Mint News Blog

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Legislation Allows Proof Silver Eagles, Changes America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins


Legislation was recently introduced which finally seeks to address the legal hurdle for the production of Proof Silver Eagles and technical stumbling blocks for the 5 oz. America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins.

The bill known as H.R. 6162 Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act of 2010 was introduced by Rep. Melvin Watt on September 22, 2010. The bill primarily addresses the issue of the composition of circulating U.S. coins by authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury to conduct research and development necessary to make recommendations to Congress related to coin composition. You can read more details on this aspect of the bill on Coin Update News.

The portion of the bill which would allow the production of collectible American Gold and Silver Eagles seeks to adjust the language of current law. Rather than the US Mint being required to produce the coins in "quantities sufficient to meet public demand", they would be required to produce the coins in "qualities and quantities that the Secretary determines are sufficient to meet public demand'.

Presumably this would mean that in times when public demand for bullion coins exceeds precious metals blank supplies, the Secretary of the Treasury could determine the proper quantities of bullion coins, collectible uncirculated coins, and proof coins that should be produced. Under the US Mint's interpretation of the current law, they allocate all precious metals blanks to the production of bullion coins at times when bullion demand exceeds precious metals blank supply.

The introduction of the bill seems a bit late. At the House subcommittee meeting in July when such legislative changes were discussed, Director Moy mentioned that a change in law would need to be enacted "soon" and provided a production time line for 2010 Proof Silver Eagles beginning in September. Subsequent to the hearing, the Silver Eagle bullion coin rationing program was ended, suggesting some slack in the blank supply that could possibly be used to strike proof coins. Meanwhile, the release of 2010 Proof Gold Eagles has already been confirmed with a release date of October 7, 2010. Nonetheless, if the bill is enacted, the changes in law would ensure continuity for collectors in future years.

The portion of the bill dealing with the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins would change the design requirement from "exact duplicates" to "likenesses" of the quarter dollar designs. The required diameter would be changed from "3.0 inches" to a diameter "determined by the Secretary that is no less than 2.5 inches and no greater than 3.0 inches". Finally, the requirement for incuse edge lettering indicating the weight and fineness of the coin would be removed.

The changes allowed by the bill may already be irrelevant. Although the US Mint did encounter numerous problems with the over sized bullion coins earlier this year, they must have managed to overcome the issues. According to a story from Numismatic News, production of the coins is already underway. If the coins are currently being produced they would have to comply with the existing law.
Coin Update News: Latest US Mint Sales Report Available

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20 Comments:

At September 28, 2010 at 3:54 PM , Anonymous vaughnster said...

What a mess.......

 
At September 28, 2010 at 3:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question: Could this mean there will be variations of the 5 oz silver coins? Some with edge lettering / some without, some 3 inches, some less than 3 inches? If there are multiple runs of these coins produced this year or if they make changes to next year's coins, I wonder what that will do to values in the after market?

 
At September 28, 2010 at 4:36 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

If the bill becomes law, it seems that it would be possible.

I think the Mint would opt to keep the specifications the same within each year, but maybe or maybe not for future years.

I could see them changing the diameter in future years, especially if the coins are "bendable by hand" at the 3 inch diameter.

 
At September 28, 2010 at 5:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Are we getting our '10 ASEs?

 
At September 28, 2010 at 6:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coin composition bill? Hmmmmm. Is that where they change the composition of the circulation coins to tin plated plastic or plastic plated tin?

 
At September 28, 2010 at 7:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya know, sometimes I'm so mad at Mr. Moy, other times I don't know how anyone could possibly run anything with Washington Politicians having a voice in it. Can their possibly be any question as to why this country is in such a mess.

 
At September 28, 2010 at 8:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Moy had any brains or leadership qualities, he would STOP the usual responses: "I must do what's legislated", "I can't offer conflicting solutions to correct logjams", and a host of other mealy mouthed pronouncements.

The 2009 ASE dies are still sitting at the Mint. If Moy were to suggest that a "special bi-year" set offering could be made to rectify the abortion of the missing 2009 ASE suspension fiasco, he might still earn a minor footnote in the US Mint History Book before he drifts away into disgrace and oblivion. Imagine, a 2009 & 2010 ASE, in a 2 coin set, and simply the double price of the regular single cost.

A no brainer, and the imblicks who supposedly direct his "work plan" would get kudo's from the screwed numismatic public. Am I dreaming? ~ Grandpa

 
At September 28, 2010 at 8:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

They just want to get rid of our nickels, which are the closest thing to real money (circulation wise).

 
At September 28, 2010 at 9:08 PM , Anonymous VABEACHBUM said...

For Anon at 5:00 PM - As it stands right now, no collectible ASE's.

In reality, the Mint's silver bullion rationing and buyer allocation program ended 3 weeks ago. At that time, Mr. Moy had the lattitude to make a business decision. He didn't then; still hasn't.

He appears to be deferring, what clearly should be a "big boy pants" management decision, to the pending legislation. Given the timeframes, I fear this legislation will not be ratified prior to the Congressional election break. And, when they do return from the break, the focus most likely will be the FY-11 Authorization Act (Budget) - probably dragging through several continuing resolutions and into the Holidays.

Keep in mind the wording of this legislation does little more than authorize the Director to use more "discretion" in making business / marketing decisions. Does not mean that they must... or will. That would require some fore-sight and intestinal fortitude!!!

 
At September 28, 2010 at 10:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least we'll still get a proof silver eagle either way (Daniel Carr's overstruck eagles are great).

I somewhat doubt this will pass with us being this late in the year now. 2010 proof silver eagles from the mint are highly unlikely. At least we'll be getting gold eagle proofs...

 
At September 29, 2010 at 4:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to keep the Nicks and bring back copper Pennies.

 
At September 29, 2010 at 8:38 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any legal mind can see right off that "qualities" means degraded low level or mixed compositions.
Beer can ASE'S.

 
At September 29, 2010 at 8:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put a donkey on the reverse and they can be ASS's instead of ASE's

 
At September 29, 2010 at 8:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hee hee!

 
At September 29, 2010 at 9:09 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This ASE proof coin legislation is a fart in the wind. Its blowing all over and causing a stink but unlikely to coalesce into anything solid. They are sticking a hot fudge sundae in our face only to jerk it away as we try to take a bite.

 
At September 29, 2010 at 2:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me or has Washington gone bald on the ATB quarters?!? Every coin that I have seen in circulation and even the coins in my proof sets Washington is bald!! There is absolutely no detail in his hair. I wonder if the 3"-ers will be the same. Has anyone else noticed this or did I just get crappy proof sets??

As for the ASE's, I'm almost ready to say forget it and start collecting Maples or Britinias. It is really disappointing. I really love the design and it was the one eagle I could afford to buy from the mint every year. I get the "look" when I talk about spending 1000++ on a coin.

Thanks for the great info Michael.

- Kirk

 
At September 29, 2010 at 3:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contact your Senators and House members. Some do listen and are trying to resolve this ongoing FIASCO.

 
At September 29, 2010 at 4:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Moy didn't like the return rate on the uncirculated version of the ASE and so that's a reason that he shies away from running them. I own several and all have the speckle (show through) with the satin finish. It is a complex design and possibly hard to pull off with that satin mask.
However, if that is a reason he probably wouldn't admit to it.

Jim L.

 
At September 29, 2010 at 6:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it didn't pass today then the next chance will be in November. What are the chances a lame duck Congress will pass this in time for 2010 ASEs?

 
At September 30, 2010 at 7:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like it's been referred to committee and will be stuck in legislative limbo...

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:H.R.6162:

 

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