Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Silver Eagle Bullion Sales Break Records

While collectors have recently focused on the collectible proof version of the coin, the American Silver Eagle bullion coins have been breaking records.

The annual sales total for the one ounce silver bullion coins has now reached 32,790,500 based on the latest figures posted on the US Mint's website. With another month of sales left to go, this will beat the previous record sales of 28,766,500 reached in 2009 by a comfortable margin.

This will be the third year in a row that a new annual record sales total has been set. The sales for 2008 had reached 19,583,500, which at the time beat the previous high of 10,475,500 set in 2002.

1986-2010 Silver Eagle Bullion Coin Sales
1986 5,096,000
1987 9,420,000
1988 5,869,000
1989 6,166,000
1990 7,247,000
1991 6,952,000
1992 5,544,000
1993 5,890,000
1994 5,540,500
1995 4,590,000
1996 3,466,000
1997 3,636,000
1998 4,320,000
1999 9,008,500
2000 9,133,000
2001 8,827,500
2002 10,475,500
2003 9,153,500
2004 9,617,000
2005 8,405,000
2006 10,021,000
2007 9,887,000
2008 19,583,500
2009 28,766,500
2010 32,790,500*
*through November 30, 2010

The Silver Eagles sales total for November 2010 will set a record for the highest monthly sales at 4,160,000 ounces. This breaks the previous high of 3,696,000 set all the way back in December 1986.

This monthly sales for November 2010 actually exceed the total annual sales for two years of the program. In 1996 and 1997, sales had reached only 3,466,000 and 3,636,000, respectively.

Silver Eagle 2010 Monthly Sales
January 3,592,500
February 2,050,000
March 3,381,000
April 2,507,500
May 3,636,500
June 3,001,000
July 2,981,000
August 2,451,000
September 1,880,000
October 3,150,000
November 4,160,000
December -
Total 32,790,500

To the US Mint's credit, the recent surge in silver bullion sales has not yet resulted in a suspension or reimplementation of the allocation program (a.k.a.) rationing. American Silver Eagle bullion coins were last subject to allocation at the authorized purchaser level from December 2009 to mid-September 2010.


Friday, November 26, 2010

2011 Native American Dollar

Today, the United States Mint announced the reverse design selection for the upcoming 2011 Native American Dollar.

The design depicts the hands of Supreme Sachem Ousamequin Massasoit and Governor John Carver exchanging the ceremonial peace pipe after the initiation of the first formal written peace alliance between the Wampanoag tribe and the settlers at Plymouth Bay. The reverse was designed by Richard Masters and sculpted by Joseph Menna.

The obverse of the coin will continue to feature the portrait of Sacagawea and child, designed by Glenna Goodacre.

Under the authorizing legislation for the series, the final design selection is made by the United States Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Committee on Indian Affairs of the Senate, the Congressional Native American Caucus of the House of Representatives, Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), the National Congress of American Indians, and review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC).

Both the CFA and CCAC had recommended the selected design, out of the six design candidates originally prepared by the US Mint. The design featuring hands exchanging a peace pipe is more symbolic and less literal than the other design candidates. This is a direction that has been urged by the CCAC in their earlier critiques on the quality of the US Mint's coin designs.

It is worth noting that the CFA had recommended studying the text and placement of the "$1" inscription on the selected design, noting that it "may convey an inappropriately commercial association with the coin's theme of diplomacy." The US Mint did not make any modification to the design from the original presented.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Proof Silver Eagle Orders Deleted

What could have been an opportunity for the US Mint to win back their customer's favor and earn some much needed goodwill is turning into another disaster. Approximately 2,200 orders placed for the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle have been deleted in error.

The deleted orders were placed between Friday, November 19 at 12:00 Noon ET and Sunday, November 21 at 7:30 PM ET. In addition to the 2,200 orders deleted for Proof Silver Eagles, another 500 orders for other products may have been deleted.

