Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Availability Date and Ordering Limits

The United States Mint has provided more information about the upcoming 2009 Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set. Way back in April, I had provided details about the offering, but the release date and ordering limits were not known until this week.

The Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set is a five coin set with some unique items. Everything comes in a slip-covered, leather-like tri-fold case.

The following items are included in the set:
- 2009 Proof Lincoln Silver Dollar
- All Four 2009 Proof Lincoln Cents (95% copper)
- Reproduction of a photograph of Abraham Lincoln
- Reproduction of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln's handwriting
- Certificate of Authenticity
The maximum production for the set is 50,000 units. This is due to the inclusion of the 2009 Lincoln Silver Dollar. This commemorative coin has an overall production limit of 500,000 coins, but already sold 450,000 coins through individual offerings earlier this year. The individual coins had gone on sale February 12, 2009 and sold out after approximately six weeks. The proof version sold 325,000 coins and the uncirculated version sold 125,000.

The Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set is priced at $55.95. The US Mint has placed an ordering limit of only one set per household. The product is scheduled to go on sale October 15, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET.

Even though the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles does not contain any coins that have not been released already, it seems poised to be a winner. Most people (myself included) believe that this set will sell out on the first day of sales. This year in particular collectors have been willing to pay premiums for low production, specially packaged US Mint collectibles. The upcoming Lincoln Set certainly falls into this category, as it will have the lowest production run of all 2009 Lincoln products issued by the US Mint.

Additionally, the set is a relative bargain compared to the current prices of the individual coins. The 2009 Proof Lincoln Silver Dollar is currently selling for around $60-$70 on the secondary market (view current eBay auctions) and the four 2009 Proof Lincoln Cents sell separately at the US Mint for $7.95. At $55.95, the Coin and Chronicles Set is below the current value of the coins, without considering the extra items included.

I will likely have a follow up post on this product just before the release date. For now, you can also check out the US Mint's product page here.


Ultra High Relief Sales, Gold Coin Price Decrease

Is the demand for the US Mint's 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin tapering off?

The latest sales figures indicate that 96,275 coins have been sold as of 9/27/2009. This represents sales of 1,811 coins for the preceding week. For the past several weeks before, the UHR Double Eagle had been selling more than 2,000 coins per week.

The prior week reporting period contained some changes that I thought would spur additional sales. The household ordering limit was completely removed on September 21, 2009, which opened the doors for any potential bulk buyers. The price for the coin was increased from $1,339 to $1,389 on September 23, 2009. Since the price increase was widely known in advance, any would-be buyers might have accelerated purchases to take advantage of the lower price. Despite these two factors, the pace of sales actually showed a decline from recent levels.

Incidentally, it seems that the gold coin price increase implemented last week will be very short lived. The average price of gold calculated from last Thursday London AM Fix to this Wednesday AM Fix is below the $1,000 level. Under the US Mint's numismatic gold coin pricing policy, the prices for coins will be adjusted downwards proportionally by $50 per ounce.

The price of the UHR Double Eagle should fall back to $1,339. The First Spouse Gold Coins should also be adjusted downward to $654 and $641 for proof and uncirculated coins, respectively. Recently, pricing changes have been implemented mid-morning on Wednesdays.


Friday, September 25, 2009

2009 Kennedy Half Dollar Bags and Rolls Approaching Sell Out?

The 2009 Kennedy Half Dollar bags and rolls originally went on sale at the US Mint on January 22, 2009. Now is a good time to revisit the offering since the number of coins sold by the US Mint is approaching the total number of coins they have produced to date.

Since 2002, the US Mint has not minted the Kennedy Half Dollar for circulation, but instead produced a limited number of coins for collectors. "Circulation strike" coins have been sold in various bags and rolls offerings at a premium to face value. Sales have generally fallen over time, prompting the US Mint to produce fewer coins each year.

Last year, the US Mint produced 3.4 million 2008 Kennedy Halves, divided evenly between the Philadelphia and Denver Mint. They ultimately sold 9,701 200-coin bags and 33,413 Two Roll Sets. If you multiply out to individual coins, this represented 3.27 million coins sold.

So far this year, the US Mint has produced 3.4 million 2009 Kennedy Halves, also divided evenly between the Philadelphia and Denver Mint facilities. Figures from this week's Mint Stats show 8,463 200-coin bags sold and 34,934 Two Roll Sets sold. This represents a total of nearly 3.09 million coins sold in bags and rolls.

