Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

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.



At March 9, 2011 at 4:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I contacted APMEX for about the 20th time today and still have no credible explanation for the delay in releasing the 2010 ATB coins, other than that they are still waiting for information from the mint.

If I had to guess, I'd speculate that the hangup is that they are trying to get permission to sell GRADED versions of the coins at higher than authorized premiums without jeopardizing their relationship with the mint, but I have no basis for that statement other than pure instinct.

At March 9, 2011 at 4:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael...was the last sentence in your article..
"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."
supposed to say after their 2010- dated coins are sold they could then buy and sell 2011-dated(not 2010) coins normal procedures...etc

At March 9, 2011 at 4:28 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

No, that refers to 2010-dated coins.

So, if they buy the 2010 coins on the secondary market and want to resell them, they won't be subject to the 10% premium cap/household limits.

At March 9, 2011 at 4:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got my set from MTB today. 3 of the 5 are CLEARLY proof-like. I can read newspaper print a few inches away. The other 2 are noticeably matte in appearance. The difference is striking.

One of them has a noticeable scratch on the reverse and a blemish on the high part of Washington's cheek like it had been rubbed off. But it is proof-like. The others are very, very nice with wisps of a few scratches common with these hockey pucks. This is the first time I can enjoy looking at a coin without a loop! But it takes part of the fun from the experience.

With what I paid from an authorized dealer in conjunction with the spot price of silver, I can't complain. It's a fun owning a them given all the hoopla. Given the numismatic nature (unfortunately?) of this first set, I think I'll send off to PCGS and stash away.

I like the weight of them when they're stacked up!

At March 9, 2011 at 4:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So how much is substantially higher?

At March 9, 2011 at 4:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So will the proof versions be minted in higher quantity as well or just the bullion versions?

At March 9, 2011 at 6:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:48 there isn't going to be a proof version. More like a burnished coin with a mint mark.

At March 9, 2011 at 6:58 PM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

Here is all the information I have on the collector versions:

Still no release date for the 2010-dated, and no specific information on the 2011-dated.

At March 9, 2011 at 10:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just purchased a Yellowstone PCGS MS67PL. How much differance is there between this and a choice BU? (other than the proof like) Would choice BU be like MS62?

At March 10, 2011 at 12:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arrgghhh! Where are the numismatic versions?!? I want my super jumbo Mt. Hood! :)

At March 10, 2011 at 4:16 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

Re: "Choice BU" holdered coins, see this article on Coin Update:

At March 10, 2011 at 5:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, the 5 oz silver coin for Gettysburg National Military Park is to be released in late april?

Also, I sent in several ATB 5 oz coins that were graded choice bu from a-mark, and 75% of them came back graded MS69 when i resubmitted them... many people, even moderncoinmart, dont seem to realize that the a-mark coins are in such great shape.

At March 10, 2011 at 6:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boycott APMEX !

Boycott APMEX !

Sorry for the rant but this is the only thing we can do.

It is wrong for them to sit on the ATB's, and it is wrong of the Mint not to tell them to sell, or give them back

At March 10, 2011 at 6:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm receiving my set of ATB's from MTB today. Very excited to see what they look like in hand. Will post my thoughts after close examination.

At March 10, 2011 at 6:41 AM , Anonymous JA said...

I'm noticing the prices of the ATB sets on Feebay are holding steady between $1800 and $2100.

I got a set and I'm considering holding on to it instead of selling it.

Getting a set of these every year I believe will be a much better option than buying say the Presidential spouse series.

At March 10, 2011 at 7:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would recommed getting any ATB 5 oz coins you have graded - I sent in some that clearly had large scratches on them (one even had a scratch that was right above the date of the coin and was longer than the date) from the AP - and none of graded below MS67 ... I was shocked and had expected a much lower grade.

So, even if you think your ATB coins aren't in that great of shape - get them graded, even if you are going to keep them - that way if you ever sell them they will be worth much more than raw, because they will probably grade high.

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

Pop, Pop, Pop.

At March 10, 2011 at 8:20 AM , Anonymous Brad said...

It's important to remember that bullion coins are minted to DEMAND. If the public hears the Mint stating that quantities will be "substantially higher" on the 2011 coins, they might arrive at the conclusion that the coins will have no real collector value and not bother to order them. If orders are low, production will be low. That could result in the 2011 coins having even lower mintages than the 2010's. That's just something to keep in mind.

At March 10, 2011 at 8:28 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

Most of the people purchasing the 2011 coins won't be thinking like collectors, they will just be trying to accumulate physical silver.

The US Mint is currently allocating (rationing) supplies of Silver Eagle bullion coins, meaning there is unmet demand for silver bullion. As long as the 5 oz. ATBs sell at bullion prices, there will be plenty of silver investors to buy them.

At March 10, 2011 at 8:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw this on Coins n Things website:

Coming Soon - Due to overwhelming demand order requests will begin by PHONE ONLY.

Tuesday March 8, 2011

Phone lines now closed.

At March 10, 2011 at 9:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say, I purchased the ATBs through FideliTrade and was very pleased. Simple application, frequent email updates around status, and easy to get updates by phone. Very impressed. Only drawback was it did take them some time to process and ship my order, but that sounds par for the course.

Will definitely order from them again.

At March 10, 2011 at 9:05 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The phone line at Coins-N-Things were only open from 3-5pm. I finally got through at 4:57 and was able to order a set.

Keep checking their web-site though...they are going to have the phone lines open again several more times from what I was told.

At March 10, 2011 at 9:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brad, the 5 oz bullion coins are not made to demand. 2011 will have a fixed amount of probably 100,000. There will never be a bullion mintage below the 2010 level of 33,000 throughout the entire series. The mint wants these to sell as "bullion" and will mint plenty to go around.

