Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Uncirculated Mary Todd Lincoln First Spouse Coin Sold Out


Late yesterday, the uncirculated version of the Mary Todd Lincoln First Spouse Gold Coin sold out at the US Mint. This continues the string of early sell outs experienced for the 2010 releases of the 24 karat gold coin series.

On February 8, the proof version of the James Buchanan's Liberty Coin unexpectedly sold out. This occurred after just a little more than five months of availability and at a sales level much lower than the maximum stated mintage. With the exception of the first three releases of the series, which sold out immediately at the full maximum authorized mintage, First Spouse Gold Coins had generally remained available for approximately one year.

The reason for the early sell out was because the US Mint had underestimated demand for the coins and did not produce enough to last for the expected duration of the product offering. Since the year 2010 had already closed, no further coins could be struck.

Similar early sell outs occurred for other 2010 releases. In March, the proof Jane Pierce, uncirculated Jane Pierce, and uncirculated Abigail Fillmore coins sold out. In April, the uncirculated James Buchanan's Liberty coin sold out.

In May, sales ended for the proof Abigail Fillmore coin, to coincide with the release of the Eliza Johnson coins. This was one instance where the coin did remain available for the full expected duration of the offering.

The Mary Todd Lincoln First Spouse Gold Coins originally went on sale December 2, 2010. In anticipation of higher demand for the issue, the US Mint had set the maximum mintage at 20,000 coins across the proof and uncirculated versions. This compared to a level of 15,000 set for the other 2010 releases.

The sell out of the uncirculated version occurs after just six months of availability. The latest available US Mint report shows sales of 3,760 coins, which seems very low for a coin that was expected to be one of the more popular issues of the series.

Included below are the last reported sales figures for each of the 2010 First Spouse Gold Coins. The only one that still remains available at the US Mint is the proof version of the Mary Todd Lincoln coin.

Abigail Fillmore Proof 6,143
Abigail Fillmore Uncirculated 3,489
Jane Pierce Proof 4,843
Jane Pierce Uncirculated 3,333
Buchanan's Liberty Proof 7,304
Buchanan's Liberty Uncirculated 5,348
Mary Todd Lincoln Proof 6,236
Mary Todd Lincoln Uncirculated 3,760

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58 Comments:

At June 2, 2011 at 7:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the Mint misled us.
Why state a max mintage if they refuse to make more than a pre-determined amount much less than the max? Very misleading!

Even Michael's recent comments on this blog led us to believe the Mary was going to be available for a lot longer.

I was hoping gold would go down some later, but it looks like I may have to pull the plug and get a proof while I can.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 7:28 AM , Blogger Mint News Blog said...

"I think the Mint misled us.
Why state a max mintage if they refuse to make more than a pre-determined amount much less than the max? Very misleading!"

So for the 2009 issues, they should have made 40,000 of each, and then melted 30,000 when they didn't sell?

I think it does makes sense for them to strike the coins in batches, with the final production struck to estimate demand for the duration of the offering. In this case, they just really underestimated. The maximum mintage just creates an absolute ceiling for production.

"Even Michael's recent comments on this blog led us to believe the Mary was going to be available for a lot longer."

I don't remember saying that. In one response to a comment, I did say this: "Mary Todd Lincoln should not end until Lucretia Garfield is released in December, unless there is an earlier sell out."

 
At June 2, 2011 at 7:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the mint sets a maximum mintage of 15,000 for one of the more popular spouses but produce less than 4,000 with 7 months until the end of the offering?

Underestimate? Is that diplomatic for incompetent?

 
At June 2, 2011 at 8:17 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way I see it, with gold prices climbing, I would imagine sales came to a crawl, so why make more of something they might end up melting down again. Those who really wanted one went ahead and bought one. Those who decided to drag their feet, well, I guess there is always the secondary market.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 8:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think another main reason for the early sold out is due to the legislation, as it forbid the Mint from minting more 2010 coins in 2011.
If this restriction is removed, even the Mint did a poor forecast, they can still Mint to demand in the following year.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 8:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to side with the Mint on this one. It's just not good business to strike coins that will more than likely have to be destroyed later.

The limit for Mary Lincoln was 20,000, but it didn't take very long to see that the chances of all 20,000 selling were mighty slim. I am surprised that they apparently only minted about half of the maximum level, though. I really thought there were probably 15,000 total minted, but that seems highly unlikely now. I just can't see that many proofs being made. If that is the case though, the uncirculated version should be valued quite a bit higher than the proof.

