Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Gettysburg Quarter Coin Production

The US Mint has recently indicated the preliminary circulating coin production figures for the 2011 Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter. For the time being, the figures represent the lowest production for any issue of the America the Beautiful Quarters series.

Total production was 61.2 million, comprised of 30.4 million coins struck at the Philadelphia Mint and 30.8 million coins struck at the Denver Mint.

These figures are noted as preliminary since the US Mint has indicated that they may restart production of any design within the year of issue, specifically to fulfill demand for bulk purchase program. This program allows bulk bags of 200,000 quarters ($50,000 face value) to be purchased for face value plus a 3% handling charge.

During 2010, the Mint did restart production for the Hot Springs National Park Quarter. Initially, production was reported as 59.6 million across both facilities. The US Mint later produced an additional 10 million coins, presumably to fulfill bulk orders. For the previous State Quarters Program, once production of a particular design had stopped, the mintages were final.

The mintages for the America the Beautiful Quarters to date are shown below. The figures for the 2010 releases are final, while the 2011 release remains preliminary.

America the Beautiful Quarter Mintages

Denver Phil. Total
Hot Springs Quarter 34.00 M 35.60 M 69.60 M
Yellowstone Quarter 34.80 M 33.60 M 68.40 M
Yosemite Quarter 34.80 M 35.20 M 70.00 M
Grand Canyon Quarter 35.40 M 34.80 M 70.20 M
Mount Hood Quarter 34.40 M 34.40 M 68.80 M
Gettysburg Quarter 30.80 M 30.40 M 61.20 M


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.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Andrew Johnson Presidential Dollar Rolls

Today February 23, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of the Andrew Johnson Presidential Dollar Rolls. This will represents the 17th issue in the ongoing Presidential Dollars series.

The Andrew Johnson Dollars were already released into circulation on February 17. This represents a change from the typical procedure, whereby the US Mint has coordinated the release date for numismatic rolls with the official circulation release date.

The obverse of the coin features a portrait of Andrew Johnson designed and sculpted by Don Everhart. The inscriptions include "Andrew Johnson", "In God We Trust", "17th President", and "1865-1869". On a reverse is an image of the Statue of Liberty also designed by Everhart with the inscriptions "United States of America" and "$1". Incused edge lettering includes the date, mint mark, and "E Pluribus Unum".

Rolls offered by the Mint will contain 25 coins from either the Philadelphia or Denver Mint. The design of the wrapper has changed from previous releases, following the US Mint's newly adopted branding.

The rolls are priced at $39.95 each, which represents a $4 increase from last year's releases. Prices have been increased for nearly all 2011 numismatic products.

Sales of the US Mint's Presidential Dollar Rolls have been in a general downtrend for the past several years, with the notable exception of the release featuring Abraham Lincoln. It seems fairly likely that the downtrend will resume with the release of the Andrew Johnson Presidential Dollar rolls.

The series seems to be continuing to experience some collector attrition, the price increase may serve as an additional deterrent, and some collectors might be willing to wait and see if this issue is eventually added to the Direct Ship Program. The US Mint recently made all of the 2010 releases available through the program, which allows the coins to be purchased in quantities of $250 at face value. The Millard Fillmore Direct Ship Dollars are already shown as no longer available.
Coin Update News: US Mint Sales Report


Monday, February 21, 2011

Silver Content and Values of US Mint Products

After silver traded below $27 per ounce in late January, prices have come back in dramatic fashion. Today, the price of silver reached a 31 year high at nearly $34 per ounce. This has the consequence of making certain United States Mint products relatively better bargains based on the rising metal value of the coins.

At this time, the US Mint has only five different products which contain silver: the 2010 Silver Proof Set, 2011 Silver Proof Set, 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Proof Set, and the proof and uncirculated 2011 Army Commemorative Silver Dollars.

The silver content of each of these products in troy ounces is shown below.

Silver Content
2010 ATB Quarter Silver Proof Set 0.90420
2010 Silver Proof Set 1.33823
2011 Silver Proof Set 1.33823
Proof Army Silver Dollar 0.77344
Unc Army Silver Dollar 0.77344

Based on a silver price of $34 per ounce, the metal value of a few products is now approaching the US Mint's issue price. The table below shows the silver value for each product, the face value of any non-silver coins included, total of the silver and other face value, and the US Mint's current price.

