Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Monday, August 31, 2009

Sarah Polk First Spouse Gold Coins

The 2009 Sarah Polk First Spouse Gold Coin will go on sale at the US Mint September 3, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will be the fourth release this year for the 24 karat gold coin series crated to honor the First Spouses.

The obverse of the coin features a portrait of the First Lady. The reverse features a scene of Sarah Polk working side by side with her husband in the White House. She had devoted her married life to supporting her husband's political career. When James K. Polk became president, she served as his private secretary. Both the obverse and reverse were designed and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.

The coins will be available in proof or uncirculated version, both produced at the West Point Mint. Each coin contains one-half ounce of 24 karat gold. A maximum mintage of 40,000 coins has been set across both versions. However, there have been no releases for the series that have managed to reach the maximum mintage since the 2007 release of the Thomas Jefferson's Liberty Gold Coin.

There will be an initial ordering limit of ten coins per version per household. This ordering limit has been typically lifted at a later date.

Pricing for the Sarah Polk First Spouse Gold Coin will be determined under the US Mint's pricing policy for gold and platinum numismatic products. Prices are based on the average London Fix price of gold over a one week period. If the average price from August 27 to September 2, falls within the $900 to $949.99 range, then the prices of the coins would be $629.00 for the proof version and $616.00 for the uncirculated version. If the price range falls within the $950 to $999.99 range, then the prices would be $654 and $641.

Provided that the US Mint keeps with its recent procedures, the Uncirculated version of the 2008-W Andrew Jackson's Liberty Gold Coin should go off-sale on the same date. Sales of the proof version of the coin had unexpectedly ended on August 17, 2009.
Today on Coin Update News:
How to Make Your Own "First Day" Coin Products
September 2009 Coin Collecting Events
30th Anniversary Chinese Gold and Silver Pandas


Friday, August 28, 2009

James K. Polk Dollar Roll Sales Figures

The US Mint's initial sales of the James K. Polk Dollar Rolls have very been strong. The first report since the rolls went on sale August 20, 2009 show levels already approaching the full production for the prior two Presidential Dollar roll releases for this year.

According to the latest stats published by Numismaster, the US Mint has sold 27,949 Philadelphia Mint rolls and 27,238 Denver rolls.

Earlier this year, the US Mint offered rolls for William Henry Harrison and John Tyler and sold only 30,000 rolls from each Mint. This may or may not be an indication of the number of Polk Rolls available, as the Mint has kept collectors guessing with sometimes different product runs for similar offerings. Products taken off sale have also had a tendency to make a reappearance after presumably selling out.

There is still no confirmation about whether the James K. Polk Dollars will be offered under the Direct Ship Program. Several months ago the US Mint had indicated that the Polk Dollars would be included in the program, which allows individuals to purchase $250 boxes of the dollar coins at face value. As of the writing of this post, the Polk Dollars have not been added to the available ordering options for Direct Ship Rolls and I have not received a response to my inquiries.

The US Mint's collector roll offerings have been an area of speculation this year, with some sold out rolls now selling for big premiums while others are selling for close to the original offering prices. So far, the 2009 Presidential Dollar Roll offerings have had split results, despite the identical production runs.

The William Henry Harrison Rolls (WH2 & WH4) have recently sold for prices ranging from $160 to $180 per roll on eBay. These rolls are seldom offered for sale. In fact, there appears to be only one WH2 currently listed that has been bid above $200.

The John Tyler Rolls (JK2 & JK4) have sold for a wider range of prices from a low of $27 to a high of $55, but with most around the $35 to $40 range. There are a much greater number available for sale on eBay. With this offering, I think that more people began to recognize the US Mint's roll offerings as collectibles. More were kept unopened in the original US Mint packaging and more were purchased for resale. This larger supply on the secondary market has kept prices in check.
Today on Coin Update News:

American Samoa Quarter Launch Ceremony

US Mint Seeks New Coin and Medal Artists

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2009 UHR Double Eagle Order Limit Raised to 25

The US Mint has indicated that the ordering limit for the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin will be raised once again- this time to 25 coins per household. The increased limit will go into effect on August 31, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET.

When the UHR initially went on sale, the US Mint had set the ordering limit at only one coin per household. The purpose of the limit was to "ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products." A secondary, unstated purpose of the limit was the limited availability of the specialized 24 karat gold blanks needed to produce the coins.

The limit was finally raised to 10 coins per household starting on July 27, 2009. This set off an increased pace of sales throughout the month of August. In the most recent week of sales reported, the US Mint sold 2,901 coins. Some of the recent rise was attributable to heavy buying at the US Mint sales booth at the World's Fair of Money. The new 25 coin limit may serve to support or even increase the the rapid pace of sales.

Many readers have already raised the question: If the US Mint can produce and sell mass quantities of the UHR, why can't they produce and sell their other collectible gold, silver, and platinum coins?

