End of Satin Finish Officially Announced
In a brief press release, the United States Mint has officially announced the end of "satin finish" for uncirculated mint sets and other collector products. Starting in 2011, the "brilliant finish" will be reinstated.
The "satin finish" was created by sandblasting the faces of the dies and burnishing coin blanks before striking. The resulting coins have a frosted appearance that is distinguishable from regular business strikes.
From 2005 to 2010, the satin finish was used for all Mint Sets and certain collector products. From years 2004 and prior, the US Mint used a finish for Mint Sets that is not distinguished from circulation strike coins.
The major grading services PCGS and NGC differentiate the satin finish coins from business strikes. Generally, it is possible (although sometimes difficult) to find satin finish coins in high grades like MS69, whereas business strike coins for the same issue might top out at MS67. Accordingly, graded examples of satin finish coins and business strike coins are valued differently.
Back in a post from October, I had noted a CoinWorld article, which indicated that the US Mint would stop using the finish next year. For the article, the US Mint had cited efforts to extend die life and customer feedback as the reasons for the change. For the press release, the Mint stressed the more "aesthetically pleasing" appearance that will result from reverting to the old finish. Surface marks from coin handling systems will be less apparent with the brilliant finish.
This is a major development for some collectors of modern series, who may have been acquiring separate examples of the business strike coins and satin finish coins. For example, this year five different Jefferson Nickels would have been necessary to update a collection. This would include 2010-P business strike, 2010-D business strike, 2010-P satin finish, 2010-D satin finish, and 2010-S proof. For 2011, only three coins would be required, all of which will be readily available through US Mint products.
Will the end of satin finish cause an increase in demand or greater desirability for 2005-2010 Mint Sets? If the satin finish coins are considered separately from the business strikes, some low mintages emerge. For example, the 2008 Mint Set had last reported sales of less than 750,000, far below the mintages for business strikes and even proof coins. On the other hand, all satin finish coins were distributed directly to collectors and the lower mintages of "special mint set" coins issued from 1965-1967 aren't particularly noted.
Switching finishes seems to have implications for some US Mint products. For example, separate circulating coin and uncirculated coin sets for America the Beautiful Quarters are currently offered. Will one of these products be discontinued?
New Coin Update News Contributor
I am happy to announce that Louis Golino will be a new regular contributor for Coin Update News! His articles have previously appeared in Numismatic News, CoinWorld, and other publications.
His first article is on the ATB Silver Bullion Coins, which still have not been made available to collectors. A more formal introductory article will be published next week, which will outline the themes and areas of coverage for his column.
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Labels: US Mint