Modern Coin Scene: Silver Baseball Coins Approaching Sell-Out

Silver Baseball Coins Approaching Sell-Out

On the heels of the record-breaking $5 gold Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin sell-out that took about 12 hours*, a new record for silver commemoratives appears imminent.

The proof and uncirculated silver baseball coins are extremely popular.   Sales were already brisk with almost 60% of the maximum mintage sold in the first couple days.  Then the gold coins sold out, which spurred buyers to load up on the silver version.

By April 2 208,870 proof and 104,841 uncirculated silver coins were sold.  With about 25,000 coins selling each day, the silver versions were expected to be gone by the time the Mint returned to work on Monday, April 7, when a wait list was expected to be posted.

The clad coins have not been selling nearly as quickly, though that could change now that the new baseball season has started.  The coins are expected to be sold at games to fans.

The silver dollars may end up as long-term winners with collectors like the 2001 Buffalo silver dollars were.  Back then 500,000 coins were sold in 14 days, and in this case the sale of 400,000 coins is set to end a couple days sooner.  The breakdown between proof and uncirculated coins is not yet known, but I suspect it will be roughly 250,000 proofs to 150,000 uncirculated coins.  That may give an edge to the value of the uncs down the road, but that remains to be seen.

Both coins are popular largely because they depict iconic American themes, baseball and bison (which is technically, a North American animal also seen in Canada).

*Although all the gold coins sold out on the first day, the sell-out was not official until March 30.

Modern Coin Scene: Baseball Coin Sales Frenzy Begins

Baseball Coin Sales Frenzy Begins

baseball coin

It was the perfect numismatic storm: the commemorative baseball coin. The first curved coin issued by the U.S. Mint, a well-executed design that meshes form and content, a tie-in with America’s national pastime (baseball), and a lot of speculative interest from dealers and other coin sellers.

The U.S. Mint’s web site, which made the coins available from noon on March 27, used a waiting room system to stagger order placement and help prevent the system from crashing as it has so many other times during peak-demand periods.  This helped, but the system still prevented many people from being able to order, or made them wait hours to do so.  It clearly still needs work.

By about 6:30 pm both the proof and uncirculated gold coins were placed on a wait list, which meant that only if orders are cancelled would others be filled and that would be on a first-come, first-served basis.

The following morning the Mint provided sales figures to the media which showed that 41,797 gold coins, 156,675 silver dollars, and 73,354 were sold as of late the previous day, though there were conflicting reports about when the data was compiled.  That translates into about 85% of the gold mintage, 40% of the silver, and 10% of the clad.

This was clearly an amazing first-day of sales for a commemorative issue, the strongest in many years for the dollars and halves, and perhaps the best-ever for the gold versions.  It seemed odd that the gold coins would be wait listed, which meant they were essentially sold out, with 8,000 remaining of the maximum mintage, but that appeared to be a function of when the data was prepared.

Some people who ordered after 6:30 on the 27th will get their gold coins, but many will not, and the Mint has said it does not expect a lot of cancellations.  The silver dollars may sell out in the next couple weeks, or sooner, but the clad halves are likely to be around for quite a while.

Modern Coin Scene: Baseball Commemoratives to be Launched March 27

The long and eagerly anticipated 75th anniversary Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin series will be launched on March 27 through a combination of web site sales that start at 12:00 noon; a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC at the Russell building with baseball legend Joe Morgan; and in-person sales of the coins at the Whitman Expo in Baltimore where legend Brooks Robinson will also be present for signings.

Modern U.S. commemoratives have been in the doldrums to a certain extent in recent years as seen in declining sales levels which many people attribute to themes that collector do not always connect with, and sometimes mediocre designs that fail to inspire.

But the baseball coins have a striking design and are the first dome or curved-shaped coins produced by the U.S. Mint in it history, and baseball is a very popular sport in this country. These factors have come together to heighten interest in the new coins.

A maximum of 750,000 half dollars, 400,000 dollars, and 50,000 $5 gold coins will be issued with both proof and uncirculated examples being made. Each coin will have a concave obverse that looks like the inside of a baseball glove, and a convex reverse that looks like a baseball. Each coin will have a different degree of curving.

The Mint has indicated that making these coins was a challenging undertaking.

Modern Coin Scene: 2014 America the Beautiful Coins Coming

The 2014 five-ounce silver America the Beautiful coins, which are issued in two versions, will finally be launched soon, beginning with the Great Smoky Mountains national park coins.

Dealers have started taking pre-orders for the bullion coins with the first coins shipping approximately March 24-27, and the special vapor-blasted collector coins sold by the Mint have the following schedule:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park   April 7, 2014

Shenandoah National Park          May 15, 2014

Arches National Park      June 12, 2014

Great Sand Dunes National Park               August 2014

Everglades National Park              November 2014

There are a couple of factors supporting strong interest in this year’s ATB coins.  First, silver has remained in the $21 or so range for some time, which is much lower than the price it traded at for most of the last three years when previous coins in this series were issued.

This also means the bullion and collector versions are priced very close to each other at the moment, especially if one buys the Mint version with a subscription that comes with a 10% discount.  That puts the cost of the two versions within a few dollars of each other and is likely to result in higher sales of the numismatic version.

In addition, interest in this series as a whole has grown in the past two years, and secondary market prices for the sold-out coins are very healthy, which encourages buyers to stick with the series.

Finally, most collectors feel the 2014 designs, which were revealed last year, are among the very best so far, which will likely also support sales of the coins this year.

Modern Coin Scene: Return of the American Platinum Eagle

Return of the American Platinum Eagle

2014 American Platinum Eagle | Goldmart.comThe U.S Mint is once again minting one-ounce size American platinum eagle bullion coins, which have not been made since 2008.  Since then only the one-ounce proof versions for collectors, which sell at a substantial premium over melt value, have been produced.

The coins were made available to the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers at a 4 percent premium over melt value beginning March 10.  The first reported sales of the coins is 8,700 pieces, which is a strong start.  Many dealers have been selling the coins on a pre-order basis since the Mint announced the resumption of their issuance on March 5.  The coins carry a face value of $100.

The Mint has considerable latitude to issue platinum coins without specific authority from the Congress as a result of a legal provision which says: “Under 31 U.S.C. § 5112(k), the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications, designs, varieties, quantities, denominations, and inscriptions as the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, may prescribe from time to time.”

Mint officials say the coins are being made again in response to consumer demand.  There are not many countries that produce platinum bullion coins apart from Canada and a couple others, though more issue platinum collector coins
usually in proof.

Many collectors say they would like to see the fractional sizes of platinum bullion coins made again (one-tenth, one-quarter, and one-half ounce coins) because of the high price of platinum, which is currently about $1475 per ounce.

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