There have been on and off reports about whether certain coins will be produced such as the 2009 Proof Gold Buffalo, and a few reports about the US Mint starting to receive the necessary precious blanks. However, there has been nothing definitive about when the coins will be available for collectors. The US Mint's website offers the same explanation about the temporary suspension of the products due to the "unprecedented demand" for bullion coins. This message has appeared without an update since March.


2009 Formative Years Two Roll Sets Back on Sale

The US Mint has put the Two Roll Set for the second redesigned 2009 Lincoln Cent back on sale. The set had been taken off sale on August 12, 2009 after selling 300,000 units.

This is one of several times this year when the US Mint has taken a product off sale, marked the product page as "Sold Out", moved it to the "No Longer Available" section of their website, and then quietly put the product back on sale. This had occurred with sales of the William Henry Harrison Dollar Rolls and John Tyler Dollar Rolls.

In past similar situations, the re-offering period has only lasted a few days to a week before the products were once again "sold out."

Presumably this situation occurs when the US Mint sells their predetermined inventory of a product, but then order cancellations or invalid credit card information reduces the actual number of sales. The product is then put back on sale until the remaining final inventory is sold.

You can find the 2009 Lincoln Cent Formative Years Two Roll Sets for sale on the US Mint's website here.


Monday, August 24, 2009

2010 American Veterans Disabled for Life Silver Dollar Designs

Over the weekend, the US Mint unveiled the designs for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Silver Dollar. This commemorative coin will be released in 2010 to honor veterans who became disabled for life while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

At the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Denver, US Mint Director Edmund Moy unveiled the designs approved by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for the upcoming commemorative coins. The obverse design depicts the legs and boots of three disabled veterans with the inscription "They Stood Up for Us." The obverse was designed and sculpted by Don Everhart.

The reverse design features a forget-me-not flower at the base of a wreath of oak branches with the inscription, "Take this moment to honor our disabled defenders of freedom." This reverse was designed by Thomas Cleveland and sculpted by Norman E. Nemeth.

The obverse design chosen by the Treasury Secretary had been favored by both the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC). However, the reverse design is a different selection. The CFA had favored a design featuring dog tags reading "Courage", "Honor", and "Country". The CCAC had favored a reverse design featuring a quote from Abraham Lincoln, "A Nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure."

Under Public Law 110-277, which authorized the commemorative coin program, the Secretary of the Treasury selected the designs after consultation with the Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation and the CFA, and review by the CCAC.

The American Veterans Disabled for Life Silver Dollars will be issued in 2010 with a maximum authorized mintage of 350,000 coins. Proof and uncirculated versions of the coin will be offered, with both versions to be minted at the West Point Mint. A surcharge added to the price of each coin will be paid to the Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation for the construction of a memorial in Washington, DC.

Do you have an opinion on the design selection? You can post your ratings and reviews on Coin Review.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

2009 Lincoln Cent Professional Life Two Roll Set Sales

Sales numbers for the opening few days of sales for the latest 2009 Lincoln Cent Two Roll Set featuring the "Professional Life" design came in surprisingly strong at 152,146 sets. Although this is about 25% less than the opening weekend sales recorded for the prior design, many were expecting a much larger decline.

The table below shows the opening weekend sales for each of the three 2009 Lincoln Cent Two Rolls Sets that have been offered so far, as well as the final sales numbers for the first two releases.

2009 Lincoln Cent Two Roll Set Sales

Opening Weekend Sales Final Sales
Birthplace LP1 63,772 96,000
Formative Years LP2 200,055 300,000
Professional Life LP3 152,146 ?

When the first set featuring the Birthplace design (LP1) was announced, many collectors had been put off by the high premium over face value that the US Mint was charging for the sets. Each set contained only $1.00 face value in coins, but was priced at $8.95 plus shipping and handling. Despite the premiums, 63,772 sets were ordered on the opening weekend, and the set sold out less than two weeks later after 96,000 sets had been sold. After the sold out LP1 set started selling for big premiums on eBay, many re-evaluated the offering and jumped on the series.

When the Formative Years (LP2) set went on sale, the US Mint's website was bogged down with heavy traffic from a rush of orders placed during the first hour of sales. The opening weekend sales were eventually revealed to be more than double the total number of LP1 sets sold. By the time the LP2 set sold out, the total number of sets sold was more than triple the previous release.

Reports from readers indicated that orders for the latest Professional Life (Lp3) design could be could be placed without any delay on the US Mint's website, even in the opening few minutes. This seemed to suggest a significantly slower pace of sales than the prior release. However, this time around collectors may have taken advantage of the US Mint's subscription program for the offering. The urgency to order in the opening minutes was also reduced, since the last set remained available for several months.

How many LP3 sets will the US Mint sell in total? If the product allotment is the same as the prior set, I think the Mint has an outside chance of reaching the 300,000 mark for a second time. However, a more conservative guess of 225,000 - 250,000 sets seems more likely.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Behind the 2009 UHR Double Eagle Sales Surge

The most recent sales numbers for the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin shows a total of 80,700 coins sold. This marks an increase of nearly ten thousand coins over the course of the past three weeks.

