Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Medal of Honor Gold and Silver Coins

The United States Mint will begin sales of the 2011 Medal of Honor Commemorative Coins tomorrow February 25, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. The $5 gold coins and silver dollars will be offered individually, in proof and uncirculated versions.

The program was authorized under Public Law 111-91 in order to recognize and celebrate the establishment of the Medal of Honor, America's highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed to an individual serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It also intended to honor the recipients of the Medal of Honor and promote awareness of what the Medal represents. The coins are issued on the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the award.
The 2011 Medal of Honor $5 Gold Coin depicts the original Medal of Honor authorized by Congress in 1861 as the Navy's highest personal decoration. Inscriptions include "Liberty", "In God We Trust", "Medal of Honor", and the dates "1861" and "2011".

The reverse features an image of the full figure of Minerva, holding a shield in her right hand and Union flag in her left. A field artillery cannon and wheel of the Civil War era appear behind her. The figure of Minerva is based on the central image of the original Army and Navy Medals of Honor. The inscriptions include "United States of America", "E Pluribus Unum", and "$5". The mint mark "P" appears on the uncirculated version, while "W" appears on the proof coin.

The 2011 Medal of Honor Silver Dollar includes the modern Army, Navy, and Air Force Medals of Honor. The ribbons are included to reflect the fact that the Medals are worn around the neck. Inscriptions include "In God We Trust", "Liberty", "Medal of Honor" and "1861-2011".

On the reverse is a scene of an infantry solider carrying a wounded solider to safety under enemy fire. The image is intended to convey the courage, selfless sacrifice and patriotism of Medal of Honor recipients. The inscriptions include "United States of America", "E Pluribus Unum", and "One Dollar". The uncirculated version carries the "S" mint mark, and the proof version carries the "P" mint mark.

The US Mint has not imposed household ordering limits on any of the coins. Maximum mintages of 100,000 gold coins and 500,000 silver dollars are established by the authorizing legislation. Although orders will be accepted starting tomorrow, shipping is not expected to begin until April 25, 2011.

Introductory pricing will be applicable from the start of sales until March 28, 2011 at 5:00 PM ET, after which point regular pricing will go into effect. Pricing for each option is shown below.

Intro. Regular
$5 Gold Proof $ 449.95 $ 454.95
$5 Gold Unc $ 439.95 $ 444.95
Silver Dollar Proof $ 54.95 $ 59.95
Silver Dollar Unc $ 49.95 $ 54.95

There seems to be a greater level of anticipation for the Medal of Honor Commemorative coins, as compared to the Army Commemorative Coins, which were released last month. Several readers have indicated their preference for the upcoming coins based on their designs, particularly the reverse of the $5 gold coin.

As explored previously, the Army commemorative coin sales are progressing somewhat slowly. After the typical rush of opening orders, weekly sales have ratcheted down quickly. It will be interesting to see how the Medal of Honor coins perform by comparison.

Numismatic America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver Coins

Even though the collector versions of the America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver Coins are supposed to be released in the first quarter, i.e. within one month and four days, the US Mint has still not provided details on pricing and the exact release date.

On Coin Update News, I have summarized the known information about the offering, including the authorization, mintages, special finish, and packaging. Hopefully, there will be some additional information soon, for now you can check out the article: America the Beautiful 5 Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins.

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45 Comments:

At February 24, 2011 at 2:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why won't any coin journalists report about the fact that numerous authorized purchaser has broken their legally binding agreement on how to distribute the ATB bullion coins? I think this ATB saga will have huge remifications for collectors for years to come if no one is held responsible for the fiasco.

Every authorized purchaser that broke the rules needs to be kicked out and all owners banned for life from the AP program - and before that a full audit needs to be done of course.

Known offenders:
The Gold Center - secretly sold all but 600 sets privately

Suspiciously refusing to distribute coins to public yet:
APMEX
Jack Hunt
Coins N Things

After a full audit, all offenders and offenses can be found and punished harshly... but why isn't anyone in the coin collecting media taking on this issue? The potential consequences of letting these greedy companies have their way are huge!

 
At February 24, 2011 at 3:10 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

Within other articles on Coin Update News, we've discussed the fact that some AP's still haven't distributed their coins.

There was no strict timeline provided for the distribution of the coins, so their lengthy delay is not breaking the rules.

With regards to the Gold Center, are you suggesting that they were not allowed to sell coins to their existing customers? I would say they are included within the "American public".

