Entries from November 2010 ↓

Big Premium for Tiny Set

Last week, the US Mint released the Hot Springs National Park Quarter Three Coin Set. As the name states, this set contains only three coins, consisting of the Hot Springs Quarter uncirculated Philadelphia, uncirculated Denver, and proof San Francisco coins.

The coins are displayed nicely on a plastic card with some coin information on the back. The cost for this tiny set is $13.95, plus shipping and handling of $4.95. It will be interesting to see how many collectors can get over the sticker shock. To buy all five releases for the year would cost $69.75, before shipping and handling.

abq-set

The three coins appear in several other products at a significantly reduced cost. To obtain the coins, someone could alternatively buy the 2010 Proof Set and 2010 Mint Set priced at $31.95 each. Alternately, someone could buy the separate America the Beautiful Quarters Proof Set at $14.95 and Uncirculated Coin Set at $21.95.

Through each of the products, one would obtain not just the Hot Springs National Park Quarter, but all of the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters uncirclated and proof coins. In the case of the annual sets, there would also be a great deal of other coins included as well.

I don’t know who’s in charge of product development at the Mint, but they must not think their customers are very bright.

How Many 2010 Proof Silver Eagles?

Just how many of the 2010 Proof Silver Eagles will the United States Mint sell? This is an important question since the mintage for the coin will play a big part in the eventual secondary market value of the offering, after sales conclude at the Mint.

Two forces will be at odds, in making the final determination. First is the incredible demand from collectors. After the absence of the Proof Silver Eagle for more than two years, there will be a rush of orders to obtain the previously unobtainable coin. The strong performance of silver this year, may also add a note of urgency.

Second, is the US Mint’s well known supply constraints. They are legally required to provide silver bullion coins in quantities necessary to meet public demand, even though their supply of planchets is limited to the amount their foreign suppliers will send. At times of high bullion demand, the US Mint has ceased production of collector coins. If bullion demand is high, further production of 2010 Proof Silver Eagles will not be possible.

My guess at how many coins the US Mint already has available is 1.5 million. There was some slack in bullion demand in September, which would have allowed this number to be produced. Also, the US Mint has possibly 90,000 subscription orders for the coins already. (This is a guess based on the number of email notifications accidentally sent last week.) If each subscription order is for an average of five coins, that’s 450,000 already gone.

Also, the US Mint has a household order limit of 100 coins in place. This is rather high, suggesting that plenty are available for bulk orders.

All things considered is 1.5 million maybe too low of a guess? We shall see…

2010 Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin Released

On November 18, 2010, the United States Mint released the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollar. This has been an eagerly awaited issue of the series, following some of the lesser known Presidents of the United States.

Lincoln Dollar

Numismatists have long favored depictions of Lincoln on their coins. He has appeared on literally hundreds of different medals and coins issued over the years. When he was featured on the Illinois Centennial Half Dollar, this became the first of the early commemorative coins to sell out of its entire maximum authorized mintage.

More recently, Lincoln’s bicentennial was celebrated with the issuance of four different reverse designs for the Lincoln Cent and commemrorative silver dollars.

The 2010 Abraham Lincoln Presidential Dollar will be the 16th release in the overall series and the final release for the year. Collectors will be able to purchase numismatic rolls from the US Mint today, or can request the coins at their banks.

Mount Hood National Forest Quarter Bags and Rolls

Today marks the circulation release date for the Mount Hood National Forest Quarter. This coin is the last release of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program for this year. Although it has featured some pleasing designs, the lack of circulation has kept the series out of the spotlight.

Mount Hood Quarter

The US Mint is offering numismatic bags and rolls of the coins. These are priced at relatively steep premiums to face value, considering the fact that they are simply circulation strike coins in special packaging. The bags containing 100 coins from the Philadelphia or Denver Mint are priced at $35.95. The two rolls sets containing 40 coins from each mint are priced at $32.95.

The Mount Hood Quarter is apparently still in production since preliminary mintages have not yet been provided. Production for each design of the series has been around 70 million each, which does seem enticingly low compared to the high levels for the previous State Quarters series.

A launch ceremony will be held at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon on November 17.

Proof Silver Eagles Not Sold Out Yet

Yesterday, the US Mint sent out a mass email to customers who had ordered the 2010 Proof Silver Eagle through their subscription program. The email very abruptly said that the coin, which won’t be released until next week, was sold out.

2010 Proof Silver Eagle

As it turns out, the email was sent in error and the coins are not sold out. Nonetheless, many people were upset and spent some frustrating hours yesterday trying to figure out what happened.

The email error was very disheartening and shocking for many people. Last year, the 2009 Proof Silver Eagle was canceled, breaking with a traditional offering that had been more than twenty years in the running. The reason for the cancellation was basically because the Mint could not get enough precious metals blanks from its foreign suppliers.

Yesterday’s email likely set off a wave of renewed frustration with the operations of the US Mint that has been building for several years. How will collectors react when the 2010 Proof Silver Eagles (hopefully) go on sale November 19? Will the faulty email create an impression of limited supply, or a backlash that results in lower sales?