The US Mint has been contacting the 2,700 customers who have been affected and asking them to resubmit their orders by phone. The resubmitted orders will receive priority processing and free expedited shipping.

According to a statement provided by the Mint, orders placed after November 21 at 7:30 PM are believed to have been processed correctly, and no telephone orders placed during the entire period were impacted. The orders were deleted because the computer system had become overloaded from a high volume of orders.

Earlier this week, I suggested that the opening sales figures provided by the Mint may have been understated. The latest news explains at least part of the discrepancy.

The constant problems with one of the US Mint's most high profile offerings have certainly been testing the patience of collectors.

Initially, the problems were due to the lack of sufficient silver planchet supplies to satisfy both bullion and collector coin demand. This resulted in the early conclusion of sales for the 2008 Proof Silver Eagle, the cancellation of the 2009 release, amidst sporadic suspensions and rationing of the bullion coins. More recently, the problems have involved communications and order processing for the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle with 100,000 email notifications sent in error and 2,700 orders deleted in error.

Beyond the Proof Silver Eagle, there have been several other areas of dissatisfaction. Product prices were increased virtually across the board this year, even for annual sets which saw the number of coins reduced. America the Beautiful Quarters have been extremely difficult to collect from circulation, and production has been restarted for issues with previously low mintages. The creation of "new products" has simply involved remixing previously available coins and pricing them at a higher mark up. And, there is still no information on the release of the America the Beautiful Silver bullion coins.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Circulating and Uncirculated Coin Sets

The two remaining "new" product types for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program were recently released by the United States Mint.

The circulating coin set was released last week on November 19, and the uncirculated coin set was released November 23. These two products, along with the Hot Springs Three Coin Set released on November 17, comprise the three new products that the US Mint has been touting since May.

As discussed in earlier posts, these products seem to contain various America the Beautiful Quarters that are available through other products, such as bags and rolls or the annual sets. The coins are remixed into different sets, with packaging designs representing the US Mint's new brand promise and identity.

The 2010 America the Beautiful Circulating Coin Set contains one "circulating" coin each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mint for each of the five quarter designs released this year. The ten coins are placed into packaging, which allows the quarters to be easily removed for placement into other albums or boards. Sets are priced at $9.95 each.

Released today, the 2010 America the Beautiful Uncirculated Coin Set contains one "uncirculated" coin each from the Philadelphia and Denver mints for the five 2010 quarters. In the past, the US Mint has used the term "uncirculated" to refer to the satin finish used for Mint Sets from 2005 to 2010. The ten uncirculated coins are placed into a folder designed with the new branding. These sets are priced at $21.95 each.

The release of these product types reminds of late 2007 and early 2008, when the US Mint rapidly launched a slew of new products for the Presidential Dollars series. This included separate uncirculated coin sets from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints ($8.95 each), a combined uncirculated coin set from both mints ($15.95), individual proof coins mounted on pocket sized cards ($5.95 each), Presidential $1 Coin & First Spouse Medal Sets (originally $7.95 each), Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Sets (originally $31.95 each), and Historical Signature Sets ($19.95).

Ultimately, the individual mint uncirculated coin sets, individual proof coins, and historical signature sets were discontinued, and the annual uncirculated dollar set has been canceled for two years running. Only the combined uncirculated coin set and the Presidential $1 Coin & First Spouse Medal Sets remain. The US Mint also eliminated the 250-coin bags that were initially available for each Presidential Dollar.

Will there be a similar whittling down of America the Beautiful Quarters products if the present releases fail to resonate with collectors?
New Coingrader Capsule: PCGS Makes the Grade


Monday, November 22, 2010

Proof Silver Eagle Opening Sales Figures

Opening sales figures are available for the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle through the US Mint's latest numismatic sales report. According to the numbers provided by the US Mint, through November 21 sales have reached 273,212.

As stated in the sales report, this represents a relatively underwhelming start for the long awaited offering. Based on irregularities with some of the other numbers in this week's report, I think it is possible that the figures for the proof Silver Eagle have been under-reported.

