

The table below displays the latest sales figures from Numismaster.
2009 Louis Braille Commemorative Sales
Proof 107,525
Uncricualted 41,795
Uncirculated (Easy Open Capsule) 19,244
Total 168,564

When the coins first went on sale, at least a few people suggested the possibility of a sell out. The Louis Braille Commemorative has a maximum authorized mintage of 400,000 coins compared to a higher maximum of 500,000 for the sold out Abraham Lincoln Commemorative. The Louis Braille coins have also generated much more media attention than the Lincoln Commemorative. The Lincoln related media coverage has mostly been centered almost exclusively on the newly designed 2009 Lincoln Cents.

Despite these possible catalysts, interest has leveled off with fewer than 3,000 coins sold in the prior week. A sell out for the coins now seems unlikely. Commemorative coins generally remain available for sale until mid-December of each year or until the maximum authorized mintage is sold.

There is one event on the horizon that might spark some renewed collector interest in the Braille Commemorative. The US Mint previously announced that a special set including the Louis Braille Commemorative would be released later in the year. This set will be limited to 25,000 and contain the uncirculated version of the coin. Further details on the offering are still yet to be announced.

The special Braille set may be something to watch for. A recent trend has been for US Mint products with limited production runs to sell out quickly and then appreciate in price.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

US Mint 2009 Coin Production Through May

As mentioned in one of yesterday's posts, the US Mint has updated their coin production figures to reflect coins minted in May. With production down drastically from prior years, many collectors have been closely watching these numbers to identify low mintage key date coins.

This year has been a perfect storm for creating low mintage circulating coins. The slow economy has caused lower demand for newly minted coins as hoards of old coinage reentered circulation. The lower demand translated into lower production, which was further reduced due to the rotating designs of the cent, quarter, and dollar coins. Coin production is not only a fraction of the norm, but for three denominations, it must be split between four, five, and six different designs.

The Guam Quarter has gotten the most attention following the release of the production figures. There were 42.6 million coins produced by the Philadelphia mint and 45 million produced by the Denver Mint. Both of these numbers fall below the previous low point reached with the 2009-P Puerto Rico Quarter. A commenter provided the interesting observation that if the US Mint sells the same number of Guam Quarters through their bags and rolls program, it would represent a whopping 10% of the entire mintage.

The number of 2009 Lincoln Cents produced moved up to 1,145,600,000. The Birthplace design had a total of 634.8 million coins produced comprised of 284.8 million Philadelphia minted coins and 350 million Denver minted coins. Backing out these numbers means that that 510.8 million of the Formative Years Cents have been minted so far. With the next design release not until August, it's likely that the Formative Years will continue to be produced and possibly bring the total mintage above the level of the first design.

Figures for the 2009 Native American Dollar took a big jump over the prior month. Under the authorizing legislation, the US Mint is required to produced at least 20% of all dollar coins with the Native American design. They are now ahead of their quota on a percentage basis.

Production figures for the Jefferson Nickel and Roosevelt Dime remain unchanged from the prior month. No new Presidential Dollar production figures are available this month. The totals for William Henry Harrison and John Tyler Dollars had been known from prior updates.

Figures from the US Mint's coin production page are listed below.
2009 Coin Production January 2009 to May 2009

Philadelphia Denver Total
Lincoln Cent 596.00 M 549.60 M 1,145.60 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
Guam Quarter 45.00 M 42.60 M 87.00 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 43.54 M 43.54 M 87.08 M
Native American Dollar 27.30 M 23.80 M 51.10 M


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls Sold Out

The 2009 John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls are now sold out at the US Mint. The rolls first went on sale May 21, 2009, meaning the sell out took place in less than two weeks. The 25-coin rolls had been available with coins from the Philadelphia or Denver Mint and were priced at $35.95 each.

This sell out has wavered from expected to unexpected, as the US Mint has handled similar situations differently. After early sell outs for prior 2009 bags and rolls, it seemed like the Mint was increasing the number of rolls and bags available for subsequent releases. Apparently, this is only the case sometimes.

The first roll offering for the Birthplace Lincoln Cents sold out a modest production run relatively quickly. The US Mint responded by ramping up production for the second Formative Years Two Roll Set. To date, more than 200,000 sets have been sold and they remain on sale at the US Mint.

