Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Friday, January 28, 2011

2011 United States Army Commemorative Coins

The US Mint will begin sales of the 2011 U.S. Army Commemorative Coins on January 31, 2011. A total of three different coins in proof and uncirculated versions will be available through the program.

The 2011 U.S. Army $5 Gold Coin represents the U.S. Army's service in war with depictions of soldiers from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the modern era. The reverse is based on the official U.S. Army emblem. The coins are struck in 90% gold and 10% alloy. The gold content is 0.242 troy ounces.

The maximum authorized mintage across proof and uncirculated versions of the $5 gold coin is 100,000.
The 2011 United States Army Silver Dollar is intended to symbolize the worldwide deployment of the 21st century Army. The busts of a male and female soldier are shown with a globe in the background. The reverse features the Great Seal of the United States with the seven core values of the U.S. Army surrounding. The coins are struck in 90% silver and 10% copper, with silver content of 0.7736 troy ounces.

The maximum authorized mintage for the silver dollars is 500,000 across proof and uncirculated versions.

Last, a clad composition 2011 U.S. Army Half Dollar represents the contributions of the Army during peacetime. The image includes a solider surveying, two servicemen building a floodwall, and the Redstone Army rocket. The reverse portrays a Continental solider armed with a musket to symbolize the U.S. Army as the first military service to defend the country. The maximum mintage is 750,000 across proof and uncirculated versions.

Based on the mint marks present on the coin images, a four different US Mint facilities will be utilized to strike the U.S. Army commemorative coins. The authorizing legislation requires that at least one US Mint facility to be used to strike proof quality coins and one other facility be used to strike uncirculated coins.

The West Point Mint will strike the proof $5 gold coins. The Philadelphia Mint will strike the uncirculated $5 gold coins and proof silver dollars. The San Francisco Mint will strike the uncirculated silver dollars and proof half dollars. The Denver Mint will produce the uncirculated half dollars.

Initially, the United States Army Commemorative coins will be available under lower introductory pricing. After March 2, 2011, 5:00 PM, higher regular pricing will go into effect. The introductory and regular pricing for each coin is shown below:

Introductory Regular
Proof $5 Gold $449.95 $454.95
Unc $5 Gold $439.95 $444.95
Proof Silver Dollar $54.95 $59.95
Unc Silver Dollar $49.95 $54.95
Proof Half Dollar $17.95 $21.95
Unc Half Dollar $15.95 $19.95

Included in the price of each coin are surcharges distributable to the Army Historical Foundation to support the construction of the National Museum of the United States Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Surcharges are $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each silver dollar, and $5 for each half dollar.

The US Mint does not plan to offer any mutli-coin sets or other special collector sets for this program.

Even though sales will begin next week, the US Mint indicates that the coins are expected by February 28, 2011.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter Bags and Rolls

The US Mint will begin sales of numismatic bags and rolls of the Gettysburg National Military Park Quarters today, January 27, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. These products contain circulating quality coins that are packaged in US Mint branded wrappers or canvas bags.

The Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter is the sixth release of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The reverse design shows the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument, located at the battle line of the Union Army at Cemetery Ridge. The obverse features John Flanagan's portrait of George Washington with the original details restored.

The US Mint offers 100-coin bags from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mint, or a two roll set containing one 40-coin roll from each facility. Packaging for each product includes the name "Gettysburg National Military Park", the state abbreviation "PA", the mint mark, and face value of the contents. The Gettysburg Quarter bags and rolls are expected to be available for one year after the product release date.

The bags containing a face value of $25 worth of quarters are priced at $49.95 each, and the two roll sets containing a face value of $20 are priced at $39.95 each. Orders are also subject to an additional shipping and handling charge of $4.95.

This pricing represents a significant increase from the levels of last year's comparable products. Throughout last year, the 100-coin bags of quarters were priced at $35.95 each and the two roll quarter sets were $32.95. Considering the difficulty many collectors are having finding the America the Beautiful Quarters at banks or from circulation, the increased pricing seems opportunistic.

Starting in 2010, the US Mint also removed a bulk option that was available to collectors and replaced it with a super bulk option that is only feasible for larger coin dealers and mass marketers. The US Mint used to offer 1,000-coin bags, containing $250 face value worth of quarters, priced at $309.95 each. In June 2010, the US Mint introduced the America the Beautiful Quarters Bulk Purchase Program. Orders could be placed for bulk bags containing 200,000 coins, with a face value of $50,000. The cost would be $51,500 plus pick up by a licensed carrier must be arranged.

Last year, sales of the America the Beautiful Quarters bags and rolls were relatively strong. The first available Hot Springs Quarter products have sold about 46,000 two roll sets and about 9,000 of each 100-coin bag.

Following the price increases, I think more collectors of the series will start evaluating other options. This might include calling more banks until quarters can be located at face value, buying on the secondary market where rolls can be found $15 or less, or getting together with a group to purchase and split up a bulk bag.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Proof Gold Eagles Sold Out, Prices Reduced for Other Gold Coins

Yesterday, the US Mint ended sales of the remaining 2010 Proof Gold Eagles. The final remaining options were the individual one-quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce coins.

Following their one year cancellation, the Proof American Gold Eagles had opened with huge demand. Initial sales for each of the five product options were three to five times greater than the initial sales figures for the 2008 Proof Gold Eagles.

