The Coin Analyst: U.S. Mint Update

By Louis Golino for CoinWeek

 

The U.S. Mint Comments on the Matter of Baseball Hall of Fame Coin Shipping Delays

 

LG- “As best I can tell orders placed during the first 30-60 minutes online have shipped, and the rest are waiting to be shipped.  I was told there is a computer glitch with the system that generates order shipping dates by the folks at the telephone center, and that orders are shipping, but I can’t find anyone whose order for BHOF coins is moving.  I have an order from the first day that is backordered to July, and the latter ones all have a May shipping  dates that keep getting pushed back a day.  If this is all a computer issue, it seems odd that 5 weeks after the release it has not been resolved.

EMPTYMAILBOX The Coin Analyst: U.S. Mint UpdateCan you provide any information on why so many orders for the baseball coins are not shipping?”

USM- “For those customers who placed orders directly on our website or placed orders through our call center, orders were shipped on a first-in first-served basis. Once the initial inventory was depleted, the remaining orders were placed on backorder. We expect to receive additional inventory for the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin over the next month. Please be assured that orders will continue to be fulfilled according to our standard policy which can be found on www.usmint.gov.

In regards to the “computer glitch”, we are experiencing technical difficulties with the part of our system that displays the expected ship date for your order, causing the dates to move incorrectly. Unlike a computer glitch that is typically resolved in a relatively short period of time, the technical difficulties associated with our system have not yet been resolved. However, this issue will have no impact on the actual shipping dates. Customers should expect to receive their products, depending on their order date, between May and July 2014.

A new order management system is expected to be operational later this year, but no specific date is available at this time.  Once implemented, customers can expect the new system to provide a more responsive website, improved order tracking and issue resolution, shorter fulfillment cycle times and more shipping options.”

 

Shenandoah 5 ounce ATB silver coin released

5oz The Coin Analyst: U.S. Mint UpdateOn May 15 the Mint released the second coin in this year’s line-up of five-ounce silver America the Beautiful coins, which honors the Shenandoah National Park.  After strong early sales for the Great Smoky Mountains issue, the Mint decided to raise the maximum mintage from 25,000 to 30,000, which begins with the Shenandoah coin.  The Smoky Mountains coin started off very strong in large part because of the 10% discount that subscribers receive, but since then sales have slowed.

As of May 12 they stand at 24,043.

The bullion version of the Shenandoah has been available for pre-order from dealers for several weeks and was expected to be available for shipping at the same time the numismatic version is released by the Mint.  The maximum mintage for this version has been raised from 35,000 to 40,000.  But so far the Smoky Mountains bullion has sold 26,500 pieces, and the Shenandoah 17,200, which will increase in the coming weeks and months.

The Mint also recently released the 2014-W American Buffalo gold proof coin, which had strong opening sales of 7,899 for the first week of sales, and on May 22 will released the 2014-W American gold eagle uncirculated or burnished coin.  In addition, the 2014 uncirculated coin set with one of each coin issued by the Philadelphia and Denver Mints this year was released on May 13.

The next 5 ounce silver coin for the Arches National Park will be released on June 12.

The coins most collectors are anticipating the most are the special issue to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the John F. Kennedy half dollar, including silver and clad half dollar sets and the gold half dollar.  There are no release dates for those coins, but it is believed they will be released around the time of the August ANA World’s Fair of Money in August and that the coins will be available for purchase at the show.

 

2014 spouse designs revealed

firstlady The Coin Analyst: U.S. Mint UpdateThe Mint has also recently revealed the 2014 First Spouse gold coin designs that were approved by the Secretary of the Treasury.

This year’s release of the approved designs comes about three months earlier than last year, which will hopefully translate into a release schedule that is not as frenzied as it was the last two years.

As I have discussed before, most buyers like to get their coins soon after release.  Given the high cost of these coins a rapid release schedule over a brief period of time has strained collector budgets and probably contributed to declining sales of these coins.

However, no specific release dates are available at this time.

 

Commemorative coins proposed

Several different commemorative coin programs were proposed recently by members of congress, including coins honoring Mother’s Day and the U.S. Coast Guard, and a bill for coins to mark the National Park System’s 100th anniversary passed the House.