The frenzied pace of sales began after the US Mint raised the ordering limit from one coin per household to ten coins per household. I previously examined some other contributing factors to the increase in sales, but missed one of the big ones. Ever since the limit was raised, many coin dealers have been using this as an opportunity to build significant inventories of the 2009 UHR Double Eagle.

This morning on Coin Update News, I posted an article and brief interview with Bob Lecce, the biggest on buyer of 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles. The full article is republished here for Mint News Blog readers.

Dealer Interview: Robert B. Lecce on 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles

With the order limit for the US Mint’s 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle recently increased from one coin per household to ten, many dealers have taken the opportunity to build a significant inventory of the coins. This was very apparent at the ANA World’s Fair of Money when the US Mint’s booth was swamped with customers buying the coins ten at a time.

Supporting the steady stream of buyers were a number of dealers willing to pay instant premiums on coins purchased from the Mint and immediately resold. The coins were available at the US Mint’s booth for $1,289 and dealers were repurchasing the coins for $1,310 to $1,350 each. Assuming the maximum premium, an attendee could have earned a $610 bounty for purchasing and immediately reselling ten coins.

There were at least two dealers who purchased about 200 coins each, but the largest buyer was Bob Lecce of Robert B. Lecce Numismatist Inc. ( who purchased more than 500 coins. Bob was willing to answer a few questions about his purchase.

Since the US Mint raised the order limit, total sales of the UHR Double Eagle have risen from about 71,000 to more than 80,000 in the past three weeks. The more coins the US Mint sells, the higher the final mintage of the coin will be. How do you think a higher mintage will impact the long term potential of the coins?
Bob: I believe the final mintage will not exceed 120,000 coins. This is still a relatively low mintage for what I believe is the most popular and beautiful Modern coin the US Mint has produced to date. The mintage could be much lower if the Mint begins to produce Bullion Gold and Proof Gold Eagles for 2009. Time is running out for the production of 2009 coins. Any time now the Mint could increase the price to $1339 if the average price of Gold remains above $950 for a week based on their newly adopted pricing schedule. I strongly believe the price of Gold will be much higher through 2009 and continue into 2010 and insure a higher base value for these little gems.

I feel an additional 20,000 or 30,000 coins will not impact the long term potential of the UHR's. These coins are popular world wide. We are exporting many of the to Germany, China, and Japan.
What are your immediate and long term plans for the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagles that you purchased at the World’s Fair of Money?
Bob: I plan to continue creating a two way market in these for the near and long term. These coins are an excellent value now with MS69's trading at $1375-$1400 and MS70's at $1700-$1750.
Do you plan to continue acquiring more UHR Double Eagles before the end of the year?
Bob: I have continued to restock and be the strongest buyer in this market. I plan to increase my position to over 2,000 coins for a major marketing plan that I am developing.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

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

The United States Mint will release the John & Julia Tyler Presidential Dollar & First Spouse Medal Set on August 25, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET.

This set will include an uncirculated John Tyler Presidential Dollar and Julia Tyler First Spouse Bronze Medal mounted on a custom designed plastic card. The card includes portraits of the President and his spouse along with issuance information on the back of the card. The uncirculated Presidential Dollars included in previous sets have featured the "satin finish" used for Mint Set coins.

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

A separate coin and medal set was previously issued for John Tyler's first spouse Letitia Tyler. This set actually became the source of an interesting packaging error. Some sets were shipped with Letitia Tyler medals included, but with Julia Tyler pictured on the plastic card.

When the Julia Tyler sets start shipping, collectors might want to double check that the proper Mrs. Tyler appears on the display card.
Today on Coin Update News:
Disabled Veterans Commemorative Coin Design Unveiling
US Mint Presidential Dollar Coin Album Volume 2 On Sale


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

James K. Polk Presidential Dollar Rolls

The James K. Polk Presidential Dollar Rolls will go on sale at the US Mint on Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will be the third Presidential Dollar coin release of the year.

James K. Polk was the 11th President of the United States and served from 1845 to 1849. The portrait for the obverse of the dollar coin was designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Charles Vickers. The reverse of the coin features a rendition of the Statue of Liberty by Don Everhart.

The US Mint will offer 25-coin rolls from either the Philadelphia Mint or Denver Mint. The rolls will be packaged in the custom designed US Mint wrappers that indicate the coin design, mint, and face value. The rolls are priced at $35.95 each.

The prior two Presidential Dollar Roll offerings from this year sold out after sales of 30,000 rolls from each mint. This may or may not be an indication of the total number of rolls to be offered for the Polk Dollars, as the US Mint has kept collectors guessing this year with different production runs for similar products.

In a shift from prior releases, the James K. Polk Dollars are also expected to be available under the US Mint's Direct Ship Program. This program allows customers to purchase $250 boxes of coins at face value with no charge for shipping. The Direct Ship Program is intended to be a method for individuals and small business to obtain dollar coins for circulation, but it has also been a source of BU dollar rolls for coin collectors.