The individual one ounce coins were the first to sell out on November 1, 2010, after the full maximum product limit was sold. The following two options to sell out were the individual one-half ounce on December 1, 2010 and the 4 Coin Set on January 3, 2011. Both of these options as well as most recently sold out one-quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce options did not meet the maximum product limit.

The final sales levels for each option are indicated below in the first number column. The second number column displays the mintage for each coin, calculated by adding together the individual and set sales. This is the mintage calculated based on sales. The US Mint typically releases final audited mintage figures a year or more after the conclusion of sales.

2010 Proof Gold Eagles

Product Sales Mintage
1 oz 25,000 60,000
1/2 oz 10,000 45,000
1/4 oz 10,000 45,000
1/10 oz 20,000 55,000
4 Coin Set 35,000

Compared to previous year's mintages for each denomination, the one ounce and one-half ounce coins are near the higher end of the range, while the one-quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce are around the middle of the range.

This year's coins did have a shorter availability period than typical for Proof Gold Eagles, which usually go on sale around March and remain available throughout the year. The 2010 Proof Gold Eagles went on sale October 7.

Numismatic Gold Product Prices Decreased

Today, the US Mint reduced prices for available numismatic gold products. The price of the 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo was reduced from $1,660 to $1,610. The prices for First Spouse Gold Coins were reduced from $854 to $829 for proofs and from $841 to $816 for uncirculated coins.

This is actually the first pricing adjustment to take place since November 10, 2010. On that date, prices had been increased for the fourth consecutive time, following the steady march higher for the price of gold.

The reduced prices reflect an average gold price within the range of $1,300 to $1,349.99 range. Each week, the US Mint calculates the average London Fix price of gold from the prior Thursday AM to the current Wednesday AM. If the average moves into a different range and the Wednesday PM price agrees with the range, then prices are adjusted accordingly.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

2011 Silver Proof Set

Today, January 25, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will release the 2011 Silver Proof Set. This annual set includes a total of fourteen coins, with seven of them struck in a composition of 90% silver.

Each 2011 Silver Proof Set includes:

(1) 2011-S Lincoln Cent

(1) 2011-S Jefferson Nickel

(1) 2011-S Roosevelt Dime - 90% Silver.

(5) 2011-S America the Beautiful Quarters - 90% Silver. Featuring Gettysburg National Military Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

(1) 2011-S Kennedy Half Dollar - 90% Silver.

(1) Native American Dollar

(4) 2011-S Presidential Dollars - Featuring Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield.

The US Mint has priced the 2011 Silver Proof Set at $67.95 plus applicable shipping and handling. There are no household ordering limits or a stated maximum production.

This will represent the third consecutive year that the price of this product has been increased. Previous prices have been $44.95 (2008), $52.95 (2009), $56.95 (2010). The increased pricing has followed the upward trajectory of silver, which has doubled since the release of the 2008 Silver Proof Set.

The value of the silver content within each 2010 or 2011 Silver Proof Set is $35.05 based on data from

Two weeks ago, the US Mint released the standard 2011 Proof Set, containing coins struck in the same compositions used for circulation. Sales have been weak compared to last year. As of January 23, 2011, the US Mint recorded sales of 279,023 of the 2011 Proof Sets, which is about 20% below the sales level of the 2010 Proof Set within a comparable period.
Coin Update News: US Mint Sales Report


Monday, January 24, 2011

Survey Results: Bold Predictions

Coverage of the Mint News Blog survey will conclude with this post. The final question of the survey asked readers to make bold prediction for something completely unexpected that will happen in 2011 related to the US Mint or coins.

Some of last year's bold predictions proved to be surprisingly accurate. Will the same be true for this year?

I picked out a representative selection of this year's predictions, which are republished below:

"Suspension of American Silver Eagles due to shortage of blanks - will occur by May, 2011."

"The US Congress will vote to end the First Spouse Gold Coin program because of limited demand due to the high price of gold."

"They'll cut back even further on basic commemorative coins and basic coin sets for beginner collectors to concentrate on the 'big profit' items. A long-term mistake. Entry level collectors can't afford the high-priced items."

"ATB bullion prices on the secondary market will drop."

"Mint will introduce a high relief American Silver Eagle 25th Anniversary Coin, limited edition for collectors."

"Silver and Gold prices will spike, then crash moderately back just below (~20%) current levels."

"The government issues steel pennies and 5 cent pieces."

"The US Mint will suspend an Authorized Purchaser for violating the rules for distributing the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins."

"Less than 100,000 Proof ASE will be produced. End of series."

"$2 coin."

"I'll finally find a 2010 quarter in circulation."

"The mint WILL make fractional Gold Buffaloes and American Gold Eagles. The palladium coin will not be minted. There will be a new 'error coin' in 2011."

"Mint will seek legislative authority to produce half ounce silver bullion coins"

"New high relief silver coin similar to Australia's."

"The US mint will start making the planchets for the Silver Eagles at West Point."

"The number of US Mint products will decrease by a third."

"2011 Proof Gold Buffalo early sell out."

"The Mint will suspend sales of the silver ATB proof sets and the annual silver proof sets when the price of silver at melt exceeds the established mint price."

"The mint will start selling Silver Eagles directly to the collectors."