The Mother’s Day Centennial Commemorative Coin Act calls for the minting of up to 400,000 silver dollars in 2018 to honor the 100thanniversary of the founding of Mother’s Day.  Surcharges from the sale of the coins would be split between the National Osteoporosis Foundation and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.   There have been other Mother’s Day coin bills in the past that did not become law.

S. 2303 calls for the issuance of up to 500,000 silver dollars, 750,000 clad halves, and 100,000 $5 gold coins in 2017 to honor the Coast Guard.  Surcharges from the coins would help finance the Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut.

Finally, on April 30th the House of Representatives passed a bill that calls for the issuance in 2016 of the usual three denominations in the unusual mintages to honor the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service.

While these are all laudable issues, in your columnist’s view they are emblematic of the problems with our commemorative coin program I have discussed many times and as usual they use maximum mintage levels that are unrealistically high.  The Congress should consult with the Mint and numismatists about mintages that make more sense.

The National Parks are already being honored with the current quarter and five-ounce silver coin series.  Mother’s Day is a great national tradition but not the kind of theme that has strong appeal for coin collectors, and the two foundations that would benefit from it are organizations that do important work, but why should coin collectors be helping to fund them?  And the modern Coast Guard was created in 1915, so why not issue a coin in 2015?  The reason is that two programs for that year have already been enacted for the Marshall Service’s 225th anniversary and the March of Dimes.

 

Copyright © CoinWeek – May 2014

***

golino The Coin Analyst: U.S. Mint UpdateLouis Golino is a coin collector and numismatic writer, whose articles on coins have appeared in Coin WorldNumismatic News, and a number of different coin web sites. His insightful retrospective on the American Silver Eagle was the cover feature of the February 2014 issue of The Numismatist. His column for CoinWeek, “The Coin Analyst,” covers U.S. and world coins and precious metals. He collects U.S. and European coins and is a member of the ANAPCGSNGCand CACHe has also worked for the U.S. Library of Congress and has been a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international affairs for a wide variety of newspapers and web sites.

About the Author:

Louis Golino is a numismatic journalist and writer specializing in modern coin issues. He has been writing a weekly column for Coin Week since May 2011 called "The Coin Analyst," which focuses primarily on modern U.S. and world coins and developments at major world mints, and is also a contributor to two magazines, American Hard Assets and the Numismatist, the American Numismatic Association's monthly publication. His work has also appeared in Coin World, Numismatic News, and various coin web sites. He collects classic and modern U.S. coins and modern world coins from a number of different countries. He first joined the ANA in the 1970's. He has also worked for the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress and has been a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international affairs for a wide variety of publications. He has been writing professionally since the early 1980's.

39 Comments on "The Coin Analyst: U.S. Mint Update"

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  1. David P says:

    Great Article !

  2. Scott says:

    Louis,
    I haven’t seen the design selected for the 2014 Proof Platinum Eagle that has a release date of July. Do you have any firm information on the design selected for that coin?

    • Louis says:

      Scott,
      As far as I know, the design has not been selected or announced. The CCAC recommended a design that shows a young girl holding a torch, while the CFA recommended one that shows a tree being planted. In the past when there was a split recommendation, the Secretary selected the CCAC option, so I suspect that will happen again.

  3. Dennis says:

    Louis,

    Thanks for the HOF shipping update from the mint. I guess that is as much as any one can get from them. At least it is a time line for things to happen.

    • Louis Golino says:

      My pleasure, Dennis. It is hard to understand why it is taking so long to produce the other coins since nothing was indicated in terms of production issues.

      • DENNIS says:

        I was lucky and got in and placed my order like no one was on the site and had confirmation at 12:01. I received one of each gold and silver the second week of April. Seeing all the chatter on the forum I found Icould get back in and ordered again one of each gold and silver. I received the second gold proof and the rest is on back order. I really wish I had ordered a couple of dozzen each on the first order. Missed my “GOLDEN” oppertunity.

  4. Louis Golino says:

    A lot of people say they think the art work on the spouse coins is better this year. Any thoughts?

