Mint News Blog

News, Information, and Commentary on US Mint Products

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

2011-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle Scheduled

The US Mint has added a release date of September 29, 2011 for the 2011-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle.

Previously, the coin had been listed as "TBD" on the scheduled product listing and "early fall" on the tentative product page. Although an exact date has now been published, it still remains subject to potential change.

The product is an additional collectible version of the American Silver Eagle, following the proof coin released on June 30. The uncirculated version carries a finish similar to the bullion coin and is struck on specially burnished blanks. The coins also carry the "W" mint mark to denote production at the West point Mint. As with other Silver Eagles, the coins are struck in .999 fine silver with a weight of one troy ounce.

The last collectible uncirculated silver eagle was released back in 2008. The product was canceled for the following two years, as the US Mint struggled to meet demand for bullion versions of the coin. Under previous law, the US Mint was required to produce the bullion coins in quantities sufficient to meet public demand. Since they were not meeting full demand, they sourced all silver planchets to the production of more bullion coins and canceled some collector versions of the coins. The law has since been changed to allow some flexibility for the production of collector coins.

Pricing and ordering limits for the 2011-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle have not yet been published.

When last available in 2008, the collectible uncirculated Silver Eagles were priced at $25.95 each. The same year, the proof version was priced at $31.95. During the year, the market price of silver ranged from a low of $8.88 per ounce to a high of $20.92. The cumulative average for the year was $14.99.

The currently available 2011 Proof Silver Eagle is priced at $59.95 based on a market silver price of $37.50 per ounce.
Coin Update News: 2011 ATB Silver Bullion Sales


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2010-P Mount Hood Five Ounce Silver Coin Sales at 14,759

From the start of sales on July 28 through August 1, 2011, the US Mint has recorded sales of 14,759 of the 2010-P Mount Hood National Forest Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins. This is a dramatic slowdown compared to previous releases of the series.

With a mintage of 27,000 per design and a special vapor blasted finish, the five ounce silver coins found a stampede of buyers when the first design featuring Hot Springs National Park was released. The pace of orders was so fast, that it took down the US Mint's website for about 45 minutes. Even with the down time, sales had reached approximately 19,000 after 9 hours of availability. By the time of the first regular sales report was issued, sales had reached approximately 25,000. A complete sell out was achieved after about 15 days of availability.

The second release featuring Yellowstone National Park saw sales progress at roughly the same pace, with first reported sales of 24,626 and a sell out after 15 days of availability.

The pace of sales started to noticeably diminish with the next two releases. The Yosemite National Park design had initial sales of 20,511 and did not sell out for about six weeks. The Grand Canyon design had initial sales of 19,200 and remains available for sale. An ordering limit of one per household continues to be in place.

Is the even bigger slowdown for the latest Mount Hood design, an ominous sign for the series?

In a past article, I used the term "ATB fatigue". In the course of three months, the US Mint has now released five separate five ounce numismatic coins. According to the latest information available, at least some of the 2011 designs will also be released during the current year, continuing to stretch collector budgets. The exact release dates and maximum production limits for the 2011 designs have not yet been determined.

The ongoing commitment necessary to continue the collection will be significant, particularly if the price of silver continues to rise.

An interesting point of comparison: If a collector were to purchase all of the numismatic ATB five ounce silver coins for 2010 and 2011, the total silver content would be 50 troy ounces. This amount is greater than the silver content of all proof commemorative silver dollars that have been issued by the US Mint from 1983 to 2011. At 0.7736 troy ounces of silver content for 63 different coins, the total reaches only 48.7368 troy ounces.
Coin Update News: Complete US Mint Sales Report


Monday, August 1, 2011

San Francisco 2011 Silver Eagles Update

According to a recent article from Numismatic News, the United States Mint has temporarily suspended production of American Silver Eagle bullion coins at the San Francisco Mint. The total number of coins produced so far has reached 2,305,000 with almost a million still remaining in inventory. Production may resume later in the year as needed.

For the year to date, the total number of Silver Eagle bullion coins sold has reached 25,271,500, including those struck at West Point and San Francisco. This is well on the way to achieving another annual sales record. The current record was achieved last year with sales of 34,662,500 of the one ounce silver coins.

