By Louis Golino for CoinWeek ………

At the recently-concluded American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Illinois, the most important coin show of the year, a major highlight was the fact that the US Mint was selling the 2013-W American Reverse Proof Buffalo Gold Coin in person to show attendees. From the start of opening day long lines of buyers formed to buy the coin that first went on sale August 8. Online and telephone buyers quickly learned that their orders would not be fulfilled for weeks or longer, though in the past week some people were pleasantly surprised to see their orders have already been shipped.

ngc rev proof buffalo The Coin Analyst: ANA Convention Highlights Include Buffalo Gold Coins and Future Plans of the U.S. MintThe reverse proof Buffalo gold coin, which continues to sell briskly , was a big hit at the show. Two thousand units were sold, and the first thousand sold out by the middle of the afternoon of opening day. About half of the show coins went to three major coin dealers (according to a September 2 Coin World article), who paid show attendees up to a $100 premium per coin to buy the maximum per person number of coins for them, which was reduced from five to three when the second batch of coins was made available.

In addition, PCGS and NGC were onsite to grade the coins and give them a special ANA Chicago show label that was only available for coins graded at the show. While some collectors question the long-term value of such labels since there is nothing different about a coin purchased at the show from one bought online, plenty of buyers are paying huge premiums for the ANA label coins on e-Bay, where Proof 70-graded examples are fetching between $3,000 and $4,500 for a coin that cost the buyer $1690 plus the grading fee. The appeal supposedly comes from the claim that the show coins were the first ones struck, but they are really the first coins buyers got their hands on, not necessarily the first ones minted.

People who bought their Buffaloes online felt it was unfair to sell the coin at the show, and they were also disheartened by the fact that a handful of dealers scooped so many of the coins at the show, making it harder for people buying for themselves to make a purchase. In an article in Coin World that appears in the September 2 issue those dealers openly discussed how many coins they bought and the premiums they paid for people to stand in line for them.

Future Mint Plans

U.S. Mint Deputy Director Richard Peterson made some important announcements and comments regarding the Mint’s upcoming plans during the convention. These comments were made in remarks that preceded the opening of the show as well as in interviews with the numismatic press.

Director Peterson made it clear the Mint was very pleased with how well the Buffalo gold coin sold at the show and told Numismatic News that he “has decided that the American Numismatic Association is an event at which he wants to launch at least one new product each year.”

pcgs rev pr buf1 The Coin Analyst: ANA Convention Highlights Include Buffalo Gold Coins and Future Plans of the U.S. MintHe also said that it was unlikely the Mint would issue another special silver eagle set in the near future, which will be something of a relief for silver eagle collectors who are concerned special sets are becoming not-so-special. The fact that he made this point shows the Mint is paying attention to what collectors are saying. He also said that the Mint will be using its new laser techniques to create special finishes on proof sets starting either in 2014 or 2015, and said the Mint will definitely issue a special set of half dollars next year to honor the 50th anniversary of the issuance of the Kennedy half dollar. Details about the set are still being worked out.

Director Peterson also said the Mint is considering bringing back platinum bullion American eagle coins because customer surveys show there is a market for those coins, but that fractional versions will not be made.

Probably more than any other major world mint, the United States Mint regularly solicits the views of its customers on the coins it sells. In addition to offering visitors to its web site  customer satisfaction surveys, the U.S. Mint also periodically hires an outside marketing firm to conduct surveys of what coins collectors are most interested in. Such surveys helped lead to the issuance of a number of U.S. Mint products in recent years, including the special anniversary American silver eagle sets of the last three years and this year’s American Buffalo reverse proof gold coin. The 2014 Kennedy set is another idea that was proposed in a survey.

The Mint recently sent a survey to some of its customers asking them about future plans for the proof American platinum eagle series and the possibility of palladium eagles.

Survey respondents were asked what kind of themes they would like to see on platinum proof eagles now that the six-year Preamble to the Constitution series will be ending next year. The possible themes for the new series that will begin in 2015 are: documents of independence and freedom, emblems of freedom, classic eagles, revolutionary war sites, and classic coins. In addition, respondents were asked about a special anniversary coin to be issued in 2017

In March the Mint released the results of a marketing study that it commissioned regarding the demand for palladium coins, if the Mint were to issue them. The new survey does not discuss bullion palladium eagles, but is does indicate the Mint may issue a proof version for collectors next year. The market study found there is substantial interest among buyers in numismatic palladium coins, especially if it were a one-year only coin.

Whatever direction the Mint ultimately follows with respect to these coins and in general, collectors of U.S. Mint coins can look forward to a lot of interesting new products next year and beyond.

Online waiting room

On August 20 the Mint announced some major improvements for online buyers of its products, including a redesigned shopping cart, and a new online waiting room to make it easier to buy high-demand products during the first day of sales, when buyers frequently encounter long delays and web site crashes.

