Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Spouse Gold Coins - Last Reported Sales Figures


With this post, I wanted to summarize the last reported sales figures for each release of the First Spouse Gold Coin series. This now includes a total of fifteen different coins in proof and uncirculated versions. Eleven of the coins are no longer available for sale at the US Mint, and four coins remain currently available.

The US Mint has not yet provided sales figures for the recently released 2010 Gold Buffalo Proof Coin, which many readers have been waiting for. Additionally, the last available sales figures for the Letitia Tyler and Julia Tyler First Spouse coins remain unchanged from the prior week. For a while now, the US Mint has not been reporting final updated sales figures for products which had sales end during the weekly reporting period.

Until final audited mintage figures are reported, these figures will remain the best available numbers. I think the final numbers will probably be very close to these, if not lower. In the past, whenever final audited numbers have been released for collectible gold and silver coins, they have been a few percent lower than the last reported sales figures.

First Spouse Gold Coin Sales Figures

Proof Unc Total
Martha Washington 20,000 20,000 40,000
Abigail Adams 20,000 20,000 40,000
Jefferson's Liberty 20,000 20,000 40,000
Dolley Madison 18,355 12,541 30,896
Elizabeth Monroe 7,933 4,519 12,452
Louisa Adams 7,454 4,223 11,677
Jackson's Liberty 7,806 4,754 12,560
Van Buren's Liberty 7,515 4,334 11,849
Anna Harrison 6,250 3,537 9,787
Letitia Tyler 5,163 3,152 8,315
Julia Tyler 4,830 2,861 7,691
Sarah Polk 4,687 2,841 7,528
Margaret Taylor 3,851 2,294 6,145
Abigail Fillmore 4,292 2,365 6,657
Jane Pierce 1,579 855 2,434

Lines listed in italics are coins that remain available for sale.

The Julia Tyler coin sets a new (perhaps temporary) sales low for the series with 4,830 proofs and 2,861 uncirculated coins reported sold, for a combined total of 7,691. This is less than 20% of the maximum authorized mintage level of 40,000 coins. Starting with the 2010 releases the maximum mintage levels were decreased.

Julia Tyler First Spouse Coins were only available from the US Mint for roughly ten months, contributing to the lower sales. It seems likely that Sarah Polk sales will surpass the numbers at some point, although it will be less certain for the Margaret Taylor release.

The newly released Jane Pierce coins have set a low for initial sales figures. The coins went on sale June 3, 2010 and sold a combined 2,434 coins through June 6. The previously released Abigail Fillmore coins sold 2,881 during its debut sales period. Higher prices likely contributed to the decline, causing some buyers to take pause or drop out of the series. The Jane Pierce coins carried the highest initial prices for any release of the series at $779 for proof coins and $766 for uncirculated coins.

This week's full US Mint sales report, which also includes debut figures for the Yellowstone National Park Quarter products, is available at Coin Update News.

There has been a continual debate within reader comments about whether or not the extremely low mintages of the First Spouse Gold Coins will eventually translate into substantially higher secondary market values.

One side of the debate is that on a historical basis, commemorative or collectible US Mint coins which have been unpopular during their period of release and experienced low sales have later become desirable, low mintage rarities which sell at big premiums. Examples of this include the 1995-1996 Olympic Commemorative Coins or the 1997-W Uncirculated Jackie Robinson $5 Gold Coin.

The other side of the debate is that First Spouse Gold Coins are unpopular now and will always remain unpopular despite the low mintages. Even though there are very few coins available, this amount will be sufficient to satisfy the continued low demand. The coins will never attain the allure of other low mintage rarities because rather than a single low mintage issue amongst a broader series with higher mintages, nearly all coins of the series will have low mintages.

Personally, I continue to sit squarely in the first camp. I collect the series for a number of reasons, and the prospect of higher secondary market prices is one of them. So far the prices for low mintage issues that are no longer available for sale have crept higher in line or sometimes faster than the rise in the price of gold. In the future, hopefully prices will continue to move upwards gradually or perhaps there will be a spark or interest that creates a more dramatic move. I will continue to be patient and collect the series for the duration.