The current pace of sales indicates that the remaining 300,000 or so coins will not last much longer. Over the past two weeks, the US Mint sold 489 200-coin bags and 1,359 Two Roll Sets. This comes out to 152,160 coins. If sales of the coins continue at this pace, the US Mint's current supply would be exhausted within about a month.

The US Mint will have two options. They can produce more 2009 Kennedy Half Dollars and continue selling them to collectors in bags and rolls, or they can simply end the offering. I think the second option is the more likely.

This year the US Mint seems to be making a concerted effort to avoid over producing products. They have shown a preference to slightly under produce a product and have it sell out early, rather than over to over produce a product and leave it lingering within their product catalog. If the US Mint continues this preference, it seems likely that the 2009 Kennedy Half Dollars will sell out soon.

Thanks to a few anonymous readers who left comments about the 2009 Kennedy Half Dollars, which prompted this post.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009 Launched- Watch Coin Collecting Videos

I am happy to announce the launch of a new coin related website Coins TV! is the official website of the video series "Spare Change: Coin Collecting Guide." The site contains all previous episodes of the series and will be updated as new episodes are released.

Each video typically focuses on a specific coin series, providing a historical or legislative background, coin design information, coin specifications and composition, key dates of the series, and suggestions for collecting and investing. The information is presented in an informative and entertaining fashion, which beginning and advanced collectors will enjoy.

The Saint Gaudens Double Eagle video is the latest episode to be released. Each episode has its own separate page on that allows visitors to rate the video and provide comments. Collectors can subscribe to receive notifications about new videos by RSS or email.

Readers of this blog will know that I enjoy putting together websites to bring web concepts to coin collectors. This latest website is a joint project with the star and producer of Spare Change, Mark Apsolon.

Some of the previous sites I have launched include a coin website directory at, a social network for coin collectors at, a coin news aggregation site at, and a coin ratings and review site at

I hope readers will enjoy visiting these sites. Tomorrow I will be back with a US Mint News related post. For now, there are a couple of noteworthy articles to check out on Coin Update News:

Why the UHR Double Eagle Will Sell Out Soon
US Mint Products I Am Buying Now (Part Two)


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

U.S. Virgin Islands Quarter Bags and Rolls

Bags and rolls of the U.S. Virgin Islands Quarter will go on sale at the US Mint on Monday, September 28, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will be the fifth coin released in the District of Columbia and US Territories Quarters Program.

The reverse design of the Virgin Islands Quarter features tyre palm trees, yellow elder flowers, and the banana quit bird. An outline of the three islands floats in the background with the inscription "United in Pride and Hope." The reverse was designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna.

The US Mint will offer Two Roll Sets, which contain one 40-coin roll from the Philadelphia Mint and one 40-coin roll from the Denver Mint. The rolls will come in US Mint branded wrappers that indicate the issue, mint mark, and face value of the coins. The two roll sets are priced at $32.95 each.

The US Mint will also offer 100-coin bags and 1000-coin bags from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mints. The 100-coin bags are priced at $32.95 and the 1000-coin bags are priced at $309.95.

The final production figures for the US Virgin Islands Quarters are still unknown. As I mentioned in a previous post, I think we might see a leveling off or even an increase in mintage for this release. If the mintage rises, it would break the streak of continually declining overall mintages for the 2009 quarters. The mintage figures of the Virgin Islands Quarter will hopefully be available in early October.

When the US Virgin Islands Quarters bags and rolls go on sale, the US Mint will likely end sales of any remaining American Samoa Quarter bags and rolls. The 1000-coin bag from the Philadelphia Mint recently sold out, but the remaining products are still available at the time of this post.

Today on Coin Update

I recently published a post entitled US Mint Products I Am Buying Now. This post was inspired by some of the discussions about various US Mint products which often occur in the comments of Mint News Blog posts. I invite any readers to contribute an article on the same topic for publication on Coin Update News that describes what US Mint products you are buying and why. To contribute an article, please get in touch via the Contributors page.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

US Mint Gold Numismatic Product Price Increase

The price of gold has spent much of the prior week above the $1,000 level. This makes a price increase for the US Mint's current gold numismatic products almost certain to take place.

Under the US Mint's pricing policy for gold and platinum numismatic products, prices can be adjusted as often as weekly in response to changes in the average price of gold. Every time the average price of gold moves across $50 increments, prices are raised proportionally. The last price increase occurred two weeks ago when the average price of gold moved into the $950 to $999.99 range. This week prices would be adjusted to the $1,000 to $1,049.99 range.