    • Chris says:

      Louis – I had commented on another venue that Joel Iskowitz continues to be my Mint Artist of Choice!! While all the Spouse protraits seem to get better as the artists have access to increased quantities of photos and related documentation for the 20th Century Spouses, Joel just seems to convey a higher level of interpretation within his artwork for the Coolidge Obverse.

      As for the selected reverse designs, I think 3 of the 4 offerings could look quite exquisite in the PR strikes. Although the Coolidge Reverse portrays a great message, I think that particular artwork is very busy for the size of the field intended to display it.

  5. Louis Golino says:

    I just received a bullion Shenandoah 5 oz. from a dealer. Must be one of the first coins received since they just came in a couple days ago. Nice use of multiple finishes and solid design. Collector version shipping very soon from the Mint. If you collect these coins, please share your reactions, impressions, etc.

  6. Chris says:

    Thanks for a comprehensive updates on these high visibility Mint Products and related topics.

    I’m still calling Shenanigans on this glitch thing, though. Any other Mint Product (7 in addition to BHOF coins) that I have ordered before, during and since the release of the BHOF coins has posted, tracked and shipped without issue. Call it what it is – manufacturing or material availability problems like packaging from China, capsules, planchets, die processing, etc. Clearly, not a “system glitch.”

  7. John O says:

    My first thought after viewing this years spouse coins was that they may be the best set design to date. They are getting to the First Ladies that we can relate to in our own lifetime may be a factor.

  8. steve says:

    Hello Louis:

    Thanks for the update. I’ll decline to rant about the delay : )

    If the JFK coin becomes as popular as the BHOF coin, I’m guessing the “glitch problem” will occur again. I hope I’m wrong.

    Regards,

    Steve

    • Louis says:

      Thanks, Steve.

    • SENZA says:

      Regarding the US Mint statement for Baseball coins, the US Mint is lying period. My coins had April 10, 2014 ship dates and on April 09,2014 the US Mint changed the dates to June 01, 2014 and just a few days ago those dates were changed to 06-25-2014. Worse, they sent the stupid free bags ahead of the coins.

      This has to be the worst run business and most pathetic customer service of any business at anytime. If this was another business most certainly this would be fraud but somehow it’s being treated as acceptable for the US Mint to do this.

      Very Disappointed

      • Chris says:

        Yep. Ordered 108 and 109 on release date and havent received one coin.(ordered 10)

      • V. Kurt Bellman says:

        This isn’t all that tough to figure out. Most commemorative programs lately have pretty much bombed, and let’s face facts – government bureaucrats [Yes, I are one, at the state level ;-)] are not usually in touch with what “regular folk” are interested in. Their snazzy spreadsheet of past commem releases told them “Don’t stock a whole bunch of these up front, you’ll just have to melt them!” So… they inventoried kinda low. Mistake. They may have under-ordered the new capsules and boxes for these issues also. Keep in mind, whoever the mint used to make these capsules, this is a one-off deal. There are no other customers for the product, yet.

        Then there are the production issues – you HAD BEEN READING ABOUT THOSE, …. RIGHT? Maybe the failure rate on striking domed coins is still a bit stout? Ya’ think? Then add a three layer clad half that occasionally “disassembles” when striking FLAT halves.

        The due date for shipping “glitch” is easy to believe. For a while there, my estimated ship dates (one BU half, one BU dollar, no proofs) changed nearly daily. They’ve stabilized to early July for my half and early August for my dollar. I don’t like modern commemoratives in PCGS or NGC holders with schmaltzy labels, so who cares, right?

        Remember, these are the same category of bureaucratic IT staff that gave us healthcare.gov. The fact that there are ANY estimated ship dates is a victory.

        So, who wants to bet that the U.S. Mint screws up the NEXT commem issue by stocking WAY too many at first? After all, in the world of government bureaucrats, why think when you can plug data into an Excel spreadsheet instead? It’ll act just like the real world, where everything is equal and nothing is better than anything else. At least that’s what my kid’s generation keeps telling me.

        Hey, I wonder how many tons of melted Girl Scout commem dollars are in these?

  9. jan says:

    ditto on upcoming commem themes… Congress just doesn’t get it…
    more coins with very narrow appeal…

  10. Louis Golino says:

    Many people are reporting today that their orders have moved to in stock and reserved.