New Content on CoinUpdate.com

I wanted to take an opportunity to mention new content which will be appearing at CoinUpdate.com. Michael Alexander of the London Banknote and Monetary Research Centre will be contributing a series of interviews with various world mint leaders and others within the coin industry, as well as ongoing coverage of new coin releases from a selection of European Mints.

Michael Alexander's first article published today is an interview with someone well known to U.S. coin collectors and Mint News Blog readers.

Read the article: Interview with Edmund Moy, Director of the United States Mint

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27 Comments:

At June 9, 2010 at 12:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another thing to note about the Letitia and Julia Tyler PROOF coins is that they are the first two proofs in the series to have sales lower than the Uncirculated 1997 Jackie Robinson. Several Uncirculated First Spouse coins have already came in under that benchmark, but no Proofs until now.

It is extremely rare for Proof coin mintages to be this low. I'm with you, Michael. Such low mintages will eventually get the series the attention it needs and deserves. I'm glad sales are so low right now. It will make it all the better later on when buyers are trying to build a set of First Spouses!

 
At June 9, 2010 at 12:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

New audited mintages will reveal downward revisions for all off-sale spouses, some by the thousands, like the 2007 issues. But most of the 2008 are modestly lower... one notable exception being the Louisa Admas unc which goes from 4223 to the mid-3800's.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 1:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a spouse collector as I believe their designs are similar examples of what the mint commissions were complaining about only we are gonna get 80 varieties in proof and unc. However, people buy things for various reasons so who knows down the road they may catch fire. The exceptionally low mintages may be the spark to the fire for those who collect based on mintage numbers. Strange no sales figures for buffalo. Price could be damper and they want to wait until figures are respectable.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 1:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The First Spouse series is an enigma among numismatic offerings. They're not what you might call "bullion" coins due to the rather high numismatic premium charged by the Mint. Bullion AGEs offer much better "bullion" value.

First Spouse coins aren't really commemoratives, either. Commemoratives generally "commemorate" important dates in the lives of important people such as a births or deaths. First Spouse coins are issued on an arbitrary schedule to coincide with the release of the "circulating" Presidential dollars.
The First Spouse series seems to be more akin to theme coins...like those issued by the Franklin Mint.

With all that said...I still think this series will become a great collectible one day. There has never been a gold coin issued by the US Mint that hasn't eventually developed a devoted following.

The question is...when? I notice that most First Spouse collectors find that they either 1) can't keep up with the series (financially), or 2) would rather invest their money in the "key dates" of older, more collectible series.

Many First Spouse collectors are forced to focus on either Proofs (for looks) or Uncs (for mintage), but not both. Others have given up on the series altogether. The net result is a plentiful supply of past issues available at reasonable prices.

I suspect that trend will continue throughout the series. Once the series draws to a close and modern First Spouses are honored, prices "should" begin to slowly rise.

As you point out in the article, mintage is important, but price appreciation is largely dependent on the "Collector Base".

If the First Spouse series eventually becomes as popular as the Indian Head Eagle series, price gains could be dramatic. One thing's for certain...no more than 2861 people can possibly own a full set! Actually less than that because I'll have two (2) sets!

...one for me and one for MY First Spouse.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 1:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

isnt it ironic that the lesser known spouses are sold at higher prices than say the Martha Washingtons of the series. Probably, Jackie O will get most of the attention. Most of the spouses are not very well known. So it will take a few more years till we get to Jackie O.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 2:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

And in the meantime, if gold keeps rising, some of the First Spouse Uncirculateds between now and then might see mintages of less than 2,000 coins, possibly even 1,500 coins. A complete set of spouses will be very tough to build.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 2:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of speculation going on here. I am investing my money on more sound investments rather than speculative gold coins.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 2:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Define sound investments and I'll tell you if they are sound or not in todays new world.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 2:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, the gold coins can go down in value. However, since they are made of gold they will never be worthless, unlike the way paper investments can end up (Enron stock, anyone?)