AP's are in the business of reselling bullion coins in bulk quantities. Frankly, I was surprised that so many of them took their allocations given the criteria for distribution.

I am sure that in the event of a "full audit" all of the AP's will be able to produce a list of 3000 names and addresses. They are not going to put their entire business at risk over these coins.

I would agree that the distribution process was terrible, but it was really caused by (1) Congress mandated a complicated bullion coin to be produced within a short time frame, (2) the US Mint ridiculously under produced the coins, (3) the US Mint made their bulk distributors distribute things one at a time.

 
At February 24, 2011 at 3:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Within other articles on Coin Update News, we've discussed the fact that some AP's still haven't distributed their coins"

.....

"There was no strict timeline provided for the distribution of the coins, so their lengthy delay is not breaking the rules."

It is quite suspicious though. It's 2011 - setting up a simple website and payment processing account can be done in a few weeks at the longest and it's not expensive. example: A-Mark.

"With regards to the Gold Center, are you suggesting that they were not allowed to sell coins to their existing customers? I would say they are included within the "American public"."

How does a company that only sells in bulk have 2,700 customers to sell all but 600 sets to one at a time?

"AP's are in the business of reselling bullion coins in bulk quantities. Frankly, I was surprised that so many of them took their allocations given the criteria for distribution."

I must have missed the part of the mint mandate that said the rules didn't apply if the APs just felt like secretly selling in bulk to CSN. My bad.

"I am sure that in the event of a "full audit" all of the AP's will be able to produce a list of 3000 names and addresses. They are not going to put their entire business at risk over these coins."

True.

"I would agree that the distribution process was terrible, but it was really caused by (1) Congress mandated a complicated bullion coin to be produced within a short time frame, (2) the US Mint ridiculously under produced the coins, (3) the US Mint made their bulk distributors distribute things one at a time."

Sort of.

... I just wish the APs would be held responsible for breaking the rules - it is a fact that they did from what is known. CSN offered over 1,000 graded at a point when only APMEX had offered sets to the public! I just think all of the coin collecting journalists and even the Mint turning a blind eye to it isn't too bad for now, but now the companies will try to pull more stunts since no one is holding them responsible!

 
At February 24, 2011 at 4:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What gets my hide, is that these APs come off very arrogantly and are insulting when the public calls to attempt to order the coins. I am referring to MTB in particular, but others were guilty of rude behavior too. If they were so put out by selling these coins to the public then why did they take an allocation??? I will never do business again with MTB because of the way I was treated by them on the phone. Frankly, they probably don't care because they don't normally deal with the public at large. I have no respect for them as a business now.

 
At February 24, 2011 at 4:34 PM , Blogger Inflationhawk said...

For anyone looking for 2011 Pennies....here is an auction for an entire box! It's not mine in case your wondering, but I found out about it on another forum site and I know people here were wondering if they would ever find a 2011 penny.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=400198025117#ht_500wt_1156

 
At February 24, 2011 at 4:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back on track here, the Medal of Honor $5 gold coins are awesome and I want to buy one, but I'm finding myself using all funds to buy other gold products (First Spouse coins) that may go up in price. I can rest assured with the price of this coin for a while since its not priced based on market gold prices. My only concern is if I wait and end up getting someone else's returned coin. Hmmm....dilemma. Plus, it seems the gold commemoratives in general have not been spectacular in secondary markets (except for the Jackie Robinson coin). This may be a great design and beautiful coin, but will the numismatic value appreciate over time or will the coin's value float back toward spot gold over time?

 
At February 24, 2011 at 5:17 PM , Anonymous VABEACHBUM said...

Anxiously awaiting the start of the MOH sales. Gonna be a winner. And if gold keeps ratcheting up, the fixed price could make it a bargain!!

Speaking of waiting... as we wait for the 2010 numismatic versions of the 5 oz ATB, I think we also need to start pressing the Mint about the 2011 issues.

The 2nd 2011 quarter (Glacier) will hit the street in about 4 weeks, yet not a single word about any 2011 bullion counterparts.

Assuming - yes I know what that implies - that the Mint has solved the manufacturing and materials issues, 100K Gettysburg Bullion and an increased number of Numismatic versions already should be available. But here we are, Week 8 of 2011; we got nada, zilch, bupkis!!

Does the Mint intend to clear out the 2010 issues, then start the 2011 products, or do we see the Mint sitting on ALL versions and quanities until the end of 2011 - and relive the nightmare all over again??