  11. Dennis says:

    My 6/30 BO for gold now In stock and reserved. Lucky iI was watching my account as it was put on hold because of credit card issue. One quick call to mint CS fixed that. It should ship any day now.

  12. SENZA says:

    My two Gold Proof Coins just moved up from July 14 to June 30 but still not in stock. Even though the dealers got the jump on us this has worked in our favor as the Gold coins are selling at premiums right now.

    Does anyone think these will see value like the 1995 W Silver Eagle or just my wild imagination?

    • Louis Golino says:

      Senza- Probably not as high as the 95W. Very few people bought those when they were reasonable (actually free as part of the 95 gold set) and still pretty cheap a few years later.
      On the gold BHOF I am not so sure about dealers getting special treatment. Most dealers do not have any or have a small number in stock and were buying off e-Bay to get them.

    • V. Kurt Bellman says:

      Senza,
      I hate to be the one to rain on your parade, but if you want a profit, sell fast. Over the long haul, and I’m talking 10 years, this issue will be a dog. The available mintage is just too big! Too many people bought extra to sell not the secondary market. That is the definition of a long term loser.

      • Louis Golino says:

        So what about coins like the 2001 Buffalo dollar of which there are half a million, but they are still worth $200 raw and $500 or so in 70? Plus there are plenty of low mintage coins that have not done well or are worth only a small premium because the design is unpopular and people don’t want them. Mintage alone does not determine value. It is demand and mintage together. History has shown this again and again, and to argue as you do that only mintage matters is a form of determinism in my view. Any theory based on one variable is bound to be a failure at explaining long-term outcomes.

        • Charles Morgan says:

          I think a good early barometer of the Hall of Fame dollar and $5 gold long term position will be the point when the Mint actually ships the orders and the mintage in its entirety enters into the wild. I think what we are seeing now is a version of what we saw when the limited edition 25th Anniversary ASE box was released. That set sells for less than half of what it brought during the height of its promotion….

          • Louis says:

            But it still sells for 2.5 times its issue price of $300, which to me is a more meaningful measure. Also those sets were shipped exactly when the Mint said they would, about 3 weeks after orders were taken, which is when I got mine.

        • V. Kurt Bellman says:

          But this time there IS NO shortage of supply, only a shortage of TEMPORARY supply. Charles is right – the rubber meets the road when the stuff is all shipped. There has NEVER been an issue this big in quantity in either gold or silver that held its value, not EVER. By believing this one will be a winner, you’re betting on something that has never happened. It could, but I doubt it heavily.

          • Louis Golino says:

            Kurt- Not true- 2001 Buffalo silver dollar- look it up- mintage is 500K, BHOF is 400K and sold faster, Buffs are $200 raw and $500 in 70’s.
            The issue in 2011 had nothing whatsoever to do with supply, that was the 2012 and 2013 ASE sets which were delayed. In 2011 the issue was it was almost impossible to place an order and they sold out in 4.5 hrs. and still sell for the same amount as they did then.

          • V. Kurt Bellman says:

            Yes, I agree the books say that, but I was just able to snag an Unc. 2001 Buff in original packaging for WELL under $200. The air in that balloon took longer to leak out, but it finally seems to be doing so.

          • V. Kurt Bellman says:

            The world of numismatics is LOADED with near term winners that fizzle out in the long term: 1995 and 1997 proof Kennedy’s, 2001 proof Sacs, 1992 White House dollars, etc. Original demand of commems can vary widely based on the theme, but it lasts at most the lifetime of the original purchaser. Eventually it all boils down to the desire to assemble full sets. How many classic commems have a “topic premium” today? I’d venture to say none do, except maybe localized factors, such as nice Stone Mt. Halves in greater Atlanta. There is an inexorable trend line that operates otherwise. If it has a low mintage, it trends up; if it has a high mintage, it trends down. How are 137,909 BHOF Unc dollars going to look eventually against 14,497 1996 Paralympics Unc dollars or even the 23,500 for the Unc version of the National Community Service? Yes, we coin collectors do love our commems about US, such as the Buff or the Old SF Mint issue, but once these pieces start re-entering the market as the original owners or their heirs liquidate, watch the prices slip. If the mint never does another domed coin, it will hold longer, but the minute there’s another one, look out below!