"2011 and beyond... The satin 2010 Lincoln cents will become the key date of the entire shield-type series, which will last until 2059. It will be the only satin finish of the entire series and probably the lowest mintage. The 2010 satin finish unc set will probably sell a relatively high 1.5 million sets by 12/31/2011, even with this, the 2010 lincoln cent will command a premium. Ditto the satin finish ATB quarters (only offered in 2010) which will command a premium and be the key dates of the entire ATB series from 2010 to 2021, even if there mintage is 1.5 million."

"The U.S. Mint will introduce a customer loyalty program that offers a special silver American Buffalo coin to collectors that purchase over $2,011 worth of coins in 2011."

"One of the commemorative dollars will have a record minimum mintage for the past 10 years."

"The U.S. mint will begin production of 1/20th ounce gold coins."

"The mint will not sell the numismatic version of the 5 oz coins."

"A denomination for circulation will be eliminated."

"The US Mint will release the 2011-W burnished Silver Eagle and mintage will be less than 100,000."

"Palladium blanks will not be available to meet US Mint customer demand for the new 1 oz palladium coin."

"The U.S. Mint will produce Rhodium coins."

"The palladium coins will have an extremely low mintage of less than 10,000 causing the secondary market to drive the prices up ten fold."

"New Director of the US Mint quits before year end."

"US Mint will delay and then cease selling the Gold Eagles and Buffaloes."

"A genuine 1964-D Peace dollar will surface."

"The 1933 St. Gaudens Double Eagles will become legal to own."

"The number of First Spouse Gold Coins will be limited to 5,000 of each."

"Anyone who wants an ATB 5 oz silver coin will be able to actually get one!"

"Sales of silver coins of all varieties - ATB, Eagles, etc. - will be suspended due to lack of physical silver."

"Sales will drop off more than 50%, due to price."

"Silver will be rationed... again."

"The law will change and allow the Mint to sell 5 ounce silver ATB coins directly to the public."

"Falling precious metals prices results in dumping of previously 'rare' coins."

"The Mint will ask Congress for permission to stop making pennies. The issue will not be resolved in 2011."

"There will finally be a move to eliminate the dollar banknote."

"The US Mint will develop a process for fairly distributing products, giving more people an opportunity to obtain desirable products."

"Change the design of the dime."

"The Mint's website will not crash when the 5 oz coins go on sale. Sellout in less than 2 hours."

"The new Mint Director will fulfill Edmund Moy's statement of bringing about a neo-renaissance in coin design and we will see some of the greatest designs in our history."


Friday, January 21, 2011

Survey Results: Gold and Silver Price Predictions

The latest installment of results for the Mint News Blog 2010 Survey will cover the questions dealing with precious metals prices and predictions about bullion coins. The survey was open from December 31, 2010 until January 9, 2011 and had almost 700 respondents.

Will the price of gold rise or fall in 2011?
Rise 82.78%
Fall 17.22%

The majority of readers at 82.78% believe that the price of gold will rise in 2011.

As a point of comparison, last year's survey asked the same question, and 74.18% of readers believed that gold would rise during 2010.

These readers were correct, with the price of gold rising by $306.25 to close at $1,410.25 (London Fix). This represented the eleventh consecutive year that the price of gold has risen.

Guess the closing price of gold on December 31, 2011.

Average Guess: $1,655,51

Distribution of Guesses:
Below $1,000 31
$1,000 - $1,200 46
$1,201 - $1,400 26
$1,401 - $1,600 144
$1,601 - $1,800 193
$1,801 - $2,000 88
$2,001 - $2,200 14
$2,200 - $2,400 5
Above $2,400 15

Readers were asked to guess the closing price of gold on December 31, 2011. The guesses spanned a wide range, with the majority calling for a higher price. Taking an average of all guesses yields $1,655.61. This would represent an annual gain of $245.36 or 17.40%.

Last year's survey asked readers to predict the closing price of gold on December 31, 2010. The average guess was $1,375.13, not too far from the actual closing price of $1,410.25.

Will the price of silver rise or fall in 2011?

Rise 81.62%
Fall 18.38%

The majority of readers believed that the price of silver would rise during the year, at 81.62% of the vote.

Guess the closing price of silver on December 31, 2011.

Average Guess: $45.22

Distribution of Guesses:
Below $20.00 28
$20.00 - $25.00 62
$25.01 - $30.00 23
$30.01 - $35.00 91
$35.01 - $40.00 152
$40.01 - $45.00 118
$45.01 - $50.00 50
$50.00 - $55.00 32
$55.01 - $60.00 16
Above $60.00 29

There were 601 guesses submitted by readers for the closing price of silver on December 31, 2011. The average was $45.22, which would represent an increase of $14.59 or 47.63% from the closing price on December 31, 2010.

During 2010, the price of silver had risen by $13.64 per ounce to close at $30.63 (London Fix), representing an annual gain of 80.28%.

Will the number of Silver Eagle bullion coins sold in 2011 rise or fall compared to the number sold in 2010?

Rise 61.07%
Fall 38.93%

For three consecutive years, the US Mint has achieved record breaking annual sales for the one ounce American Silver Eagle bullion coins. Total annual sales for the past three years have been 19,583,000 in 2008, 28,766,500 in 2009, and 34,662,500 in 2010.

Survey results show that 61.07% of readers believe the Silver Eagle bullion coins will achieve higher sales this year. The US Mint has already sold 4,724,000 ounces worth of Silver Eagles after just three weeks. If sales continue at even half this pace for the remainder of the year, another new annual record will be established.