Since they will always be worth SOMETHING, and the low-mintages will somewhat serve as protection against declines in the metal value, I prefer the First Spouses over paper investments when it comes to safety. That's just me though. To each his or her own.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 3:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My hat's off to the commenter above who is collecting two sets of the spouse coins. Is that two sets of proofs and two sets of unc?
Wow, that is a boatload of wampum you are dropping on those things. Anyone who has done well enough to drop that kind of coin on that kind of coin is doing well. Irregardless of what the spouse coins do gold is gold. Congratulations.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 3:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The shear scarcity of these coins will make them very desirable one day. I have been keeping one unc and one proof set going since day one. The prices are taking a toll but, "I do believe". Maybe I'll lose my shirt but I'm in for the long haul, all buying of high end older stuff has ceased. Thank goodness there is still all the new cheap stuff I can play with. One last thing, I really don't think the spouse coins look that bad, they certainly look better than the presidential dollars, many of them are quite nice. The back of the Jackson and Julia Tyler coins I think are exceptional.

The fact that the first issues sold out in hours showed the interest was there. The mint just botched the delivery to the masses in an unbelievable fashion. Once many missed out there was no way they could, or would pay those ridiculous prices. The continued increase in gold is taking a major toll on these coins as well. I see many dropping out but not many coming in for quite awhile. This will be a truly unique collectible.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 4:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was buying TWO sets of both Proof and Uncirculated Spouse coins, but had to cease one of the Proof sets after the 2008's due to the rising cost. I still have the other Proof set and two Uncirculated sets complete through Abigail Fillmore, and plan to order Jane Pierce this week.

Unfortunately, the demand for the first three 2007 coins was artificial. The group of buyers that Dave Harper at Numismatic News refers to as the "eBay Posse" (those who aren't really interested in the coins, but rather see an opportunity to make a fast buck selling online) was responsible for those quick sellouts. However, after getting burned with low profits on the Jefferson and even some minor losses on the Madison coins, the posse bailed out and left us with only the group of buyers who were actually interested in collecting the coins from Elizabeth Monroe onward. Now, even THAT group is shrinking, most likely due to rising costs. When it comes to choosing between necessities and hobbies, necessities tends to win out (most of the time, anyway.)

I still have faith in this series, and plan to continue buying the three sets I have going as long as I can. I still have the extra Proof coins from 2007-2008 that I will sell eventually, and that DOES include the proof Jackson and Van Buren Liberty coins that currently bring almost double what I paid for them way back then. I'm just wondering if I should sell them now, or wait until later on when they might bring even more. I know the operative word there is MIGHT, however. Sometimes waiting for more later gets you burned and you end up taking less. I think these will be different though.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 10:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life is sometimes like eating a jalepeno pepper. What you do today will burn your bung hole tomorrow. But if possible I would keep the liberty series spouse coins and sell something else like one of your kids if you have any extra. Or make your wife or girlfriend get two or three jobs and give you the money.

 
At June 9, 2010 at 10:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think where the mint made their mistake was not in doing one unified theme on the reverse. Too many spouses holding books, and not enough history in the designs.

The mint could have tried to have each spouse shown using a new technology for example no matter how simple it is. Then at the end of the series one could look back at all the coins and not only see the spouses but a history of our changing technology. Things like cars, airplanes, electricity, radio, photographs, etc,

I do think the mint has done this idea with the obverse in having the spouses shown with changing fashion like the different hats and hairstyles, so they get credit for that. Had they done the same thing on the reverse in the end people would have marveled at how far our country has come.

 
At June 10, 2010 at 5:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am doing one PF set of the Spouse Series. I also have snapped up duplicate coins that I liked (Jefferson, Jackson, Van Buren). If their prices ever go up enough, I may use them to fund newer spouse coins (when Mint prices get completely ridiculous as they are getting now). At some point (it may be 50 years out) they will go up and my heirs will be able to talk about how smart I was buying them. :-)

 
At June 10, 2010 at 7:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Starting to sound like if the collectors of FS coins only collected one coin or one of each variety the final mintage's would be half what they are. That would make them even rarer...

