Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Andrew Johnson Presidential $1 Coin Cover

Sales of the Andrew Johnson Presidential Dollar Coin Cover will begin at the United States Mint on March 31 ,2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will represent the 17th release in the ongoing American Presidency $1 Coin Cover series.
The basic format of the product remains the same with the inclusion of two 2011 Andrew Johnson Presidential Dollars from the first day of mintage at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. The coins are mounted on an illustrated display card with a stamp and postmark cancellation from the official circulation release date. In this case, the post mark is February 17, 2011, Greeneville, TN.

As mentioned in a previous post, the US Mint has changed the design of the envelope to reflect their new branding. A black bar appears at the bottom of the envelope with the US Mint and Treasury Department logos. The portrait of the President appears in smaller size next to the coins.

Pricing for the product has been increased to $19.95 for each cover, plus shipping and handling. Last year, the Presidential Dollar First Day Covers were priced at $15.95 each.

The maximum production limit for the covers has been decreased to 22,000 units. Since the introduction of the series, the US Mint has reduced the product limit in line with the declining sales. The 2007 issues began with limits of 50,000 units, which achieved sell outs for the first three issues. The limit was lowered to 40,000 for the 2009 covers, and 32,000 for the 2008 covers, with the exception of the Abraham Lincoln Coin Cover set at 37,000 units.

Can the Andrew Johnson cover achieve a sell out with the lower production limit? The first 2010 cover featuring Millard Fillmore has already sold 22,171 units, supporting the possibility. However, the continuing attrition for the series, price increase, and possibly the packaging redesign might serve to weigh on sales.
New Coin Grader Capsule: Old Green Holders

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 Silver Eagles - Bullion, Proof, Uncirculated, and 25th Anniversary?

One of the US Mint's most popular offerings is the American Silver Eagle. After a few years of turbulence, it appears that the US Mint is prepared to issue all three anticipated versions of the 2011 Silver Eagle. This includes the regular bullion coins, which have already been released, and the collectible proof and uncirculated versions, scheduled to be released later in the year.

2011 Silver Eagle Bullion Coins

The bullion versions of the 2011 American Silver Eagles first went on sale to authorized purchasers on January 3, 2011. Following the typical procedures for the program, the authorized purchasers are able to buy the coins directly from the US Mint in bulk quantities based on the silver value plus a premium of $2 per coin. The bullion coins are then resold to other dealers for broader distribution to the public.

From the start of sales, the US Mint's allocation program has been in place, which serves to ration the available supply of coins amongst the authorized purchasers. The US Mint has used this program at times when demand for silver bullion coins exceeds the available supply.

In the month of January, sales reached an astounding 6,422,000 coins, setting a new record for monthly sales. The number of coins sold in the following months dropped, although this might be attributable to the impact of allocation rather than a decline in demand. Through the current date, sales have reached 12,429,000.

CoinWorld recently reported that the San Francisco Mint will strike Silver Eagle bullion coins starting in May. For more than ten years, the coins have only been produced at the West Point Mint. Although the bullion coins won't carry a mint mark to denote the source, I could see some sellers trying to differentiate the coins, especially if pick up from the San Francisco Mint can be arranged.

At this point, it seems likely that Silver Eagle bullion coin sales will break another annual record. Since 2008, annual sales have set successive record highs. For the 2010 calendar year, Silver Eagle bullion coin sales were 34,662,500.

2011 Silver Eagle Proof Coins

Collectors will remember that the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle was canceled by the US Mint amidst an extended period of high bullion demand. Because the Mint was required to strike the bullion coins in quantities necessary to meet public demand, all incoming precious metals blanks were diverted to bullion production and collector programs suspended and eventually canceled.

In the following year, another cancellation threatened to occur. However, a lull in bullion demand during August and September allowed the 2010 Proof Silver Eagles to be produced. The coins went on sale November 19 and sold out on December 28. The last reported sales were 860,000.

The 2011 Proof Silver Eagle has a release date of June 30, 2011. When the US Mint first provided its scheduled product listing for the year, an exact date was not provided.

There is much more certainty behind this year's offering than prior years. Late in 2010, a bill was signed into law which changed the legal requirements for American Gold and Silver Eagle coins. Previously, the bullion coins were required to be produced in quantities sufficient to meet public demand. After the change, the law directs the coins to be minted in "quantities and qualities that the Secretary [of the Treasury] determines are sufficient to meet public demand."