By law, the US Mint is required to produce Silver Eagle bullion coins in quantities necessary to meet public demand. However, in practice, the number of coins has been limited to the number of planchets that could be acquired from suppliers and the requirements from other mandatory silver coin programs. The US Mint is currently rationing sales of Silver Eagle bullion coins.

How many 2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins will the US Mint produce across all designs?

165,000 or less 20.87%
165,001 to 300,000 33.91%
300,001 to 500,000 27.25%
500,001 to 1,000,000 11.74%
More than 1,000,000 6.23%

The United States Mint initially indicated that they intended to strike 500,000 of the 2010 ATB Silver Bullion Coins, divided equally amongst the five different designs. The Mint later announced that the bullion mintage would only be 165,000 in total, or 33,000 coins per design. This incredibly low mintage and the complications of distribution have kept the coins difficult to acquire and secondary market prices high.

Most readers predict that mintage levels for the 2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins will remain low, especially when compared to the massive amount of Silver Eagles struck each year. By law, the US Mint is required to produce and issue the ATB Silver Bullion coins in quantities that the Secretary of the Treasury "determines to be appropriate."


Quick US Mint Updates

There are a few recent developments related to US Mint coins that I wanted to briefly write about before resuming coverage of the survey. The sales figures for the US Mint's first 2011 numismatic product have been published, silver bullion sales have started the year on a record pace, and another 2010 product has sold out.

2011 Proof Set Sales

The US Mint began sales of the 2011 Proof Set on January 11, 2011. This was more than six months earlier than the start of sales for last year's annual proof set and before the offering of any separate component sets. The product price was $31.95 per set, the same price as last year.

Through January 16, the US Mint recorded sales of 253,144 sets. This represents a drop of about 15% from the opening sales figures for the 2010 Proof Set, and a drop of more than 40% from the opening figures for the 2009 Proof Set.

See the US Mint's full weekly numismatic sales report.

Silver Eagle Bullion Sales

For the month to date, the US Mint has already sold 4,588,000 ounces worth of American Silver Eagle bullion coins. This amount already exceeds the previous record monthly sales total of 4,260,000 set in November 2010. The amount also happens to exceed the annual sales totals for three separate years of the program.

The US Mint began accepting orders for 2011 Silver Eagle bullion coins on January 3, 2011. At this time, 2010-dated coins remained within inventory, so AP's were required to take one 2010 coin for every four 2011 coins ordered. Orders were initially and continue to be subject to the US Mint's allocation (rationing) program.

2010 Kennedy Half Dollar Bags

The US Mint has now sold out of the 2010 Kennedy Half Dollar 200-coin bags. These bags contain 100 coins each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints and originally went on sale January 29, 2010.

The two roll sets, containing one 20-coin roll from each mint, still remain available for sale.

Since the half dollar is not minted for circulation, the US Mint's numismatic bags and rolls are the only way to get circulation strike 2010 Kennedy Half Dollars. Based on US Mint production figures, there were 1.7 million haves struck at the Denver Mint and 1.8 million struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

Bags and rolls of 2011 Kennedy Half Dollars will go on sale February 15, 2011.

A New Contributor for Coin Update News

Lastly, I wanted to mention a new contributor for Coin Update News. Erik Schefler will be conducting interviews with various dealers and figures in numismatics. His first interview with Daniel Carr, designer of the New York and Rhode Island State Quarters was published today.
Coin Update News: Daniel Carr Interview


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Survey Results: Biggest Diappointment, Most Anticipated 2011 US Mint Product

Almost 700 Mint News Blog readers responded to a year-end survey on United States Mint products and coins. The second post covering the survey results will discuss the biggest disappointment of 2010, the most anticipated product of 2011, and the American Palladium Eagle.

What was the biggest disappointment or frustration of 2010?
Difficulty obtaining America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 38.08%
Higher prices for US Mint annual sets and other products 21.37%
Cancellation of 2010-W Uncirculated Gold and Silver Eagles 16.13%
Design Selections for new or upcoming coins 10.03%
Difficulty finding America the Beautiful Quarters from banks/circulation 8.72%
Other 5.67%

With 38.08% of the vote, the top response was the difficulty obtaining the America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins.

For much of the year, anticipation had been running high for this new US Mint bullion product. After a series of delays, the US Mint finally announced that they would begin accepting orders from authorized purchasers on December 6, 2009. Rather than the previously indicated mintage of 100,000 coins per design, the mintage would be a scant 33,000 coins per design.

Ahead of the release date, the prices charged by one of the US Mint's authorized purchasers resulted in widespread complaints. The US Mint responded by halting the program and later relaunching with a set of specific terms and conditions for authorized purchasers. Among other things, the AP's would be limited to a mark up of 10% above acquisition cost, would need to enforce a one per household ordering limit, and would need to make all coins that they acquired available for sale to the public.

Nine out of eleven of the AP's agreed to the terms and ordered their allocations. Unfortunately, despite the steps taken by the Mint, frustration about the situation has continued. Some secondary market sources have managed to acquire dozens or hundreds of the ATB silver bullion coins, raising questions about the distribution. Some AP's are still sitting on their allocations while they either scramble to set up retail sales operations or for other unknown reasons. One AP has indicated that they won't begin sales until the second quarter. The few AP's who have offered their coins for sale have experienced an avalanche of orders, riddled with attempts to get around the household limits.

Coin Update News contributor Louis Golino has just written an article summarizing the current situation and providing his thoughts on the implications. You can read his article here.

The survey option which gathered the second highest number of votes was the higher pricing for US Mint annual sets and other products, with 21.37% of responses. Unfortunately (again), this situation is not getting any better. The US Mint subsequently announced price increases across nearly all product categories for 2011.

The write-in responses from readers who selected "other" included: too many coins being issued, quality of coins within US Mint products, lack of Platinum Eagle bullion coins, the proliferation of derivative products, lack of US Mint communication, the incorrectly sent 2010 Proof Silver Eagle cancellation email, responses indicating "none," and various combinations of the listed options.

Of the scheduled or anticipated US Mint numismatic products to be released in 2011, what are you looking forward to the most?

Numismatic versions of America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver Coins 37.70%
2011 Proof Silver Eagle 17.47%
2011 Medal of Honor Commemorative Coins 9.32%
2011 U.S. Army Commemorative Coins 8.59%
Other 8.30%
September 11th Commemorative Silver Medal 6.99%
2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle 4.51%
2011 Proof Platinum Eagle 4.37%
2011 Proof Gold Eagles 2.77%

Based on survey responses, the most anticipated numismatic product of this year is the numismatic versions of the America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver Coins. The 2010 coins will carry even lower mintages than the bullion versions at just 27,000 per design. Since they are numismatic products, they will be sold directly by the United States Mint.

Previously, the Mint indicated that sales would begin in the first quarter of 2011. So far, exact dates have not yet been provided, nor has the US Mint announced specific procedures for sales. All of the 2010 and 2011 designs are listed individually on the US Mint's product schedule, suggesting that the coins will be offered individually rather than in sets.

The next most anticipated products were the 2011 Proof Silver Eagle with 17.47% of the vote, followed by the year's two commemorative coin programs featuring the U.S. Army and the Medal of Honor.

The write-in responses for readers who indicated "other" included 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters or related products, 2011 Proof Set, 2011 Mint Set, American Palladium Eagles (these may or may not be issued in 2011), 2011 Proof Gold Buffalo, 2011-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle (the possibility of this product remains uncertain), and responses indicating "nothing."

Do you plan to buy the American Palladium Eagles?

It will depend on the price of palladium or other factors 37.34%
I will not buy either version 30.97%
I plan to buy the numismatic version 15.77%
I plan to buy both the numismatic and bullion version 13.46%
I plan to buy the bullion version 2.46%

Near the end of 2010, a bill was signed into law which will likely result in the issuance of a new one ounce .9995 fine palladium bullion and collector coin.

The American Palladium Eagle would feature the obverse design of the Mercury Dime and the reverse design of the 1907 American Institute of Architects Medal. Both designs by Adolph A. Weinman would be rendered in high relief.

The release date of the coins remains unknown. A marketing study is required to be performed to ensure that adequate demand exists for palladium bullion coins produced by the United States Mint. Within not more than one year after the submission of the study, the coins are required to be issued.

Altogether 31.69% of readers indicated that they intend to buy the bullion and/or numismatic version of the coin. Roughly the same percentage indicated that they would not buy either version of the coin. The remaining 37.34% of readers remain on the fence until pricing or other factors about the coins become known.


2011 Presidential $1 Coin Images

The United States Mint has released more images for 2011 coins. This set is for the uncirculated and proof versions of the 2011 Presidential Dollars. I wanted to quickly share these images before getting back to the survey results.

This year's coins will feature the 17th to 20th Presidents of the United States, namely Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield. The release dates for the coins will be February 17, May 19, August 18, and November 17, 2011, according to Federal Reserve Bank Services.

Newly released Presidential Dollars can be obtained from many banks at face value. Unlike the America the Beautiful Quarters, financial institutions are provided with a specified period during which they can order unmixed quantities of each design.

The US Mint also sells 25-coin numismatic rolls. With this year's price increase, the rolls will be $39.95 each.

Andrew Johnson Presidential Dollar
17th President
Designed by Don Everhart

Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Dollar
18th President
Designed by Don Everhart

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Dollar
19th President
Designed by Don Everhart

James A. Garfield Presidential Dollar
20th President
Designed by Phebe Hemphill


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2007-W Proof $100 Platinum Eagle Frosted Freedom Variety

Several years after the coins were originally issued, a new variety has been discovered for the 2007-W Proof $100 Platinum Eagle. NGC announced the discovery late last week and called it the "Frosted Freedom" variety.

The collectible versions of the 2007 Platinum Eagle feature the second of three reverse designs in a series entitled "The Foundations of American Democracy." The designs represent the legislative (2006), executive (2007), and judicial (2008) branches of government.

For the executive branch design by Thomas Cleveland, a bald eagle is depicted with wings spread wide to represent freedom and a shield at ready to enforce laws and guarantee that freedom. Draped over the shield is a ribbon with the word "FREEDOM."

On coins exhibiting the normal die polishing pattern, the word FREEDOM appears brilliant like the background fields of the coin and stands out against the ribbon. On the new variety, FREEDOM appears frosted in the same manner as the ribbon.

Interestingly, the US Mint's press photo (shown above), which was subsequently used for illustrations in some coin guide books like the Red Book, shows the word FREEDOM as frosted. It is believed that this was a conceptual image that predated production.

NGC stated that so far only one example of the 2007-W Proof $100 Platinum Eagle Frosted Freedom Variety has been found, although "it’s likely that others must have been struck."