 
At February 24, 2011 at 6:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Rather the ATB 5 oz coins are being produced under under 31 U.S.C. §5111(a) (3), which grants the Secretary of the Treasury discretion to design, produce, and sell numismatic items."

If this is true then the mint never needed authorization for the 2009 Ultra High Relief Saints, the Proof Platinum Eagles, the Proof gold Buffalo coins, or any other proof coins including commemoratives.

As we know they did need that authorization so the mint is lying. I can't remember a coin where the mint did not have the legislation that directly specifies the coin be sold as a numismatic product, even if it is optional.

An example is the proof silver presidential dollars the mint wanted to produce. They waited for the legislation but never got it so didn't make them. Why didn't they just claim U.S.C. §5111(a) (3) and make them like they are doing with the 5 oz ATB coins now?

Why did the mint need authorization for proof Palladium coins then? They could have used this excuse for those too?

 
At February 24, 2011 at 6:45 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

I don't have the specifics for everything you mentioned, but there was no authorizing legislation for the 2009 UHR Double Eagle.

"The new coin is authorized under 31 U.S.C. § 5112(i)(4)(C), which allows the Secretary of the Treasury to prescribe program procedures and specifications for minting and issuing new gold coins."

That section states: "The Secretary may continue to mint and issue coins in accordance with the specifications contained in paragraphs (7), (8), (9), and (10) of subsection (a) and paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection at the same time the Secretary in minting and issuing other bullion and proof gold coins under this subsection in accordance with such program procedures and coin specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time."

So, yes the Secretary of the Treasury has broad authority to do lots of things with coins.

 
At February 24, 2011 at 9:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pop pop pop!

 
At February 24, 2011 at 11:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off-topic here, but I noticed that the Mint finally sold out of the John Adams dollars in the "direct ship" program. It appears that the seemingly endless supply of 2007 coins is finally starting to reach the bottom of the barrel after all.

Could the program possibly be winding down?

 
At February 25, 2011 at 5:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The gold $5 is nice, but the silver one just isn't a great looking coin. Better than the army commems, but just not really an eye catcher. Good thing the Mint is putting out the ATB series, otherwise we wouldn't have anything attractive to collect!

 
At February 25, 2011 at 9:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the introductory pricing subject to the spot price of gold? That is, would the quoted introductory price still be the same even if the spot price of gold has a significant increase or decrease before March 28?

 
At February 25, 2011 at 9:15 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

Prices for commemorative coins are established through publication within the Federal Register.

In the event of a substantial rise in the price of gold, the US Mint could temporarily suspend sales until new pricing could be published.

In my opinion, I don't think the US Mint would resort to this until the point at which the melt value approaches the issue price. That would be around a gold price of $1,800 per ounce.

 
At February 25, 2011 at 9:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Called my order in at 5 minutes after start time and nothing but busy signals at the mint, so I ordered on line. The order says the MOH1 is backordered.

Very curious indeed. Order was placed within minutes of acceptable order time...

Goldilocks

 
At February 25, 2011 at 10:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess no one is buy these MOH coins...

 
At February 25, 2011 at 10:51 AM , Anonymous Brian said...

I wouldn't be concerned with the mint noting that this item is "backordered". I placed an order online for one of the previous years' $5 commems (2008 or 2007) and received a notice to the same. I think it just means it won't be shipped out right away.

 
At February 25, 2011 at 11:02 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

Yes, the product page notes that shipping is not expected to begin until April 25.

 
At February 25, 2011 at 11:27 AM , Anonymous AN said...

Been on the sideline with regard to purchasing commemorative coins these past few years, but the excellent 2011 MOH gold design has drawn me out. Purchased 1 gold proof and a few silver proofs to compliment it.

 
At February 25, 2011 at 11:44 AM , Anonymous THOMAS said...

Doesn't look like the Gold MOH is a winner; probably won't be a sellout soon too.
Will wait and see if I will make a purchase

 
At February 25, 2011 at 12:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The MOH reverse that everyone loves is a take-off of the Saint-Gaudens UHR obverse.

 
At February 25, 2011 at 12:24 PM , Anonymous Brian said...

@Thomas - not a "winner" because you think the design isn't appealing or some other reason? It seems a lot of folks like this MOH design better than the Army one (at least for the $5).

I have a general question about these $5 commemoratives if anyone might know: Where does the gold come from? For the bullion coins (eagles and buffaloes), I believe the legislation mandates the gold to be from mines within the United States (and even within one year of mining). But for the commemoratives I'd have to guess the gold is just purchased on the general open market w/o consideration to country of origin? Any ideas? Thanks.