The US Mint (via the Secretary of the Treasury) seems to be ready and willing to use this authority to provide for collector coin production.

2011 Silver Eagle Uncirculated Coins

The second collectible version of the American Silver Eagle, previously issued from 2006 to 2008, seems poised to make a come back this year. The US Mint indicates that the 2011-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle is scheduled to be released in "early fall."

These coins are struck on burnished blanks and carry the "W" mint mark. As a collector offering, the coins are available for sale directly from the US Mint and priced at a premium to the precious metal value. In the three years of issue so far, the coins have always had a lower mintage than the proof versions.

For both 2009 and 2010, the collectible uncirculated versions had been canceled due to bullion demand.

25th Anniversary Silver Eagles?

In 2006, the United States Mint released special sets to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the American Gold and Silver Eagles. The 20th Anniversary Silver Eagle Set included proof, uncirculated, and reverse proof versions of the coin. With a maximum production of 250,000 units and a unique coin included, the sets were extremely popular. A sell out occurred quickly and prices rose on the secondary market.

As this year is the 25th anniversary of the Silver Eagle, it would certainly be appropriate to celebrate the event with a special set or special version of the coin. Under the modified law covering American Silver Eagles, the door is open to creating such a product despite high bullion demand. Let's hope the US Mint takes this opportunity to create something unique and appealing for collectors this year.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

2010 ATB Silver Bullion Coins Available

A few of the US Mint's authorized purchasers have just made their 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins available for purchase. This is likely in response to the US Mint requirement that AP's must sell their entire allotment of 2010-dated coins in order to be eligible to order the upcoming 2011 releases.

While previous sales by AP's have sometimes been complicated by requirements to call or place orders at a specific time or provide social security numbers, the latest availability is comparatively more streamlined.

Jack Hunt Coin Brokers is accepting orders at the site The price is $860.20 plus $88.00 shipping. Coins shipped to New York addresses are subject to sales tax and payments must be made by money order. The total cost is actually just a little bit higher than the spot price of silver. Ironically, these low mintage coins are one of the lowest premium methods to purchase .999 fine silver, while they last.

Update: A message on the website now indicates that the online store is sold out. More sets may be available after assessing inventory.

MTB has placed coins up for sale on eBay listed at $1,025 per set with free shipping. Their listings can be found under their username MTBcoins. The price is higher than JHCB, but I suppose they have factored in commissions and shipping costs.

Update: After selling 400 sets, in four separate listings, MTB has not put up another listing. That might be it from them.

For anyone who has been considering purchasing the 2010 America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins, here is an opportunity. In accordance with the US Mint's terms, each AP limits orders to one per household. Be sure to read the full conditions outlined by each seller and make sure that you comply and are eligible to purchase.

Update: Another AP, Coins N Things will be taking orders by phone Saturday, April 2, 2011 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 Noon. View their website for more information.

A few weeks back, they also accepted orders by phone for a brief period. Some readers reported that they were unable to get through despite calling repeatedly for the entire period. Those who did place orders were required to buy an additional amount of pre-1965 silver coinage to make the total price $1,100.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Pricing

The introductory pricing for the 2011 Medal of Honor Commemorative Coins will only be in effect for a few more days. After March 28, 2011 at 5:00 PM ET, the prices for each of the available gold and silver coins will be increased.

Modern commemorative coins have typically been offered by the United States Mint at reduced prices during a pre-issue or introductory period. At the end of the period, regular pricing goes into effect.

The extent of the price increase after the introductory period has varied by program and denomination. Last year, the commemorative silver dollars increased in price by $2 for unciculated versions and $4 for proof versions. The last time commemorative gold coins were available in 2008, prices increased by $25 per coin.

For the Medal of Honor Coins the increase will be a consistent $5 increase across all options. This will make the change more significant on a percentage basis for the silver dollars. The introductory pricing and the regular pricing effective after 5:00 PM ET on Monday 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

The pace of sales for commemorative coins usually seems to drop off to a base level after the end of the introductory period. So far, sales levels for Medal of Honor coins have been somewhat tepid as compared to other issues from recent years. This could be the impact of the higher prices, the increased number of commemorative coins for the current year, the general decline in the US Mint's customer base, or a combination of the factors.

Sales figures through March 20, 2011 are shown below.

$5 Gold Proof 9,958
$5 Gold Unc 3,862
Silver Dollar Proof 61,906
Silver Dollar Unc 26,247


2011 Native American Dollar Rolls

The next US Mint product to go on sale will be the 2011 Native American Dollar Rolls. Sales will begin on March 28, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET.