Silver other FV Total Price
2010 ATBQ Silver Proof Set 30.74 0 30.74 32.95
2010 Silver Proof Set 45.50 5.06 50.56 56.95
2011 Silver Proof Set 45.50 5.06 50.56 67.95
Proof Commem Silver Dollar 26.30 0 26.30 54.95
Unc Commem Silver Dollar 26.30 0 26.30 49.95

While the US Mint adopted a pricing strategy to allow them to frequently adjust the prices of products containing gold or platinum, the products containing silver are subject to their old procedure which requires publication in the Federal Register. In the recent past, the issue prices for silver products have been established prior to the start of sales and not adjusted subsequently. In extreme circumstances, the US Mint would have the ability to suspend sales until new prices could be published and made effective.

Besides current US Mint products, there are a number of past products that often trade on the secondary market for below the silver value. Within comments, some readers have mentioned the 2000 Silver Proof Set or the 1971-1974 "Blue Ikes". These are uncirculated Eisenhower Dollars that the US Mint struck in 40% silver for collectors.

An excellent resource for checking the metal value of U.S. coins is, which I used to help in the calculations above.


Friday, February 18, 2011

2011 Presidential Dollar Proof Set

The United States Mint will begin sales of the 2011 Presidential $1 Coin Proof Set on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET.
Each set includes proof versions of the 2011 Presidential Dollars featuring Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield. All of these coins were previously released in January within the full 2011 Proof Set, as well as the 2011 Silver Proof Set.

The coins are housed in a single plastic lens within an outer cardboard box featuring the US Mint's new branding. The four coin sets are priced at $19.95 each, which represents a $4 increase from the cost of last year's set.

In previous years, the Presidential Dollar Proof Sets have been released many months prior to the full annual proof sets. This was likely done purposely to provide an incentive to buy the separate component sets-- coins could be acquired much earlier in the year. Without this incentive and with the difficult to justify $4 price increase, it seems likely that sales of the 2011 Presidential Dollar Proof Set will be way down from last year.

The 2010 Presidential Dollar Proof Set had sold 224,426 units within the first three days of availability. The most recent figures indicate that sales have reached 519,553. Will this year's set manage to reach even half these levels?

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Army Commemorative Sales Figures

The United States Mint's 2011 Army Commemorative Coins have now been on sale for a little more than two weeks. This post will examine the latest sales figures for the $5 gold, silver dollar, and half dollar coins.

It has generally been the case that the largest rush of sales for US Mint products occurs during the first few days of availability. After that point, the pace of sales diminishes until settling into somewhat of a consistent range. Thus, the extent of the initial sales provides an early indicator of how many coins the US Mint might eventually sell.

The total sales for each of the 2011 U.S. Army Commemorative Coins from the start of sales on January 31, 2011 to February 13, 2011 are shown below.

2011 Army Commemorative Sales

Proof Unc Total Max
$5 Gold 9,969 3,803 13,772 100,000
Silver Dollar 61,436 26,218 87,654 500,000
Half Dollar 39,463 23,820 63,283 750,000

So far, sales of the Army Commemoratives are running far below the levels experienced by the 2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Coins. This was the last program to feature three different coins.

For comparison purposes, I managed to find sales figures for the Bald Eagle coins from the start of sales on January 15, 2008 through February 1, 2008. The second number column indicates the final audited sales numbers.

2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Sales

Feb 1 Final
$5 Gold Pr 42,815 59,269
$5 Gold Unc 9,610 15,009
$1 Silver Pr 108,522 294,601
$1 Silver Unc 63,428 119,204
50c Pr 77,242 220,577
50c Unc 59,527 120,180

The lower sales for this year's program can be attributed to a few factors. For the Bald Eagle coins, the US Mint offered several different collectible product options, which served to bolster sales. Products included the 3 Coin Proof Set, Young Collector's Set, Coin and Medal Set, and later in the year, the American Legacy Collection. This year's Army Commemorative Coins will only be offered individually and not within any special sets.

