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News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First Spouse Coins Update


I wanted to take another post to discuss some developments related to the First Spouse Gold Coin series.

Abigail Fillmore First Spouse Gold Coins

As written previously, the Abigail Fillmore First Spouse Gold Coins will go on sale tomorrow. There will be a maximum mintage of 15,000 coins across both proof and uncirculated versions, with no household ordering limits. Both of these represent changes in procedure from prior releases of the series, which had maximum mintages set at 40,000 and ordering limits imposed for at least the first month of availability.

Since the price of gold has remained within the same average range, the proof coins will be priced at $729 and the uncirculated coins will be priced at $716. The US Mint now provided the product pages here and here. Ordering options won't be available until the official start of sales on March 18, 2010 at 12:00 Noon ET.

I do not think an opening day or even opening month sell out will occur, but I do think that opening sales will be stronger than the previous release. By lowering the maximum mintage, collectors of the series will be less inclined to delay purchases, and collectors who purchased coins earlier in the series may give the coins a second look.

Perhaps more importantly, the idea of a sell out has put back on the table. This is something that would not have even been considered or debated under the old 40,000 maximum mintage. For at least some people, this will change the perception of the offering.

Anna Harrison First Spouse Gold Coins

If past US Mint procedures hold, tomorrow may also mark the end of sales for the Anna Harrison First Spouse Gold Coins, which originally went on sale March 5, 2009. The US Mint has stated that coins of the series will remain available for sale for approximately one year or until the maximum mintage has been sold, whichever occurs first. In practice, they have ended sales of the oldest coin when a new coin is released.

The last reported sales for the Anna Harrison First Spouse Coins show combined sales of 9,787, made up of 3,537 uncirculated coins and 6,250 proofs. In the latest weekly sales period only 15 coins were sold. Sales had been running at a pace of about 100 coins per week before the recent numismatic gold coin price increase.

While I think there are likely to be future issues with even smaller mintages, the Anna Harrison uncirculated coin will establish a fresh low amongst the coins no longer available for sale. The current low is held by the Louisa Adams uncirculated coin with last reported sales of 4,223.

2010 First Spouse Gold Coin Mintages

As a final update and a new development, more information about the newly established maximum mintages for the series has been revealed. The 15,000 maximum mintage will apply for the Abigail Fillmore, Jane Pierce, and James Buchanan's Liberty coins. A higher maximum mintage of 20,000 will apply for the Mary Todd Lincoln First Spouse Coin. Maximum mintage levels will be determined each year for future releases.

See the full article on Coin Update: US Mint Cuts First Spouse Gold Coin Maximum Mintages

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45 Comments:

At March 17, 2010 at 11:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think changing the rules in the middle of the game is typical of the mint. And yes, I am one of those collectors that will now have to buy right away, I can't afford to take a chance that this could lead to higher prices--they've become high enough already. Thanks much for keeping us up to date.

 
At March 17, 2010 at 1:06 PM , Blogger Lasloo said...

The limit of 20,000 Mary Todd Lincoln gold spouse coins COULD cause a sell out for that one.

The Buchanan one might be interesting to watch as well, since it will use a classic liberty image on the obverse. Though, I still tend to think that even at 15,000, that one will not sell out. Jackson and Van Buren didn't reach it, then I don't think this one will either.

 
At March 17, 2010 at 1:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Buchanan's Liberty coin will reach 15,000 even though Jackson and Van Buren didn't. The reason why Jackson and Van Buren didn't sell out is because everyone knew that the limit of 40,000 coins was too high, and there was no danger of a sell-out. BUT, with the Buchanan marking the end of the "Liberty Subset", combined with a much smaller maximum mintage and therefore reduced opportunity, the chances are very good for a pretty-quick sell-out.

There's no WAY that 20,000 Mary Lincoln coins will be enough to go around, especially if the lack of an order limit still holds by then. The eBay posse will have a field day with that coin. Whatever day it goes on sale will DEFINITELY be a "call-in-sick" day for me!