The fact that they underestimated demand for the product duration is actually beneficial to those of us who collect the series and want to see them appreciate in value. With mintages so low, these coins have a good chance of providing some very nice returns when it comes time to sell.

Unfortunately though, a complete set of these, as impressive as it would be to see them ALL together, would be very tough to sell due to the extreme cost. Selling them as singles is the more viable option, but breaking a complete set to do so would be almost painful!

 
At June 2, 2011 at 8:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

IMO, these are nothing but overpriced bullion anyway. The mintages are so low because the demand is so low. The demand will even be lower when the series comes to a screeching halt, and these are only released when someone unfortunately passes away. Never play the mintage game with bullion. Buy as close to spot as possible and even less than spot if possible.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 8:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm dragging my feet on Johnson and others only because I think Gold and Silver will see a nice sized drop this summer. Sometime after QE2 ends and before QE3 starts. A small window of opportunity to stock up on PM before the next huge rally up.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 9:01 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally, I believed that anything Lincoln will continue to be in demand in the long run. I went all in on this spouse coin and finally got a win.

The US Mint gave us this low mintage as a gift; This is prize of the series so far. Actually it is one of the best looking as well.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 9:16 AM , Anonymous joe said...

Okay...for those of you that are not aware, this discussion regarding mintage maximums has been discussed ad nauseam in this form:

First, a maximum means a maximum. No rocket science here. To be clear, the law to produce a Lincoln coin, etc. would be met if the Mint only produced one coin. They produced many more than one coin, so they more than met the letter of the law.

Second, and more importantly, this coin has been in production for nearly 6 months. You have had 6 months to buy one. If you chose to wait (for whatever reason), that's your problem. Don't blame anyone else (Michael or the tooth fairy) for your decisions.

Time to be an adult...good grief!

 
At June 2, 2011 at 9:19 AM , Anonymous joe said...

Oh, and to give one more heads up to the procrastinators...

Any one of coins the Mint is currently offering could sell out today. The is nothing in the laws or guidelines stating that the mint has to wait until gold/silver prices drop to discontinue a coin.

There...you've had your warning!

 
At June 2, 2011 at 9:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the mint is doing this to spur sales of the first spouse coins. By keeping us guessing at to when the coins sell out will help ensure higher sales numbers earlier on. I wish I had bought one earlier now also, as I think this coin will see good investment returns. Not sure the proof version will though, as it's mintage will likely wind up at least twice as high as the unc version. I would expect sales of the proof version to increase dramatically now.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe,

I think those who post here already know what you stated.

They re-post what we already know because it gives them a chance to VENT.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 9:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I would bet the proof will be sold out also by the end of this month.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 9:42 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do they call it an uncirculated Mary Todd Lincoln coin?

Seems to me that the proof coin and non proof coin will never be circulated... Maybe they should just call them
"non proof coins".

Olive Oil

 
At June 2, 2011 at 9:56 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe, we're not expressing disappointment because we didn't buy one within in 6 months. Call me presumptuous, but most of us don't like the series. We're disappointed in that the offering was not extended for the duration initially stated because not enough were made. I would understand a sellout at 9 or 10 months. But 6?

Poor planning, plain and simple. Par for the course with the Mint.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 10:11 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well let's see how the secondary market would respond to this. Certainly count as an unexpected sellout for most of us...

 
At June 2, 2011 at 10:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

first spouses retail prices:

2008w-- 1,500.00-- eliza proof
2008w-- 1,425.00-- eliza unc
2008w-- 1,375.00-- louisa proof
2008w-- 1,375.00-- louisa unc
2008w-- 1,850.00-- v buren proof
2008w-- 1,925.00-- v buren unc
2008w-- 1,750.00-- jaskson proof
2008w-- 1,825.00-- jackson unc
2009w-- 1,450.00-- anna proof
2009w-- 1,500.00-- anna unc
2009w-- 1,525.00-- letitia proof
2009w-- 1,575.00-- letitia unc
2009w-- 1,925.00-- julia proof
2009w-- 2,100.00-- julia unc
2009w-- 1,375.00-- sarah proof
2009w-- 1,475.00-- sarah unc
2009w-- 1,375.00-- margaret proof
2009w-- 1,350.00-- margaret unc
2010w-- 1,325.00-- abigail proof
2010w-- 1,300.00-- abigail unc
2010w-- 1,325.00-- jane proof
2010w-- 1,250.00-- jane unc
2010w-- 1,225.00-- buchnan proof
2010w-- 1,200.00-- buchanan unc

 
At June 2, 2011 at 10:18 AM , Anonymous joe said...