Second, the pricing for commemorative coins has increased significantly since 2008. Some of this is related to the increased market prices of gold and silver, although the price of the clad half dollars was also increased by 80% for the proof and 100% for the uncirculated coin.

Third, the US Mint has experienced an overall decline in their customer base during the past few years.

The silver lining for current collectors is that the lower sales will translate into lower mintages, which may eventually translate into higher secondary market prices. Commemoratives which have been unpopular or experienced poor sales during their period of availability have often appreciated on the secondary market after their low mintages became more widely recognized.

With this in mind, I think the coins to watch from the available 2011 Army Commemorative Coins are the uncirculated version of the $5 gold and perhaps the uncirculated half dollar.

Every modern $5 gold commemorative coin with a final mintage of less than 10,000 has carried a premium on the secondary market. The five coins which currently fall into this category are the uncirculated versions of the two 1996 $5 gold Olympic coins, the Smithsonian $5 Gold, the Jackie Robinson $5 Gold, and the 2001 Capitol Visitor Center $5 Gold.

As for commemorative half dollars, these have been offered as part of relatively few modern commemorative coin programs. The two issues that sell for the most significant premiums are the uncirculated versions of the 1996 Olympic Soccer and Swimming half dollars. These coins had mintages of 52,836 and 49,533, respectively. It doesn't seem too far outside of the realm of possibility that final sales of the uncirculated version of the 2011 Army Half Dollar will be around this level.

It is obviously very early in the offering for the 2011 Army Commemoratives, so the ongoing sales reports will bear watching throughout the rest of the year.

America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins

Louis Golino has written an update on the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins for Coin Update News. He provides information on the authorized purchaser distribution so far- there are several who have not yet distributed their coins. He also provides clarification on certain issues related to grading, after contacting PCGS and NGC.

Read his article on Coin Update News

I still have not received any information on the United States Mint's offering of the numismatic versions of the 2010 ATB 5 oz. Silver Coins. The last information stated that they had all been struck before the close of last year, and would be available in the first quarter.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Numismatic Gold Coin Prices Likely to Increase

Based on recent gold market prices, it seems likely that the US Mint will increase the prices for most numismatic gold products tomorrow.

Under the policy adopted in early 2009, the price of gold and platinum products may be adjusted as often as weekly based on changes in the price of the metals. The weekly average is calculated based on the London Fix prices from the prior Thursday AM to the current Wednesday AM. If this average falls into a different pricing tier (established at $50 increments for gold), then product prices are adjusted accordingly. As an additional rquirement, the Wednesday PM price must agree directionally with the change.

Since the weekly average price of gold is already well within the higher $1,350 to $1,399.99 price range, probably the only thing that could prevent a price increase would be if the Wednesday PM Fix price is below $1,350, which would overrule any adjustment.

Price changes have usually been made effective around mid morning on Wednesdays, although the exact timing has varied.

The available First Spouse Gold Coins would have their prices increase from $829 to $854 for proofs and from $816 to $841 for uncirculated coins. The 2010 Proof Gold Buffalo would have its price increased from $1,610 to $1,660.

The currently available 2011 Army Commemorative $5 Gold Coins would not have their prices adjusted. Commemorative gold coins are not covered under the policy, so the existing prices would remain in effect. Presumably, if the US Mint wants to adjust prices for these coins, they would need to suspend sales and publish new prices in the Federal Register, per the older policy.
Coin Update News: US Mint Sales Report


Monday, February 14, 2011

2011 Kennedy Half Dollar Bags and Rolls

Sales of the 2011 Kennedy Half Dollar bags and rolls will begin at the US Mint on February 15, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET.

A 200-coin bag will be available, which includes 100 coins each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. The bag is marked with the date, mint marks "P" and "D", and the $100 face value. The US Mint price is $134.95, which represents an increase of $4.00 from last year's price.

The available two-roll set will include one 20-coin roll each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. A change has been made to the wrapper design. Previously it was blue colored and included an image of the coin's obverse. The new wrappers seem to just include "2011 Kennedy Half Dollar $10" and the mint mark. Perhaps the US Mint's new logo also appears on the other side. Pricing is $34.95 per two roll set, representing an increase of $2 from the previous year.