 
At March 17, 2010 at 1:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My opinion is that the Abigail Fillmore sales will set the tone for future gold spouse releases. If the Fillmore coin sells out within a month, the others will follow suit (some faster than others). If the Fillmore coin is still on sale when Pierce goes on sale, then I think buyers will be a bit more relaxed.

Presently, only collectors of the gold spouse series will be the ones stressing about a sellout. There are not a ton of those, so the flippers may not come out in droves to snatch Fillmore up at the risk of being stuck with them.

Buchanan and Todd may be a different matter for various reasons (Abe's wife, Liberty subset, etc.), resulting in increased sales. I believe there will be more flippers for those coins because they will feel that there is a market to off-load the coins at a higher price. However, I do feel that the majority of collectors will have the opportunity to get what they need provided they don't wait a month.

JMHO

 
At March 17, 2010 at 1:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fillmore will set the tone for future gold spouse coins. If it doesn't sellout by the time Pierce goes on sale, buyers will be more patient and flippers will shy off.

Buchanan and Lincoln may be an exception (Lincoln more than Buchanan) because of the perception that there will be more collectors of those coins (Abe's wife, Liberty Subset). Again, if Buchanan is still available when Lincoln goes on sale, buyers will be more relaxed and flippers may think twice.

Ultimately, the Mint's actions may cause a 'transient' in buying trends, but it will all settle out into the majority not selling out (as before) due to lack of demand.

JMO

 
At March 17, 2010 at 1:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for the double post. The first post didn't appear to take so I re-wrote it.

 
At March 17, 2010 at 4:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the 15,000 limit is meaningless when the last 9 coins failed to reach that threshold... a new lower cap on mintage isn't going to all of the sudden make these hot coins.

 
At March 17, 2010 at 4:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

............ 2010 = boring .................




*yawn*

 
At March 17, 2010 at 6:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, dudes and dudettes, I just don't see the action coming with this series. Now if the mint production was maybe 5000 and one per household somethin' might happen, maybe. These things although they represent historical significance are uninspiring and dullsville. I read here about a lot of folks a wishin' and a hopin' but man I just don't see it with these. If I am wrong and ya' all are right then good for you and sad for me because I ain't a buyin' any.

 
At March 17, 2010 at 6:54 PM , Anonymous Yakpoo said...

Many First Spouse collectors are drawn to the series due to the
"apparent" low mintages. However, it's not clear how the First Spouse (FS) is being administered.

Title 31-5112o5 (First Spouse coins) states that each First Spouse design...

"...shall be issued on the same schedule as the $1 coin issued under subsection (n) with respect to each such President."

Title 31-5112n4 (Presidential Dollars) states...

"The designs for the $1 coins issued during each year of the period referred to in paragraph (1) shall be emblematic of 4 Presidents until each President has been so honored"

This suggests that the mintage of a particular Presidential dollar issue (and it's associated First Spouse issue) would be no longer than one
(1) year (52 weeks).

As we see with the Presidential dollar series, coins minted during the issuance period continue to be sold years later under the Mint's Direct Ship Program.

This might suggest that each FS issue may have been minted to it's maximum mintage (40,000) and remaining coins can continue to be release...perhaps via the Mint's Bullion Dealer program.

I'm not suggesting that's what happening, but I don't see anything in Title 31 that prevents it.

QUESTIONS:

1. What does the Mint do with unsold FS coins and dies when an issue is declared to be "Off Sale" from the Mint?

2. Is the published "final" mintage when an issue goes "Off Sale" from the Mint the "actual" final mintage?

 
At March 17, 2010 at 8:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you look at the pictures of the next four spouse AFTER Mary Lincoln you will see there is little to improve on these coins.

http://www.firstladies.org/biographies/

A set of these coins at mint prices when all is said and done will be about $30,000. That is a lot of money to tie up in a series and I don't see enough people to do it.