For some points of comparison, this year's silver commemorative coins debuted with sales of 214,673 for the Boy Scouts coins and 98,358 for the American Veterans Disabled for Life coins. The last proof Silver Eagle issued in 2008, debuted with sales figures of 185,232. These coins were released under normal circumstances before the price of silver began its ascent, bullion sales surged, and collector coins were interrupted.

The 2010 Proof Silver Eagle figures top each of these amounts, but not as dramatically as seen for the 2010 Proof Gold Eagles. Opening sales figures for the gold coins came in 300% to 500% above the corresponding levels for the 2008 releases, for each product option. There was every reason to expect the Silver Eagles to experience a similar surge in orders for the opening.

Of course it is possible that the higher pricing, frustration over the incorrect email notifications, and curtailed speculative buying may have kept sales from running too high, but there are other numbers in the sales report that seem suspect.

The Mount Hood National Forest Quarter bags and rolls figures are down about two-thirds from the corresponding numbers for the other releases of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The table below shows the opening sales figures for each release so far.

P 100 Bag D 100 Bag Two Roll Set
Hot Springs 5,268 4,915 25,983
Yellowstone 4,447 4,392 23,273
Yosemite 4,275 4,187 23,416
Grand Canyon 4,015 3,900 23,172
Mount Hood 1,543 1,465 7,495

The 100,000 email notifications that were incorrectly sent last week were "primarily for Mount Hood quarters bags and rolls and the 2010 American Eagle Silver Proof Coin." Both of these products have reported sales figures much lower than expected. I suspect that somehow subscription orders were not reflected in the weekly sales report. I will provide any updates as I receive them.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

2010 Proof American Silver Eagle

Sales of the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle will begin tomorrow, November 19, 2010 at 12:00 Noon ET. Recent events have added even more drama to what was already the United States Mint's most anticipated product of the year.
Proof Silver Eagles represent a collectible version of the one ounce silver bullion coin from the US Mint. The proof coins have been sold directly to the public each year from 1986 to 2008. Last year, increased demand for bullion coins and the limited silver planchets available from foreign suppliers resulted in the cancellation of the popular offering, to the dismay of many collectors. This year the offering was confirmed on October 4, 2010, resuming the series after a one year gap.

A little over a month ago, the US Mint began sales of Proof Gold Eagles, which had also been canceled in the previous year. Sales levels have been higher than normal due to pent up demand and increased interest from precious metals investors. The one ounce version of the coin has already sold out. The four coin set, which represents the next most popular option, has sold 22,657 units, which is already 10,000 above the 2008 sales level.

The 2010 Proof Silver Eagle should likewise experience a surge in interest compared to prior years. The US Mint has stood by their pricing of $45.95 per coin and household order limit of 100, which were established when the market price of silver was lower.

Earlier this week collectors who had placed subscription orders for the coins received an unpleasant surprise when an email notification from the US Mint indicated that the coins were sold out and the subscription order canceled. This email impacted about 100,000 customers who had predominantly ordered the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle through the subscription program. The emails had been sent in error and were reinstated over the weekend, with an apology issued by the US Mint.

Meanwhile, the demand for Silver Eagle bullion coins has been at record levels. For the year to date, sales have reached 31,805,500, representing a new record annual high. The current monthly sales total also seems poised to break a record. For the month to date, sales have already reached 3,1750,000. If the current pace continues, a new monthly sales record will be achieved by a wide margin. The current record for monthly sales is 3,636,500, set in May 2010.

The surge in bullion demand could serve to prevent the further production of 2010 Proof Silver Eagles, if the US Mint had been planning on striking more through year end. There has been no indication of how many of the coins have already been struck or will be available. Since the US Mint has stood by their household limit of 100, there is likely a significant quantity already available, but will it be enough?