This will be the tenth year that the half dollar denomination has not been issued for circulation, but only distributed through numismatic products. The production levels for Kennedy Half Dollars from 2002-2011 are shown below.

2002-2011 Kennedy Half Dollars

2002 3,100,000 2,500,000
2003 2,500,000 2,500,000
2004 2,900,000 2,900,000
2005 3,800,000 3,500,000
2006 2,400,000 2,000,000
2007 2,400,000 2,400,000
2008 1,700,000 1,700,000
2009 1,900,000 1,900,000
2010 1,800,000 1,700,000
2011* 1,700,000 1,750,000

*Production for the year to date.

Although these mintages are low when compared to other circulating coins, the thing to remember is that virtually the entire amount was originally distributed to coin collectors or coin dealers. With this kind of targeted distribution at a premium to face value, the coins are much more likely to remain available when compared to coins that were broadly distributed for circulation.
New Coingrader Capsule: Artificial Toning


Friday, February 11, 2011

Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Images

Images of the upcoming Medal of Honor Commemorative Coins were recently posted on the US Mint's website. Until now, only the line-art images had been available.

The program was authorized by Congress to recognize and celebrate the establishment of the Medal of Honor, to honor its recipients, and to promote awareness of what the Medal represents and how ordinary Americans can challenge fate and change the course of history. The program includes a $5 gold coin with a maximum authorized mintage of 100,000, and a silver dollar with maximum mintage of 500,000.

The coins are scheduled to go on sale February 25, 2011.

The 2011 Medal of Honor $5 Gold Coin depicts the original Medal authorized by Congress in 1861 as the Navy's highest personal decoration. The reverse features an image of Minerva, holding a shield and Union flag. She appears on the central design of the original Army and Navy Medals of Honor. The obverse was designed by Joseph Menna and the reverse by Joel Iskowitz.

Based on the mint marks present on the images, the proof coin will be struck at West Point and the uncirculated version at Philadelphia.

The 2011 Medal of Honor Silver Dollar depicts the three modern versions of the Medal for the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The reverse carries a scene of an Infantry soldier carrying a wounded soldier to safety under enemy fire. This is intended to convey the courage and self sacrifice of Medal of Honor recipients. The obverse was designed by Jim Licaretz and the reverse by Richard Masters.

The proof version of the coin will be struck at Philadelphia and the uncirculated version at San Francisco. One of the requirements of the legislation is that at least one facility shall be used to strike proof coins and at least one other facility shall be used to strike uncirculated coins.

Update on Buchanan's Liberty: The US Mint struck 13,000 coins before the close of the year based on demand forecasts. This suggests that around 1,000 uncirculated coins remain to be sold.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln Dollars Added to Direct Ship Program

The US Mint has just added all four 2010 Presidential Dollars to the Circulating $1 Coin Direct Ship Program.

Accordingly, rolls of the Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollars can be obtained directly from the Mint at face value.
The Direct Ship Program was created as a means to proactively comply with the requirement of Public Law 109-145 to remove barriers and improve circulation of the $1 coin. Under the program, businesses or individuals are able order quantities of $250 worth of dollar coins directly from the Mint at face value with no charge for shipping. The purpose of the program is to compliment the existing Federal Reserve Banks distribution system by allowing the public to order smaller quantities of coins directly, so the $1 coins can more easily introduced into circulation.

In order to prevent abuses of the program, customers are required to agree that they will comply with the intended purpose of the program and not immediately deposit the $1 coins at a bank. Also, a 4-box ($1,000 face value) limit for every 10 day period is imposed.

In the last fiscal year, the US Mint distributed $90.7 million of the $1 coins through the Direct Ship Program. This accounted for 21.9% of all $1 coin shipments for the year.

Based on reports from readers and personal experience, the Presidential Dollars obtained from the Direct Ship Program are of similar or identical quality to those obtained through the US Mint's premium priced numismatic rolls.

The US Mint currently offers numismatic rolls of Presidential Dollars for Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, and Lincoln at a price of $35.95 for each 25-coin roll. Effective for the 2011 releases, the cost of each 25-coin roll will be $39.95.