 
At March 17, 2010 at 9:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

For fun, guessing mintages to be(if they aren't priced too high:

The Buchanan ms 5,300
pf 7,800

The T Lincoln ms 6,800
w/2o,ooo Limit) pf 9,600

Mabey?/NOT!

(be nice to get a Buchanan)

Some renewed interest could occur
because of the more limited options offered last year and a bit broarder investor interest.
(Depending on the mint limits)
Although Martha's coin sold out they haven't appreciated all too much since. Collecter interest may be a bit cooler on the Lincoln. (Unless Scout Dads discover a new hobby this year?)..Or...Unless somebody out there wants to buy 'em all up just to melt them?

 
At March 18, 2010 at 4:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the exception of the liberties, which are not really original designs, these coins are really ugly. Add in a 25% premium and these really are a terrible value. The Buchanan may sell out. Anyone see the prices on the Jackson and Van Buren Proofs? As for the mint state version of these liberties, they are almost impossible to find. Buy a Buchanan, skip the rest. Just my opinion.

 
At March 18, 2010 at 5:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will get the Buchanan lib and then I am done. I picked up the Jefferson for $560, Jackson & Van Buren for $775 all on eBay, all after rebates, all MS70's. (no, I didn't pay more for the graded coins...)

The non-lib coins will wither on the vine for a few years, then when the Mint starts to issue modern Presidents it might pick up again.

John

 
At March 18, 2010 at 6:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still working on assembling sets of these, but I might have to abandon my proofs. I'd like to keep the uncirculated set going, but it's getting so expensive.

I agree with the opinions that some of the coins are ugly, but when the women they depict were themselves not much to look at, what choice does the Mint have? They can't exactly give the ladies new appearances. I saw a photo that looked a lot like the Julia Tyler coin might have been based on it, and in the photo she was pretty rough looking. She's much prettier on the coin.

I just want to be able to have at least one complete set of the entire series, all together in the same place. That would look pretty cool, especially considering that some of those coins are already extremely scarce. Anna Harrison's Uncirculated coin is likely only the beginning of the extremely low mintages. With possibly less than 3,600 coins in existence, it makes the Jackie Robinson seem much more common.

 
At March 18, 2010 at 7:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can there be any justification for unlimited orders per househould. How about 15 per household for the first 2 days. Corner the market and fleece the public seem to be the american way. If only I had 5 million to play with?

 
At March 18, 2010 at 8:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fortunately, those who DO have millions to play with probably couldn't be bothered with this one.

Maybe if someone did try to buy up a large chunk of coins, the Mint would step in and limit the order under the clause that says something to the effect that it "reserves the right to accept or reject orders as it sees fit."

 
At March 18, 2010 at 9:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just placed my order for a proof and 2 unc, and had no trouble. I'm glad I didn't call in sick!

 
At March 18, 2010 at 9:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, Anna Harrison disappeared as predicted. What a low mintage on that one!

 
At March 18, 2010 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I placed my order at 12:04 PM ET for 1 Pf and 1 Unc.

 
At March 18, 2010 at 10:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The US Mint is FULL of INCOMPETENT PEOPLE!!! Only fools elected more of the same!!!! Now our healthcare will be crap!!!!

I put my order in at 12:01pm ET (PER THE MINT'S WEBSITE) and got a call saying they canceled the order. I asked why and they said I ordered too early. I told them to look at the time on the order number FROM THEIR WEBSITE and they said they weren't seeing the time that I had. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? IT'S THEIR SYSTEM! I was required to go out and cancel my complete order and start over. GOVERNMENT WORKERS ARE THE EPITOME OF LAZY AND STUPID! How can humans be so abjectly worthless????

 
At March 18, 2010 at 10:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

After your comment, I checked my own order (also showing 12:01, but AM as usual), and it still shows "on hold" with a product status of "In Stock and Reserved."