As an additional consideration, the US Mint has still not provided any information on the series of America the Beautiful 5 ounce Silver Bullion Coins. By law these coins can only be sold during the same year of issue as the corresponding quarter, giving the US Mint an increasingly small window of opportunity to issue the coins. Production reportedly started back in September 2010, but no updates have been provided since then.

Finally, the same old problem of the US Mint's slow/crashing website will almost certainly be an issue tomorrow. One would think they would have managed to fix this problem by now, but instead they have provided this message on the product page.
We anticipate unusually high demand for the American Eagle Silver Proof Coins. Because of the high number of customers that we expect to be placing orders during the first few hours of sales, you may experience delays when attempting to order online or through the call center during this period. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your patience.
Tomorrow should be an interesting day indeed. For those placing orders at the start of sales tomorrow, here is a direct link to the US Mint's product page.


Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollar Rolls

The US Mint will begin sales of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollar numismatic rolls today November 18, 2010 at 12:00 Noon ET. Featuring one of the most well known Presidents, the current release should attract more attention than this year's earlier releases.
The obverse of the Abraham Lincoln Dollar features his portrait as designed and sculpted by Don Everhart. Surrounding inscriptions indicate "Abraham Lincoln", "In God We Trust", "16th President", and "1861-1865". The reverse of the coin, also designed and sculpted by Everhart, features an image of the Statue of Liberty common to all issues of the series. Inscriptions include "United States of America" and the denomination "$1". The edge of the coin includes the motto "E Pluribus Unum", the date, and the mint mark.

The US Mint is offering 25-coin rolls of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollar from either the Philadelphia or Denver mint. Coins are packaged in specially designed wrappers featuring the US Mint logo, President's name, mint of origin, and face value of the contents. Each roll is priced at $35.95 plus shipping and handling.

Numismatic products featuring Lincoln have typically been strong sellers for the US Mint. Last year, the 2009 Abraham Lincoln Commemorative Silver Dollars and Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set were quick sell outs. The 2009 "Birthplace" Lincoln Cent Two Rolls Set was an unexpected quick sell out, despite the high premium to face value.

This year's Lincoln products include the following:

2010 "Preservation of the Union" Lincoln Cent Two Roll Set
2010 Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollar Rolls
2010 Mary Todd Lincoln First Spouse Gold Coins
2010 Mary Todd Lincoln First Spouse Bronze Medal
2010 Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin & First Spouse Medal Set
2010 Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin Cover

Of these products, only two will contain stated product limits, while the remaining products are unspecified or open ended. The Mary Todd Lincoln First Spouse Gold Coins have a limit of 20,000 across both options. The 2010 Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin Cover would also have a limit, although it has not been specified yet. Other releases of the series for this year have been limited to 32,000 units.

Tomorrow, November 19, 2010 at 10:00 AM ET, the official launch ceremony for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollar will be held. This will coincide with the 147th anniversary of the delivery of the Gettysburg Address. The ceremony will take place at President Lincoln's cottage on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hot Springs Natoinal Park Quarters Three Coin Set

Later today, the United States Mint will begin sales of the 2010 Hot Springs National Park Quarters Three Coin Set. This will be one of three new product types introduced for the series this month.

Each set contains one uncirculated quarter each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, along with a proof quarter from the San Francisco Mint. The three coins are mounted on a plastic card containing a description of the site and coin, along with a certificate of authenticity. Each set is priced at $13.95.

The price of the set is rather steep. To purchase all five releases of this product for the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters, it would cost $69.75 not including shipping and handling. All fifteen coins included in these sets could alternately be purchased as part of the 2010 Proof Set and 2010 Mint Set at a combined cost of $63.90. Besides the 15 quarters, these sets would also include 15 dollar coins, 3 half dollars, 3 dimes, 3 nickels, and 3 cents.