The reverse design of the 2011 Native American Dollar represents the initiation of the first written peace alliance between the Wampanoag Tribe and European settlers with a depiction of the hands of the Massasoit and Governor John Carver exchanging the ceremonial peace pipe. The obverse of the coin features the depiction of Sacagawea and child introduced in 2000 and used for the Sacagawea Dollar series.

The US Mint will offer 25-coin rolls from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mint facility. The coins are packaged in wrappers bearing the US Mint logo along with the date, mint mark, and face value. Each roll is priced at $39.95 plus applicable shipping and handling. This reflects a $4 per roll increase from the pricing effective for last year's issue.

One week ago, the US Mint began selling 2011 Native American Dollars through the Direct Ship Program. This program allows the coins to be ordered in boxes of 250 at face value with no charge for shipping.

While personally, I would opt for the Direct Ship coins available at face value, the US Mint continues to sell a relatively high number of the numismatic rolls, priced at a premium. For the 2010 Native American Dollar numismatic rolls, sales have reached 39,138 Philadelphia rolls and 38,818 Denver rolls.

The arguable benefits of the numismatic rolls are availability in smaller quantities (lower pricing point), the ability to select a specific mint mark, and the US Mint's custom wrapper, which sometimes yields a premium on the secondary market.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More First Spouse Gold Coins Sold Out

Two of more of the 2010 First Spouse Gold Coins are now listed as sold out on the US Mint's website. The latest coins to sell out are the uncirculated versions of the Abigail Fillmore and Jane Pierce coins. Earlier sell outs included the proof versions of the Buchanan's Liberty and Jane Pierce coins.

The Abigail Fillmore coins originally went on sale March 18, 2010, resulting in just over a year of availability. The Jane Piece coins went on sale June 3, 2010, resulting in about nine and a half months of availability.

When the first of the 2010 issues started to sell out, it came as somewhat of a surprise. After the first year of the series, most issues followed a typical pattern of availability. Since none of the coins ever reached the maximum established mintage of 40,000 coins, they remained available "for approximately one year." In practice, the US Mint would end sales to coincide with the release of the issue one year ahead in the schedule.

For the 2010 releases, the US Mint reduced the maximum mintages to 15,000 per issue across proof and uncirculated versions, with the exception of the Mary Todd Lincoln coins which were set higher at 20,000.

The Mint apparently did not strike the coins to the full maximum mintage, but rather based on demand forecasts. It's becoming obvious that these forecasts have fallen very short of the mark. Currently, only four out of the eight coins issued for 2010 remain available: Proof Abigail Fillmore, Uncirculated Buchanan's Liberty, and the Proof and Uncirculated Mary Todd Lincoln coins.

Despite the early sell outs, none of the 2010 issues will establish a new mintage low for the First Spouse Gold Coin series. The last reported sales figures for each coin are shown below.

Unc Proof Total
2007 Martha Washington 20,000 20,000 40,000
2007 Abigail Adams 20,000 20,000 40,000
2007 Thomas Jefferson’s Liberty 20,000 20,000 40,000
2007 Dolley Madison 12,541 18,355 30,896

2008 Elizabeth Monroe 4,519 7,933 12,452
2008 Louisa Adams 4,223 7,454 11,677
2008 Andrew Jackson’s Liberty 4,754 7,806 12,560
2008 Martin Van Buren’s Liberty 4,334 7,515 11,849

2009 Anna Harrison 3,537 6,250 9,787
2009 Letitia Tyler 3,152 5,163 8,315
2009 Julia Tyler 2,861 4,830 7,691
2009 Sarah Polk 3,501 5,157 8,658
2009 Margaret Taylor 3,430 4,787 8,024

2010 Abigail Fillmore 3,663 5,874 9,537
2010 Jane Pierce 3,491 4,843 8,334
2010 James Buchanan’s Liberty 5,579 7,304 12,883
2010 Mary Todd Lincoln 2,709 5,639 8,348


Quick US Mint News Updates

2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins

Within communications to their authorized purchasers, the United States Mint previously indicated that production levels for the 2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins would be "substantially higher" than for the previous year.

A recent article in Numismatic News put the total production for the first 2011 release featuring Gettysburg National Military Park at 125,000 units. This compares to production of 33,000 units for each of the 2010 designs.

By nearly quadrupling the number of coins available, the nature of the offering will certainly be very different this year. The coins are more likely to be priced and purchased as bullion, although there will of course be collectors who continue to pursue the series. The low mintage status of the 2010 issues will also be solidified.

James Buchanan's Liberty Gold Coins

The uncirculated version of the James Buchanan's Liberty Gold Coin seems to be approaching a sell out.

Following the unexpected sell out of the proof version of the coin, the US Mint indicated that a total of 13,000 coins had been produced across both versions. This level, which is below the maximum stated mintage, had been established based on demand forecasts.

The last reported sales for the proof version of the coins was 7,304. For the uncirculated version, the US Mint just reported weekly sales of 493 coins, bringing the total to 5,579. Together, this comes to 12,883.

View the full US Mint sales report.

Andrew Johnson $1 Coin Cover

Full images of the first of the Presidential $1 Coin Covers with the US Mint's new branding were recently posted on the website. Whereas other products have been switched from the previous colorful packaging to the new black and/or white color scheme, the new packaging for this product is a mix of the old and new.

The top two thirds of the cover retain the American flag background, while the bottom one third is a black bar with the Treasury Department Seal and the US Mint logo. The portrait of the President has been reduced in size and floats disembodied next to the coins. While arguments can be made for or against the new branding as applied to other product types, this one just doesn't look right.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Prices Raised for Some US Mint Silver Products

The US Mint has just made effective pricing changes for certain products with silver coins. This includes the 2010 Silver Proof Set, 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set, and the upcoming 2011 Quarters Silver Proof Set.

The change comes in response to the rising market price of silver. During 2010, the price of silver gained more than 80%. For the year to date, silver is up about 14.5%.

In a recent post, I made mention of the fact that with higher silver prices, some currently available US Mint products had melt values approaching their product prices. The opportunity proved brief, as one of the products was suspended about a week later, and the other product closest to melt had its price adjusted today.

The pricing adjustments are as follows:

Previous New Change
2010 Silver Proof Set 56.95 64.95 +8.00
2010 Quarters Silver Proof Set 32.95 39.95 +7.00
2011 Quarters Silver Proof Set 39.95 41.95 +2.00

The 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set is not yet available at the US Mint. Sales are scheduled to begin on March 29, 2011. The previous price was published in the Federal Register in January when the US Mint published prices for this year's products.

The price for the 2011 Silver Proof Set remains unchanged at $67.95.


2011 Native American Dollars Added to Direct Ship

Rolls of the 2011 Native American Dollars are now available through the United States Mint's Direct Ship Program. The program allows $1 coins to be purchased at face value for the intended purpose of introducing them into circulation.

The 2011 Native American Dollar is the third year of the series which celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of Native Americans. A different reverse design is used each year, paired with the obverse portrait of Sacagawea by Glenna Goodacre. The theme for this year's design is "Diplomacy - Treaties with Tribal Nations." The design by Richard Masters shows the hands of the Supreme Sachem Ousamequin Massasoit and Governor John Carver exchanging the ceremonial peace pipe.

Availability through the Direct Ship Program comes ahead of the launch ceremony for the coin, as well as the numismatic roll offering. The official launch ceremony for the coin is planned for March 25 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The 25-coin numismatic rolls, which are sold at $39.95 per roll, will not be available until March 28. The 2011 Native American Dollars have already been released within the US Mint's annual sets released in January and early February. The coins in these sets feature a proof or brilliant finish.

The Direct Ship Rolls are available in boxes containing ten 25-coin rolls, for a total $250 face value. The coins may be purchased at face value with no additional charge for shipping and handling. By placing an order, the customer agrees that they will comply with the intended purpose of the program.

There is a limit of 4-boxes ($1,000 face value) for every 10 day period.

Other designs available through the Direct Ship Program include 2001 Sacagawea Dollars, 2010 Native American Dollars, and the Presidential Dollars featuring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln. The US Mint product page can be accessed here.
Coin Update News: 2011-W Gold and Silver Eagles


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set

The United States Mint will begin sales of the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set tomorrow, on March 17, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET.

The set includes the clad proof versions of the five quarters issued for this year. Each set includes the following:

2011-S Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter
2011-S Glacier National Park Quarter
2011-S Olympic National Park Quarter
2011-S Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter
2011-S Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter

The coins are all struck in proof format at the San Francisco Mint and carry the "S" mint mark. Each of the coins has previously been released within the 2011 Proof Set, which went on sale January 11, 2011.

Packaging for the 2011 Quarters Proof Set has changed from the prior year to match the US Mint's newly adopted branding. Each set is priced at $14.95, unchanged from the prior year. This is one of only a few of this year's products that did not have a price increase.

Since the start of the 50 State Quarters Program, the US Mint has offered a separate proof set containing all of the quarters issued for the year. For some years, the product was very popular with sales exceeding 1 million units. Recently, the popularity of the product has declined. The 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set has sold 262,163 units since going on sale May 13, 2010. This product is expected to remain on sale as the US Mint releases this year's edition of the set.
Coin Update News: US Mint Sales Report


Monday, March 14, 2011

US Mint Coin Production February 2011

Circulating coin production at the United States Mint fell compared to the previous month, but remains well ahead of year ago levels. Total production across both the Philadelphia and Denver Mint facilities was 523.14 million coins.

Last month, production was higher at 764.63 million. Last year, in February 2010, the US Mint had only struck 194.4 million coins.

Production took place across all denominations except for the half dollar. Dollar coin production consisted of Native American Dollars only, with no Presidential Dollars reported struck.

The table below shows a breakdown of production by coin and mint facility for the most recent month, as well as the current year to date total.

2011 US Mint Coin Production Figures

February 2011 YTD 2011
Lincoln Cent - Denver 144.00 M 407.20 M
Lincoln Cent - Phil. 192.00 M 326.80 M
Jefferson Nickel - Denver 2.88 M 80.16 M
Jefferson Nickel - Phil. 29.28 M 45.12 M
Roosevelt Dime - Denver 29.00 M 139.00 M
Roosevelt Dime - Phil. 62.50 M 82.50 M
Quarters - Denver 11.80 M 42.20 M
Quarters - Phil. 30.40 M 61.20 M
Kennedy Half - Denver 0 1.70 M
Kennedy Half - Phil. 0 1.75 M
Native Am Dollar - Denver 13.44 M 18.06 M
Native Am Dollar - Phil. 7.84 M 9.52 M
Pres Dollar - Denver 0 37.10 M
Pres Dollar - Phil. 0 35.56 M

Total 523.14 M 1,287.87 M

As is typically the case, the one cent coin accounted for the largest percentage of coin production. Across both facilities there were 336 million Lincoln Cents produced, accounting to about 64% of all coins struck during the month. The pace of production is ahead of last year when the final mintage was just over 4 billion.

Production of nickels and dimes slowed compared to the previous month, particularly for nickels. The five cent denomination has received some attention recently since the intrinsic value of the copper and nickel composition exceeds its face value. Following the passage of the Coin Modernization, Oversight, and Continuity Act of 2010, the US Mint recently requested public comment on factors to be considered as they begin metallic coinage materials research.

Quarter production remained around the low levels experienced since the start of the America the Beautiful Quarters program. The reduced production is presumably in response to decreased coinage orders from the Federal Reserve Banks, who have indicated an abundance of quarters within their inventory.

Native American Dollar production was higher, allowing the US Mint to catch up with their requirement that at least 20% of all dollar coins produced each year must be Native American Dollars.

The US Mint has posted final production figures for the Andrew Johnson Presidential Dollar. There were 37.1 million coins struck at Denver and 35.56 struck at Philadelphia for a total of 72.66 million. This marks another fresh mintage low for the series.

Coingrader Capsule: Disclosing No-Grade Data in Population Reports


Friday, March 11, 2011

2011 Gold Buffalo Bullion Coins

On Monday, March 14, 2011, the United States Mint will begin accepting orders from authorized purchasers for the 2011 American Gold Buffalo bullion coins. This will represent an earlier start than the prior two years.

In 2009, the US Mint was not able to release the Gold Buffalo bullion coins until October 15. The situation improved last year, when the coins were first available on April 29.

Since upcoming release will be for the bullion version of the coin, sales will take place through the US Mint's authorized purchaser network. The primary distributors approved for gold bullion purchases will be able to order the coins from the Mint in bulk quantities based on the market price of gold plus a mark up. The coins will then be resold for broader distribution to the public.

The US Mint has indicated that there will be a "sufficient quantity" of the coins available, so the allocation program (rationing) will not be necessary.

Since the start of the series in 2006, mintages for the bullion versions of the American Gold Buffalo have been high enough so that there are no significant premiums attached to any of the issues.

