Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Monday, December 13, 2010

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.

CoinUpdate.com started out publishing a round up of coin collecting news from various sites around the internet. It has expanded to include original news coverage and articles on U.S. coins, world coins, and precious metals from a variety of authors, plus information about new and classic coin series.

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33 Comments:

At December 13, 2010 at 5:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too Sad! I got to really liking the satin finish uncircs.

 
At December 13, 2010 at 5:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay!!!

 
At December 13, 2010 at 5:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at them with 10x magnifying, uuggllyy! Glad they are leaving.

 
At December 13, 2010 at 5:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That finish ruined President Lincoln, his beard is a disgrace.

 
At December 13, 2010 at 6:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone no if this means there will be no more satin silver eagle

 
At December 13, 2010 at 6:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't actively collecting back when they made the change, but it sounds like this only applies to circulating coins (sets), so I would say it doesn't affect bullion issues like the eagles. Am I correct? That's the impression I get from the press release.

 
At December 13, 2010 at 6:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

1 dollar unc satin silver eagle . dont no

 
At December 13, 2010 at 6:55 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

"It will only be featured on uncirculated-quality one-cent, 5-cent, dime, quarter-dollar, half-dollar and dollar coins."

By dollar coins, I would assume they mean Presidential Dollars and Native American Dollars.

Commemorative silver dollars and Uncirculated Silver Eagles (if issued) would have the satin finish previously used.

 
At December 13, 2010 at 7:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

it states on us mint website, no more satin finish on unc sets and other products. what other products/

 
At December 13, 2010 at 7:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

only other products made by us mint were unc satin finish bullion, commemrative issues

 
At December 13, 2010 at 7:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now the mint needs to drop that micro-dot frosting they use on proofs and go back to the old sandblast frosting, it's much easier on the detail in the smaller diameter coins.

 
At December 13, 2010 at 7:23 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

The satin finish was used on other products like the Presidential $1 Coin & First Spouse Medal Set, Annual Uncirculated Dollar Set, Presidential $1 Coin Uncirculated Set, America the Beautiful Quarters Uncirculated Set.

 
At December 13, 2010 at 7:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

all of those would seem to fall under unc sets,not other products

 
At December 13, 2010 at 8:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds to me like the end of all satin finish coins made by the us mint

 
At December 13, 2010 at 8:19 PM , Blogger Lasloo said...

It was easier to find highly graded business strike coins before 2005 since all one had to do was extract those coins from a mint set (which had a greater chance of having higher grade coins). Thus, higher grade business-strike coins from 2005 to 2010 will and have been worth a lot more (than years when there were no satin finish coins). The introduction of satin finish coins in mint sets only made these business-strike coins more valuable (at higher grades). The end of the satin finish era won't in and of itself change this equation, but it will create two notable subsets within those years... a satin finish subset and a business strike subset... with the business strike subset, more than likely being worth more over time.

 
At December 13, 2010 at 8:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received my 2010 Proof Eagles and they have an unusual finish to their reliefs (its like a micro-dot) as compared to my 2008's clean crisp reliefs. was this the intended relief finsih for 2010? If so; I'm not very impressed :(

 
At December 13, 2010 at 8:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You said "From years 2004 and prior, the US Mint used a finish for Mint Sets that is not distinguished from circulation strike coins." that is because the coins were business strike coins, simply pulled from normal production and placed into sets. They were really no more likely to be of high grade than business strikes obtained from a local bank. As long as the mint returns to using regualr production business strikes for the uncirculated sets, everything will be fine. If they use special planchets, or dies, or presses then we will have real problems because such coins will naturally be of a higher average grade that true business strikes with no way to tell the two apart. That would be a great disservice to the numismatic community.

 
At December 14, 2010 at 9:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont assume anything when it comes to the us mint. to news blog

 
At December 14, 2010 at 10:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good. They are trying to end the madness and return to traditional values.

 
At December 14, 2010 at 11:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What will be interesting is the price for the regular mint set will change compared to the satin finish. Will the price actually go down for 2011 mint set? I know I'm dreaming but you got think it will be easier and cheaper to do.

 
At December 14, 2010 at 1:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ARE dreaming! The prices of these items NEVER go down, only up, up and UP!