The London AM and PM Fix Gold prices for the weekly period considered by the US Mint are included below. Based on witnessing when price changes occurred in the past, it seems that the US Mint uses the average of the AM Fix prices from the prior Thursday to the current Wednesday. PM Fix prices are included, but only from Thursday to Tuesday.
London AM and PM Fix Gold Prices

AM Fix PM Fix
Thurs Sept 17 1020.50 1018.50
Fri Sept 18 1014.00 1012.00
Mon Sept 21 999.25 997.00
Tues Sept 22 1015.75 1014.00
Wed Sept 23 TBD N/A

The only gold numismatic products current offered by the US Mint are the First Spouse Gold Coins and the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle. The First Spouse Coins will see their prices raised from $654 and $641 for proof and uncirculated coins to $679 and $666 $665.75 for proof and uncirculated coins, respectively. The UHR will see its price raised from $1,339 to $1,389. These will represent the highest price levels since the US Mint first adopted their new pricing policy.

The impending price change creates an interesting confluence of events for the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin. This Monday, the US Mint completely removed ordering limits from the coin and this Wednesday, it is almost certain that the price of the coin will be raised by $50. Bulk buyers who believe that the price of gold won't be falling back below the $1,000 level will have a small remaining window of time before prices are raised.

If you are considering buying any of the US Mint's gold products, try to place your orders today or early tomorrow morning before the price change take effect.


Monday, September 21, 2009

US Mint News Updates

There are a number of recent developments related to the US Mint that I wanted to cover. Once again, I will do a combined post on several different topics including the latest commemorative coin proposal, one sold out product, and design reviews for America the Beautiful Quarters.

September 11 Memorial Silver Dollar Proposal

On September 10, 2009, legislation was introduced which seeks to authorize commemorative coins to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York and has 55 cosponsors.

If approved, the bill would authorize the production of up to 2,000,000 silver dollars to be issued during the calendar year beginning January 1, 2011. The designs of the coins would be "emblematic of the courage, sacrifice, and strength of those individuals who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the bravery of those who risked their lives to save others that day, and the endurance, resilience, and hope of those who survived." One of the required inscriptions is "Always Remember."

The bill provides that only two US Mint facilities can be used to strike the coins and recommends that half of the coins should be minted at the Philadelphia Mint and half of the coins at the West Point Mint.

All coins would include a surcharge of $10 per coin. This would be distributed to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center to support operations and maintenance.

In order to become law, the bill must be voted on and passed in the House and the Senate and signed by the President. The bill competes with numerous other commemorative coin proposals for one remaining opening in the 2011 schedule. Generally, only two commemorative coin programs may be approved per year and one program has already been approved for 2011 Army Commemorative Coins. Other commemorative coin programs proposed for 2011 include NASA's 50th Anniversary, Girl Scouts Centennial, and the Medal of Honor, which has 302 cosponsors and has already passed the House.

Presidential $1 Coin and First Spouse Medal Set - John and Letitia Tyler

The Presidential Dollar Coin and First Spouse Medal Set featuring John and Letitia Tyler has sold out at the US Mint. The sets first went on sale July 14, 2009.

Interestingly, the latest mint sales figures indicate that 9,829 sets had been sold as of last week. This suggests a round production figure of 10,000 sets. This is lower than the previous sold out set featuring William Henry Harrison and Anna Harrison which sold 14,394 sets. It is also lower than the sales levels for all of the 2007 sets, which had been selling for incredible premiums a while back.

America the Beautiful Quarter Coin Designs

The Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the proposed designs for the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters at their September 17 meeting.

Their reactions were called "lukewarm." Some designs were characterized as looking like "unfnished drawings". One member called the idea of National Parks on coins "an absurd idea" and stated that artists had an "impossible task" of showing the vastness of a park on the small canvas of a coin. The overall format for the reverse was criticized. It features a circular border for inscriptions with a squared bottom, which was called a "fundamental error."

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee will also review the designs tomorrow September 22. I will try to have a post with some of the proposed coin images soon.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ordering Limits to be Removed for 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles

The United States Mint has announced that the ordering limit for the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coins will be removed effective September 21, 2009 at 9:00 AM ET.

When the coins first went on sale January 19, 2009, there was an ordering limit of only one coin per household. The ordering limit was finally raised to ten coins per household on July 27, 2009. On August 31, 2009, the limit was raised a second time to twenty five coins per household.

As the ordering limits have been raised, the pace of sales for the UHR has ratcheted higher. Before the US Mint began raising the limit, the coins were selling at a pace of less than 1,000 coins per week. The first week of sales following the ordering limit increase to 10, the US Mint saw 3,799 coins ordered. In the most recent week, the US Mint sold 2,298 coins, bringing the total sales to 92,346.