Gold Buffalo Bullion Coin Mintages
2006 337,012
2007 136,503
2008 189,500
2009 200,000
2010 209,000

The collector version of the 2011 Gold Buffalo is expected to go on sale May 19, 2011. These will be sold directly to the public since they are numismatic products. The US Mint is expected to offer a one ounce proof version of the coin only. This has been the typical collector offering for the series with the exception of the 2008-W Gold Buffalo Coins, which were available in proof and uncirculated versions, across four different weights.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

ATB Silver Bullion Coin Update

As just reported on Coin Update News, the US Mint has released some preliminary information on the 2011-dated America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins. They have also provided a strong incentive for slow moving authorized purchasers to distribute their 2010-dated coins.

This series of over-sized silver bullion coins features the same designs as the current circulating quarter dollars. The ATB silver bullion coins have been the subject of much controversy due to the nature of last year's release.

On December 1, 2010, the US Mint provided details of the 2010-dated releases. All five designs would be released at the same time and have mintages of 33,000 units each. This unexpectedly low number generated excitement with many collectors. Just before the US Mint was scheduled to begin sales, one of their authorized purchasers began accepting pre-orders at a price reflecting a high premium above the acquisition cost. Customers complained and the US Mint halted the offering.

When the program relaunched, the AP's were required to agree to terms and conditions in order to receive their distributions. They would be required to distribute all coins directly to the public, limit to one coin per design per household, and could not charge premiums in excess of 10% of the acquisition cost.

Nine of the AP's agreed to the terms and ordered their allocations from the Mint. In the following weeks and months, the sales procedures utilized by many of the AP's left much to be desired. Several have still not finished selling their allocations. To my knowledge the AP's who have not sold all of their 2010 ATB Silver Bullion Coins are: Jack Hunt Coin Brokers, APMEX, and Coins N Things.

This year, the circumstances of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins should be much different. The US Mint has indicated that they intend to issue the coins in "substantially higher" quantities. Hopefully, this will allow the coins to be viewed more like bullion coins (as intended) rather than numismatic rarities.

In line with the higher mintages, the US Mint will not be imposing terms and conditions similar to those used for the 2010-dated releases.

The first design of the year featuring Gettysburg National Military Park is anticipated to be released in late April. This suggests that each design will be released individually during the year, rather than all at once.

Authorized purchasers who wish to participate in the distribution of these coins must certify that they have sold all 2010-dated coins in compliance with the terms and conditions imposed. Once they have certified that all of their original allocation has sold, they can then buy and sell 2010-dated coins under normal procedures and receive allocations of 2011-dated coins.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

2012-2014 Commemorative Coins

With no new US Mint product releases scheduled until later next week, I wanted to take a post to explore some distant future coin releases. Specifically, this will include commemorative coin programs which have already been approved for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Commemorative coins are authorized by Congress. Under current law, Congress may only authorize two commemorative coin programs per year. In general, each program includes one to three different coins, with stated maximum authorized mintages. Legislation frequently includes specific requirements related to the design, inscriptions which will appear on the coins, mint facilities to be used, and the period of minting or issuance. The beneficiary of the surcharges raised from each program is also specified.

Two programs each have been approved for 2012 and 2013. One program has been approved for 2014.

2012 Commemorative Coins

The first program will commemorate the legacy of the United States Army Infantry and the establishment of the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. Silver dollars will be issued with a maximum mintage of 350,000 coins in proof and uncirculated versions.

Designs for the silver dollar "shall be emblematic of the courage, pride, sacrifice, sense of duty, and history of the United States Infantry." The legislation recommends that the coins be struck at the West Point Mint.

A separate program will mark the bicentennial of the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States of America. This program will include silver dollars with a maximum mintage of 500,000 and $5 gold coins with a maximum mintage of 100,000.

The authorizing legislation provides that the designs "shall be emblematic of the War of 1812 and particularly the Battle for Baltimore that formed the basis for the Star-Spangled Banner." Only one US Mint facility may be used to strike any particular quality of the coins, meaning at least two different facilities will be used.

2013 Commemorative Coins

The first program authorized for this year will commemorate the centennial of the establishment of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Only silver dollars will be issued, with a maximum mintage of 350,000 coins.

Minimal guidance with regards to design is provided within the legislation, which states that designs "shall be emblematic of the centennial of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America."