In particular, the Mint provided the following details about the waiting room:

“The new online waiting room will be used to assist customers who want to purchase high-demand products from the online catalog (catalog.usmint.gov) on the first day the product becomes available. As you know, the catalog website has often been overwhelmed by customers seeking to order high demand products on the first day of sales.

Customers who come to the online catalog during a high-demand product release can enter the waiting room to “get in line” to enter the website and make their purchase. The waiting room will tell customers how long they have to wait before entering the catalog website. While in the waiting room, they may open other tabs in their browser or another browser window to visit other websites.

Customers also will have the option to leave and come back later to shop when there is less traffic on the site. They will be informed that they will lose their place in line if they choose to close the waiting room browser window to leave the waiting room.

The waiting room concept has been tested with customers and received positive responses. It will be deployed on the Mint’s website for new products on a case-by-case basis.”

 

golino portrait thumb The Coin Analyst: ANA Convention Highlights Include Buffalo Gold Coins and Future Plans of the U.S. MintLouis 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 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 ANAPCGSNGC, and CAC. He 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.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Print Friendly
 

9 Comments

  1. Max B says:

    I love those reverse proof Buffaloes—I think they even look a bit nicer than the Gold American Eagles. I gotta say though, I don’t understand the obsession with ultra high-grade (PR-69/70, “first strike”) slabbed coins. Can the average person honestly tell the difference between even a MS-67 and a 70? And yet the 70′s go for three times as much, even though they’re flooding the market. Give me a nice AU-58 1921 Peace silver dollar over a flawless modern proof coin any day.

    • Louis says:

      Max- I think profit motive is what drives all this grading of modern coins. But there are plenty of collectors who prefer their modern coins in the OGP.

  2. Dan says:

    Louis

    This is a little off topic but I hope you dont mind helping. I have attended many of the local shows ( shows within a few hundred miles of home ) and was wondering if there is a hierarchy or rating of the larger shows. The shows I am considering are , Chicago – ANA, Las Vegas – PCGS, New York – at the Waldorf, Orlando – the Fun Show, and the California shows. Have you attended many of these and could you rate them in the order that you would reccommend them. In addition, please feel free to offer any additional show in their place. Someday I hope to be able to rate all the shows my self, but for now any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Louis says:

      Dan- I can’t speak from experience as I have not attended those particular shows, but I do know the summer ANA, which will be in Chicago once again next year, is the most imp. one of the year. After that, probably the FUN show and the winter ANA and CA shows, which are all about equal. The NY Waldorf show is focused on world coins, and the PCGS Las Vegas is a members-only show. I hope that helps.

  3. Boz says:

    Louis: Thanks for the report. I actually considered going to the show, but my interest is not in slabbed recent bullion coins, and I think I would have felt left out. I have a question though. Everyone who went talks about the long line at the mint booth. Who were the shill standees on the early bird dealer day who stacked the deck? Were the ANA dealer members who paid the early bird fee, or were they street people snuck in with fake or borrowed credentials? I have heard both theories.

    Overall I am glad the mint would show up at the show, since all other federal agencies and the military have been forced to stop their outreach at shows due to budget sequestration and political intervention.

    But, as with the 2010 introduction of bullion pucks by the mint’s authorized purchasor network, and the silver eagle anniversary set, it does not seem that proper attention is being paid to the monopolistic practices of some of the big corporate players. What has happened to ethics in the new coin introduction pipeline?

    • Louis says:

      Boz,
      I did not go either, but I know that there was something for everyone there whether you are into modern world coins or modern U.S. coins or classic coins or whatever.
      I highlighted the Buffalo sales because this column mainly focuses on modern U.S. coins, and that is the hottest U.S. Mint coin right now.
      As for the people standing in line, you do not need to be an ANA member to attend the show, and you do not need to be a dealer to be an early bird. You just need to pay the early bird fee.

  4. Dan says:

    Louis, excellent article as always. But my impression of Deputy Director Peterson is even lower than it was before. He thinks the hype generated from the RP Buffalo sales (which mostly ended up in the hands of dealers) at the expense of everyone how ordered online the week before is a good thing? Although I am convinced it was the backlash that caused the Mint to step up the shipping process. I also find it hard to believe that bullion platinum eagles will be more popular than the first ever palladium coin using two classic designs. And finally, no special ASE set next year? Well it doesn’t help matters that the Mint made people wait 3 months for their order cause they ran out of boxes (the same ones used for last year’s set). There would have been a lot less cancelations and angry customers if they were able to deliver the product on a timely basis. There may be no special set in 2014, but I’m betting that they’ll still offer the enhanced uncirculated and/or reverse proof eagles as an individual coin.

    • Louis says:

      Thanks for your comments, