Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Proof James Buchanan's Liberty Coin Sold Out


According to the US Mint's website, the proof version of the James Buchanan's Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin has sold out. This is very unexpected as the coin has not reached the maximum authorized mintage and has only been available for about five months.

Although the proof version of the coin is sold out, the uncirculated version remains available for sale.

The maximum authorized mintage for the James Buchanan's Liberty coin was set at 15,000 across both the proof and uncirculated versions, with the ratio determined based on customer demand. As of the latest US Mint sales report, sales had reached 7,317 proof coins and 4,461 uncirculated coins, for a combined total of 11,778.

The general policy of the United States Mint for the First Spouse Gold Coin Program has been to allow sales of each release to continue until the maximum authorized mintage has been sold or for approximately one year, whichever occurs first.

During the course of the series, there were only three releases that sold out of the maximum authorized mintage- Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, and Thomas Jefferson's Liberty. Otherwise, sales were generally allowed to continue for the period of "approximately one year." In practice, sales for a particular issue would typically conclude to coincide with the start of sales for the issue one year ahead in the schedule.

There were two instances when sales ended earlier than expected. Sales of the proof version of the Andrew Jackson's Liberty Gold Coin ended about two weeks before the Sarah Polk coins went on sale. The second instance was for the Julia Tyler First Spouse Coins, which saw sales conclude after about ten months. This was because there were five coins issued in 2009 and four issued in 2010. To put the schedule back on track, the US Mint ended sales of both the Letitia and Julia Tyler coins when sales of the Jane Pierce coins began.

Sales of the James Buchanan's Liberty Gold Coins had been stronger than usual for the series due to the classic depiction of Liberty used on the obverse. The coin also represented the final issue of the "Liberty Subset". The four coins included use images of Liberty from classic U.S. coins since the Presidents served in office without a spouse.
Coin Update News: Latest US Mint Sales Report

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52 Comments:

At February 8, 2011 at 11:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just checked the website. The Uncs are still available. The proofs are no longer listed.

 
At February 8, 2011 at 12:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lincoln can't be far behind...

 
At February 8, 2011 at 12:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, this is indeed an unexpected turn, I wonder if the lower gold prices spured investors and collectors, to order the Buchanan proof in large quantities. It is very interesting, I am not sure where the Buchanan proof will sit in the "short series" but it will be close to taking the title for least number of proofs among the 4 unwed presidents...

 
At February 8, 2011 at 12:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the final mintage of the proof version holds near or below 7500, then it will be the lowest of the liberty subset proofs. The Van Buren was 7,515 and the Jackson was over 7,800. Jefferson was much higher at 20K.

All have beautiful obverse designs; however, my personal favorite reverse design is Jackson followed by Jefferson.

 
At February 8, 2011 at 12:48 PM , Anonymous Soapy said...

Ordered my unc set today along with proof and silver proof. Nice to have them earlier in the year. Wonder if proof and silver proof sets will see a spike in sales from those, like me, who wanted to save with a single shipping charge on annual coins.

 
At February 8, 2011 at 12:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if the recent lower price of gold spurred an increase interest in the Buchanan proof, from both collectors and investors. If so, and if the number of proofs sold in the last week were high enough, the mint would surely pull them from their catalogue. It will be interesting to see exactly how the final Buchanan proof numbers stand up against the 3 other unwed presidential first spouse coins – we could have a winner for lowest FS unwed presidential proof gold coins.

 
At February 8, 2011 at 1:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My understanding is that there doesn't have to be an exact 50/50 split between Proof and Unc coins. I thought the only restriction was that the total couldn't exceed the preannounced issuance...in this case 15,000.

I would think that both the Proof and Unc coins would continue to be minted on an "On Demand" basis until the total issuance is reached.

Unless (Ah-HAH), UNLESS all 15,000 coins were minted at the same time! This would mean that coins would be left over for designs that don't sell out!

Do we know for a fact that unsold coins are destroyed? In other words, do the final "sales" figures reported by the Mint represent the actual mintage of each design?

Hmmm...inquiring minds need to know.

 
At February 8, 2011 at 2:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mint had to strike the 2010 buchanans in calendar year 2010. They obviously underestimated demand. While all the flippers were focusing on the ATB's, they missed the real winner for the year. With a last reported sales of 7300, these will be the lowest minted proof liberties of the set. Also, remember the quality issues when these first came out (frost breaks) and this may be your first under 7,000 , maybe even 6500, proof liberty coin.

 
At February 8, 2011 at 4:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the max mintage will be for the 2011 First Spouse Coins?

 
At February 8, 2011 at 4:26 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

I'm working on getting that info.

 
At February 8, 2011 at 7:33 PM , Blogger Brandon said...

It's my understanding that the coins are minted in an on demand basis. Uncirculated versions almost always have a lower mintage because people buy proofs at around a 3-1 ration to the uncirculated coins. The lower mintage should give you better returns should you ever sell.

 
At February 8, 2011 at 7:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are these coins "officially" sold out? Or are they just not on the USMint Website?

Any word?

 
At February 9, 2011 at 6:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"According to the US Mint's website, the proof version of the James Buchanan's Liberty First Spouse Gold Coin has sold out."

Is it officially sold out, or will the Mint put it back up for sale? I seem to recall they were sending emails stating that the 2010 Silver Eagle was not longer available, and recanted within a week.

"This is very unexpected as the coin has not reached the maximum authorized mintage and has only been available for about five months."

Since when has the Mint played by the rules. They make'em up as they go.

"As of the latest US Mint sales report, sales had reached 7,317 proof coins and 4,461 uncirculated coins, for a combined total of 11,778."

My guess is that they made 7500 of the proof and uncirculated each. Therefore, the secondary price of the proofs will be high and the secondary price of the uncirculated will be low.

"The general policy of the United States Mint for the First Spouse Gold Coin Program has been to allow sales of each release to continue until the maximum authorized mintage has been sold or for approximately one year, whichever occurs first."

This is likely the beginning of a new way the Mint handles the FSG coins. If the proof truly sold out, then you can bet future FSG coins will also unexpectedly sell out as well. I have no problem with this. In fact, it's quite shrewd as the flippers will be buying more "just in case."

 
At February 9, 2011 at 6:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My guess is that they made 7500 of the proof and uncirculated each. Therefore, the secondary price of the proofs will be high and the secondary price of the uncirculated will be low."

I don't get why you think this. There will be fewer uncirculated coins and those typically have been priced higher than proofs regardless of sellout status. Temporarily I could see a spike in the after market price of proofs, but eventually I believe uncirculated will be priced higher (once they are both off sale).

 
At February 9, 2011 at 6:41 AM , Anonymous Brad said...

I don't believe the Mint struck these in even quantities. Proofs have always outsold uncs.

The Buchanan coins sold much more quickly than was expected, undoubtedly due to the recent price decrease.

I would guess that the Mint produced 7,300 proofs and 4,700 uncs for an even 12,000 total production. Based on the current rate of sales and the fact that the price of gold is once again rising, I would bet that the remaining uncs will be sold by the end of this month.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 7:19 AM , Anonymous VABEACHBUM said...

There simply is no rhyme or reason to the Mint's total product numbers or product sales time frames. The classic example is the 2008 W Buffs. The most recent examples include the 2010 AGE Proof coins, where the majority were ended early and below thresholds, while the 2010 PF Buffalo has been allowed to languish for the last several months as it asymptotically approaches 50K.

I have commented previously, and will continued to be interested in how the Spouse Program plays out from this point foward. Although the Mint authorized higher numbers for Lincoln, I don't see it maxing out; numbers will be similar to or slightly higher than the current trends of non-liberty issues. Likewise, we won't see any more "classic" liberty issues, and the next spouse of interest is likely to be Eleanor Roosevelt. Finally, sometime in the next 2-3 years, the Program will have another 5-Spouse year which, by then could be an extra $2K for the coins in that year.

One of my bold, MintBlog Survey predictions was that the Mint would cut the Spouse production further in 2011, no later than 2012, with special increases for the high interest spouses.

Like one or two other followers, I have been in from the start, and am continuing to manage my collecting and other interest so that I can make it to the end. Four years down; six years to go.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 8:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"For 2010, the coins featuring Abigail Fillmore, Jane Pierce, and James Buchanan’s Liberty will all have a maximum mintage of 15,000 for each release, across both proof and uncirculated options. The Mary Todd Lincoln First Spouse Gold Coin, which is expected to be a more popular seller will have a maximum mintage of 20,000 coins across both options. Maximum mintage levels for future releases will be established each year."

This is where I came up with the even split between the buchanan proofs and uncircs. This is a quote an article in this very blog (Michael Zielinski) back on March 17, 2010. IF there is a total of 15K, then yes, there would likely be 7500 of each.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 8:39 AM , Anonymous Brad said...

Apparently "maxiumum" mintages are put in place to make sure no more coins than that are REQUIRED to be minted for a particular issue. However, it appears the Mint is now shifting towards a trend of minting the level of coins they reasonably believe can be sold during the established time period and ending sales once those are gone. The 2010 Proof Eagles followed this pattern as well, even though they were never subject to any published time period of sales (unlike First Spouses).

So, with stated maximum mintage levels not necessarily guaranteed, it would be a wise practice to go ahead and buy any coins you're interested in at the start of sales. That has the added bonus of guaranteeing that the coins you receive are not someone else's returns. Possible future price decreases aren't worth the gamble of missing out entirely or receiving sub-par coins.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 9:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is important to note that initially the mint strikes to ANTICIPATED DEMAND. Does anyone remember the buchanan unc went on backorder about two months or so after they registered about 3500 sales? THIS NUMBER REPRESENTS ALL THE MINT STRUCK INTIALLY. Since they ran out in calender year 2010 with plenty of time to strike more, that is exactly what they did. Hence the backorder was lifted and they are available again. Now with the Proofs, they struck the inital run of the Proofs anticpating a demand of about 7300. They cannot strike a 2010 dated coin in 2011, the legislation prohibits it. There will be no second run of proofs, and the ratio of uncs to proofs intially struck makes perfect sense based on past sales.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 10:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They cannot strike a 2010 dated coin in 2011, the legislation prohibits it. There will be no second run of proofs, and the ratio of uncs to proofs intially struck makes perfect sense based on past sales."

That's true with some coins, but I don't it is with the First Spouse series. For example, the Lincoln came out in December, 2010 and I'm sure they didn't mint them all in 2010...a lot will be minted in 2011.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 10:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They cannot strike a 2010 dated coin in 2011, the legislation prohibits it. There will be no second run of proofs, and the ratio of uncs to proofs intially struck makes perfect sense based on past sales."

"That's true with some coins, but I don't it is with the First Spouse series. For example, the Lincoln came out in December, 2010 and I'm sure they didn't mint them all in 2010...a lot will be minted in 2011."

I disagree as the Lincoln coin is a special case. It is cheaper to have a single minting run than multiple minting runs. The Lincoln coin was anticipated to be popular, so the Mint (in all probability) minted the maximum (or close to it) in one pass to save money.

Also, I would add that I bet there is an uptick in the sales of the Proof Lincoln due to the unanticipated sellout of the proof buchanan.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 10:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, it says so specifically in the legislation; whatever mary todd's they struck in 2010 will be all they offer for sale.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 10:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It says specifically in the pres. coin act of 2005 (under which the spouses were also created) that coins will bear the year in which they were minted. That would mean any mary todd's struck in 2011 would have to bear that date. Not gonna happen.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 11:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

TITLE 31, SUBTITLE IV, CHAPTER 51, SUBCHAPTER II, § 5112o-5A states...

"The bullion coins issued under this subsection with respect to any spouse of a President shall be issued on the same schedule as the $1 coin issued under subsection (n) with respect to each such President."

My understanding is...

Four (4) Presidents are honored each year with their issuance dates staggered by approximately three (3) months and lasting one (1) year from that date.

If a 2010 Presidential dollar is initially issued in June 2010, it can continue to be minted until June 2011. The First Spouse issuance mirrors the Presidential dollar issuance.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 11:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's "issuance", and has nothing to do with the coins being struck. Read further into the act that adresses the spouse coins specifically. It's clear.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 11:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic, but the MOH commemorative page has actual coin images now.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 12:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That's "issuance", and has nothing to do with the coins being struck. Read further into the act that adresses the spouse coins specifically. It's clear."

I've read the Title 31 I referenced quite thoroughly. If you have a difference reference, please post.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 12:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, I don`t understand how the proof version is sold out. The maximum mintage has not been met. I thought the proof to uncurculated ratio was divided by the total mintage and customer demand of which ever one they wanted. So then how can the proofs be sold out?

 
At February 9, 2011 at 12:37 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

Here's the relevant section of the law:

"Each bullion coin issued under this subsection shall bear the inscription of the year of minting or issuance of the coin and such other inscriptions as the Secretary may determine to be appropriate."

Section 5112(o)(3)(F) of title 31

emphasis- "year of minting or issuance"

So, they can mint coins bearing a future date of issuance (mint in 2010, date 2011, issue in 2011) or the same date of issuance (mint in 2011, date 2011, issue in 2011).

They could not mint in 2011, issue the coins in 2011, and date the coins 2010.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 12:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, I don`t understand how the proof version is sold out. The maximum mintage has not been met. I thought the proof to uncurculated ratio was divided by the total mintage. So then how can the proofs be sold out?

 
At February 9, 2011 at 1:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"James Buchanan’s Liberty will all have a maximum mintage of 15,000 for each release, across both proof and uncirculated options."

Yes...it can be sold out.

The operative phrase is "maximum mintage." They say nothing about a minimum mintage. They could end all sets today and still meet their obligations.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 1:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Michael's point, I'm sure the 2009 UHR Gold Eagle was minted in 2008 but it was dated and sold in early 2009.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 1:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew Jackson will ride again...

Look for the Jackson gold coins to outshine all the others.

Goldfingers

 
At February 9, 2011 at 1:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because 12:40, as explained above they mint to anticipated demand and they figured they would sell about 3500 uncs and 7300 proofs throughout the entire year of availability. They prefer not to be stuck with 1,000's of gold coins they can't sell.

 
At February 9, 2011 at 1:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better get your Mary Lincolns while you can!
Prices going north. If inflation rumors true, gold will spike up again!

 
At February 9, 2011 at 2:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

MTB Inc is accepting orders for 2010 ATB 5 oz sets by phone. Price is 860 + 45 shipping + 25 commission and if you live in New York State you have to add 76.33 for tax .

 
At February 9, 2011 at 9:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mint was also not authorized to strike collector versions of the 5 ounce silver ATB coins in 2010 but they did.

 
At February 10, 2011 at 3:55 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

All were struck in 2010. From their press release: "The United States Mint will strike all 2010-dated numismatic coins by the end of the year, as required by law."

http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/index.cfm?action=press_release&ID=1182

 
At February 10, 2011 at 3:57 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

If you meant producing them in general, there's also this:

The numismatic coins are being produced under authority 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3), which provides the Secretary of the Treasury with broad authority to design, produce and sell numismatic items.

 
At February 10, 2011 at 4:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The United States Mint will strike all 2010-dated numismatic coins by the end of the year, as required by law."

Interesting!

Just to be clear, for an issue such as the Mary Lincoln which was released in December 2010, all the coins for that design were struck before the end of the year?

That would mean that the ratio of Uncs to Proofs has already been decided. If so, would it be asking too much for the Mint to release those figures?

 
At February 10, 2011 at 5:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I've never heard of the mint releasing proof/unc ratios...and why would they want to? Ultimately they want to sell the coins and not be stuck with a bunch of coins that they couldn't move...why would they tip their hand.

 
At February 10, 2011 at 6:52 AM , Anonymous Brad said...

I'll venture a guess that the Mint produced 10,000 proofs and 6,000 uncs of Mary Lincoln, for 16,000 total. Since the coins weren't a fast sellout, I just can't see the Mint striking 20,000 of them on faith in December and risk having a few thousand unsold ones left over after a year. It's expensive to mint coins that later have to be melted down.

The "maximum" mintage for her coins might have been 20,000, but it doesn't appear that many of them will sell in a year. Even 16,000 is probably a stretch, but that could be the level that was produced.

The level of production for the last First Spouse coin of the year is undoubtedly a tough call to make, since you don't want to run out way early (like the Buchanan), but you also don't want to have a ton left over.

 
At February 10, 2011 at 8:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The level of production for the last First Spouse coin of the year is undoubtedly a tough call to make, since you don't want to run out way early (like the Buchanan), but you also don't want to have a ton left over."

That's probably the reason they changed the Max Mintage from 40,000 to 15,000 (in most cases).

The Jackson FS coin was scheduled for issuance between 28Aug2008 and 28Aug2009. The Max mintage for Jackson was set at 40,000, but the Jackson proof sold out three (3) weeks early with sales of only 7,806.

If, as stated earlier, the coins are legally bound to be minted only during the year in which appears on the coin, it would appear that the Mint didn't make the maximum mintage before 31 Dec 2008...or they made 32,194 Unc coins...(not likely).

Something just doesn't seem to add up. Why have a Max mintage at all if the Mint is legally prohibited from making coins throughout the period of issuance to meet customer demand?

 
At February 10, 2011 at 8:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The maximum mintage is stated mostly for the Mint's protection from OVERWHELMING demand. Having a stated maximum gives them a leg to stand on in when stopping production in those situations. As much trouble as it is to secure blanks for coin production sometimes, an "escape clause" is often helpful. :)

 
At February 10, 2011 at 10:32 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, anonymous 2:02 for that tip. I just called and reserved a set for $930.

And thanks Michael for having comments open or I wouldn't have known about MTB having them available.

 
At February 10, 2011 at 11:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same here, I just came to say the exact same thing. I also bought a set from MTB.

Everyone please note: Even though the USA Patriot Act form they will e-mail you has a line for it, you do NOT have to provide your Social Security Number! I was told that it was not necessary by a representative before I faxed it back, and I left it blank based on that. They didn't even mention that the number was not included when confirming my order, so do NOT give them your Social Security Number (unless you feel comfortable doing so, which I can't really see that.)

 
At February 11, 2011 at 4:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad I was able to help with 2010 5 oz ATB. About two weeks ago I wanted to inform thad A-mark was accepting orders but comments were not available to post.
Any news when apmex will offer them again???? Thanks

 
At February 12, 2011 at 11:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fidelitrade still has the ATB 5 oz. available after a month! How can it be not enough people are ordering them when you can resell them to fools on Ebay for $1500?

One theory is that there are only a few thousand real collectors and most items are bought by the hundreds by flippers and dealers. Notice at any coin show every dealer has piles of every proof set, mint set, etc. When sales are limited to 1 per family, there are just not enough families to buy them all!

 
At February 12, 2011 at 4:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How you know that Fidelitrade still has them? They said at the end of the January that they "several" of them because people ordered more than one set.

 
At February 13, 2011 at 7:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fidelitrade's web site says "we still have a few left..."

 
At February 13, 2011 at 9:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This announcement from Fidelitrade website is from January 21.

 
At February 13, 2011 at 7:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is still on the web site today. My sister just sent an order.

 

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