 
At December 14, 2010 at 3:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sure the Redbook and TPG people are much happier. Less nonsense.

 
At December 14, 2010 at 3:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know I think I'm going to try to make my own 2011 P+D set. It has to be cheaper to do than $31.95 or higher. Even if I have to buy some from coin dealers.

 
At December 14, 2010 at 4:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The HSN guys called an end to the satin finish two years ago. Ummmm.

 
At December 15, 2010 at 11:02 AM , Anonymous Falcon said...

Only time will tell if there is a interest among the collectors for the satin finish coins. They were low production runs. Scarsity equals rare, over time a sudden spark of interest could make this subset very valuable. Or it could remain only another coin from that year.
I personaly like the satin finish, with it you could tell if it was a uncirculated or business strike coin. Without it how can I tell if it is uncirculated or not? The only way will be to keep them in thier mint wrappers. It looks like the mint will be slimming down by doing away from the coin cases. So far I have the unc ATB quarters in the plastic wrap which I don't like. I might as well get a hole punch and put the sets in a ring binder. Is this what the other sets will look like with the new packaging?

 
At December 15, 2010 at 11:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The satin Unc ATB quarter set is in a nice holder; boring, but nice. I love the satin finish; I think they're the nicest coins the mint makes. Magnification means nothing to me; all I know is they look nice to the naked eye. Proof coins look disappointing lately, ATB quarters obverse case in point. Well, I simply won't buy mint sets anymore. MS67 or MS65, it's irrelevant to me... I'm not going to pay for the same coins I can get by walking up to a teller window.

 
At December 15, 2010 at 1:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Satin...Satan...Too close for my tastes. Glad its gone.

 
At December 15, 2010 at 1:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 65-67 SMS mint sets were just ugly and had a mintage of 1.8-2.3M. They looked like crappy proofs that disappointed everyone back then. Unless, you got a nice cameo or deep cameo SMS. Those being worth hundreds in cameo and thousands in deep cameo. The modern SMS Satin finished sets are better looking than the BU strikes, are fairly attractive, and the mintages have been kept fairly low. I'm thinking that any modern SMS Satin finished coin in MS-68 or MS-69 is a keeper. Yet, glad to see the Mint drop it, since there are just far too many coins for the young PDSS collector to buy.

 
At December 15, 2010 at 1:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received a gold plated 2002 P Mississippi state quarter in my change yesterday. Thanks HSN for the free gold! Hope to see more in the future.

 
At December 15, 2010 at 2:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the mint really wanted to, they could have simply made a circulating mint set that includes all business strikes similar to what they did with the ATB quarters this year. They should have just done that from the start years ago. Everyone's happy.

 
At December 15, 2010 at 2:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine 12 P&D Satin Finished Kennedys (2005-2010) in MS-69. What a sweet desirable short set to have.

 
At December 16, 2010 at 10:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Imagine 12 P&D Satin Finished Kennedys (2005-2010) in MS-69. What a sweet desirable short set to have."

Boy did you ever hit the nail on the head. FWIW, since the "unofficial" rumor was first mentioned months ago, I have accumulated a healthy amount of these Satin Unc. sets in every year that I found offered at our local 4 regular coin shows. By most standards the mintages are really low by comparison, and as you so alertly pointed out, these make desireable and affordable short sets of all coins by denomiation woth a unique surface finish. Frankly, I think the closing out of these sets presents a solid investment for the future. As heads have been turned to the latest Mint offerings by distraction, the table prices for the 2005-2010 satin sets have drifted to the floor, and that's absurd. I think the hoopla of being ripped for crazy 5 oz bullion pieces have caused many to jetison sets of not as excitable coins for peanuts. I've been picking up prime sets from as low as $15.50 to 23.75 at the shows. Beyond making sense. LOL, I just love the smell of Napalm in the morning.

 
At December 18, 2010 at 12:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One benefit from the satin sets is that it is easy to tell the difference between bronze 2009 P and D cents and their zinc counterparts. All of the bronze 2009 P-D cents were satin finish, available only in mint sets. All of the zinc 2009 P-D cents were circulation strikes. The bronze cents are some of the lowest mintage Lincolns ever, so it's nice that they can be so easily identified.

 

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