US Mint Coin Production January 2011

The United States Mint has provided their first circulating coin production figures of the year, indicating coins struck at the Philadelphia and Denver Mint facilities during January 2011.

Overall production was 764.73 million coins, covering all denominations. This represents a significant increase from the production level from the year ago period. In January 2010, the US Mint has struck 218.41 million coins.

It is also an increase from the average monthly circulating coin production for the prior year, which was about 531 million. Last year, the highest monthly production occurred in June when 918.94 million coins were struck.

2011 US Mint Coin Production Figures

January 2011
Lincoln Cent - Denver 263.2 M
Lincoln Cent - Phil. 134.8 M
Jefferson Nickel - Denver 77.28 M
Jefferson Nickel - Phil. 15.84 M
Roosevelt Dime - Denver 110.00 M
Roosevelt Dime - Phil. 20.00 M
Quarters - Denver 30.40 M
Quarters - Phil. 30.80 M
Kennedy Half - Denver 1.70 M
Kennedy Half - Phil. 1.75 M
Native Am Dollar - Denver 4.62 M
Native Am Dollar - Phil. 1.68 M
Pres Dollar - Denver 37.10 M
Pres Dollar - Phil. 35.56 M

Total 764.73 M

The Lincoln Cent accounted for more than half of all coins produced in January, at 398 million across both facilities. Last year, the US Mint struck more than 4 billion Lincoln Cents.

Production of nickels and dimes is running above the averages of last year, driven by the large amounts struck at the Denver Mint.

Continuing the trend from last year, the number of quarters produced has remained low. As a result of large inventories of previously issued quarters held by the Federal Reserve Banks, demand for new quarters has been low. So far, the average mintage for America the Beautiful Quarters has been about one-tenth the level of the prior State Quarters program.

For the Kennedy Half Dollar, there were 1.7 million coins from the Denver Mint and 1.75 million from the Philadelphia Mint. Last year, similar amounts had been struck in January, with no additional half dollars struck for the rest of the year. This denomination is not issued for circulation, but distributed only through numismatic bags and rolls, which are sold at a premium to face value.

Production of dollar coins primarily consisted of Presidential Dollars. Eventually, the US Mint will have to increase the ratio of Native American Dollars produced since by law at least 20% of all dollar coins minted and issued each year must be Native American Dollars.
Coin Update News: Collecting Modern Commemorative Coins


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Proof James Buchanan's Liberty Coin Sold Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, February 7, 2011

2011 US Mint Uncirculated Coin Set

The United States Mint will begin sales of the 2011 Uncirculated Coin Set tomorrow, February 8, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. This is the third of the Mint's core annual sets that are being released earlier in the year in response to customer demand.
Each 2011 Mint Set includes a total of 28 different coins. There are 14 coins each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, placed in separate folders designed with the US Mint's new branding.

The following are included in each set:

2011 P&D Lincoln Cents
2011 P&D Jefferson Nickels
2011 P&D Roosevelt Dimes
2011 P&D America the Beautiful Quarters - featuring Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, Glacier National Park in Montana, Olympic National Park in Washington, Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Oklahoma.
2011 P&D Kennedy Half Dollars
2011 P&D Native American Dollars
2011 P&D Presidential Dollars - featuring Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield.

The coins included in the set will feature a "brilliant finish," which represents a change from recent years. From 2005 to 2010, the US Mint had utilized a "satin finish" for the annual Mint Sets and certain other products.

According to a Mint press release, the reason for the change was to create more "aesthetically pleasing" coins. With the satin finish, contact marks resulting from coin-on-coin contact were more apparent. In separate statements, the US Mint also indicated that the change was in response to customer feedback and would serve to extend die life.

The US mint does seem to be trying to emphasize the difference between uncirculated coins included in the set versus circulating coins, stating, "United States Mint uncirculated coins are struck on special presses using greater force than circulating coins, producing a sharp, intricately detailed image, and feature a brilliant finish."

When the brilliant finish was previously in use, collectors did not differentiate the coins in the same way that they have differentiated the satin finish coins. Since 2005, when updating collections with new releases, some collectors would seek out examples of both business strikes issued for circulation in addition to the satin finish versions included in Mint Sets. The major grading services also separately classified "satin finish" coins from regular circulation strikes.