It might be possible for the America the Beautiful Quarters Three Coin Sets to one day sell at a premium if sales are so restrained that the sets gain attention for having a low production run. Also, if sales are so slow that the US Mint discontinues the product line midstream, the sets may also have the potential to appreciate. This would be similar to the short lived Presidential Dollar Historical Signature Sets.

It will be interesting to see the level of collector interest in this product in next week's sales report.
Coin Update News: New US Mint Sales Report


Monday, November 15, 2010

Mount Hood National Park Quarter Bags and Rolls

The United States Mint begins sales of the Mount Hood National Forest Quarter bags and rolls today November 15, 2010 at 12:00 Noon ET. This coin represents the final release of the year for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

Looking back over the program so far, the most predominant sentiment has been frustration over the inability to collect the coins through the channels of circulation. Within national publications, one of the few mentions of the series (besides the initial launch) was in this USA Today article lamenting the fact that the quarters are so hard to find. The article attributes this to the slow economy, but I think the bigger factor is that financial institutions do not have the ability to special order the coins in unmixed quantities.

In one of my own articles on Coin Update, I explained this in further detail along with a list of where to find National Park Quarters.

As covered in the past, the US Mint has created the circulating coin bulk purchase program, perhaps as an attempt to solve the distribution problem. However, because of the $50,000 face value minimum purchase, this program would really only serve to let mass marketers or large scale coin dealers to obtain the coins at low premiums. Average collectors are left with the higher premium numismatic bags and rolls program, which leads us to the current product release.

The 2010 Mount Hood National Park Quarter two roll sets consists of one 40-coin roll from the Philadelphia Mint and one 40-coin roll from the Denver Mint. Coins are packaged in specially designed wrappers which indicate the national site, state abbreviation, mint mark and face value. Each two roll set is priced at $32.95.

Bags containing 100-coins are also available from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mint. Tags denote the date, national site, state abbreviation and face value of the contents. Each bag is priced at $35.95 each.

As with prior offerings, the bags and rolls are intended to remain available for sale from the US Mint for one year following the circulation release date.

Preliminary production figures for the Mount Hood Quarter have not yet been specified by the US Mint. However, the number of coins struck so far can be determined by backing out the known production figures by design from overall quarter production within the latest US Mint coin production figures. As of October 31, 2010, the US Mint had struck 34.4 million coins each at the Philadelphia and Denver mint facilities, for a combined total of 68.8 million. The current total is right around the average production level for the first four designs in the series.

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Friday, November 12, 2010

US Mint Statement on 2010 Proof Silver Eagle Cancellation Email

Yesterday, many readers reported receiving an email notification from the United States Mint indicating that the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle was "sold out." Anyone checking the status of their subscription order found that it had been changed to "canceled." This was particularly distressing since the product has not even been released yet.

Calls to the US Mint's customer service phone number indicated that the email notification was sent in error, and that orders would be reinstated. Late in the evening, a second email notification was sent to impacted customers confirming the same.

This article on Coin Update News includes the wording from both emails, as well as some information about the volume of distressed customers that called the US Mint yesterday.

Just now, the US Mint has released the following statement regarding yesterday's situation:
On November 10, 2010, email notifications were sent out to United States Mint customers notifying them that some backordered and subscription items were canceled. Approximately 100,000 orders were impacted, primarily for Mount Hood quarters bags and rolls and the 2010 American Eagle Silver Proof Coin. We are in the process of reinstating these orders and expect corrections to be completed by noon on Saturday, November 13, 2010. All impacted customers have been notified that the original cancellation was in error. The United States Mint is looking into the cause of this error and deeply regrets any inconvenience it has caused.
Let's hope things go more smoothly when the product officially goes on sale November 19, 2010 at 12:00 Noon ET.


US Mint Coin Production October 2010

The United States Mint has updated circulating coin production figures to reflect coins struck during October 2010. There were a total of 730.22 million coins produced at the Philadelphia and Denver Mint facilities across five denominations.

The figures for the latest month break a three month losing streak, which followed this year's peak production of more than 900 million coins in June.