As opposed to the premium priced individual rolls offered by US Mint, the rolls contained in the Direct Ship boxes are in generic coin wrappers. Also, coins cannot be ordered from a specific mint and there is no guarantee that the coins have never been circulated.

The James K. Polk Dollar Direct Ship rolls are expected to be available on the US Mint's website on the same release date as the collector rolls.

Update: James K. Polk Dollars have not been added to the Direct Ship section. I am trying to find out if and when they will be made available through the program.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Andrew Jackson's Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin Sold Out

The Andrew Jackson's Liberty First Spouse Gold Proof Coin is now sold out at the US Mint. The sell out happened recently and is somewhat unexpected.

The proof version of the Andrew Jackson's Liberty Gold Coins were last available for $629.00 per coin. The uncirculated version of the coin still remains available for sale at $616.00 per coin. The coins first went on sale August 28, 2008, making the sell out almost two weeks earlier than the one year mark.

The US Mint has stated that each First Spouse Gold Coin will remain on sale until the maximum authorized mintage has been sold or for approximately one year, which ever occurs sooner. For the first three releases of the series, the combined maximum mintage of 40,000 coins was sold on the opening day of sales. For each subsequent release, the coins have not reached the maximum mintage and have remained on sale for the one year period.

In practice the US Mint has used the start of sales for a new coin to mark the end of sales for an older coin. This schedule is somewhat thrown off this year, since there are five coin releases instead of the usual four. It was widely expected that the Andrew Jackson coins would be taken off sale on September 3, when the Sarah Polk coins went on sale.

The most recent sales report indicates that 7,749 of the proof version of the coin have been sold and 4,459 of the uncirculated version of the coin have been sold. These numbers come in above the levels set for the prior coin featuring Louisa Adams. Many collectors have favored the "Liberty" releases of the First Spouse series, which feature reproductions of classic coin designs. Although the mintage is higher, there will likely be additional demand for this issue from collectors who assemble the "Liberty" subset.

It will be interesting to see how the Andrew Jackson's Liberty proof coins perform on the secondary market. Unexpected sell outs have tended to perform well, since dealers and collectors don't have the opportunity to place their final orders. There are only a few Andrew Jackson's Liberty coins currently listed on eBay.
Today on Coin Update News:

Professional Life Coin Exchange in Washington DC
- by Les Peters
James K. Polk Presidential Launch Ceremony - August 20, 2009 in Columbia, Tennessee


Springfield, Illinois 2009 Lincoln Penny Launch

As I have done in the past, I wanted to provide a recap of the launch ceremony for the latest 2009 Lincoln Cent release. The "Professional Life" design was launched at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois on Thursday, August 13, 2009.

United States Mint Director Edmund Moy presented the ceremony. He was joined by Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin and United States Senator Dick Durbin. Senator Durbin had played a special role in relation to the third 2009 Lincoln Cent design.

Initially, a design had been chosen which featured Lincoln reading a book at a desk. The architect in charge of the restoration of the Old State Capitol felt that the design carried little meaning and had nothing to do with Illinois. After numerous attempts to work through different channels including the US Mint, the architect contacted Senator Durbin. He went straight to the top by contacting Treasury Secretary Paulson, who had responsibility for the final design decision. Senator Durbin convinced him to select the design with Lincoln standing before the Old State Capitol.

The number of people attending the launch event seemed to be around the same number that had attended the previous ceremony in Indiana, which had been estimated at 3,000. This was a little surprising since the number of attendees had doubled from the first to second ceremonies. Also, Springfield is a major city and the location was more suited to handling a larger crowd.

Once again the coin exchange was a major attraction at the event. People began lining up early in the morning, apparently with some people even lining up the night before. The exchange line was snaked around the Old State Capitol grounds so people waiting could actually view the ceremony. The exchange began at 10:40, following completion of the ceremony.

The limits of minimum of two rolls and maximum of six rolls were in place. Many people were able to go through the exchange line multiple times to obtain more than six rolls. There was a report that police had to intervene to take care of some line cutters. The supplies were exhausted by 12:40, at which point the coin exchange ended.

Other events at the State Capitol following the launch ceremony included a program called "Lincoln in Song" by Chris Vallillo and a presentation by Joel Iskowitz, the "Professional Life" reverse designer.

The Post Office was located about two blocks away and many people went there to have their rolls stamped and canceled. They had a specially prepared black "dedication" cancellation stamp or the regular red daily cancellation stamp.

At 12:00 Noon ET on the same date, the US Mint began selling the 2009 Lincoln Cent Formative Years Two Roll Set. Reports from readers indicate that orders could be placed without delay even during the first few minutes of the offering. This would seem to indicate much lower collector interest than the prior two roll set release. When the Formative Years two roll sets were released, the US Mint's website had slowed to a crawl and orders were difficult to place. Besides lower interest, this could also be the impact of more people pre-ordering their rolls through the US Mint's subscription program, which was instated after the second roll set had already been released.