The price of the 2011 US Mint Uncirculated Coin Set will be $31.95 plus shipping and handling. This is the same as the price charged for last year's set, which included the same number of coins. However, the 2008 Mint Set, which also included 28 coins in the same arrangement of denominations, was priced at $22.95.

So far, the pace of sales for the 2011 annual sets already released by the US Mint have shown a decline from comparable prior year figures. The 2011 Proof Set had initial sales about 15% below the 2010-dated set. The 2011 Silver Proof Set initial sales were 13.4% below the debut figures of last year's set.
Coin Update News: 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Mintages


Friday, February 4, 2011

Quick US Mint Updates

There are a few quick items related to the United States Mint that I wanted to cover before the weekend. Silver bullion sales have broken another record, new leadership was announced, and the US Mint set up their own YouTube channel.

American Silver Eagle bullion sales

Over the course of the past three years, the US Mint's silver bullion sales have broken numerous records. This began with the record annual sales achieved in 2008. This followed with new annual sales records achieved in 2009 and 2010. Last year, a monthly sales record was also set in November 2010, breaking the long standing prior record from December 1986.

In January 2011, a fresh monthly sales record was set by a wide margin. The US Mint sold 6,422,000 of the one ounce American Silver Eagle bullion coins. This exceeded the previously monthly sales record by more than 2 million.

Incredibly, the latest monthly total also exceeds the annual sales totals for the program during ten separate years. Also, the new monthly record was achieved despite the fact that the US Mint has been rationing supplies to authorized purchasers once again.

New United States Mint Deputy Director

Effective January 9, Edmund Moy resigned his position as Director of the United States Mint. Four days later, Deputy Director Andrew Brunhart left the US Mint for a position at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. With these two positions empty, Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios was overseeing the operations of the US Mint and carrying out the duties of the Director.

Numismatic News has reported that Richard Peterson has been named the new US Mint Deputy Director. He was formerly the US Mint Associate Director of Manufacturing.

In his new position, he will serve as the acting director of the US Mint until a new Director is nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

United States Mint on YouTube

The United States Mint has started their own YouTube channel. They posted their first video three days ago, "A Tribute to John Mercanti". He recently retired from his position as Chief Engraver of the United States Mint.

The new YouTube channel follows other similar efforts by the US Mint. Last year, they started a Twitter account and set up a Facebook page.

Their most recent annual report indicated that they were "modernizing customer relations by communicating to people in diverse ways." They went on to highlight the number of "followers" and "likes" they had recorded.
Today on Coin Update News:
Interview with Jim Halperin, Co-Chairman of Heritage Auctions


Thursday, February 3, 2011

2011 First Spouse Gold Coins

The United States Mint has announced the design selections for the 2011 First Spouse Gold Coins. The coins will feature Eliza Johnson, Julia Grant, Lucy Hayes, and Lucretia Garfield, the wives of the 17th to 20th Presidents.

These designs are announced somewhat later than usual, perhaps as a result of a longer design candidate review phase. When the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) had reviewed the designs for the 2011 First Spouse Coins and 2012 Presidential Dollars, they only supported two out of the 55 candidates provided by the United States Mint.

They had voiced concerns that many of the obverse portraits seemed to be copies of portraits done by other artists. Of even greater concern were the glaring historical innacurracies present on some of the reverse design candidates, such as a scene which contained a sewing machine years before its invention.

As a result of the meeting, the CCAC formed a subcommittee on design excellence. Their task was to produce a visual definition of design excellence and develop specific recommendations for addressing the design quality for future coins. (The recommendations included in this report will be discussed in a future Coin Update article.)

The United States Mint also responded by providing newly prepared design candidates for two of the 2011 First Spouse Gold Coins. These were discussed by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and the CCAC at meetings held in late November.

Due to a delay in obtaining information, articles covering theCCAC's discussion and recommendations for the follow up design candidates were just published today. You can read the separate articles covering Eliza Johnson and Lucy Hayes coins.

The final design selections which were made by the Secretary of the Treasury, after weighing the input of the CCAC, CFA, and United States Mint, are shown below.