During the same year, commemorative coins will be issued to recognize the five United States Army 5-Star Generals, George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry Arnold, and Omar Bradley. The program will include $5 gold coins with a maximum mintage of 100,000, silver dollars limited to 500,000, and clad half dollars limited to 750,000.

The designs may prove somewhat unusual, as the legislation requires that "the design of the coins shall include portraits of Generals George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry “Hap” Arnold and Omar N. Bradley." If all five portraits must appear on each coin, this will make for a crowded design.

2014 Commemorative Coins

So far only one commemorative coin program has been approved for 2014. The subject of commemoration is the semicentennial of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The program includes silver dollars issued in a quantity of up to 350,000.

Designs "shall be emblematic of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its contribution to civil rights in America."

Introduced Legislation

Within the 112th Congress, there have been two bills introduced for proposed commemorative coin programs. One would mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Ronald Reagan (which occurred in 2011) with silver dollars issued in 2017.

The other would commemorate the 225th anniversary of the establishment of the United States Marshals service (which occurs in 2014) with $5 gold coins, silver dollars, and half dollars issued in 2015.

Bills for similar programs were introduced previously, but did not become law.
Coin Update News: US Mint Sales Report


Friday, March 4, 2011

September 11th Silver Medal Designs

Later this year, the United States Mint will issue silver medals in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the establishment of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center.

Originally, there had been proposals for commemorative coins, but after two programs were already authorized for 2011, another bill was introduced seeking National Medals. This bill was passed by the House of Representatives and Senate and signed by the President on August 6, 2010 to become Public Law 111-221.

Each September 11th Medal will contain one ounce of silver. The maximum authorized mintage is set at 2 million. A recommendation is included that one half of the medals should be struck at West Point and one half at Philadelphia. The law states that the design "shall be emblematic of the courage, sacrifice, and strength of those individuals who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the bravery of those who risked their lives to save others that day, and the endurance, resilience, and hope of those who survived."

The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) recently reviewed the 10 obverse design candidates and 16 reverse design candidates provided by the United States Mint.
Both the CFA and the CCAC recommended the obverse design shown above. The figure of Liberty holds a Lamp of Remembrance. Two shapes in the background represent the Twin Towers and inscriptions read "Always Remember" and "2001-2011".

The CFA made a recommendation that the circle around the flame should be removed since it is "an unnecessary and distracting feature." They also recommended removing the shapes in the background since the medal commemorates events at multiple locations.
The CFA recommended the reverse design pictured above. The eagle is intended to symbolize the strength of the survivors and all Americans while the background depicts falling water, reminiscent of the waterfalls at the Memorial. The quote "No Day Shall Erase Your From the Memory of Time" is from Virgil's Aeneid.

The CCAC recommended an alternative candidate that features the same basic design but includes the words "Honor" and "Hope" rather than the quote.

Final design selections will be made by the Secretary of the Treasury.

The US Mint has previously indicated that they intend to release the medals close to the anniversary date. The authorizing legislation allows the medals to be struck until December 31, 2012. There is no sales ending date indicated.

The price of each medal will include a $10 surcharge payable to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center to support operations and maintenance following its completion.

For images of all obverse and reverse design candidates for the September 11th Silver Medals, as well as specific coverage of the CCAC's discussions, please read today's article on Coin Update News.


Proof Jane Pierce First Spouse Coin Sold Out

The US Mint's website is now showing the proof version of the 2010 Jane Pierce First Spouse Gold Coin as sold out. These coins originally went on sale June 3, 2010.

The maximum authorized mintage across both proof and uncirculated versions was set at 15,000. As of the most recent sales report, the US Mint had sold 4,828 proof coins and 3,238 uncirculated coins for a combined total of 8,066.

The final sales for the Jane Pierce proof coin will be amongst the lowest for a proof issue of the series so far. The proof version of the Margaret Taylor coin had last reported sales of 4,787, and the proof Julia Tyler had last reported sales of 4,830.

In the past, First Spouse Gold Coins have generally remained on sale until the entire maximum mintage had been sold or for approximately one year. For the latter criteria, the sales ending date has typically coincided with the release date for a new issue of the series.

After the similar, unexpected sell out for the proof version of the James Buchanan's Liberty Gold Coin, it now seems that the US Mint has under estimated the demand for some of the 2010 issues. Since the US Mint cannot strike more of the 2010-dated coins, sales are only able to continue as long as supplies remain available.