The UHR Double Eagles are currently priced at $1,339 each. Under the US Mint's pricing policy, the price of the coins can be adjusted as often as once per week if the average price of gold moves across the designated $50 price increments. The current price of $1,339 reflects an average price of gold between $950.00 to $999.99. A price increase was narrowly missed this week, but if gold retains its current levels, UHR prices would be increased to $1,389 by the middle of next week. The US Mint has generally put price changes into effect around mid-morning on Wednesday.


Martin Van Buren Dollar Direct Ship Rolls Available

Yesterday, the US Mint added Martin Van Buren Dollars to their Direct Ship Rolls Program. This program allows you to purchase dollar coins at face value with no charge for shipping.

The purpose of the program is to remove barriers to the circulation of dollar coins. In theory, businesses, financial institutions, and others can order dollar coins directly from the US Mint without going through the Federal Reserve system. This would make it easier to obtain smaller amounts of dollar coins to use in transactions. The program has provided a side benefit to coin collectors who have been able to obtain rolls Presidential Dollars and Native American Dollars for face value.

The rolls can be purchased in boxes of 250 coins for the face value of $250. The coins are wrapped in rolls of 25 with 20 rolls to a box. The US Mint states that the coins are "non-numismatic, circulation-grade coins," although my own experiences and other reports suggest that most if not all of the coins are uncirculated. The wrappers are generic NF String red and white wrappers, not the red, white, and blue US Mint wrappers used for the premium priced collectors rolls.

I have periodically purchased boxes through the program. Once received, I opened the rolls to search for errors and high grade coins. Any coins I did not want to keep, I slowly spent into circulation. During my searches I found several coins that graded MS67 and a few struck through grease errors.

Other rolls currently available through the program include George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Andrew Jackson Presidential Dollars and 2009 Native American Dollars. All of the Presidential Dollars are limited to two boxes ($500), but the Native American Dolllrs have no limit.

The US Mint's Direct Ship Rolls can be found on their website here.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Two US Mint Products No Longer Available

There are two US Mint products that recently became no longer available for sale. These are the 2008 Martin Van Buren Dollar Philadelphia Roll and 2009 American Samoa Quarter 1000-coin Philadelphia Bag.

The 2008-P Martin Van Buren Rolls originally went on sale way back on November 13, 2008. The last reported sales figures for the rolls was 40,510.

Although sales levels were higher for Presidential Dollar Rolls issued during 2007 and 2008, they didn't generate the amount of collector focus and speculation that this year's rolls have generated.

Bags and rolls for the earlier Presidents were offered in seemingly limitless quantities with sales periods that have now extended to years for some issues. A full line of bags and rolls still available for sale at the US Mint from Thomas Jefferson to Martin Van Buren (less the one sold out Van Buren roll). The situation changed in 2009 when the US Mint cut off sales of the William Henry Harrison rolls at 30,000. The following John Tyler rolls were also cut off at the same number.

On a related note, the US Mint has now sold above 30,000 rolls for each of the 2009 James K. Polk Presidential Dollar rolls. So it might be the case that the US Mint has once again bumped up their production following the quick sell outs of this year's first two issues.

The American Samoa Quarter 1000-Coin Philadelphia Bags originally went on sale July 27, 2009. The last reported sales figure for the bags was 1,481. The Denver 1000-coin bags, 100-coin bags from either Mint, and the two roll sets still remain available for sale.

The American Samoa Quarter might be the lowest quarter mintage in decades if coin production figures continue to rebound. In my post covering the August 2009 Coin Production, I mentioned that quarter production seemed to be on the rise and the mintage for the latest Presidential Dollar exceeded the level of the previous release.

The 2009-D American Samoa Quarter with 39,600,000 coins produced actually has a lower mintage than the Philadelphia issue which came in at 42,600,000. I wouldn't be surprised if the Denver 1000-coin bags sold out soon, since they were only slightly trailing the Philadelphia bags in Mint sales.

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Presidential Dollar and First Spouse Medal Set - James K. Polk & Sarah Polk

The US Mint will release the Presidential Dollar and First Spouse Medal Set featuring James K. Polk and Sarah Polk this Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET.

This will be the fourth such set released this year. Each set contains an uncirculated (satin finish) James K. Polk Presidential Dollar and a Sarah Polk Bronze Medal. Both are mounted on a plastic card which includes their portraits and information about the release.

The sets are priced at $8.95 each. The US Mint product page is already available here, although ordering options won't be available until the start of sales.