Despite some earlier skepticism about how the San Francisco Mint's Silver Eagle bullion coin production would play out on the secondary market, pricing for coins identified to this origin has been reasonable from most channels. As expected, the major third party grading companies are providing special encapsulation for the coins minted at San Francisco, identifying the origin. In general, it has been necessary to submit an entire sealed Green Monster Box to have the coins identified as such.

On the secondary market, there are many examples of 2011 San Francisco Silver Eagles available in individual PCGS or NGC holders graded MS69 or MS70. A general price level for MS69 grades is about $50, while MS70 coins are around $100. These prices are not much different than other 2011 Silver Eagles not identified by mint origin. Some channels also sell sealed Monster Boxes of 500 coins with the identifying markings from San Francisco or 20-coin tubes, sealed and identified by PCGS.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

2010-P Mount Hood Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin

Today July 28, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will release the fifth 2010-P America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin. This issue features Mount Hood National Forest.

The reverse of the coin has a view of Mount Hood with Lost Lake in the foreground and was designed by Phebe Hemphill. The obverse of the coin features John Flanagan's 1932 portrait of George Washington.

These numismatic coins are intended to have a surface finish created through a vapor blasting technique. Some collectors have recently encountered examples which have a "light finish" or which completely lack the finish on one or both sides of the coin. The most frequent reports have come for the Grand Canyon design, although there has been at least one reported discovery for the Yellowstone design. Coin Update recently had an article providing the known information on these errors and varieties. Yesterday, the US Mint released a statement on the inconsistent finishes.

Details of the Mount Hood Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin follow those of the previous releases. Each coin is priced at $279.95, the total mintage is 27,000 pieces, and an ordering limit of one per household will be in place for the start of sales.

Previous releases have seen relatively swift sell outs. In most cases, after the total number of orders received have met the maximum mintage, the US Mint has continued to accept orders for placement on a waiting list. These orders are only fulfilled in the event that coins become available due to order cancellations. Based on the product page of the upcoming Mount Hood coin, the US Mint will use a waiting list again.

Here are time lines summarizing the offerings for the prior four coins in the series.

Hot Springs National Park
April 28: sales begin
May 2: opening sales reach approximately 25,000
May 13: product put on waiting list as orders reach 27,000

Yellowstone National Park
May 17: sales begin
May 22: opening sales reach 24,626
June 1: product sold out, no waiting list imposed

Yosemite National Park
June 9: sales begin
June 12: opening sales reach 20,511
June 23: waiting list incorrectly posted
July 9: ordering limit removed
July 11: incorrect waiting list notice removed
July 20: product put on waiting list as orders reach 27,000

Grand Canyon National Park
June 29: sales begin
July 3: opening sales reach 19,300
as of July 28: last reported sales 22,785, ordering limit remains in effect


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gettysburg Quarter Three Coin Set

The United States Mint has released the Gettysburg National Park Quarter Three Coin Set. This is the sixth release for the ongoing product type.

The three coin sets were introduced in late 2010, and feature uncirculated versions of the coins from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints, along with the proof version of the coin from the San Francisco Mint.

The sets including the 2010-dated coins were released on dates from November 17, 2010 (Hot Springs) to May 4, 2011 (Mount Hood). The 2011-dated coins are scheduled to be released at roughly equal intervals throughout the rest of the year.

As mentioned for each previous release of the same product type, the coins included in each set can be acquired more cheaply on a per coin basis by purchasing the relevant annual coin sets. Each three coin set is priced at $14.95.

Despite the high cost on a per coin basis, the product does seem to have a small but seemingly dedicated collector base. Sales for the previous five releases are as follows:
Hot Springs National Park 18,857
Yellowstone National Park 18,974
Yosemite National Park 16,595
Grand Canyon National Park 15,999
Mount Hood National Forest 13,609

Each of these sets continues to be available for sale on the US Mint's website. There has been no indication so far as to when sales for each of the three coin set might conclude.

America the Beautiful Quarters Album

Yesterday, the United States Mint released an album to house a collection of America the Beautiful Quarters. This product had previously appeared in the upcoming products section and had a preliminary product page, which was pulled shortly before the initial anticipated release date of July 20, 2011.

The product reappeared in the upcoming products section and has been released seemingly without any changes. The album appears to be constructed to house one example of each of the 56 America the Beautiful Quarters. Facts and information about each of the sites is included, and the albums are priced at $9.95 each.