As expected, there have already been plenty of Professional Life Cents offered for sale on eBay. Some of the earliest rolls stamped and canceled in Springfield sold for $30 each, but prices have since declined to about $15. Various auctions are also selling unmarked rolls, single coins, and even sealed $25 boxes of the new Professional Life Cents. These coins are still driving significant premiums, but the "mania" experienced during the first design seems to have subsided. Here are the current eBay auctions for Professional Life Cents.

Some pictures from the Springfield, Illinois are included below. Once again, thank you to Michael Forader who provide the pictures and some details from the event!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

2009 Lincoln Bicentennial One Cent Proof Set

The US Mint has posted the product page and further information on the separate 2009 Lincoln Cent Proof Set that will be offered on August 26, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET.

As expected, the set will contain the four different 2009 Proof Lincoln Cents, with designs representing Lincoln's Birthplace, Formative Years, Professional Life, and Presidency. The coins will have the special composition of 95% copper and 5% tin and zinc that has been used for the Lincoln Cents included in the US Mint's 2009 annual sets.

It appears that the lens containing the proof cents will have the same background insert design featuring an American flag. Based on how they have treated other separate denomination proof sets, I would expect that the outer cardboard box will feature a custom design. (The product page currently shows the 2009 Proof Set box for some reason.)

The sets are priced at $7.95 each and carry a surprising ordering limit of 5 sets per household. Even though the sets will go on sale in less than two weeks, they apparently won't begin shipping until late November 2009. Here is the US Mint's product page.

This separate proof set was perhaps brought on by the strong secondary market demand exhibited for separate 2009 Proof Lincoln Cent Sets. Countless 2009 Proof Sets have already been broken up for the purpose of selling the 2009 Lincoln Cent lens separately. On eBay, sales of these separate sets continues to be robust with the sets still selling around the $15 price level.

On a related note, the US Mint has also updated the entry on their product schedule for the 2009 Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set from "Fall" to "October". This set will contain one 2009 Proof Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollar and the four 2009 Proof Lincoln Cents with a production limit of 50,000 units.


Friday, August 14, 2009

2009 Proof Sets - New Frosty Finish

Several readers have provided reports and photos of their 2009 Silver Proof Sets which seem to feature a new type of proof finish. This new style appears to have been used for all proof coins released in 2009, but the frosty effect seems to display most prominently on the silver proof coins.

In hand, the new style of finish makes the coins look impressive. Modern proof coins are struck with a cameo finish which features mirrored backgrounds and frosted raised elements. On 2009 proof coins, the frostiness of the raised elements seems to be magnified, which heightens the "black and white" cameo effect.

I examined one of the 2009 Silver Proof Sets more closely and found that the raised design elements have a much more granular finish than prior years. For comparison I examined a 2008 Silver Proof Set. The raised design elements had a more satiny finish with a bit of lustrous sheen. Below are pictures of a 2009 Silver Proof Quarter compared to a 2008 Silver Proof Quarter.

2009 Silver Proof Quarter

2008 Silver Proof Quarter

Someone on the Collector's Universe forums, who actually discovered this style of finish earlier, dubbed the new style "snakeskin proofs" and has some much better close up photos than mine. You can check them out here.

One final aspect of the new finish that I wanted to mention came when examining a clad 2009 Proof Set. The raised elements of the coins do have the same type of granular finish as found on the 2009 Silver Proof Set, although the frosty effect is diminished for non-silver coins. I noticed that some coins displayed visible striations within the frost, perhaps the result of the process which creates the granular appearance. An image of this impact appears below. The faint lines run diagonally from the top right to bottom left of the coin.

2009 Clad Proof Quarter

The US Mint has not officially announced any change to the style of proof finish, but it seems apparent that a change was made starting with 2009 proof coins. Will the Mint use this new style on gold and silver proof coins (once they are eventually released)? In particular, I look forward to seeing the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle with this new style of finish.
Today on Coin Update News:

Cash 4 Gold Review - Paid 18% of value for gold
2009 Professional Life Cent - Coin collector design reviews


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2009 Formative Years Two Roll Set Sold Out

The 2009 Lincoln Cent Two Roll Set for the "Formative Years" design has now sold out at the US Mint. The sets first went on sale May 14, 2009, making the total sales period nearly three months.

When the roll sets first went on sale, many were expecting them to sell out within a the first few days. The anticipated quick sell out was based on the expectation that only a limited number of the roll sets would be available. The first Two Roll Set featuring the "Birthplace" design only had 96,000 sets available. After the sell out, prices zoomed higher on the secondary market.

The US Mint ended up offering significantly more of the "Formative Years" two roll sets with the most recent sales figures indicating 297,520 units sold. The roll sets also perhaps experienced a boost after Coin World and other print coin publications reported on Formative Years Double Die varieties which had been found in the US Mint's two roll sets.

Tomorrow the third release for the 2009 Professional Life Cent Two Roll Sets will go on sale at 12:00 Noon ET.