Two of the sets previously released this year featuring Letitia Tyler and Julia Tyler still remain on sale at the time of this post. So far, these sets have sold 9,498 and 4,718 units, respectively. The sold out set featuring Anna Harrison had sold 14,414 units.


Friday, September 11, 2009

America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins

One aspect of the upcoming America the Beautiful Quarters Program that I wanted to explore are the "bullion investment products" that were included in the authorizing legislation.

Public Law 110-456 which authorized the America the Beautiful Quarters program, also authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to "strike and make available for sale such number of bullion coins as the Secretary determines to be appropriate that are exact duplicates of the quarter dollars."

These silver bullion coins will use the exact design of the each quarter from the series, including the inscription of the denomination "quarter dollar." They will be minted in .999 fine silver, with a diameter of 3 inches, and a weight of five ounces. The fineness and weight will be edge-incused on the coins. Because of the coin's specified diameter, they would have a thickness more than twice the standard one ounce American Silver Eagle bullion coin.

The silver bullion coins will be available no sooner than the first day of the calendar year the quarter dollar will be issued, and will only be available during that year. Fractional versions of the coins are specifically prohibited by the legislation.

The coins will be distributed through the US Mint's authorized network of bullion dealers. Presumably they would be sold by the US Mint to the authorized dealers at a standard mark up above spot price of silver. (The US Mint current charges a mark up of $1.50 per coin to authorized dealers for the one ounce American Silver Eagle bullion coins.) The authorized dealers would then resell the coins to other bullion dealers, coin dealers, and the public at a further mark up.

The Director of the National Park Service (or his designee) may purchase the bullion coins from the US Mint in quantities 1,000 at a time, and resell or repackage them as the Director deems appropriate.

Collecting America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins

The America the Beautiful Silver Coins will have some unique aspects. They will represent the only other silver bullion coin issued by the US Mint since the American Silver Eagle was introduced in 1986. The coins will also be the first bullion coin from the US Mint with a precious metal weight greater than one ounce. Several other world mints already issue bullion coins in higher weights, such as the Perth Mint, which releases some bullion coins with weights as high as 10 kilos.

The unique aspects of the series and the larger canvas for the coin design will likely draw the interest of some coin collectors. I think the earliest releases in the series will likely have the highest demand and ultimately the highest mintages. Over the course of the series, collector interest and mintages would likely wane, but may be impacted along the way by changes in the price of silver.

Some third party grading companies will likely accept the coins for encapsulation and grading despite the larger size. NGC already offers encapsulation and grading for some larger sized coins such as the Chinese Gold Panda, with even 1 kilo coins encapculated and graded in giant holders.

I see it as possible that the National Park System might create some type of uniquely packaged silver bullion coin, as allowed under the authorization. This would create another potential class of collectible, with a more limited distribution than the standard bullion version.

If one was to collect the entire series of 56 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion coins, they would have a weight of 280 ounces or 17.5 pounds of silver. The collection would also have a cost of about $5,000, assuming that the coins could be purchased for around $85 each ($17 per ounce) for the duration of the 12 year series. I think this cost estimate will ultimately prove too low.

As a final consideration, the new America the Beautiful Silver Bullion coins might draw ire from some collectors, particularly if they begin to view the series as yet another barrier to the production of collectible proof and uncirculated American Silver Eagles.

Next year, the US Mint will be required to produce one ounce American Silver Eagle coins "in quantities sufficient to meet public demand", five ounce America the Beautiful Silver coins in quantities "the Secretary determines to be appropriate", and collectible proof and uncirculated American Silver Eagles with no specific requirements. Since the Silver Eagles minted for collectors lack a legislative mandate, they would seem to fall into third place for the Mint's attention.

More America the Beautiful Quarters Coverage

This morning I provided some additional coverage on America the Beautiful Quarters on Coin Update. In the style of the site, I provided links to an array of articles covering the new quarter series. In addition to articles about the overall series, I also sought out local coverage which discusses specific sites.

Some of the more interesting reactions came from locations who viewed the new quarters as potential boons for tourism ("If you mint it, they will come") and other locations whose preferred sites were rejected by the US Mint. My home state of New York initially wanted Niagara Falls to be depicted.