The US Mint reported final sales of 3,768 of the 2007-W Proof $100 Platinum Eagle coins through individual sales and another 4,595 included in the 4 Coin Set. Anyone who has one of these coins in their collection should take a closer look to check if they have found another example of this new variety.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Survey Results: Favorite 2010 US Mint Product and Coin Design

Just before the end of last year, I put together a survey for readers of Mint News Blog. This survey asked a brief series of questions looking back over US Mint coins and products of 2010, and looking forward to the coming year. An opportunity to make predictions was also provided.

In a series of four posts, I will report on the results of the Mint News Blog 2010 Survey. There were just under 700 responses from readers. Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate.

This was the second year for the survey. The first survey had provided some great insights and surprisingly accurate predictions. (See my post revisiting the results after one year.) I hope that this year's survey will provide a similar experience.

What was your favorite US Mint numismatic product released in 2010?

Top 5 Responses
2010 Proof American Silver Eagle 38.49%
2010 Proof American Gold Buffalo 11.87%
Other 11.72%
James Buchanan's Liberty $10 Gold 11.29%
Boy Scouts of America Centennial Silver Dollar 7.81%

The favorite numismatic product of readers was the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle, with 38.49% of the vote. The top result was not too surprising. In last year's survey, the cancellation of the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle had been voted as the biggest disappointment of the year. After this one year hiatus, the popular product made its return.

The release of the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle was not without some issues. One week prior to the launch, about 100,000 US Mint subscription customers received email notifications stating that the product was sold out and orders canceled. Soon after sales began, the US Mint discovered that about 2,200 orders placed via the internet had been deleted in error. Overall, the coins were available from the US Mint from November 19, 2010 to December 28, 2010. The last reported sales were 860,000 coins.

Other products in the top five for favorite product included the 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo with 11.87% of the vote, the James Buchanan's Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin with 11.29% of the vote, and the Boy Scouts of America Centennial Silver Dollar at 7.81%.

The "Other" category received 11.72% of the vote. The write-in responses in order of frequency included various America the Beautiful Quarters Sets, America the Beautiful 5 oz Silver Bullion Coins (this was not included in the choices since the numismatic version was not offered yet), 2010 Silver Proof Set, and various responses indicating "nothing."

Including only newly issued designs, what was the best US Mint Coin design of the year?

Top 5 Responses
2010 Lincoln Cent 19.42%
2010 Native American Dollar 14.78%
2010 Proof American Platinum Eagle 13.48%
James Buchanan's Liberty $10 Gold Coin 10.43%
Mount Hood National Forest Quarter 6.52%

The 2010 Lincoln Cent design attracted the highest number of votes for the best US Mint coin design of the year. The reverse features an image of the Union Shield with thirteen vertical stripes bound by a horizontal bar with the inscription "E Pluribus Unum". This symbolizes the original thirteen states joined together in one compact union to support the federal government. A scroll across the lower portion of the shield contains the denomination "One Cent" with "United States of America" above.

The 2010 Lincoln Cent reverse was designed by Lyndall Bass and sculpted by Joseph Menna. The design was chosen from a field of 18 original design candidates to symbolize Lincoln's preservation of the United States as a single and united country.

Coming in second place was the 2010 Native American Dollar, which features the Hiawatha Belt, a visual representation of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois Confederacy. Closely following in third was the 2010 Proof Platinum Eagle, which features a blindfolded Justice holding scales and an olive branch.

Fourth and fifth place were taken by the James Buchanan's Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin and Mount Hood National Forest Quarter.

Only one of the 19 options included in the survey question failed to receive a single vote. This was the Franklin Pierce Presidential Dollar.

The results from the annual survey differ from a separate survey taken at mid-year for coins released up to that point. The 2010 Lincoln Cent and 2010 Native American Dollar traded the top two spots. The third, fourth, and fifth place coins were replaced with other 2010 coins released in the second half of the year.


Friday, January 14, 2011

US Mint 2010 Annual Report

The United States Mint recently issued their 2010 Annual Report, covering the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. On an overall basis, total revenue increased by 33.45% to a record $3.9 billion, while net income and seigniorage fell by 19% to $405.8 million.

The increase in revenue was driven by a surge in bullion sales, which more than made up for the declines in circulating coin shipments and the numismatic program sales.

Net income and seigniorage were dragged down by lower circulating coin shipments, which offset improvement in bullion and numismatic program net income.

On Coin Update News, I provided detailed coverage of the results for each individual program:
Bullion Product Revenue Rises 68.5% to Record $2.8 Billion
Circulating Coin Shipments Shift Towards Lower Denominations
Numismatic Program Profit Rises Despite Decline in Revenue
For Mint News Blog, I wanted to provide some specific pieces of information or figures that I thought were noteworthy:

- Shipments of $1 coins to Federal Reserve Banks during the fiscal year generated $282.8 million in seigniorage. This accounted for 94% of seigniorage generated through the shipment circulating coins across all denominations.

- Compared to the 2008 fiscal year, shipments of circulating quarter dollars declined by 90%. The Federal Reserve Banks existing inventory of quarters remained "more than sufficient to enable cash transactions."

- The cost to manufacture and distribute the cent rose to 1.79 cents, and the cost for the nickel rose to 9.22 cents. Shipments for these two denominations generated negative seigniorage of $42.6 million.

- During the fiscal year, the US Mint expanded bullion raw materials supplies by working with existing fabricators and identifying a new silver blank fabricator. As a result, average monthly supply of all gold and silver blanks was increased by 56% compared to the prior fiscal year.

- Although the bullion program accounted for 73.5% of total revenue, the program only accounted for 13.6% of total net income and seigniorage due to the low net margin of only 1.9%. The program is managed to a standard margin of 2%.

- The numismatic program is managed to a net margin "at or below 15%.". The actual net margin across all numismatic product categories was 12.1%.

- Over the course of all fiscal years impacted, the 2009 Ultra High Relief Double Eagle Gold Coin generated revenues of $147.5 million and net income of $4.1 million, representing a net margin of 2.8%

- The American Eagle numismatic coins available during the fiscal year had a net margin of 13.1%. Proof Platinum Eagles, which accounted for the majority of sales were sold at a higher net margin because the raw material was purchased when platinum market prices were low. (The US Mint has a hedging program in place for the bullion program, but apparently not the numismatic program.)

- In the opening letter, Director Edmund Moy discussed the previous elimination of more than 300 products from the numismatic portfolio. He stated that this opened up capacity to offer core products earlier in the year and to pioneer new coins like the 2009 UHR Double Eagle, "instead of relying on new ways to package and combine existing coins to boost sales."

- US Mint Customer satisfaction declined primarily as a result of the unavailability of numismatic versions of American Eagle products. The US Mint addressed this by taking steps to expand precious meal blank supply, which eventually led to the launch of 2010 Proof Gold and Silver Eagles.

- A few more points from the customer service section mention that the US Mint cut order fulfillment time in half, and sent returned products to the facility where they originated "for quality analysis and corrective action."

- A "total customer-friendly redesign" of the US Mint's retail website is anticipated to debut in the 2012 fiscal year.

- The US Mint's numismatic customer base dropped to 0.799 million during the 2010 fiscal year. This compares to 0.976 million in FY 2010 and a recent peak of 1.27 million in FY 2008.

- Out of the net income and seigniorage or $405.8 million, $388 million was transferred to the Treasury General Fund. This compares to transfers of $440 millioin in FY 2009 and $735 million in FY2008.

The US Mint's 2010 Annual Report can be accessed on their website here.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 ATB Quarters and Native American Dollar Images

The United States Mint has recently released images for some of the upcoming 2011 coins. Previously, only line art images had been available. The new coin images include the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters and the 2011 Native American Dollar.

Besides providing a better idea of what the coins will look like in hand, the images also seem to portray the coins with the brilliant finish that will be used for uncirculated coin sets.

The circulation release dates for 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters according to Federal Reserve Bank Services will be January 24, April 4, June 13, August 29, and November 14. The coins have already been released in proof format within the 2011 Proof Set and will all be released in the 2011 Mint Set on February 8.

The 2011 Native American Dollar was scheduled to launch yesterday on January 12, but the ceremony was canceled with a future date not yet announced. Numismatic rolls are scheduled for March 28. Based on past practice, the coins may also be available in $250 boxes through the Direct Ship Program.

Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter
Designed by Joel Iskowitz
Sculpted by Phebe Hemphill
Circulation Release January 24, 2011

Glacier National Park Quarter
Designed by Barbara Fox
Sculpted by Charles L. Vickers
Circulation Release April 4, 2011

Olympic National Park Quarter
Designed by Susan Gamble
Sculpted by Michael Gaudioso
Circulation Release June 13, 2011

Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter
Designed by Thomas Cleveland
Sculpted by Joseph Menna
Circulation release August 29, 2011

Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter
Designed by Donna Weaver
Sculpted by Jim Licaretz
Circulation release November 14, 2011

2011 Native American Dollar Obverse
Designed by Glenna Goodacre

2011 Native American Dollar Reverse
Designed by Richard Masters
Sculpted by Joseph Menna


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 US Mint Proof Set

Today, January 11, 2011, the United States Mint released the 2011 Proof Set. The popular annual set is released more than six months earlier than last year's set. Currently, both the 2010 and 2011 dated sets are available for sale at the US Mint.

Each 2011 Proof Set contains a total of 14 different coins, struck at the San Francisco Mint and carrying the "S" mint mark. The coins included in the set are as follows:

(1) 2011-S Proof Lincoln Cent
(1) 2011-S Proof Jefferson Nickel
(1) 2011-S Proof Roosevelt Dime
(5) 2011-S Proof America the Beautiful Quarters
(1) 2011-S Proof Kennedy Half Dollar
(1) 2011-S Proof Native American Dollar
(4) 2011-S Proof Presidential Dollars

This year, the America the Beautiful Quarters feature Gettysburg National Military Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The Presidential Dollars feature Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield.

The 2011 Proof Set is priced at $31.95. This is the same price as the prior year set.

In previous years, the US Mint had released separate Presidential Dollar and State/Territorial/ATB Quarter Proof Sets, prior to the release of the full annual set. It always seemed that this was done to provide some incentive for purchasing the component sets. Collectors could get the new quarters and dollars a few months earlier than if they waited for the full proof set to be released.

In terms of total cost, it never made sense to purchase the separate sets. Under this year's pricing, it will make even less sense. It will cost $19.95 to purchase the 2011 Presidential Dollar Proof Set and $14.95 to purchase 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set for a total of $34.90. This is $2.95 more than the price of the full annual set, which also includes the cent, nickel, dime, half dollar, and Native American Dollar.