About a week before the current sell out, a reader had noticed that the proof Jane Pierce coins were shown as back ordered on the US Mint website. At various times, this status has suggested various things, but in this case it preceded a sell out. Currently, the uncirculated version of the Abigail Fillmore First Spouse Gold Coins are showing backorder status.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yosemite Quarter Three Coin Set

Today March 3, 2011, the US Mint will begin taking orders for the 2010 Yosemite National Park Quarter Three Coin Set. The US Mint introduced the product type in mid-November, so the remaining sets featuring 2010-dated coins are being released in 2011.
Each set includes one uncirculated Yosemite Quarter each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, and one proof Yosemite Quarter from the San Francisco Mint. The three coins are mounted on a plastic card designed with the US Mint's new branding. The reverse of the card contains a simple description of the park and a certificate of authenticity.

The price of each set is $14.95 plus applicable shipping and handling. Although this is quite a steep price to pay for three quarters, the US Mint has sold the prior two releases in decent quantities.

According to the latest sales report, customers purchased 16,276 of the Hot Springs Quarter Three Coin Sets and 15,834 of the Yellowstone Quarter Three Coin Sets.

In hand, the product looks nice, but it's priced very expensive and contains coins already released within several other products. If these previous products are purchased instead, the same coins can be acquired at a fraction of the price. Nonetheless, the packaged three coin sets seem to be resonating with at least a small group of collectors.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Quick US Mint News Updates

There are a number of recent developments related to US Mint numismatic products that I wanted to cover. As in the past, I will provide a quick update of various items within a single post.

Numismatic Gold Product Price Increase

Based on the average London Fix prices since last Thursday, it is likely that the prices for US Mint numismatic gold products will be increased on tomorrow. This excludes the commemorative gold coins, which are not subject to the pricing policy that allows weekly adjustments.

The price of the 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo would be increased from $1,660 to $1,710 per coin. The prices for available First Spouse Gold Coins would be increased from $854 to $879 for proof coins and from $841 to $866 for uncirculated coins. These will represent the highest prices on record for each of the offerings.

A price increase would be avoided if the Wednesday PM London Fix price of gold is below $1,400 per ounce.

2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set

In a recent post, I provided figures on the silver content and values of US Mint products, highlighting the fact that for certain products the melt value was approaching the issue price.

Based on the current market price of silver, the silver value of the five 90% silver quarters included in the 2010 ATB Quarters Silver Proof Set is now $31.37. This compares to the last available product price of $32.95.

A reader reported on Sunday evening that the US Mint had changed the status of the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set to "This product is temporarily unavailable."

In all likelihood, the US Mint has suspended sales in order to adjust the product price. Annual sets and commemorative coins are not covered by the US Mint's pricing policy, which allows weekly adjustments to be made. Rather new prices are established through publication within the Federal Register, which can take several weeks to occur.

Eliza Johnson First Spouse Gold Coin

Before the end of the last year, the US Mint provided release dates for nearly all 2011 numismatic products. The Eliza Johnson First Spouse Gold Coin was listed with a release date of March 3, 2011. The product schedule currently on the US Mint's website shows the coins listed as "TBD".

Release dates provided on the US Mint's scheduled product listing are always subject to change. In several prior instances the release dates for First Spouse Gold Coins have been delayed with no explanation provided.

For this situation, the delay might be due to the fact that the US Mint provided a second set of design candidates to the CFA and CCAC, following criticism of the initial candidates. This extended period of time needed for the design selection stage may have delayed subsequent steps.

It is very disheartening for collectors of the series to endure the delay, while prices move upwards.

Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Sales

The new weekly US Mint numismatic sales report contains the debut figures for the 2011 Medal of Honor Commemorative coins, as well as several other newly released products.

From February 25 to February 27, 2011, the US Mint sold 4,699 proof $5 gold coins and 1,890 uncirculated gold coins, for a total of 6,589. Sales of the silver dollars were 25,156 proof coins and 10,346 uncirculated coins for a total of 35,502.

These numbers are below the initial sales levels of the 2011 U.S. Army Commemorative Coins. This may be due to the fact that the initial sales period for the Army coin program covered nearly a full week, while the Medal of Honor coin sales cover just two days.

Sales figures for both of these program will bear watching throughout the rest of the year. The authorizing legislation for each program allows the coins to be issued only during the 1-year period beginning January 1, 2011 (or until the maximum authorized mintage has been sold). The US Mint typically pre-announces a sales ending date in mid-December to allow time for order processing and delivery before year-end.

View the numismatic product sales report on Coin Update News.