At March 10, 2011 at 9:22 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does one go about getting coins graded by PCGS? Can you just take the coins to a dealer and have them submit the coins to PCGS or is there more involved than that? If you submit ATB 5 oz coins, how do you know you're getting the same ones back after they are graded? Isn't it possible for PCGS or someone along the line to switch the coins to lower quality versions of the same thing? What safeguards are there? Thanks.

New Collector

At March 10, 2011 at 9:51 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

New Collector:

Here's an article from Coin Update that describes the basic options for submitting coins to PCGS or NGC

At March 10, 2011 at 10:04 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to praise fidelitrade as well. I called them twice over time and they were very friendly and helpful and glad to have my business.

I do no have any ill feeling towards apmex at all. I was pleased they were the first to offer them and based on after market demand the initial price they asked was fair. I would have been willing to pay it.

MTB was by far the worst. They were extraordinarily rude on the phone and I will never do business with them again.

Amark had the best coins, condition wise. Their order process was a bit challenging, but fair.

I say Fidelitrade wins of the APs I dealt with. MTB are big losers.

At March 10, 2011 at 10:15 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the website address for Coins-N-Things? I cannot find theirs.

At March 10, 2011 at 10:18 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

At March 10, 2011 at 10:23 AM , Anonymous Brian M said...

The whole 5oz ATB Coin Situations is as we would say in the Army, is FUBR!

I personally have stayed on the sidelines on this one, and am glad I did at this point.

Would I have taken them if someone had them in hand in front of me and was asking a fair price ... probably?

But it didn't happen, and I am fine with that. I wonder what the will happen then the price of silver drops down to the $26-$27 range over the summer? I may be a buyer then ;-)

At March 10, 2011 at 10:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

QE2 ends in June - gold, silver, oil, and stocks are all going to get crushed starting the day that the fed stops giving away free money to the hedge funds that are overinflating everything.

It is unlikely that there will be a QE3, and if there is, it will be much smaller than QE1 & QE2.

So, between now and then, it's not a bad idea to sell some of your gold and silver coins/bullion - strike while the iron is hot.

At March 10, 2011 at 10:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think those that didn't get a set are cranky. I missed out in the beginning and then was able to land a set from MTB when they came in. Before that, I was a cranky pants too.

At March 10, 2011 at 10:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank for the article from Coin Update describing the options for submitting coins to PCGS and NGC. The three articles that were there were very informative and helpful. Thanks also for all of your articles on Mint News Blog and for the hard work you do in running the Blog.

The ATB 5 oz. set that I got from A-Mark came in holders graded BU. All of the coins have the mirror-like finish. The set I got from Fidelitrade came in plain bubble wrap holders with all of the coins again being the mirror-like finish. The set from MTB (also mirror-like finish) came in plastic holders, one of which was broken. Should I ask MTB to replace the broken holder or is that a lost cause?

Should any or all of these sets be submitted for grading by PCGS or is it good to keep some in just the raw state? From previous postings, it sounds like the A-Mark set in holders should be resubmitted for numerical grading. Any advice regarding the other sets? Thanks.

New Collector

At March 10, 2011 at 12:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be interesting if any of the non-retail APs who sold the 2010 bullion coins to us will do likewise for the 2011 bullion coins. Or will they go back to selling only to dealers/distributors. I do appreciate that MTB, AMark and Fidelitrade didn't cherrypick their coins. It gave us a better opportunity to get nice coins.

At March 10, 2011 at 12:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without the Mint requirement, I expect all the AP's will resume their normal business model of wholesales to big coin dealers, who will try to price gouge us all because of the 2010 ATB 5 oz prices.

The only exception I expect to that would be APMEX - who will probably repeat what they did with the 2010 ATBs - sell most to dealers, and then offer a couple thousand to the public through their website.

We'll see soon enough.

At March 10, 2011 at 3:21 PM , Blogger John said...

I just got my MTB set today and after close inspection I don't think I will send this particular set out for grading as they do not have proof like surfaces and a fair share of die polish marks and blemishes, especially on Washington's cheek, this must be the high point on the coin as several coins have a blemish on the cheek. I compared this set to my fidelitrade set and the fidelitrade coins are far superior. What I have noticed is that if Washington's cheek is nice there is a good chance the rest of the coin is nice also. Some of the coins have a dull matte finish some have an almost proof like finish and one or two have a proof like finish. There really is a big difference on surfaces on these coins. If anyone is thinking of buying these I think an ms68pl is better looking than a ms69. I think it is too hard to tell at this point which AP is shipping out the high quality coins because a friend of mine had his coins graded from mtb and they were all 68's and 69's and my coins from mtb are probably 67's

At March 12, 2011 at 8:52 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

With only 33,000 sets available, how was it I was able to get 6 sets relatively easily (APMEX, MBT, A-Mark, and 3 Fidelitrade, 2 through relatives)? Fidelitrade's web site says they are still available. Either there aren't many collectors, or there aren't many collectors who bother to do basic research or read this great blog!

At March 12, 2011 at 5:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you sure they are still available from Fidelitrade? I am late for ordering the set. Any ideas where I can get one set from the AP's?

At March 13, 2011 at 12:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

COINage Magazine (March 2011 Pg. 30).
"The 411 on the America the Beautiful Bullion."

"Suppose you are an idiot. And suppose you are a member of Congress........"

"You could not possibly create, while staggering drunk, a debacle any worse..."

"Collectors.....a great majority of them...simply did not want to begin collecting another series of quarters."

Tom, thank you for your no spin tell it like it is column. To many quarters and very little interest that may be a waste of tax payer dollars.


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