Separately, another US Mint product has sold out. Some time within the past few days, the 2008 First Spouse Bronze Four Medal Set had its product page status changed to "Sold Out." These sets had been offered at $12.95 and contain each First Spouse Bronze Medal issued for 2008.

I have had one of these sets on back order for about three months. My expectations of actually receiving the set are low. The First Spouse Bronze Medal products are becoming somewhat notorious for being constantly back ordered and eventually having these orders canceled after the product sells out.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Write About Coins for Coin Update News

As some readers know, in addition to Mint News Blog, I run another coin related site at The site has traditionally provided a round up of coin collecting news from various sources around the internet. Today, I am announcing the expansion of the site to include a new section called Coin Update News.

This section provides expanded news coverage of US coins, world coins, and precious metals. In addition to standard news reports, many of the articles on the site will be written to provide unique opinions or perspectives on coins and the coin market. I just posted an article Coin Investing and Speculation, which examines factors which cause certain US Mint products to dramatically rise in value.

The site also includes "Coin Journals" which provide a format for individual collectors to share stories about their personal collections, insights and opinions on different coins, or share first hand experiences from coin related events or exhibits. I posted an article in the Coin Journals section on Bulgarian coins, sharing my observations on circulating coins an currency in Bulgaria after recently vacationing in the country.

While I have gotten the site a started with a few of my own articles, what I really want are articles contributed from individual collectors and coin dealers. I want the site to become a platform for showcasing unique individual perspectives and thoughtful original articles on coins and coin collecting.

Individual collectors and coin dealers are invited to write for Coin Update News. Collectors have a unique opportunity to share their insights or experiences with a board audience and earn money for their contributions. Coin dealers willing to contribute quality articles can gain valuable exposure for their business.

If you are interested in writing for Coin Update News or want to find out more, please contact me through the form on the Contributors page.


2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Sale Figures

Sales of the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin jumped to their highest level in months. The increase comes as a result of three potential factors, the most significant being the increase of the household ordering limit.

For the past several months, the UHR Double Eagle has been selling fewer than 1,000 coins per week. The pace of sales had settled into this steady, but restrained pace after a frantic opening weekend in late January, when the US Mint had sold more than 40,000 coins.

For the most recent weekly reporting period, the UHR recorded sales of 3,799 coins. This was up more than 300% from the sales level of the prior week.

The table below displays the weekly sales stats since July as reported by Numismaster. The first column shows the cumulative sales total for each reporting period and the second column showing the incremental sales increase for each period.
2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Sales
Date Total Sales Increase
July 2 68,114 941
July 8 68,886 772
July 15 69,517 631
July 22 70,395 878
July 29 71,250 855
August 6 75,049 3,799

There were three factors driving the big jump in sales for the prior week. First, the United States Mint raised the ordering limit on the coin from only one per household to ten per household. This change likely unleashed some pent up demand from collectors who have been waiting to purchase additional coins beyond their one per household allocation.

Second, the price of gold has been moving higher. On Thursday of last week, the price touched a two month high when gold moved above $970 per ounce. Under the US Mint's pricing policy, the price of the UHR is increased if the average weekly London Fix gold price moves across certain levels. By my calculation, last week the coin just narrowly missed a price increase. Collectors may have accelerated purchases since a price increase seemed likely.

Third, the increased sales might be partially attributable to the US Mint's new internet advertising campaign for the coin. To the best of my knowledge this seems to be something that they started using recently, if not within the last week.

The US Mint has stated that the mintage of the UHR Double Eagle will be "unlimited for one year." Under the authorization received from the US Secretary of the Treasury, the coins may only be minted during 2009, however sales "may continue into 2010 if inventory exists." This means that if the US Mint's final production run in 2009 does not sell out by the end of the year, they do have authority to continue selling the coins into the following year until the coins sell out.

At this point, it seems likely that the UHR Double Eagle will have a final mintage above 100,000. Collectors have been looking at the potential final mintage of the coin as one of the several factors which will determine whether the coins have potential for price appreciation down the line. The last one ounce gold coin produced for collectors to sell more than 100,000 coins was the 2006 Proof Gold Buffalo Coin.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

US Mint 2009 Lincoln Cent "Professional Life" Two Roll Sets

To round off coverage of the next 2009 Lincoln Cent release, here's a look at the US Mint's offering for the 2009 Lincoln Cent "Professional Life" Two Roll Sets.

The product includes one roll of 50 coins from the Philadelphia Mint and one roll of 50 coins from the Denver Mint that have "never been circulated". The rolls are packaged in custom US Mint wrappers that indicate the design and mint of the coins.

The coins will officially go on sale August 13, 2009 at 12:00 Noon ET. Each roll set is priced at $8.95 and the US Mint has indicated an ordering limit of 5 per household. The product page is already available on the US Mint's website here.

