Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Survey Results: Mint News Blog Readers Reflect on 2009

This post will continue the series providing the results of a year end survey answered by Mint News Blog readers.

The third question allowed readers to provide their thoughts or comments on 2009 US Mint products or developments in an open format. More than 200 readers took the time to provide comments that filled over 14 single spaced pages. I have read all of the comments and will do my best to distill some of the common themes as well as provide a selection of comments republished here.

The most frequent comments were in relation to the cancellation of the 2009 Proof Gold and Silver Eagles, with most of the emphasis on the Silver Eagle. The loss of this coin was seen as a break with tradition, a blow to the average collector, and many expressed the opinion that the coins could have been produced if the Mint made more of an effort.

Other frequent comments were related to the lack of fractional weight collectible precious metals coins. In past years, gold and platinum collector coins were offered in a range of fractional weights which allowed the US Mint to cover array of pricing points for precious metals products.

There were other recurring comments critiquing the US Mint's quality and selection, their website design and function, and coin design selections.

Below I have published a variety of the comments provided by Mint News Blog readers. I couldn't include everything, but I have tried to cover the array of reactions and topics that were mentioned.

"There were some nice coins this year from the mint. My favorites in no particular order are the Lincoln cents, Lincoln dollars, Platinum Eagle, Proof Buffalo, uncirculated and proof sets. I think the uncirculated sets will be the big winners a few years down the road when people realize that there are less than a million of the bronze uncirculated cents."

"Would have liked all of the Presidential Dollar products from 2007 and 2008 produced in 2009. Specifically the Signature Series and the Individual Proof Series. I have the first 8 in both."

"Only my opinion, but after collecting and buying Mint products every year since the early 1960's, the Mint has deteriorated both in product offerings, service, availability, and pricing. I believe they have lowered their operation for collectors to third rate status, and no one in authority is either watching or seems to care."

"The 2010 penny design is hideous, such a let-down from the 2009 series. The 2010 commemorative dollar designs I've seen are equally lack-luster. Take more inspiration from coins such as the Saint-Gaudens UHR coins, something American coin collectors would be proud to own. Otherwise, what's the point?"

"Just wish there could be a 'popular vote' type of thing on new coin designs, to reflect the collector community's take on alternatives that make it to the final round."

"2009 was bittersweet for modern coin collectors and a year of transition. The U.S. Mint knocked our socks off with stunning renditions of Ultra High Relief and Platinum Eagles, but tarnished collectors with ambivalent communications and uncertain product availability.Within the community of modern coin collectors, a sharp digital divide emerged as those who collect for the sake of collecting clashed with ebayers and a whimsical secondary market. At the end of the year, it's fair to say that the Mint tried to hedge a terrible international economy and soaring metal prices with a limited mix of mandatory and discretionary product lines. Whether or not this strategy worked remains to be seen until the Treasury Department discloses calendar year financials."

"This is the first year that I've ordered products. The web site seemed a little slow at times - but overall a good experience"

"I think the Eagle cancellation was inexcusable. Any other business would have found a way to make it work, and the mint could have too. It is much easier to say 'we cant' rather than we can."

"Canada offers circulating coins for a very small premium over face. I would like to see our Mint offer the same service... Also, the gold & silver bullion coins should be offered direct. This having to find a dealer is a pain, and I often do not get the annual silver Eagle coin because of that."

"Common coins packaged differently was the theme of 2009."

"The mint needs to respond better to the wants of the average coin collector. Thousand dollar coins may make the mint money, but the average collector is the long time tradition for the future. My thoughts are also that the large buyers are getting way more than their share. If the mint wants to sellout to the large coin retailers, than maybe the rest of us collectors should just go directly to eBay. At least they are fast at shipping and my buy is guaranteed."

"Return production of the fractional gold and platinum coins. Dump the dealer distributor network for uncirculated eagle coins and allow direct purchase from the mint. Dump the presidential wife gold series. Reduce mint fees for golden dollar and quarter rolls."

"Designs remain far too literal and 'busy'. Better coin designs use allegorical images."

"Still cannot believe that they killed a 23 year collection for my silver and gold eagles... They need to send several employees on a fact finding trip to the Perth Mint. The Aussies know how to treat their loyal & paying customers properly."

"The Ultra High Relief St. G. is a beauty--and was plainly a labor of love on the part of the Mint and its Director. The 2004, 2006 and 2008 W platinum Eagle reverses were stunning! 2009 isn't up to the standard they set."

"The cancellation of the 2009 Silver Eagle proof and uncirculated version are by far the most disappointing development of 2009 US mint products. This has been a cherished coin for the last few decades. Many collectors have expressed their disappointment with the US Mint regarding these coins. This is the coin that get me started collecting. As the new year approaches I hope that the US Mint has heard the feedback from its supporters and will make a solid effort to make this coin available in 2010 and beyond."