Buying extra for greed alone only increases the final mintage's, why do that?

 
At June 10, 2010 at 7:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry, the mintages are still small enough that it won't really matter. Besides, we deserve something for our perseverance. We want to be able to capitalize on the value without having to give up our own set. Hence, we have to buy two.

 
At June 10, 2010 at 8:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I planned to buy the whole series from the beginning, but having been unable to buy the first ones, I never bought any. Bought older proof eagle sets that I was missing instead and those have done well.

Anyone know for sure why the big premium on those with papers and boxes? I was told because they can go into IRAs, but can't all eagles go into IRAs?

Hey, where's that guy who's always laughing about gold crashing these days?!!!

 
At June 10, 2010 at 8:33 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's probably out secretly buying some gold himself.

 
At June 10, 2010 at 8:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone here ordered any of the dollar coins through the "Direct Ship Program" lately? I just placed an order for 4 more boxes of the 2007 Presidential designs, but quickly cancelled it after I went to my credit card site and saw that the pending authorization appeared as "OFC DOLLAR COIN". Fearing cash advance charges and interest, I decided to cancel.

I was just curious if anyone had ordered any lately and had encountered cash advance problems. I don't need any cash advanced, and I don't intend to pay fees and interest to help the Mint circulate dollar coins!

 
At June 10, 2010 at 10:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who scoff at the First Spouse coins' future value potential: Someone just paid $1,199.99 for a sealed Julia Tyler Uncirculated coin on eBay. That amounts to $429.04 more than what it could have been purchased from the Mint for (including s/h) just days ago. It wasn't even "First Strike" eligible, either.

See, the low-mintage DOES mean something once the secondary market is your only option!

 
At June 10, 2010 at 11:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re above comment. Not trying to rain on a parade but there are lotsa folks who have no idea stuff can be ordered directly from the mint. Compared to tv shopping the ebay buyer probably thought they stole it. But anyway good luck to all you FS devotees. You are a dedicated bunch and it may pay off.

 
At June 10, 2010 at 2:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buying two has nothing to do with greed. I am hopeful though. If I ever have to, I can sell one and have one left. I pretty much have two of everything recent because I have two kids. That fact makes it a little harder to give up on one, even though my budget would look better if I did.

 
At June 12, 2010 at 10:39 PM , Anonymous Coop said...

While I like to make a buck off my purchases as much as the next guy, I also want to enjoy them while I have them ... which sometimes means passing up things that I don't really like, even if they will likely appreciate in the future. In other words, I only buy things I like. In the case of the First Spouse series, that means passing on 99% of the issues (I am buying the Liberty sub-series in proof and unc, and perhaps some others with the potential to appreciate and are interesting, like that crazy Mary Todd Lincoln). I also passed on last year's proof plat ounce, though will likely buy this year's issue, if the design I think will be approved, is.

I think the folks who get the whole series will probably do pretty well eventually, it's just that I don't want to feel like I have to buy something I don't like, just to keep a series going.

 
At June 13, 2010 at 7:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone received their Jane Pierce coins, yet? I received mine and both of the Uncs looked like someone cleaned them with a Brillo pad!

But then I examined them closer and see that the marks on both are EXACTLY the same...and the marks are raised above the surface; not dug into the surface.

That would indicate the die itself was damaged. I don't see the Mint chaning dies for such a small mintage so that would mean that everyone received these hideous looking coins.

I would be interested to hear the accounts of others...please post.

 
At June 13, 2010 at 8:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't ordered Jane Pierce yet, sorry.

The Mint will have to change the die at some point, and maybe it will be sooner than later if complaints of damaged coins and returns start pouring in.

Now I'm afraid to order mine until I know more about this.

 
At June 16, 2010 at 10:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone worry about how ugly these coins are?

 

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