Entries from February 2011 ↓

2011 Kennedy Half Dollar

Even though the denomination has not been issued for ten years, the US Mint continues to strike Kennedy Half Dollars to meet the needs of collectors. On February 15, 2011, sales of the collector bags and rolls of the 2011 half dollars began on the Mint’s website.

Featuring the same design since the launch of the series, the obverse of the 2011 Kennedy Half Dollar features a portrait of John F. Kennedy by Gilroy Roberts and the reverse features the Presidential Seal designed by Frank Gasparro. The coin was initially struck in 90% silver, which was reduced to 40%, and eliminated after 1970.

The circulation strike coins included in the US Mint’s bags and rolls are only issued through this channel. The US Mint strikes 2011 Kennedy Halves in proof version and 90% silver proof version for inclusion within annual sets. The US Mint also strikes coins with a brilliant finish for the 2011 Mint Set.

The US Mint issue price is $134.95 for 200-coin bags containing 100 coins from each mint facility. The two roll sets, containing 20 coins each from the Philadelphia and Denver Mint are $34.95 each.

Andrew Johnson Presidential Dollar

The 17th release in the Presidential Dollars series was launched last week to honor Andrew Johnson. The US Mint marked the event by holding a launch ceremony at the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site in Tennessee.

In line with the format of the series, the obverse of the coin features a portrait of the President. Under the authorizing legislation, this is supposed to be a “larger and more dramatic artwork… reminiscent of the so-called ‘Golden Age of Coinage’ in the United States.” Although a lofty endeavor, I don’t think you can do much with a portrait of a historical figure.

The reverse features the statue of Liberty, which is the common design used across all issues of the series. The face value of the coin is expressed as “$1”.

The official circulation release date for the Andrew Johnson Presidential Dollar is February 17, 2011. The US Mint will issue their numismatic rolls tomorrow on February 23.

The coins may not be circulating with abundance, but at least one of the aims of the series has been accomplished. I can name the 17th to 20th Presidents of the United States, highlighting the educational benefit.

Gettysburg Quarter

The US Mint recently released the Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter. The launch was somewhat awkward as the circulation release date, launch ceremony, and start of sales for numismatic bags and rolls all occurred on different days.

The reverse design of the coin features the 72nd Pennsylvania Infantry Monument at the battle line of the Union Army at Cemetery Ridge. There had been some discussion about what design would be suitable for such an important coin. The US Mint had proposed views of various monuments, but the CCAC had wanted something more symbolic of the importance of the battle and the sacrifices made by the soldiers.

On the obverse of the coin is a portrait of George Washington restored from the portrait used for the 1932 Washington Quarter.

The obverse design is by John Flanagan and the reverse is by Joel Iskowitz.

Officially, the Gettysburg National Park Quarter was released into circulation on January 24, 2011. The launch ceremony took place at the park on the following day. Sales of bags and rolls didn’t begin until January 27.

Deigns for 2011 First Spouse Gold Coins

The US Mint recently announced the designs to be used for the obverse and reverse of the 2011 First Spouse Gold Coins. Although this series started off very popular, interest has receded to a smaller, but somewhat stable base of collectors. Some issues featuring a popular design or well known spouse have done better.

The 2011 releases will feature Eliza Johnson, Julia Grant, Lucy Hayes, and Lucretia Garfield. These are the spouses of the 17th to 20th Presidents of the United States.

The Eliza Johnson First Spouse Gold Coin features an obverse portrait of the First Lady and a reverse scene from the children’s ball that she hosted for President Andrew Johnson’s 60th birthday. The obverse design is by Joel Iskowitz and the reverse is by Gary Whitely.

The release honoring the First Lady during the 18th Presidency is the Julia Grant First Spouse Gold Coin. This issue features an obverse portrait by Donna Weaver. On the reverse is a scene of a younger Julia Dent and Ulysses S. Grant riding horseback. At the time the future President was a West Point cadet.

Lucy Hayes was well known for her role in the Temperance movement, however this is not the subject of her coin. Rather the Lucy Hayes First Spouse Gold Coin shows a scene of the First Lady applauding at the first White House Easter Egg Roll. The obverse portrait is by Susan Gamble and the reverse scene is designed by Barbara Fox.

The Lucretia Garfield First Spouse Gold Coin will be the final release of the year. It highlights her interest in painting. The obverse portrait is designed by Barbara Fox and the reverse image is designed by Michael Gaudioso. The reverse shows the First Lady seated before a canvas with brush and palette in hand.

2011 Silver Proof Set

I’ve just received by 2011 Silver Proof Set from the US Mint. The annual set was released much earlier than normal, as the US Mint pushed up the release dates for all three of their core annual sets. I’m overall pleased with the purchase, even though it was a bit pricey.

As you will see from the picture, they changed the color scheme for the lenses containing silver coins to black. The silver coins look much more stunning against this background. Since 1999, the background had been red. Before that, from 1992 to 1998, black backing and boxes were used.

Besides the five America the Beautiful Quarters pictured, the sets also include the cent, nickel, dime (silver), half dollar (silver), Native American Dollar, and the four Presidential Dollars for this year.

Following silver’s 80%+ rise last year, a price increase for the 2011 Silver Proof Set was pretty much a given. The set was $67.95 compared to last year’s price of $56.95. The interesting thing is that the 2010-dated sets still remain available for sale at the original price.

If the price of silver experiences another strong year, at some point the silver value of last year’s set will exceed the US Mint price. What happens then?