Lastly, I will repost one paragraph from Coin Update where I link to an old article I wrote for the New York Times concerning the new quarter series:
I would also like to provide a link to an article that I wrote for the New York Times shortly after the legislation for the new quarter series was signed. Although I did enjoy the 50 State Quarters series, I think reusing the same concept over and over again becomes dull. With no disrespect to the sites selected for the impending quarter series, I would rather see a single design that could become an iconic and lasting symbol of our generation than another collection of 56 designs representing 56 different things. NYT published the article with the title Change We Don't Need. I had originally titled the article "Too Much Change," which was more to my point.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

America the Beautiful Quarters Program

Today, the United States Mint announced the 56 sites that will be featured as part of America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The legislation which authorized the program had stipulated that the Secretary of the Treasury must select the complete register of sites with 270 days of enactment. One site was selected from each state, the District of Columbia, and each US Territory.

The sites will be featured on the reverse design of quarters in the order they were first established as a National Site. Five different designs will be released each year starting in 2010. One design will be released in the final year of the program in 2021.

The five America the Beautiful Quarters to be released in 2010 are the following:

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yosemite National Park, California

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Mr. Hood National Forest, Oregon

The obverse of the coin will feature a portrait of George Washington. This will be a restored version of the portrait used on the Washington Quarter first released in 1932, "including subtle details and the beauty of the original model." The State Quarters and US Territories Quarters had used a redesigned version of the original obverse executed by William Cousins.

On one of my earlier posts about the upcoming quarter series, I had raised the question of what the series would ultimately be called. The authorizing legislation was entitled "America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008." On this basis, the name "National Park Quarters" was being used by most people, although the US Mint seemed to be favoring the more inclusive term "National Sites Quarters."

America the Beautiful Quarters is somewhat lengthy, but covers all of the subjects to be depicted on the quarters from National Parks and Forests to Wildlife Refuges and other sites. I also think this name provides more positive connotations than the other alternatives. It highlights the subjects as places of beauty, rather than the fact that they are sites controlled by a federal entity.

The US Mint has already created subscription programs for the new quarter series. Under the subscription program, the products will be sent to customers as they become available. The programs include Quarter Proof Sets (clad and silver), Two Roll Quarter Sets, 100-coin bags (Philadelphia, Denver, or both), and 1,000-coin bags (Philadelphia, Denver, or both).

Scanning through some of the sites, I came up with a few points of interest. Yellowstone National Park is not listed first, even though it was the world's First National Park. Hot Springs National Park was apparently established as a reserve in 1832, which predates Yellowstone by 40 years. Hot Spring Reservation later became a National Park in 1922.

Some subjects will be repeats of the previous State Quarter designs, such as the Grand Canyon for Arizona and Mount Rushmore for South Dakota. The Statue of Liberty, which had been depicted on the New York Quarter, will be featured on New Jersey's quarter this time around.

Lastly, there will only be one design in the final year of the program featuring the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. This would seem to give the design five times more emphasis than the other designs of the series, provided it is minted and issued for the entire year. I think most people had been believed that six coins would be issued in the final year of the program (as is the case with this year's quarters).

Any other comments about the program or site selection from readers? Please post them in the comments.

The complete schedule for America the Beautiful Quarters Program is listed below.

Year Location Site Federal Entity
2010 Arkansas Hot Springs National Park NPS
2010 Wyoming Yellowstone National Park NPS
2010 California Yosemite National Park NPS
2010 Arizona Grand Canyon National Park NPS
2010 Oregon Mt. Hood National Forest USFS
2011 Pennsylvania Gettysburg National Military Park NPS
2011 Montana Glacier National Park NPS
2011 Washington Olympic National Park NPS
2011 Mississippi Vicksburg National Military Park NPS
2011 Oklahoma Chickasaw National Recreation Area NPS
2012 Puerto Rico El Yunque National Forest USFS
2012 New Mexico Chaco Culture National Historical Park NPS
2012 Maine Acadia National Park NPS
2012 Hawaii Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park NPS
2012 Alaska Denali National Park NPS
2013 New Hampshire White Mountain National Forest USFS
2013 Ohio Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial NPS
2013 Nevada Great Basin National Park NPS
2013 Maryland Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine NPS
2013 South Dakota Mount Rushmore National Memorial NPS
2014 Tennessee Great Smoky Mountains National Park NPS
2014 Virginia Shenandoah National Park NPS
2014 Utah Arches National Park NPS
2014 Colorado Great Sand Dunes National Park NPS
2014 Florida Everglades National Park NPS
2015 Nebraska Homestead National Monument of America NPS
2015 Louisiana Kisatchie National Forest USFS
2015 North Carolina Blue Ridge Parkway NPS
2015 Delaware Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge US F&W
2015 New York Saratoga National Historical Park NPS
2016 Illinois Shawnee National Forest USFS
2016 Kentucky Cumberland Gap National Historical Park NPS
2016 West Virginia Harpers Ferry National Historical Park NPS
2016 North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt National Park NPS
2016 South Carolina Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) NPS
2017 Iowa Effigy Mounds National Monument NPS
2017 District of Columbia Frederick Douglass National Historic Site NPS
2017 Missouri Ozark National Scenic Riverways NPS
2017 New Jersey Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty) NPS
2017 Indiana George Rogers Clark National Historical Park NPS
2018 Michigan Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore NPS
2018 Wisconsin Apostle Islands National Lakeshore NPS
2018 Minnesota Voyageurs National Park NPS
2018 Georgia Cumberland Island National Seashore NPS
2018 Rhode Island Block Island National Wildlife Refuge US F&W
2019 Massachusetts Lowell National Historical Park NPS
2019 Northern Mariana Islands American Memorial Park NPS
2019 Guam War in the Pacific National Historical Park NPS
2019 Texas San Antonio Missions National Historical Park NPS
2019 Idaho Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness USFS
2020 American Samoa National Park of American Samoa NPS
2020 Connecticut Weir Farm National Historic Site NPS
2020 U.S. Virgin Islands Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve NPS
2020 Vermont Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park NPS
2020 Kansas Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve NPS
2021 Alabama Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site NPS


