Entries from May 2008 ↓

Louisa Adams First Spouse Gold Coins

Louisa Adams CoinToday the US Mint will release the next coin in the First Spouse Gold Coin Series, honoring Louisa Adams. This will mark the second release of 2008 for the series and the sixth coin release overall.

The coin will contain one-half ounce of 24 karat gold and is limited to 40,000 units.  The maximum units will be divided between proof and uncirculated versions of the coin based on demand.

The front of the coin features a portrait of the First Lady designed by Susan Gamble and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill.  The back of the coin, designed and sculpted by Joseph Menna,  features Louisa Adams with her son Charles on a journey across Europe to join her husband.

The Mint has priced the coins at $619.95 for the proof version and $599.95 for the uncirculated version.  Ordering is initially limited to one per household per option.

WSJ on 2008 Silver Eagle Shortage

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting article today covering the ongoing shortage of 2008 Silver Eagles.

The article explained that the US Mint has been so overwhelmed with orders for the popular bullion coins that they were forced to stop taking orders.  They recently resumed sales of the coins last month, but are rationing how many each authorized dealer can order.

Overall year to date sales of 2008 Silver Eagles are running at more than double the pace of last years sales.

The article linked the shortage to the “growing love of commodities” and took quotes from some new collectors of the series and silver bullion.  The people interviewed were not coin collectors, but a judge and an accountant seeking an investment alternative to the stock market and real estate.

On the whole, the coverage is factual and pretty balanced.  It ends with a reminder of how the last boom in silver ended.  In the 1980’s speculation pushed the price of silver over $50, only to plunge soon afterwards.  I don’t think the market is anywhere near this kind of speculative peak, but its always good to keep the lessons of the past fresh in our minds.

10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set

2007-W Reverse Proof Platinum EagleIn 2007, The US Mint announced that it would be issuing a special 10th Anniversary Platinum Eagle Set.  This set followed the hugely popular 20th Anniversary Sets issued for the Gold Eagle and Silver Eagle.

The set contains two coins:

  • 2007 One-Half Ounce Proof Platinum Eagle
  • 2007 One-Half Ounce Reverse Proof Platinum Eagle 

The proof coin features the modern cameo proof finish with frosted raised elements and a mirrored background.  The reverse proof coin features the opposite, mirrored raised elements and a frosted background.

The set has a maximum production of 30,000 sets and initially had an ordering limit of one per household.

To date, there have been 17,895 sets sold.  The initial price of the set was recently adjusted upwards due to the rising market price of platinum.  The set remains available directly from the US Mint.

Steel Cents and Nickels?

Lincoln CentThe House of Representatives recently voted in favor of a bill that would require the Mint to switch the composition of the penny and nickel.  The composition of the penny would be changed from the current copper plated zinc to copper plated steel.

The reason for the legislation is the rising cost of metals that make production of cents and nickels an unprofitable endeavor for the US Mint.  Cents currently cost 1.26 cents to produce and nickels cost 7.7 cents to produce.  A switch in composition could potentially save $1 billion over the next decade.

Mint Director Edmund Moy has expressed concerns about the legislation in its current form.  The Mint would only have 9 months to start production of cents under the new composition.  Furthermore, steel is also subject to the same forcing driving up the costs of zinc.

The legislation now moves to the Senate where it is expected to be met with objections by some lawmakers.

1995-W Proof Silver Eagle

Proof Silver EagleThe most desirable coin of the American Silver Eagle series is the 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle. It is considered the key date coin of the series.

The story behind the coin is an interesting one. It was issued under special circumstances that resulted in a shockingly low mintage. Such a low mintage will likely never be seen again in this series.

The 1995-W Proof Silver Eagle was issued as a special bonus coin for the 1995-W Proof Gold Eagle 4 Coin Set. The purpose of the bonus coin was to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the series. The set carried a high price tag because of the gold content, putting it out of reach of many Silver Eagle collectors.

Because of this unique set of circumstances, the final mintage of the coin was only 30,125. Coins are always in high demand and sell for at least $4,000. Examples graded PR70DCAM can sell for well into five figures.