The table below presents the breakdown of circulating coins produced in the latest month by denomination and mint. The first column shows the number of coins produced in October, while the second column shows the total for the year to date.
2010 US Mint Coin Production Figures

October 2010 YTD 2010
Lincoln Cent - Denver 242.80 M 1,805.60 M
Lincoln Cent - Phil. 181.20 M 1,803.63 M
Jefferson Nickel - Denver 44.88 M 192.24 M
Jefferson Nickel - Phil. 39.12 M 222.00 M
Roosevelt Dime - Denver 86.00 M 495.50 M
Roosevelt Dime - Phil. 49.5 M 495.50 M
Quarters - Denver 34.40 M 173.40 M
Quarters - Phil. 34.40 M 173.60 M
Kennedy Half - Denver 0 1.70 M
Kennedy Half - Phil. 0 1.80 M
Native Am Dollar - Denver 0 42.98 M
Native Am Dollar - Phil. 0 32.06 M
Pres Dollar - Denver 8.82 M 159.88 M
Pres Dollar - Phil. 9.10 M 161.56 M

Total 730.22 M 5,761.45 M

As usual, the heaviest production took place for the one cent coin at 424 million. This accounted for more than 50% of overall production. Production of the Lincoln Cent for the year to date is now more than one billion higher than last year's combined production across the four different 2009 Lincoln Cent designs.

The US Mint continues to strike nickels and dimes in quantity, with the monthly and year to date production for each denomination outnumbering the figures for the quarter. This is somewhat surprising since in modern times, the quarter is considered the workhorse coin in commerce.

The lower production for the past two years has been attributed to the high production during the years of the State Quarters Program. With the series concluded some previously collected coins have been returning to the channels of circulation, reducing the need for newly produced coins.

No updates have been made to the circulating coin production figures for the Presidential Dollars and America the Beautiful Quarters broken down by design. The upcoming releases featuring Abraham Lincoln and Mount Hood National Forest may still be in production.
2010 US Mint Coin Production by Design

Denver Phil. Total
Hot Springs Quarter 34.00 M 35.60 M 69.60 M
Yellowstone Quarter 34.80 M 33.60 M 68.40 M
Yosemite Quarter 34.80 M 35.20 M 70.00 M
Grand Canyon Quarter 35.40 M 34.80 M 70.20 M

Fillmore Dollar 36.96 M 37.52 M 74.48 M
Pierce Dollar 38.36 M 38.22 M 76.58 M
Buchanan Dollar 36.54 M 36.82 M 73.36 M


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Numismatic Gold Coin Price Increase

After narrowly missing the mark the past two weeks, a pricing increase for US Mint numismatic gold products seems almost certain to happen today around late morning.

The average price of gold based on the London Fix prices from the prior Thursday AM to the current Wednesday AM was $1,393.28 per ounce. The US Mint's numismatic gold products are currently priced within the lower $1,300 to $1,349.99 range. At the time this post is written, the market price of gold is $1397.00 per ounce, making it highly likely that the Wednesday PM Fix price will also fall within the higher range.

With the average gold price and the Wednesday PM price in the higher range, a pricing increase would take place. This will mark the fourth consecutive increase, after previous price adjustments took place on August 18, September 15, and October 6.

The 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo will see its price increased from $1,610 per coin to $1,660 per coin. Available First Spouse Gold Coins will have prices increased from $829 to $854 for proof coins and from $816 to $841 for uncirculated coins.

The recently released 2010 Proof Gold Eagles will have prices adjusted as follows:

Old Price New Price
1 oz (waiting list) $ 1,585.00 $ 1,635.00
1/2 oz $ 806.00 $ 831.00
1/4 oz $ 415.50 $ 428.00
1/10 oz $ 180.50 $ 185.50
4 Coin Set $ 2,938.00 $ 3,030.50

The latest sales figures released yesterday, showed sales figures as of November 7 reaching 25,000 of the 1 oz coins, 4,002 of the 1/2 ounce coins, 4,413 of the 1/4 oz coins, 10,411 of the 1/10 oz coins, and 17,424 of the 4 Coin Sets.