"Poor planning, plain and simple. Par for the course with the Mint."

I'm not a fan of the Mint or the FS coin series for that matter. However, it seems like every time a coin sell out that has been on sale for months people get mad at the Mint running out or Michael for not being a world-class prognosticator for all things Mint. If Michael could predict what the Mint was going to do, I would hire him to manage all my financial accounts. This coin was produced and initially released in 2010 for goodness sakes.

It is a fact that the Mint has a lot of issues with a lot of things too numerous to list here, and everyone knows it. But in this case, six months is more than adequate time to purchase a coin. Those that waited for PM prices to drop can only blame greed as the reason they didn't get this coin. For the others (and to your original point in quotes above), it IS a matter of "poor planning, plain and simple"...on the part of the person who waited this long to buy the coin.

JMHO

 
At June 2, 2011 at 10:20 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe what i am reading, people are complaining that they didn't buy one of these ugly spouse coins?

BTW Michael never said there was plenty of these coins because only the mint has the inventory levels and even they don't know, lol.

I am just glad I bought and now have one of the few unc coins with a famous name attached to it. LINCOLN.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 10:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where did you get those FS prices????? Most are ridiculously over-inflated!

 
At June 2, 2011 at 10:24 AM , Anonymous joe said...

"We're disappointed in that the offering was not extended for the duration initially stated because not enough were made."

I may be wrong, but I don't recall the Mint ever stating a duration for anything. The only thing I've ever found is a maximum mintage (which really doesn't say a lot either). If you know of any Mint documentation on durations, please provide a link as it would be useful information indeed.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 11:30 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that he coins remain on sale until the entire mintage has been sold or for a one year period. I understand if the maximum mintage was met, creating a genuine sell off. This was not the case in the least to put it mildly.

The fact that after only 6 months the series "sold out" with under 4000 minted is poor planning on the Mint's part. Why not produce enough so the offering stays around for the year? I mean make at least 5000.

I don't know many people who are upset they didn't get their hands on one. People are more frustrated with the Mint's operating procedure(s) and that again, this is par for the course.

Nobody here is faulting Michael in the least. I have yet to glean that from any post. That is not my intention personally.

I guess if you guys really want one of these be sure to have your finger on the trigger on first day of issue. Wouldn't want you missing out on Frances Cleveland!

 
At June 2, 2011 at 12:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears the spouse coins are holding up well on the secondary marker in spite of the waning interest by the mass of collectors. I see these coins as a subset of coin collecting. The waning interest is most likely due to ever increasing cost in which all but those with enough resources are able to get in.

Now having said that with sales in the 3 to 4 thousand range all you need is 7 or 8 thousand people who really want one in order to keep the price rising. So these should continue to do well for investment purposes. Now keep in mind the '06 gold buffalo proof has more than doubled in price but so has gold so you may just about as well off collecting any gold coin.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 12:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have staed in other posts maximum mintage does not tell us much, just like sales figures can be very misleeding, when in come to the true mintage

 
At June 2, 2011 at 12:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can assure you that the us mint could care less about grading companies,coin dealers .these poeple are like nats to the us mint.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 12:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If i had a maximum mintage of 1000 coins, and sold 1000 coins, and only made 100 coins and cancelled 900 orders and didnt take cancelled orders off the sales figures, how many coins were made

 
At June 2, 2011 at 12:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mint knows to the coin.how many are made out of presious metals.But they feel for some reason they must give us these very misleeding sales figures.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 1:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, then please post your sales figures since the mint is misleading us. Thanks.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 1:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you look at sales figures you must take into account the numerous returns from picky collectors, flippers, and up-graders.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 1:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's my understanding that he coins remain on sale until the entire mintage has been sold or for a one year period. I understand if the maximum mintage was met, creating a genuine sell off. This was not the case in the least to put it mildly."


Uh, apparently the entire mintage was sold in this case. It so happens that the entire mintage was about 3760 coins.


"The fact that after only 6 months the series "sold out" with under 4000 minted is poor planning on the Mint's part. Why not produce enough so the offering stays around for the year? I mean make at least 5000."