That would have made me pretty angry if they had cancelled the order. How can early orders even be placed, anyway? There is no "add to cart" option on the product page before sales officially begin!

 
At March 18, 2010 at 11:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that a reduced limit of 15,000 coins did not seem to make a difference in the flippers' minds. I still don't think 20,000 Mary Lincoln coins will be enough to go around, but time will tell.

I ordinarily don't place an order on the first day of sales, but for my sets' sake I did this time. I didn't want to take any chances. I still haven't ordered my Margaret Taylors yet, though.

The limit might be reduced again next year to a paltry 10,000 coins, who knows?

 
At March 18, 2010 at 11:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch, the coin and spouse medal sets went up $3 this year, to $11.95. They were $7.95 the first two years, $8.95 last year and now $11.95. I should have known they would have more than the extra $2 that the medals went up to built-in. Greed!

 
At March 18, 2010 at 12:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a follow up question to what Yakpoo wrote on March 17 6:54pm:

For similar coin programs in the past or present, does anyone here know if the mint produces the entire mintage before sales begin or does the mint produce just enough to satisfy anticipated demand for a couple of months and then go back to produce more at a later date?
What did the mint do with unsold products in the past? Have they, in general, melted the unsold coins?

 
At March 18, 2010 at 1:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty positive the Mint does NOT make most coins at the maximum mintage level right away. Some products with anticipated heavy demand might have more strikes than usual before sales begin, but even then probably not the entire mintage.

The way I figured it works for the First Spouse coins is that right before the end of the year, the Mint looks at weekly sales numbers to get an idea of how many more coins they can likely sell during the remaining time each coin will be sold, and then strikes additional inventory before December 31st in that amount. Then, once the additional coins are sold the option is pulled off-sale. The way it seems, the only coin they under-estimated sales on was the Jackson's Liberty Proof, as it was declared "sold out" a couple of weeks before the one-year mark.

In the event of unsold inventory, I think the Mint does eventually melt them down. What they do with the gold after melting I'm not sure, since they don't manufacture their own blanks. Someplace must buy it from them.

At any rate, I would bet money that once a coin is pulled off-sale (like the Anna Harrison coins were today), any remaining unsold coins are not released in any form or fashion.

I just wish the Mint would provide actual mintage numbers for all of the coins in the series thus far. We all know the first three had 20,000 of each design and finish minted (even though they don't all exist anymore courtesy of SilverTowne), but from Dolley Madison onward all we have are the last reported sales figures. As the 2008-W Buffalo coins taught us, the difference between those numbers and actual mintage can vary greatly!

 
At March 18, 2010 at 1:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous - March 18, 2010 10:27 AM

The retail operation is staffed by a private company taking/filing orders on contract for the Mint. So I guess you meant to say - CIVILIAN WORKERS ARE THE EPITOME OF LAZY AND STUPID! How can humans be so abjectly worthless????

John

 
At March 18, 2010 at 2:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

John

I am the irate poster, and to your point, whoever is managing orders IS completely incompetent. I assumed by their utter laziness (similar to any other government entity I've HAD to work with like the USPS) that they were government employees.

IF YOU HAD A 12:01AM sale and it shows on HOLD, you better call and check. My order looked normal on their website, but when I called they told me it had been canceled. It doesn't matter what their website says, if it's close you may not have a valid order. BE WARNED!!!

 
At March 18, 2010 at 3:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone notice the "book" theme on the first spouse coins?

 
At March 18, 2010 at 4:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, What, Where?
What would make
ya say that?

 
At March 18, 2010 at 5:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One interesting figure.... The maximum number of uncirculated liberty sets that could exist is capped at 4334. Quite a low number (given buchanans liberty will probably sell more than that in uncirculated).

 
At March 18, 2010 at 7:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry, when the sales report comes out next week it will show they still have over 10,000 coins left or more to sell. The chances of a sellout are the same as the chances of a blue moon.