On the release date for the prior two roll set featuring the Formative Years design, the US Mint's website was slowed to a crawl and became inaccessible for many. Collectors were rushing to place orders after the unexpected sell out of the first two roll set. The Birthplace design had sold out in less than two weeks with a sales total of 100,000 units (later adjusted to 96,000). The Birthplace Two Roll Sets quickly began selling for high premiums on the secondary market and still fetch about $100 per set. (current eBay auctions)

This quick sell out for the first Two Roll Set created the assumption that only the same number of sets would be available for the second release. This turned out not to be the case. Well over 100,000 Formative Years sets were sold from the release date through the opening weekend. The sets still remain on sale and have sold 297,520 units and counting.

The US Mint has not confirmed the total quantity that will be available for the Professional Life sets other than indicating that they are available "for a limited time only." Based on their treatment of the prior release and other similar offerings, it seems likely that the Professional Life Sets will remain on sale until the next design is released, making the low run for the first design a one time occurrence.

On a related note, it seems likely that sales of the Formative Years Sets will end on August 13 to coincide with the release of the next design.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

2009 Professsional Life Penny- Coin Exchange in Washington DC

Can't make it to the upcoming 2009 Penny Launch in Springfield, Illinois? Similar to the prior 2009 Lincoln Cent release , there will be coin exchanges available at two US Mint locations in Washington, DC.

The locations for the coin exchange will be the US Mint Sales counters located at Union Station, Washington DC and 801 9th St NW, Washington DC. The coin exchanges will take place on August 13, 2009 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM or while supplies last.

Each person will be allowed to exchange currency for rolls of the newly released 2009 "Professional Life" Lincoln Cents, subject to a minimum of two rolls and a maximum of six rolls. The limits remain subject to change and may be adjusted at any time of the day during the exchange.

All coins will be from the Philadelphia Mint and wrapped in bank rolls.


UHRGoldGoin.Gov Follow up

A small follow up to my previous post about the US Mint's new site located at from Friday.

The US Mint seems to be using the new site primarily as a landing page used in coordination with a pay per click advertising campaign. I spotted some ads listed in Google's sponsored links section with the URL of the Mint's new site and also noticed a new option in the US Mint's check out process.

Through it's Adwords program, Google allows advertisers to bid on ad placements within the "sponsored links" section of its search engine results or across its content network. Advertisers only pay if someone clicks on the ads. This has been established as a very effective form of advertising for many businesses.

In this situation, when someone clicks on the US Mint's ad, they are sent to the UHRGoldCoin.Gov site which is filled within information, images, and videos of the coin. If they like what they see, the visitor can click through to the US Mint's online catalog to purchase the coin.

This is the first time I have seen the US Mint implement a coordinated internet advertising campaign, but it does seem very well put together. There was one comment on my previous post which stated: "makes me want to buy one this minute." I have to admit that the first time I saw the site, I also felt a compulsion to buy a second example of the coin.

If this type of advertising ends up providing a positive return on the Mint's investment, hopefully they will repeat the process for future products. Even if the primary purpose is advertising, collectors get a professionally designed, informative, content rich site for their enjoyment.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

John & Letitia Tyler Presidential Dollar and Medal Set Packaging Error

An interesting packaging error has surfaced for the John and Letitia Tyler Presidential Dollar and First Spouse Medal Set. Some sets have been identified with the Letitia Tyler Medal mounted on the Julia Tyler display card.

Because John Tyler had a first and second wife, the US Mint is issuing two separate Presidential Coin and First Spouse Medal Sets- one for each wife. The Letitia Tyler Set was released on July 14, 2009. The separate set for Julia Tyler has not yet been released by the US Mint and is currently scheduled for August 25, 2009.

The fact that the Julia Tyler Set has not been released further legitimizes the packaging error. After the release of the next set, one could argue that someone switched the medals to create the packaging error after the sets left the Mint. In reality, I believe this would be hard to accomplish without looking obvious, since each set is sealed in plastic cellophane and the coin and medal are securely mounted on the card.

After one of the packaging errors surfaced on eBay, an anonymous reader added a comment to the most recent Mint News Blog post to inform others about the mistake. This comment prompted several readers to more closely examine their own sets.

John Crosby, known as modern-coins on eBay, checked his shipment of 99 sets and located one example with the packaging error. The incorrectly packaged set that he identified is pictured at the top of this post. His sets were ordered on July 24 ,2009 and shipped by the United States Mint on July 30, 2009.

He plans to sell the packaging error set, but he is not certain when. There are currently three packaging error sets listed for auction on eBay with high starting bid prices. To date, no sets listed have reached the end of the auction or received a bid. Here's a link to the current listings for the packaging error.

This represents the second mix up by the United States Mint for First Spouses with the same last name. The Mint had previously created a mule error which combined the obverse of the Abigail Adams Medal with the reverse of the Louisa Adams Medal. These errors have been found within 2007 First Spouse 4 Medal Sets. The mule errors continue to sell for approximately $400 each.

Although the current Mint mistake falls into the category of packaging error, in all likelihood these sets will sell for premiums, especially if the number discovered remains low. If you ordered and received the John & Letitia Tyler Coin and Medal Set, be sure to check your sets for the packaging error!