American Samoa Quarter First Day Cover

Yesterday, the US Mint released the 2009 American Samoa First Day Coin Cover. This represents the fourth release for the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters.

Each cover includes one American Samoa Quarter from Philadelphia and one from Denver that were produced on the first day of mintage. These two coins are mounted on a nicely designed display card with a 44 cent Flag stamp. The postmark is July 27, 2009 Pago Pago, AS, the day the coins were released to the public.

The maximum production for the American Samoa Covers is 20,000 units. This is actually lower than the prior releases for District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, which all had a maximum of 25,000 units. To date, these releases have sold 14,454, 10,468, and 5,998 units, respectively.

The covers are priced at $14.95 each and can be found on the US Mint's website here.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

US Mint News Quick Updates

I was away for a quick two day vacation, and in my absence there have been a few US Mint related news items. This post will summarize these items before the Labor Day weekend.

2009 Uncirculated Mint Set

The release date for the 2009 Mint Set has just been posted as October 1, 2009. The preliminary price for the set is $27.95, an increase of $5 from the prior year. This set contains a total of 36 uncirculated (satin finish) coins from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. A notable highlight will be the 2009-P and 2009-D Lincoln Cents for each of the four designs. These coins will be struck in a special composition of 95% copper.

The Mint Set has typically been released much earlier in the year (last year's release was July 30, 2008). This year, the US Mint delayed the release to resolve "unique tarnish issues" for the 95% copper Lincoln Cents.

First Spouse Gold Coins

As expected, the Sarah Polk First Spouse Gold Coins went on sale yesterday. The coins were priced at $654 for the proof version and $641 for the uncirculated version. The release of the coins followed a price increase for all of the US Mint's current gold numismatic products.

Also as expected, sales of the uncirculated version of Andrew Jackson's Liberty Gold Coin ended on Thursday. The proof version had sold out more than two weeks beforehand. The latest sales statistics indicate that 4,754 uncirculated coins and 7,806 proof coins sold. The figure for the uncirculated version probably does not take into account sales from the final few days. These numbers are both above the sales levels of the prior Louisa Adams coins.

2009 Lincoln Cents

The Formative Years Two Roll Sets (LP2) have sold out once again. The coins had initially been offered from May 14, 2009 to August 12, 2009 with a sales tally of 300,000. Order cancellations and invalid credit card numbers had reduced the actual number of rolls sold, so the US Mint to put the coins back on sale for the past three weeks.

Separately, the first sales figure for the 2009 Lincoln Cent Proof Set has been reported at 66,350. This separate set containing only the four 2009 Proof Lincoln Cents went on sale August 26, 2009 priced at $7.95. These four Lincoln Cents were already available within the 2009 Proof Set and 2009 Silver Proof Set.

John & Julia Tyler Presidential Dollar Coin & Medal Set

A reader has reported in comments that a Presidential Dollar Coin & First Spouse Medal Set for Julia Tyler has been received with a packaging error similar to the one reported for some Letitia Tyler Sets. This time around, the sets have the Julia Tyler medal affixed to a display card with a portrait of Letitia Tyler.

This is now the third "same last name spouse mix up" from the US Mint. The first was the Abigail Adams/Louisa Adams Medal mule error. The second and third are the Letitia Tyler medal/Julia Tyler card and the Julia Tyler medal/Letitia Tyler card packaging mistakes.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

US Mint Coin Production August 2009

The US Mint has just updated their coin production figures to include the past month of August. This update includes the final production figures for the James K. Polk Dollar, which are somewhat surprising.