The Eliza Johnson First Spouse Gold Coin features her portrait on the obverse and a scene from the children's ball held for President Andrew Johnson's 60th birthday. Three children are shown dancing, with a fiddler in the background. The obverse was designed by Joel Iskowitz, and the reverse was designed by Gary Whitley.

The CFA had supported the chosen obverse, while the CCAC had selected a different portrait. For the reverse, the final selection matched the CCAC's recommendation, while the CFA had chosen an alternate scene from the children's ball which included the First Lady.

The 2011 Julia Grant First Spouse Gold Coin features her portrait on the obverse, designed by Donna Weaver. The reverse of the coin features a scene of Julia Dent and Ulysses S. Grant riding on horseback at her family's plantation. This was designed by Richard Masters.

The CFA had supported the chosen obverse design, but was not satisfied with any of the reverse design candidates and made no recommendation. The CCAC did not make a recommendation for any of the provided obverse or reverse designs at their first meeting. In this case, the US Mint did not provide a second batch of candidates for the November meeting.

The Lucy Hayes First Spouse Gold Coin includes the First Lady's portrait on the obverse and a scene of the first White House Easter Egg Roll on the reverse. The obverse is designed by Susan Gamble, while the reverse is designed by Barbara Fox.

Both the CCAC and CFA had recommended the selected obverse and reverse designs. The reverse design was one of those included within the second batch of candidates reviewed in November.

The 2011 Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Gold Coin will be the last release of the series for the year. Her portrait appears on the obverse, designed by Barbara Fox, with a scene of her painting on the reverse, designed by Michael Gaudioso.

Both the CFA and CCAC had recommended a different obverse design, although both had supported the selected reverse design. The CFA did make a recommendation that the reverse design should be simplified by removing some background elements. The US Mint did act on this recommendation by eliminating the windows, drapery, and furniture that were originally present in the design.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Silver Proof Set and Gettysburg Quarter Products Off to Slower Start

Based on the figures included in the latest US Mint sales report, sales of the recently released 2011 Silver Proof Set and Gettysburg Quarter bags and rolls are off to a slower start than previous comparable products.

Over the course of the past two years, the US Mint has raised prices across nearly every product class. As the costs of acquiring each newly released product have increased, many collectors have responded by refocusing their buying habits and dropping out of certain offerings.

The 2011 Silver Proof Set went on sale January 25, 2011. The price of the set was $67.95 compared to $56.95 for the prior year set, which actually remains available for sale at the original price. The $11 price increase was more justifiably than some of the other increases, due to the higher market price of silver.

In the initial period, customers ordered 209,367 sets. This represents a decline of 13.4% from the initial sales of 241,656 for the 2010 Silver Proof Set, and a decline of 22.8% from the initial sales of 271,372 for the 2009 Silver Proof Set.

Another factor to consider is that the 2011 Silver Proof Set has been released ahead of the separate 5-coin silver quarter set. In previous years, the separate quarter set had been released ahead of the full set, perhaps dissipating some of the demand.

The Gettysburg Quarter bags and rolls had initial sales that were 9.9% to 18.4% lower than comparable Grand Canyon Quarter products during their initial period. (Note: I am not comparing to the preceding Mount Hood Quarter since those sales were impacted by incorrectly deleted orders.)

Prices for these products increased from $35.95 to $49.95 for the 100-coin bags and from $32.95 to $39.95 for the two roll sets. What is interesting about the impact of the pricing changes is that despite the lower unit sales, total revenue has actually increased. From the US Mint's standpoint, perhaps this is an acceptable result.

Grand Canyon Initial Sales

Unit Sales Price Revenue
100 Coin Bag (P) 4,015 35.95 $ 144,339
100 Coin Bag (D) 3,900 35.95 $ 140,205
Two Roll Set 23,172 32.95 $ 763,517

$ 1,048,062

Gettysburg Initial Sales

Unit Sales Price Revenue
100 Coin Bag (P) 3,275 49.95 $ 163,586
100 Coin Bag (D) 3,230 49.95 $ 161,339
Two Roll Set 20,871 39.95 $ 833,796

$ 1,158,721

Coin Update News: Complete US Mint Sales Report