Sounds like they planned well to me. They sold out instead of having to sit on hundreds just so the procrastinators or the greedy could buy one when gold prices dropped. Isn't 5000 coins as arbitrary as 3760? Why not 10000 or 12,000? Who's counting anyway?


"I don't know many people who are upset they didn't get their hands on one. People are more frustrated with the Mint's operating procedure(s) and that again, this is par for the course."


They produced less than a maximum of 20K just like they said they would. Where's the surprise? You had over 180 days to pull the trigger. As bad as the Mint's website is, I doubt it was non-responsive for that long.


"Nobody here is faulting Michael in the least. I have yet to glean that from any post. That is not my intention personally."


Read the very first comment at the top. It says: "Even Michael's recent comments on this blog led us to believe the Mary was going to be available for a lot longer," and then goes on to lament not purchasing one. Sounds like blame to me.


"I guess if you guys really want one of these be sure to have your finger on the trigger on first day of issue. Wouldn't want you missing out on Frances Cleveland!"


Yeah, to purchase a coin that went on sale way back on December 2, 2010 (almost 6 months ago) you really have to have a hair trigger.

Free tip: the Eliza Johnson FS Unc coin will likely be gone after 2000 coins leave the Mint, so get one now instead of complaining later. It has to be the ugliest of all FS coins to date, which will drive its rarity.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 1:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you look at sales figures you must take into account the numerous returns from picky collectors, flippers, and up-graders.

June 2, 2011 1:21 PM

10,000+ ??

 
At June 2, 2011 at 1:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems obivious to me that several people waited a bit too long to buy. I would guess that they were hopeing that gold would drop in value. Maybe they were dreaming that it would go back to $ 500.00 per ounce.

This ship has sailed.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 2:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG that was fast! Over the last 24 hours or so most of the buy it now UNC Mary Lincoln coins were picked up, with prices as high as $1600 for pcgs ms-70 FS (well most of us know First Strike is just a label, but oh well). This has quickly become a hottie now!

 
At June 2, 2011 at 2:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could care less about their sales figures, All i care about is the true mintage figures.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 2:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have there been many cases in the past where sales figures were drastically different from actual mintage figures?

 
At June 2, 2011 at 2:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the mint should do is this.At the time of issue,tell us how many coins will be made,with a no return policy on all bullion products. and when the issue is sold out.That will give us all the information we need.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 2:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they wont give us the mintage figures, its impossible to tell if the sales figures are the same numbers.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 2:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think what happened is the mint employee used the 15,000 figure for the first 2010 coin and thought that was suppose to be the mintage number for all 4 coins combined.

15,000/4=3750

 
At June 2, 2011 at 2:55 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone here collect coins to collect coins? It would seem to me everyone here is more worried about how many coins were made, or not made. For goodness sakes, some of you people suck the fun out of everything.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 3:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those upset about the sudden sellouts: not knowing what the mint is going to do is what makes coin collecting fun. When it comes to the mint, the unexpected is always possible. Think of the mint as a dark and mysterious place full of surprises. And it feels good to take advantage of those surprises. And I wish I had bought a Julia Tyler when I could have...........

 
At June 2, 2011 at 3:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I seek coins for the pure enjoyment of collecting. If the value of a coin goes up, then it's more than I expected when I acquired it. If the value goes down, then that's fine. I still have an item that is worth more to me than its monetary value.

I love coin collecting. I am not a flipper or speculator.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 3:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could care less less about mintage or sales figures. All I want to know is how much am I gonna get when I sell and that is all about timing the "sell" when demand is greatest and metal prices are high.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 4:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

> I love coin collecting. I am not a flipper or speculator. >


Ditto here! A coin is a coin. The value is in what it represents - think "Abraham Lincoln and his wife", the history and era, the union, the art, the generosity and ultimate sacrifice, the culture, the technology, ...

Without this the coin is just a slug to be graded and traded.

As always my very best compliments to the US Mint and to the nation it represents!

 
At June 2, 2011 at 5:17 PM , Blogger SunTzu said...

Sorry to go off topic. Anyone else get a survey from the Mint? I got a detailed e-mail from B.B. Craig, Associate Director, United States Mint asking me to fill out the survey on behalf of the Mint.

Sounds interesting. I'm going to fill it out now. Maybe I can talk about how soon the Mary Lincoln left the building!

 
At June 2, 2011 at 5:34 PM , Blogger SunTzu said...