The table below lists the circulating coins produced by the United States Mint during the month of July 2009. These numbers are obtained by comparing the year to date totals available last month to the recently updated numbers.
US Mint Coin Production August 2009

Philadelphia Denver Total
Cents 145.2 M 141.6 M 286.8 M
Nickels 0 0 0
Dimes 0 0 0
Quarters 40.2 M 22.4 M 62.6 M
Halves 0 0 0
Presidential Dollars 2.24 M 0 2.24 M
Native Amer Dollars 0 0 0
Total 187.64 M 164.0 M 351.64 M

The additional following table shows the year to date coin production totals for each denomination. In the situations where one denomination has multiple designs, the production figure indicates the final numbers for that design.

2009 Coin Production January 2009 to August 2009

Philadelphia Denver Total
Birthplace Cent 284.40 M 350.40 M 634.80 M
Formative Yrs Cent 376.00 M 363.60 M 739.60 M
Jefferson Nickel 39.84 M 46.80 M 86.64 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 87.60 M
Am Samoa Quarter 42.60 M 39.60 M 82.20 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 43.54 M 43.54 M 87.08 M
James K. Polk Dollar 41.72 M 46.62 M 88.34 M
Native American Dollar 27.30 M 23.80 M 51.10 M

The overall number of coins produced by the US Mint rose compared to the previous month when 321.36 million coins had been produced. Production was once again concentrated in the one cent denomination. The next highest production took place for the quarter, followed by only 2.24 million Presidential Dollars produced. There was no production of nickels, dimes, halves, or Native American Dollars.

The James K. Polk Dollar was the only coin design to have new final production figures listed for this month. The Philadelphia Mint produced 41.72 million coins and the Denver Mint produced 46.62 million. While the Philadelphia Mint number does represent a new low for an individual coin, the combined mintage across both mints shows a slight increase from the prior design.

In general, coin production numbers seem to be leveling off and inching higher. Until now, a pattern was in place this year for each subsequent quarter and dollar design to have a lower mintage than the one before. This pattern is now broken for the Presidential Dollars, and this month's heavy quarter production suggests that the pattern might also be broken for quarters with the next release.


US Mint Gold Coin Price Increase

The price of gold has been in a steady range for much of the summer, mostly below the $950 level. This has kept the US Mint's current gold coin offerings at steady prices since mid-June. The past week's gold prices suggest that the US Mint will be raising the prices for their numismatic gold coins tomorrow today.

Under the US Mint's pricing policy implemented on January 12, 2009, the prices for gold and platinum numismatic products can be adjusted as often as weekly if the average price of the metals move across certain ranges. For the past few months, the average price of gold has remained in the $900.00 to $949.50 range. For the past few days, gold has been solidly above the $950 mark, pushing up the average. The following are the London Fix prices for gold over the past week. Note that Monday was a UK bank holiday so no prices were determined.

AM Fix PM Fix
Thurs Aug 27 943.50 943.00
Fri Aug 28 950.75 955.50
Mon Aug 31 N/A N/A
Tue Sept 1 949.75 955.00
Wed Sept 2 955.00 964.75

The AM and PM Fix prices listed above yield an average of $952.16, which suggests that a price increase is in the works. Pricing for the $950 to $999.99 average gold price tier would set First Spouse Gold Coins at $654.00 for proof coins and $641.00 for uncirculated coins. The 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle price would increase to $1,339.00.

The US Mint's policy states that price adjustments will be effective at 10:00 AM ET on Thursday. However in practice they have sometimes increased prices as early as 12:00 Noon ET on Wednesday.

One last thing I wanted to note about the pricing policy. The information posted in the Federal Register about the new policy repeatedly states that the average of the London Fix prices will be taken covering "previous Thursday A.M. Fix through the Wednesday A.M. Fix." Most have been working under the assumption that PM Fix prices would also be included in the average. Gold prices are "fixed" twice a day at 10:30 AM and 3:00 PM London Time.

If the US Mint is only considering only the AM Fix prices for some reason, then the average price for this week would be $949.75. This would keep gold coins at the current prices. This week's price change (or lack of change) will at least settle this ambiguity in their policy.

Update: Within a few minutes after posting this, the US Mint has temporarily suspended sales of all gold coins for repricing. This settles the question about the inclusion of PM Fix prices. It also establishes once again that the US Mint changes prices about a day earlier than the policy states.