The full sales report is available on Coin Update News.


Monday, November 8, 2010

As Silver Rises, Proof Silver Eagle Premium Drops

For the year to date, silver is now up over $10 per ounce with a percentage increase of more than 60%. Much of the gain has come over the course of the last three months, leading up to the release of the eagerly awaited 2010 Proof Silver Eagle.

When the US Mint first announced the availability of the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle, they specified a price of $45.95. The recent rise in the price of silver works out well for collectors planning to buy the coins, as the premium above metal value has dropped.

Back when the announcement was made on October 4, the market price of silver was $22.03 per ounce. With the product price established at $45.95, this resulted in a premium of $23.92 or 108.58% above silver value.

Today, the price of silver rose to $27.76 per ounce. This makes for a premium of $18.19 per coin, or 65.53% above silver value.

For comparison, the 2008 Proof Silver Eagle went on sale priced at $31.95 when silver was $15.38 per ounce. This calculates to a premium of $16.57 or 107.74%. Therefore, on an absolute basis the premium for this year's offering is still higher, however, on a percentage basis, the premium is much lower.

Between now and the start of sales for the Proof Silver Eagle on November 19, the price of silver will continue to fluctuate, perhaps shrinking the premium even further.

This is all provided that the product price remains $45.95 when sales begin. This is the price currently listed on the US Mint's preliminary product page as well as the original press release. Pricing for US Mint products is officially established through publication within the Federal Register. I haven't seen any pricing notification for the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle yet. Let's hope we're not in for any surprises.
Coin Update News: American Silver Eagles in Record Territory


Friday, November 5, 2010

Upcoming ATB Quarter Products Feature New US Mint Branding

In August, a new "brand promise and identity" was announced for the United States Mint. The new branding will be used on a product for the first time in November when it appears on the three upcoming America the Beautiful Quarters sets.

The brand promise is "Connecting America through Coins" and includes a logo depicting a gold colored coin flipping through the air. The motto "E Pluribus Unum" is visible on the edge of the coin, with stars and stripes on the face of the coin.
When the new branding was announced, it was stated that it would be used on the 2011 annual sets released in January 2011. Based on product images on the US Mint's website, the branding will make an earlier appearance on the America the Beautiful Quarters three coin set, circulating coin set, and uncirculated coin set, scheduled for release on November 17, 19, and 23.

The new branding was developed based on four objectives: "to strengthen the identity and level of awareness with the public, to increase sales of collectible coins, to increase the uptake and use of dollar coins and develop and further build a reputation for the organization as the only legal manufacturer of American coins."

As I have mentioned before, these upcoming quarter sets are priced rather expensively, and the coins are available cheaper through other currently available products. Nonetheless, now I suppose I will buy at least one of each to see the newly designed packaging first hand.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2009 Silver Quarters Set Back on Sale

After the product apparently sold out last week, the 2009 DC & US Territories Quarters Silver Proof Set was put back on sale on the US Mint's website.

The product contains 90% silver versions of the quarters featuring the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Pricing remains the same $29.95 that has been in place since the sets were originally issued more than 19 months ago.

At the current spot price of silver ($24.80 as of the writing of this post), the silver value of the coins included in the set is $26.91. Therefore, the product price represents a premium above silver value of $3.08 or 11.45%.

By comparison, the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set, which contains 5 silver quarters with a silver value of $22.42 is priced at $32.95. This makes for a premium of $10.53 or 46.96%.

On a few past occasions, products which seemingly sold out at the US Mint have been put back on sale. In some instances the products quickly sold out again, while in others the products remained available for some time.

The latest US Mint sales report shows sales of 298,612 recorded through October 31. Assuming production was a round 300,000 sets, perhaps another 1,388 sets remain.