Monday, August 3, 2009

US Mint Coin Production July 2009

The coin production figures through July 2009 have now been provided by the United States Mint. This update includes the final production figure for the American Samoa Quarter, which marked another successive low for the denomination.

The table below lists the US Mint coin production for the month of July 2009. These numbers are determined by comparing the year to date totals from last month to the year to date totals posted from this month.
US Mint Coin Production July 2009

Philadelphia Denver Total
Cents 151.60 M 120.40 M 272.00 M
Nickels 0 6.96 M 6.96 M
Dimes 0 0 0
Quarters 0 13.00 M 13.00 M
Halves 0 0 0
Presidential Dollars 1.96 M 27.44 M 29.40 M
Native Amer Dollars 0 0 0
Total 153.56 M 167.80 M 321.36 M

The second following table shows the total year to date coin production figures for each denomination. Where available, the totals for each coin design have been provided.

2009 Coin Production January 2009 to July 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
Native American Dollar 27.30 M 23.80 M 51.10 M

A few observations from the latest updates.

Added as a late update to last month's post, the final production figures for the first two 2009 Lincoln Cent designs are now known. The second design has a higher mintage than the first design. This breaks the trend for all other denominations which feature rotating designs, which have shown overall mintage declines for each subsequent release.

The production figures for the 2009 Jefferson Nickel have increased. As mentioned in a previous post, this additional production comes despite the fact that the US Mint "officially" announced the end of production for all nickels and dimes for the remainder of 2009. The prospect of continuing production for 2009 nickels and dimes may remove some of the froth from the market for these rarely encountered coins.

The final production numbers for the American Samoa Quarter have been posted. The overall production represents another new low for the series with only 82.2 million coins produced. The 2009-D American Samoa Quarter has a mintage of 39.6 million, which represents the lowest mintage for a circulation strike quarter since 1962.

One of the most notable aspects of the update is the small number of quarters minted during the month of July. Only 13 million quarters were produced at the Denver Mint and no quarters were produced at the Philadelphia Mint. If the short production of quarters continues for another month, this might be setting up for some spectacularly low totals for the US Virgin Islands Quarters. Definitely something to watch and keep in mind.


2009 Professional Life Lincoln Cent Launch in Springfiled, Illinois

The United States Mint has released details for the launch ceremony for the third 2009 Lincoln Cent design. This will be the third of four different reverse designs used during 2009 to represent the stages of Lincoln's life.

The third design design represents Abraham Lincoln's "Professional Life" spent in Illinois from 1830 to 1861. The design depicts a young, professional Lincoln standing in front of the State Capitol building. This reverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Don Everhart. The obverse of the coin will bear the familiar likeness of Lincoln designed by Victor D. Brenner.

The launch ceremony will be held on Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 10:00 AM CT at the Old State Capitol, 5th & Adams Streets, Springfield, Illinois. Attending the event will be US Mint Director Edmund Moy, Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois state officials, and Mayor Tim Davlin.

The coin exchange, where attendees can exchange bills for rolls of the newly released coins, is indicated to take place after the ceremony. The coin exchange will be subject to a two roll minimum and six roll maximum. These limits are indicated as subject to change. Children under 18 attending the event will receive a new 2009 Lincoln "Professional Life" Cent for free.

On the same date at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will offer Two Roll Sets of the new 2009 Professional Life Cents. Similar to prior offerings, the sets will include one 50-coin roll of coins from the Philadelphia Mint and one 50-coin roll of coins from the Denver Mint. Each Set will be priced at $8.95. The US Mint has indicated an ordering limit of five sets per household.

The US Mint also indicates that "millions of one-cent coins bearing the Professional Life design will be released into general circulation on August 13."

The slow release of the 2009 Lincoln Cents into circulation has been a source of frustration for some and a profit opportunity for others. When the first design was released on February 12, 2009, the coin exchange at the launch ceremony in Hodgenville, Kentucky turned out to be one of the few sources for the new coins. Attendees were able to sell their rolls on venues such as eBay where prices quickly skyrocketed.

The developing speculative market for 2009 Lincoln Cents contributed to the increased number of people attending the second event in Lincoln City, Indiana to take part in the coin exchange, but also led to some efforts by the US Mint to increase distribution.

One month after the Hodgenville launch ceremony, they had introduced the 2009 Lincoln Cent Two-Roll Set product. Starting with the second design release, these two-roll sets were available for sale at the US Mint starting on the release date for each coin. At the coin release ceremonies, the exchange limit was lowered from ten rolls to six rolls per person, and more rolls were available for exchange.

The first event had been attended by about 1,500 people and 10,000 rolls of new cents were exchanged. The second event had an estimated 3,000 attendees who exchanged 20,000 rolls of cents. How many people will attend the third ceremony and how many rolls will be exchanged?

As with the prior ceremonies, I will have a report following the event, hopefully with some pictures. Anyone attending who would like to contribute can contact me at coins @