Took the survey. It was so short it was over before it started. Asked typical questions. Mostly the questions were a rating scale from dissatisfied to extremely satisfied on a variety of typical issues from coin quality to mint packaging to shipping/delivery issues. I wasn't really able to elaborate on a key issues I have such as quality control.

Fairly weak survey but a first for me. It'll be curious to see how many of you get it (if not all) and how this plays out as far as the results.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 5:50 PM , Anonymous joe said...

It appears (unless I miscounted) that there are only three options currently available to purchase a FS coin:

Eliza Johnson Unc
Eliza Johnson Proof
Mary Lincoln Proof

This has to be a record. Normally there are 6-8 offerings available at any given time. Add to that the fact that:

1) many of the upcoming offerings are more or less unknown (except perhaps Julia Grant),
2) PM prices are up and will stay up (in USD) based on numerous QE programs by the FED,
3) this series is not the most beloved that the Mint has to offer, and
4) some of the coins are downright ugly (Eliza Johnson).

I think one can safely conclude that the trend is going to be much lower mintages and earlier sellouts. Purchase early if you want one as there typically will not be any notice that the coins are almost gone.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 6:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is nothing new. $3 US gold indian princesses 1854-1889 have avg mintages of abt 4,000, and none have a premium over the other. bec there are so many w that mintage. i think 10 yrs from now ditto this series, so no hurry

 
At June 2, 2011 at 7:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would call sales figures that are not mintage figures giving to the public as lying to the public and nothing else.

 
At June 2, 2011 at 8:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just collecting the following FS coins, to honor the sacrifice that each spouse had to make:

Lincoln,
Garfield,
McKinley,
Kennedy

That's just four, but enough for me. I can't afford any more than that. Got the Lincoln coin, although still trying to wrap my head around why the UN is better choice (resell wise) than the proof. I'm new to this coin collecting thing.... I guess it's just the amount available. I got the proof because it looked better to me.

Mez

 
At June 3, 2011 at 12:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the volatility in gold prices the mint may not want to carry a lot of excess gold inventory into the following year in case gold prices crash and they have to take a huge loss.

6 months was a reasonable amount of time to allow all those that wanted to buy these coins a chance to do it.

 
At June 3, 2011 at 4:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wives of assassinated husbands? Interesting subset! Never thought about it...

 
At June 3, 2011 at 6:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lincoln,
Garfield,
McKinley,
Kennedy

The Widow Subset.

 
At June 3, 2011 at 11:27 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I almost jumped in for the Lincoln proof to start a widow subset, but jeez, with the Platinum, Buffalo, 10 silver 5 oz unc pucks and 5 bullion pucks, AGE proof, I'm gonna take a rest. If gold doubles in price I'll regret it, but then the upcoming widows will cost double too!

 
At June 3, 2011 at 5:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so tried of people who either don't like the FS coins, or those who are mad at themselves for not getting in when they were available from the Mint. Give it rest folks! If you don't like 'em, so what. Collect something else and stop bothering us. Save your energy for something you do collect. If you don't think they are worth more than bullion, call Modern Coin mart and ask what they pay for various issues. No other current series is performing as well on the secondary market, and apart from a couple weaker designs, most are gorgeous, and not just the Liberties. Those who can afford to stick with the series will continue to reap big rewards and not just monetarily. I collect them because I like them!

 
At June 3, 2011 at 5:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very well said!

+1

 
At June 4, 2011 at 5:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only people complaining about not getting one are flippers at heart. Now at $1,300+, they feel they missed out. For the few fans of the FS series the early sell out is a plus. For flippers, it's an oppurtunity to whine. Long term the price appreciation will be flat, if gold stays flat. Unlikely scenario however.

 
At June 5, 2011 at 2:16 PM , Anonymous joe said...

I admit it...I missed out on the Mary Lincoln FS Unc coin. But since I collect the proof versions of the FS, I really don't care too much. Personally, I think the proofs are much nicer for the most part (except maybe for the Liberty Subset coins). The reason the Unc versions are doing so well (IMO) is solely the mintage and nothing more.

If this is true (time will tell), then the proofs will eventually even it up with the Unc coins due to demand. If a coin's value was all about mintage, then the platinum coins would all be sky-high (as compared to bullion prices). My conclusion is that the proof MTL FS coin will eventually pass the unc MTL FS coin. Coincidently, these are also still for sale...but who knows for how much longer?

 

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