 
At February 25, 2011 at 2:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most modern $5 gold commems (1/4 oz) sell for well less than the Army and MOH gold commem in the aftermarket.
I think the Mary Lincoln may be a sleeper with an nice reverse to the coin.
Anyone know how long the Army and MOH commems will be available for?

 
At February 25, 2011 at 3:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

MOH DOesn't seem to be generating much interest on its first day sale... people giving it a miss?

 
At February 25, 2011 at 4:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mint is a Gov agency,you really expect efficiency and correctness? Don,t be foolish

 
At February 25, 2011 at 6:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The dramatic design of the MOH is wasted on the tiny size of the coin. The diameter is almost exactly the same as a NICKEL! I'm not in for this one. 1/2oz would have been around twice the price, but worth it. If you decide to purchase it, be warned, and don't think you've been nickel and dimed, just nickeled (size wise).

 
At February 25, 2011 at 8:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased 1 Gold $5.00 MOH 2 Silver MOH $1.00. today but there back ordered until April. As an Army Cold War / Gulf War vet I like these much better than the Army Commemoratives. The Marines got a winner with their 2005 commemorative silver dollar. I just think the mint could have done alot better for us G.I.'s with the Army dollar design, or maybe we have to wait another 235 years for a better design?

 
At February 26, 2011 at 4:50 PM , Anonymous ED said...

agree with most of these comments - MOH reverse design is exceptional but somewhat wasted on a small $5 coin - the mint never can seem to get it right, UHR excepted. I'm on the fence on this one, though will probably pick it up.

Mint also should have done better with the Army commem - more poor obverses, though the revs are not bad.

ED

 
At February 26, 2011 at 5:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but I saw multiple Braille silver dollars sell for less than $30 over the last few days on Ebay, both Proof and Uncirculated. Isn't the silver dollar 1 ounce with 90% silver content? That would make the melt value just above $30 each. Are they that big of a dog to not even command melt value. Wow!!!

 
At February 26, 2011 at 7:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gold is denser than silver; therefore one oz of gold is physically smaller than silver.

I have never purchased a 5oz gold comm for this reason and never will. The Army UNC may be a "winner" in terms of a super low mintage, profitable coin, but the nickel size (significantly less than the standard state/ATB quarter diam) of the gold comm truely is a waste of a nice design for the MOH comm.

I was disappointed at the "small" appearing size of the UHR, looking more like a 1/2 oz than the full oz that it is, but the 1/4 size gold commems are just too small for my aesthetics.

The MOH gold design on a one oz silver proof would have been terrific, but oh well...

 
At February 26, 2011 at 7:42 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

"Isn't the silver dollar 1 ounce with 90% silver content?"

modern commemorative silver dollars contain 0.77344 troy ounces of silver.

 
At February 27, 2011 at 2:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just canceled my MOH orders earlier.
Will wait for 5oz ATB instead

 
At February 27, 2011 at 5:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bonus! I hope others cancel or decide not to purchase the gold MOH coin. A low mintage and a great design, what could be better!

 
At February 27, 2011 at 6:42 PM , Anonymous Brian said...

I have a question about how the mint prices these coins. I purchased the $5 gold uncirculated coins from the programs in 2006, 2007, and 2008. The introductory prices were $220, $220, and $285, respectively. I looked back and the spot price of gold was $623, $653, and $918, per oz., on the days I placed my orders, respectively. So based on the gold content of these coins (0.241875 oz), I calculated the mark-up for each year to be $69, $62, and $63, respectively.

For the 2011 $5 gold Medal of Honor and Army coins, the introductory price is $440. The spot price of gold has currently been hovering around $1,400/oz. The gold content value of these coins is therefore $339, and the mark-up is a whopping $101.

My understanding is that the purchase price of these mint products is based on the cost of materials, the cost of production, and the $35 surcharge. So why the jump in the overall mark-up above melt value of around $65 in 2006/2007/2008 to all of a sudden being around $100!?

Does anyone have thoughts about this?

 
At February 27, 2011 at 9:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure the low mintage winner will be the Army gold UNC. Everyone agrees the gold MOH is a great design, but to answer the question "what could be better?", a larger coin that you don't need magnifying loupes to see the design would be better.

 
At February 28, 2011 at 6:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My understanding is that the purchase price of these mint products is based on the cost of materials, the cost of production, and the $35 surcharge. So why the jump in the overall mark-up above melt value of around $65 in 2006/2007/2008 to all of a sudden being around $100!?"

