“Buy the book before the coin” is advice that experienced coin collectors often give those with less experience. More broadly, a good numismatic library is essential to being a successful collector and to maximizing your enjoyment of the hobby. Web sites, blogs, and periodicals are all important sources of information, too, but there is no substitute for reference books on modern US coins.
For collectors and buyers of modern U.S. coins who already have a red book (Whitman’s famous Guide Book of United States Coins that is issued each spring in multiple formats), there is also a professional edition of the red book that includes all kinds of information not in the regular red book. For example, certified coin population data for PCGS and NGC-graded coins, which is otherwise only available if you are a paid member of those groups) plus things like detailed grading instructions, expanded valuations, and of particular interest to modern collectors an appendix on bullion coins.
In years past most of the U.S. Mint’s coins remained on sale for what seemed like forever with the exception of a small number of limited edition issues with high demand, and U.S. Mint Coin sell-outs were rare.
But more recently the Mint has been ending sales of many coins unexpectedly and much sooner than most people thought they would. That often translates into premiums on the secondary market such as last year when sales of proof and mint sets, the burnished American gold eagle, and the five-ounce silver America the Beautiful numismatic releases ended early.
Sales of the 2013-W American silver eagle in proof ended recently, but that coin is rather plentiful and will be available in the upcoming 2013 limited edition proof set, so I would not expect a large premium to develop for that coin. However, the Mint’s price for it was much lower this year than in recent years because of lower silver prices, so it should still go up as silver values increase.
So far, the most interesting early U.S. Mint coin sell-outs are those for the White Mountain and Great Basin five-ounce silver coins, and the likely sell-out in short order of the Perry’s Victory coin, which has gone into backorder. Values have already risen for the first two of these coins on the secondary market.
Changes in Mint Coin Sell-Outs Policy
The Mint no longer keeps coins around until their full maximum mintage is sold, and it mints coins in batches rather than making them all at once. To avoid disappointment it is advisable to buy the coins you want sooner rather than later.
Many collectors of U.S. coins have a soft spot for President Theodore Roosevelt because of the key role he played in the issuance of some of the most beloved coins of all time such as the St. Gaudens double eagle. In fact, when the Mint first announced it was going to issue a series of coins honoring the nation’s national parks, a lot of collectors said it would have been more appropriate to put President Roosevelt on the obverse than to reuse the President Washington design because Roosevelt established the national park system.
For most of the past year, rumors have swirled about a possible set or coin honoring President Teddy Roosevelt, and the Mint recently confirmed that a Coin and Chronicles set will be released on December 17.
Details of the set have not yet been made public, but the blog site, Mint News Blog (www.mintnewsblog.com) has uncovered information on the set that I have not seen anywhere else. According to the site, the set will include a 2013-S proof $1 Roosevelt coin, a bronze bald eagle medal first issued in 2003, a special one-ounce silver presidential medal that has previously been issued in bronze but never in silver, plus some educational materials on his legacy and his military service.
The Teddy Roosevelt Set will be available until it sells out, but the Mint has not indicated whether there will be mintage or household limits, or what the set’s price will be.
The set will presumably ship in an attractive package similar to the 2009 Lincoln Coin and Chronicles set that was a big hit and sold out very quickly. The Lincoln set sells today for a premium over issue price.
Many collectors would have preferred a silver coin over a medal, but I still think the set will be popular.
The event is held three times a year, with the fall show being, perhaps, the busiest, with hundreds of dealers attending. It will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center, located in the famous “inner harbor” area of the city.
As the end of 2013 approaches, now is a good time to consider which coins still available from the U.S. Mint could become low-mintage products, or otherwise have good potential for higher value. There are no guarantees these coins will be secondary market winners, especially since there could be a last minute surge in sales, but based on recent sales trends, here are some coins to watch:
Sales of commemorative issues always end around mid-December so that all orders can be fulfilled by the end of the year. These coins can’t be sold in 2014.
The Five-Star general $5 gold in uncirculated condition and the clad half dollar of the same series in uncirculated condition currently have sales totals that are very low.
The 2013-W burnished uncirculated silver eagle coins, are also running very low as far as total sales with only about 150,000 sold so far. The previous low is the 2012-w coin with a mintage in the low 200,000. However, these coins can be sold into the next year. Plus the Mint will start selling the 2013 dollar set in November, which will include the burnished silver eagle.
The 2013 uncirculated mint set is another one whose sales are running lower than they were at this point in previous years.
Finally, the 2013-W Buffalo $50 proof gold coin is trending very low for this series. It is unlikely to end up being the new key, replacing the 2008-W coin, but it has a good chance of replacing the 2012-W coin as the second lowest mintage coin in the series, which should give it a decent premium at some point. But these coins can also be sold into the new year.
So keep an eye on sales data at the Mint’s web site, and check the goldmart.com website regularly for availability of these particularly watchable coins.