            The mint incentivized flipping these by setting the 50 per purchase limit, and the dealers bit. I wouldn’t want to be the last guy holding inventory of the BHOF coins when the consumer market saturates. I’m already seeing 2011 and 2013 special ASE’s falling at local auctions, not bringing anywhere near published prices.

      • SENZA says:

        Well the total Gold issue is only 50,000 doesn’t seem that big to me and if you break it down 32,026 Proof and the remainder Uncirculated Gold. So, the Uncirculated Gold is the lowest mintage and could be the most valuable.

        I already made the mistake of selling some early in a pre-sale for $700, now I’m getting nearly double that.

        Unfortunately, I see life as a popularity contest dictated by the few to the many and we just might have to wait it out. Some people say the 1995 W Silver Eagle is the least popular of all while others say it’s the rarest, some don’t want it and others think it’s worth $7,000.00.

        I do know somebody got all these so called early releases graded by NGC and PCGS and their listed on auction sites at premium pricing. I will never buy one of those just on the principal.

        I noticed a coin dealership has a curved gold coin for sale that was minted in Roman era 2300 years ago. If they could do it why can’t the US Mint get these rolling?

        So, I hope everyone gets their coins sooner than later and they all hold value. I have some cash from a pension buyout and wanted some Gold since it’s dipping so I went to US Mint just to know I’m getting real Gold and 1 0Z. Eagle priced over $1600.00 market value just over $1200.00. They might as well put a gun to our heads and take every thing we have instead of robbing us like this. I guess I’ll just put the cash in my brokerage account and play the GLD on the Stock Market.

        One last thing, probably shouldn’t let this one out of the bag but what the heck. Has anyone noticed the first ever Silver Presidential Dollar and it’s very low mintage to rate?

        • V. Kurt Bellman says:

          Yep, 50,000 doesn’t sound that big …. UNTIL you compare it with other gold $5 commemoratives, like:
          (combined BU and Proof)
          25,340 – 2012 Star Spangled Banner
          25,235 – 2011 U.S. Army
          26,263 – 2011 Medal of Honor
          31,685 – 2003 First Flight

          Yes, other than those, 50,000 has been kind of lower to ordinary for $5 gold commems, but NOT LATELY. While everyone has been waxing a little loopy over gold bullion generally, doing our usual crazy bit of “buy high, sell at your estate sale”, the sales figures for gold commems have been weak. So then a (temporarily) popular theme comes along and 50,000 sounds like chokepoint marketing. It all comes out in the wash, folks. This issue has subject appeal, a catchy angle with the dome feature, a slick cross-hobby marketing angle with ballplayer autographs, it has it all. All the things that will cease to matter eventually. People once paid ridiculous sums for autographed slabs signed by the NY and RI state quarter designer. Now you can find them in dealer junk boxes. In the end, it’s about the coin inside and its rarity or lack thereof, not the packaging around it.

  13. steve says:

    Hello Louis:

    FYI

    Change in shipping dates Silver HOF Mint now 6/19 (from 7/3), HOF Silver Proof now 8/14 (from 8/21)First change in 3 weeks.

    • steve says:

      The Mint just threw me a “curve”

      I received an email from the mint (my first) changing the ship date back to 7/3 from 6/19.

      Oh well… lol

  14. SENZA says:

    I just received one Silver Dollar from the US Mint, I ordered 7 and I have another 60 coins on order total, most showing they should have shipped on 06-18-2014 but they didn’t.

    I have to say this is the most disappointing shopping experience I have ever encountered and the US Mint is the most unaccountable Business I have ever dealt with.

    I have called multiple times to the US Mint and it’s the same story, “We don’t know anything”.

    Thanks for letting me vent!

  15. SENZA says:

    Yesterday I called the US Mint and there was screaming and yelling; it’s been nearly 4 months since I ordered my Gold coin. The representative told me the same old “I don’t know” routine so I demanded a ship date or to be connected to her supervisor. After being on hold for a few seconds the rep told me my coins would ship on 8-01-2014 then this morning I went to check the status at the US Mint website and the status has changed from back ordered to “no longer available”. Aaaaaaahhhhh!!!

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