Releasing the full 2011 Proof Set, before the separate dollar and quarter sets is definitely beneficial step for collectors. A likely result will be higher sales for the full annual set compared compared to last year, and significantly lower sales for the separate dollar and quarter sets.
Coin Update News: US Mint Numismatic Sales Report


Monday, January 10, 2011

US Mint Produces 6.37 Billion Circulating Coins in 2010

The United States Mint has updated their circulating coin production figures to represent the full year of 2010.

Production for the month of December 2010 was minimal at 80.2 million coins, although this is likely seasonal. For December 2009, the US Mint did not report any circulating coins produced.

For all of 2010, production was 6,373,110,000 coins. This represents an increase of 79.6% over the historic low production experienced in 2009. Lower denomination coins were produced in greater numbers, while production of most higher value coins fell.
2010 US Mint Coin Production Figures

December 2010 Full Year 2010
Lincoln Cent - Denver 64.40 M 2,047.20 M
Lincoln Cent - Phil. (6.80 M) 1,963.63 M
Jefferson Nickel - Denver 3.36 M 229.92 M
Jefferson Nickel - Phil. 0 260.64 M
Roosevelt Dime - Denver 13.50 M 562.00 M
Roosevelt Dime - Phil. 0 557.00 M
Quarters - Denver 0 173.40 M
Quarters - Phil. 0 173.60 M
Kennedy Half - Denver 0 1.70 M
Kennedy Half - Phil. 0 1.80 M
Native Am Dollar - Denver 5.74 M 48.72 M
Native Am Dollar - Phil. 0 32.06 M
Pres Dollar - Denver 0 159.88 M
Pres Dollar - Phil. 0 161.56 M

Total 80.20 M 6,373.11 M

Comparing 2010 coin production to the prior year, cents across both mint facilities rose by 70.38% to more than 4 billion. Nickels rose by 403.92% to 490.56 million. Dimes rose by 666.43% to more than 1.1 billion. Native American Dollars rose by 13.36% to 80.78 million.

Looking at denominations which experienced declines, production of quarters fell by 35% to 347 million. Kennedy Half Dollars fell from 3.8 million to 3.5 million. Presidential Dollars fell by 8.78% to 321.44 million.

There were no changes to the figures provided for 2010 Presidential Dollars and 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters by individual design, suggesting that these figures are now final. For the quarter series, the US Mint had reserved the right to restart production of prior designs within the same year of issuance, if demand existed from the bulk purchase program.

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
Mount Hood Quarter 34.40 M 34.40 M 68.80 M

347.00 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
Abraham Lincoln 48.02 M 49.00 M 97.02 M

321.44 M
Coin Update News: Cost to Make Cent, Nickel


Friday, January 7, 2011

United States Mint 2010 Bullion Sales

With another year behind us, it's a good time to revisit the annual sales figures for the United States Mint's bullion coin programs.

The American Silver Eagles set a new annual record, while Gold Eagles sold about 14% less than the prior year. The American Gold Buffalo, which was only available for five months, was up slightly from the prior year.

The following tables will present the annual sales figures for US Mint bullion coins by product measured in troy ounces. Note, these are not mintage figures, but reflect the total ounces sold during the calendar year without regards to date.
American Gold Eagle Bullion Sales (ounces)
Year Ounces
1986 1,787,750
1987 1,253,000
1988 560,000
1989 503,500
1990 457,450
1991 253,000
1992 385,800
1993 514,000
1994 310,000
1995 297,750
1996 275,000
1997 771,250
1998 1,839,500
1999 2,055,500
2000 164,500
2001 325,000
2002 315,000
2003 484,500
2004 536,000
2005 449,000
2006 261,000
2007 198,500
2008 860,500
2009 1,425,000
2010 1,220,500
Total 17,503,000

During 2010, the US Mint recorded sales of 1,220,500 ounces of gold through the American Gold Eagle bullion coins. Sales consisted of 1,143,000 one ounce coins, 46,000 one-half ounce coins, 62,000 one-quarter ounce coins, and 390,000 one-tenth ounce coins.

The highest monthly sales total occurred in July when 152,000 ounces were sold. The lowest monthly sales occurred in December when 60,000 ounces were sold.

Sales of the 22 karat Gold Eagle bullion coins reached their annual peak back in 1999, when uncertainty about Y2K spurred demand for gold. During the course of the last three years, gold bullion coins were sometimes subject to rationing, meaning that recent annual sales may not reflect total demand.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Sales (ounces)
Year Ounces
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 34,662,500
Total 241,277,000

American Silver Eagle bullion sales achieved a new record for annual sales with 34,662,500 of the one ounce coins sold. This amount represents more than three times the average annual sales level, and exceeds the total sales for the first five years of the program.

Silver Eagles also achieved record monthly sales of 4,260,000 ounces during November 2010. The prior record took place back in December 1986.

American Gold Buffalo Bullion Sales (ounces)
Year Ounces
2006 323,000
2007 167,500
2008 172,000
2009 200,000
2010 209,000
Total 1,071,500

The 24 karat American Gold Buffalo bullion coins were only available for sale this year from April 29, 2010 to the end of September 2010. This was a longer period of availability than 2009, when the coins were offered for less than two months.

Total annual sales came in at 209,000, representing the second highest year of sales, after the 323,000 ounces sold in 2006 when the series debuted.
Coin Update News: 2011 US Mint Commemorative Coins