You need to redo your calculations and compare the % difference between the price of the coin vs the gold content.
In 2006, $220 price of coin divided by $150 gold content = 46% premium.

In 2007, $220 price of coin divided by $158 gold content = 39% premium.

In 2008, $285 price of coin divided by $222 gold content = 28% premium.

In 2011, $440 price of coin divided by $339 gold content = 30% premium.

So, 2008 and 2011 coins are actually a better buy than were the 2006 & 2007 coins.

As the price of gold goes higher, the dollar amount between the price of the coin and the gold content will go up. But again, you have to look at the % difference in order to make a fair comparision.

 
At February 28, 2011 at 7:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's kind of like being a real-estate agent. Prices of real estate doubled and because an agent's commission is a percentage of the sale, their pay was going up substantially even though the work they had to do remained the same. And actually on the selling agent's side, the work became easier because demand was so high. Nice business to be in when prices go up.

 
At February 28, 2011 at 7:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like the gig may be up on 2010 ATB silver quarter sets. "This product is temporarily unavailable." has been posted on the Mint's website. I noticed this morning when I went buy another first spouse gold coin before prices go up this week. I was planning on adding a couple of the 2010 ATB silver quarter sets to my order.

 
At February 28, 2011 at 9:30 AM , Anonymous Brian said...

Thanks to the 6:28 AM this morning responder.

However, I'm not sure how this is justified or how you substantiate that this is the correct way to evaluate this cost increase. The bottom line is that the cost of production of the coins at the mint and the surcharge should be relatively the same as they were in 2006/2007/2008. There is no reason I can see that the increase should be based on a percent of melt value. What logic drives this, if in fact this is the mint's pricing framework?

cost of materials + cost of production + surcharge = purchase price

If only cost of materials went up significantly between 2006/2007/2008 (i.e., price of gold), then the new price should be reflected in that increase alone, since cost of production and the surcharge should be nearly constant.

This would be a transparent and logical basis for pricing. Not a percentage above the melt value. Something is just not adding up here.

 
At February 28, 2011 at 9:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This product is temporarily unavailable." probably means the Mint is raising the price of the 2010 ATB silver quarter sets.

 
At February 28, 2011 at 9:55 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

In the past two years, the US Mint has raised prices for literally every numismatic product. This not only includes gold and silver products, but also clad composition coins.

http://mintnewsblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/2011-us-mint-product-prices.html

So, I think the prices for this year's commemroatives reflect the broad expansion in premiums that have taken place for all products.

The US Mint hasn't publicly provided any justification, other than a few mentions of material costs.

It may be the fact that products are selling in lower numbers than three years ago. Fixed costs must be allocated over a smaller number of units.

Or the US Mint simply wants to make higher profits. In the last fiscal year despite a drop in sales and 25% reduction in customer base their net income from numismatic products was up 21%.

http://news.coinupdate.com/united-states-mint-numismatic-program-profit-rises-despite-decline-in-revenue-0625/

As I have said in some past posts, I don't think their price increases are justified and some products have become out of reach or impractical to order.

 
At February 28, 2011 at 10:09 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Econ 101:Total profit= profit X sales. Lower sales requires higher profit/sale to maintain total profit.

Core buyers (dealers/ flippers/ dedicated collectors) will buy almost no matter what price.

As the the MOH size issue, I think the issue is that a "newbee" may not realize the "nickle size" gold MOH (or any other $5 gold comm), until it arrives in the mail since the size is not clearly depicted on the mint purchase site. Not that it is Michael's job to do do, but even on his present article, the schematics of the silver and gold are shown as the same size.
The silver one oz. comm is actually almost twice the diameter as the gold, and the silver comm is actually over three times the surface area of the gold (using pi r squared formula).
And yes, the nice MOH gold design is not available in a silver comm.

 
At March 1, 2011 at 5:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just give the gold MOH a miss. Too small for my taste and only one side of it looks ok to me.

But I wonder what coins will be worthy of purchase this year? 5oz ATB?

 
At March 1, 2011 at 11:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael,
Any word on the numismatic version of the 5ozers?

Gold "popping" again, upward.
Prices going up tomorrow.
Gold spouse coins look like lock-ins for low mintages.

 
At March 10, 2011 at 8:02 PM , Anonymous weasle94 said...

Would be nice if the MOH coins came in a set

 

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