 
At March 18, 2010 at 7:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

letitia tyler and margaret taylor will be the lowest mintage. anna harrison is too many. abigail fillmore will not sell out.

 
At March 18, 2010 at 9:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, wanted to check out aftermarket of my favorite liberty, the Van Buren UNC and found zero available on ebay! Not even on any ebay "stores".

 
At March 19, 2010 at 6:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van Buren Uncirculated is a tough one, but check out a recently completed auction for a Jackson proof! $1,150 for a raw specimen. Not a bad return for a coin that only cost in the neighborhood of $600 give or take while available from the Mint.

 
At March 19, 2010 at 8:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cancelled the order I placed yesterday. I only ordered them on the first day just in case they sold quickly with a lower limit. That doesn't appear to be the case, so I will wait it out for a while now. Gold took a big hit this morning, and with any luck maybe we'll get a price decrease in the next week or two.

 
At March 19, 2010 at 9:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the healthcare bill passes, the dollar will take it in the shorts in the global markets due to the additional trillions of dollars in USA debt. I expect our credit rating to fall shortly after and gold to go up accordingly.

That said, you will have a few days to pick up your gold coins ASSUMING that the Mint doesn't adjust prices without warning. Good luck.

 
At March 19, 2010 at 9:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gold fix averages will likely never be below where they are now. Bet todays fall will be followed by a ralley. Where does one find a gold van b. unc in the aftermarket?

 
At March 19, 2010 at 9:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Van Buren Uncirculated coin does show up on eBay sometimes, but usually in graded form.

I may end up having an extra one to sell, if I have to give up on my second set of Uncirculateds that I've been building since day one. If I do sell it, I haven't decided if I'll sell it with the other Liberty versions as the subset, or if I'll sell it with all of the other coins as a complete set up through the 2010 issues. I know the more coins the set contains, the less likely that someone will be willing to part with the cash to buy them all at once. But, it would be a great way for someone who wants to start collecting the series but got in late to get all of the prior coins at once.

 
At March 19, 2010 at 9:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that the Mint raised the prices of the remaining 2009 First Spouse Bronze Medals to $5.50 each? They did NOT raise the prices of the remaining 2009 Coin & Spouse Medal sets to $11.95 as the 2010's will cost, but they did raise the prices of the individual medals. That's weird, they usually don't revise prices of prior products that don't contain precious metal that are still on sale.

 
At March 19, 2010 at 9:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That makes the 2009 First Spouse 5-Medal Set (still priced at $15.95) quite a bargain! I wonder how long before it's declared sold out?

 
At March 19, 2010 at 9:53 AM , Blogger Lasloo said...

As to bad customer service... nothing is worse than Verizon's customer service. Ten times worse than anything I've had to deal with when calling the Mint.
Took at least six months to get them to figure out how to change my VOIP line back to a normal landline and then another couple of months to get the billing straight. ugh.

 
At March 19, 2010 at 12:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lasloo,

Sounds like we're living a parallel life (rolling pre-1982 pennies and all). I agree...phone companies are definitely as bad as the mint. Maybe not 10x as bad, but bad just the same.

 
At March 19, 2010 at 9:12 PM , Anonymous Lafitte said...

the fillmore first spouse coin and medal set is the first in the series to use a photograph - in this case, fillmore himself

 
At March 20, 2010 at 10:33 PM , Anonymous Yakpoo said...

To the person that says they "think" the Mint melts unsold product, I "think" that, too. The problem is the Mint doesn't come out and say what they do.

The Mint creates the "impression" that's what they do, but there's nothing in the law that says they can't continue selling FS coins through their Bullion Dealer network until the series is complete
...that's what they do with the Presidential dollars and the law reads the same for both series.

I've always said that if the Mint was a private company, the Federal Trade Commision would shut them down!
I've called and written the Mint, but I get no response.

There are a lot of people making very expensive purchasing decisions based on the reported mintages, but the Mint won't come out and officially confirm those mintages
...which makes me think "something's up".

 

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