The first roll offering for the William Henry Harrison Presidential Dollar sold out 30,000 rolls for each mint relatively quickly. It seemed reasonable that the US Mint would treat this situation similarly to the 2009 Lincoln Cent roll offering and increase the number available for the next release. With today's sell outs, it seems likely that the John Tyler Presidential Dollar Rolls had the same 30,000 rolls per mint allocation as the prior release.

On a related note, the final production figures for the Guam Quarter have now been released by the US Mint. The figures are 42,600,000 for the Denver Mint and 45,000,000 from the Philadelphia Mint. These figures fall below the low numbers for the prior Puerto Rico Quarter.

The 1,000-coin Guam Quarter bags are currently listed as "temporarily unavailable" on the US Mint's website. The 100-coin bags and two roll set remain available for sale. The low mintage for the Guam Quarter may spur more bags and rolls sales. However, it's anyone's guess whether the US Mint has wildly expanded the number of rolls and bags available like they did for the Formative Years Cents, or if they kept the availability the same like they did for the John Tyler Dollars.

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US Mint Gold Coin Price Increase

With the price of gold steadily above the $950 level over the course of the past week, collectors can expect another price increase for US Mint gold coins tomorrow.

Under the US Mint's pricing policy for gold and platinum numismatic products, prices can be adjusted once per week if the average London Fix price of gold moves across certain thresholds. The average price is taken from the preceding Thursday to Wednesday. If the average price moves into a different $50 increment, prices are adjusted accordingly.

The average London Fix price for gold from last Thrusday through today is about $972. Unless gold makes a significant move tomorow, prices for gold coins will increase by $50 for each ounce of gold content.

Products impacted by the price increase will be the First Spouse Gold Coins and the Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin. The First Spouse coins would have their prices increased from $616 (uncirculated) and $629 (proof) to $641 and $654. The UHR would see its price increase from $1,289 to $1,339.

These increases will bring the prices back to the highest level since the new policy went into effect. Prices were previously at these same levels for one week during mid-February.

If you are considering purchasing any gold coins from the US Mint, don't delay. The US Mint has generally put new pricing into effect on Wednesday around mid-day.


Monday, June 1, 2009

US Mint Product Schedule Update

Over the weekend, the US Mint made a change to their product schedule. The Letitia Tyler First Spouse Gold Coin, previously scheduled for June 4, 2009 has been delayed until July 1, 2009.

On several occasions this year, the US Mint has delayed products just prior to their published release dates. At this time, the reason for the delay is unknown.

The schedule change brings to light a few issues. According to the US Mint, they are authorized to produced and sell First Spouse Gold Coins "for approximately one year from the date of issue or until sold out, whichever occurs first." In practice we have seen the US Mint end sales of the year-ago release to coincide with the release of the current issue. Most recently, sales of the Elizabeth Monroe coins ended as the Anna Harrison coin sales began.

The Louisa Adams First Spouse Gold Coin is next in line to have sales end. The coins originally went on sale May 29, 2009, so they are already over the one year mark. Will the US Mint continue to offer the coins for sale until the release date of the Letitia Tyler coin? This would results in a sales period of over 13 months. This may cause frustration for collectors who were awaiting the end of sales to lock in a low mintage figure for the Louisa Adams coins. Sales figures now stand at 3,958 and 6,620 for the uncirculated and proof versions respectively.

A second issue caused by the delay is the eventual pricing for the Letitia Tyler coin. Under the US Mint's current pricing policy, prices are determined based on the average London Fix price of gold for the preceding week. When the average price moves across price ranges set at $50 intervals, prices are adjusted. Gold has been moving up steadily for the past several weeks, resulting in a price increase two weeks ago and likely this week. If gold's momentum continues during June, the price of the Letitia Tyler coins may be the highest initial pricing for any coin in the series to date.

A final consideration, with the release date moved up until July, the US Mint's product release schedule will be completely empty for the remainder of the month. The eagerly awaited 2009 Proof Set will go on sale today June 1, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. After that, collectors will have to wait until July for the next product. Except for the year end period, I can't recall such a long dry spell for US Mint product in recent years.