2010 Proof Gold Eagles Sales

Separately, the latest sales figures for the 2010 Proof Gold Eagles are available. A summary is included below showing the sales for the week, the total sales to date, and the percentage of the product limit that has now been sold.

Week Total Percent
1 ounce 3,698 25,000 100.00%
1/2 ounce 373 3,499 23.33%
1/4 ounce 246 4,006 25.04%
1/10 ounce 609 9,791 36.26%
4 coin set 1,366 12,785 32.78%
For the full weekly sales report visit Coin Update News.


Numismatic Gold Coins Avoid Another Price Increase

For the second week in a row, the United States Mint's numismatic gold products will narrowly avoid a pricing increase. Prices for the 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo, 2010 Proof Gold Eagles, and First Spouse Gold Coins should remain unchanged today.

The US Mint's basic policy for numismatic gold and platinum coins provides that the prices may be adjusted as frequently as weekly, based on the average London Fix price of the metals from the prior Thursday AM to the current Wednesday AM. If the average moves outside of ranges established at $50 increments for gold and $100 increments for platinum, then a pricing increase would generally take place. However, the increase will be avoided if the Wednesday PM price remains within the current pricing range.

This somewhat complicated pricing formula has been put to the test in the past two weeks.

Last week, the average price of gold fell within a higher range of $1,350 to $1,399.99. However, the pricing increase was avoided since the Wednesday PM Fix price remained within the lower $1,300 to $1,349.99 range.

This week, the average price of gold is within the $1,300 to $1,349.99 range, but the Wednesday PM Fix price (set after 11:00 PM ET) seems poised to be in the higher $1,350 to $1,399.99 range. The fact that the Wednesday PM Fix price is higher should not result in a price increase, since the average remains within the current range.

According to the US Mint, the additional Wednesday PM pricing component is in place "to determine the trend with the intention of minimizing changes to prices." Although it does complicate the basic formula, it seems to be having the desired effect, with prices remaining unchanged as the price of gold has moved above and below the $1,350 mark the past few weeks.
Coin Update News: New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Designs


Monday, November 1, 2010

US Mint Adds Last Opportunity Section

The United States Mint has once again added a "Last Opportunity" section to its website. This section has periodically been used to highlight products which will only remain available for sale for a limited time.

The Margaret Taylor First Spouse Gold Coins will conclude sales on December 2, 2010. This will coincide with the release of the next coin of the series featuring Mary Todd Lincoln. The Margaret Taylor coins originally went on sale December 3, 2009 and show last reported sales of 4,600 proofs and 3,313 uncirculated coins. These are still below the levels of the previous Sarah Polk coin, which concluded with 5,157 proofs and 3,501 uncirculated coins coins, have exceeded the lows established by the Julia and Letitia Tyler Coins.

Sales of the 2010 American Veterans Disabled for Life Silver Dollars will end on December 13, 2010. These commemorative coins originally went on sale February 25, 2010. As of the most recent report, sales had reached a combined 244,030 out of the 350,000 maximum authorized mintage. This year's other commemorative coin program for the Boy Scouts of America Centennial previously sold out the maximum mintage of 350,000 coins on August 4.

On December 30, 2010, sales will conclude for the 2009 District of Columbia & U.S. Territories Quarters Proof Set and the Presidential $1 Coin & First Spouse Medal Sets featuring James K. Polk and Zachary Taylor. The silver version of the 2009 quarters proof set just sold out last week.

2010 Proof Gold Eagles Update

Today, the US Mint put the one ounce individual 2010 Proof Gold Eagle on waiting list status. This means that orders have been received to fulfill the maximum product limit of 25,000. As of last week's sales report, sales had reached 21,302, meaning that buyers snapped up the remaining 3,698 coins over the past week.

The one ounce proof coin does remain available for sale as part of the 4 Coin Proof Set, which has a product limit of 39,000 sets.