"The Mint does what it does and we react. When the Mint makes mistakes we gain opportunities for unusual coins. I think they create good products and I have no complaints."
Other posts covering survey results:
Favorite 2009 US Mint Product and Biggest Disappointment



At January 13, 2010 at 8:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if the last quote in the post was from a Mint employee who took the survey themselves! :)

At January 13, 2010 at 9:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

2009 Lincoln Cent Final Mintages

Denver Philadelphia

Birthplace Cent 350,400,000 284,400,000

Formative Years Cent 363,600,000 376,000,000

Professional Life Cent 336,000,000 316,000,000

Presidency Cent 198,000,000 129,600,000

At January 13, 2010 at 9:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the UHR comments from yeterday's survey result comments. There were less than 25,000 UHR sold after limits were lifted. Considering how many months after the limits were lifted you would expect continued sales even if limits were in place.

I agree that the high price of gold kept orders down (even for dealers) and the dealers probably bought them in early months anyhow.

The UHR if they do not make them again (which is what they say) will at some point be THE product to have.

I also agree that PCGS and NGC slabing of the UHR that comes from the Mint in a beautiful mohogany presentation case is TOTALLY STUPID and I'm sure in years to come folks will want the original packaging (with coin in it!) from the mint. Why don't they take the coins from the Lincoln Chronicles set and slab each of them! The idea of a slab is to make sure an old coin is what is says it is without alterations/ cleaning etc.

I have no problem with lifting the UHR limits SINCE IT DIDN'T MATTER!

At January 13, 2010 at 9:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Offhand I'd bet that it has been many decades since a mint cranked out 129.6MM of a MS Lincoln Cent. Fact has now replaced rumor and there will now be a stampede to buy the Presidency version. They'll really crank back on the 2010's but it will still be a lot more than 129.6MM.

Jim L.

At January 13, 2010 at 11:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet there will be alot more 2010 MS pennies produced because of all the collectors that will be looking to buy rolls of the new design.
Considering that I have seen only two 2009 pennies given out as change I believe there will be few 2010 pennies seen this year also.
I hope there will be direct sales of the 2010 penny and some way to get rolls of the 2010 nickels and dimes. I hate buying from e-bay with the large mark-up.

At January 13, 2010 at 11:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This link tells ya what all the other lincoln cent mintages are....just for comparison to this years.

At January 13, 2010 at 11:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like the 1955 S is the last time there was a mintage less than the Presidency P cent.

At January 13, 2010 at 1:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! That's going back a ways!

At January 13, 2010 at 5:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally unimpressed with the 2009 first. Then, after getting used to the 27mm size and time spent under the mag glass, learned to appreciate the coin's nuances. Also, very pleased with the coin's presentation accoutrements.

At January 13, 2010 at 6:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

About grading UHR , it may not be as sensless as it first appears. I have seen few of those and none of them were the same quality.I have noticed some difference on the surface . Somthing like microscratches on the area were the surface pressed inside. If they were proof I would have agreed , grading them does not make sense to me because they almost perfect.

At January 13, 2010 at 8:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen many UHR, none having "microscratches". I love the thickness on the top of the left wing on the reverse. It looks like you could balance a dime on it!

My UNC Van Buren has a little circular "wheel" under her left arm and I am told by other collectors they see the same thing, so actually this is likely "standard".

Honestly I think slabbing the UHR out of the nice original presentation box is like "cleaning" a coin. It takes it away from the original state and doesn't allow the display with the magnetic wood case like it should!

Also don't understand the issue with the "no limit" beef. Barely any sold anyhow after the limits were removed and will likely be the most sought after coin ever to have been minted due to the high quality and low quantity. I bet if you talked to Mr. Moy he would be shocked at how few sold. The high spot gold price kept many buyers not able to afford buying many.

Not sure why so many people are wed to e-bay for predicting the future. It's like saying it's cold out now so in 4 months it will be cold.

UHR best think the mint EVER did and few people really recognize this! I fully agree of the eventual messing up of the value of the coin by slabbing it. I think time will show this.

I also agree that the whole point of slabbing is sort of an authentifacation that an old coin has not been "messed with", so it is somewhat ironic that a coin directly from the mint gets "messed with" out of packaging etc. to be slabbed!

PCGS must be laughing at us at their board meetings.......

At January 13, 2010 at 8:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My two UHR coins exhibit the "micro-scratches" as it was described here. I didn't know what to make of that. I heard someone say one time that it had something to do with the dies. Are the coins defective?

At January 14, 2010 at 8:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or are the newer gold buffaloes too frosted? I was comparing earlier (2007) proof buffaloes with more recent varieties (2009), and the newer buffaloes are loosing a lot of detail with the Mint's overkill frosting. They are starting to look a little cheesy if you ask me.

At January 14, 2010 at 8:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I agree that the UHR is probably one of the nicest coins ever minted in this country, I disagree on the depreciation due to slabbing.

In theory, those stating that the OGP will allow for more depreciation are correct. However practically speaking if you ever plan to sell the coin, a graded coin gives the buyer a greater level of assurance on what they are buying.

Furthermore, the capsule used for the UHRs was not designed for the UHRs...they weren't sized for that thick of a coin. Looks kind of bad to me. JMO.


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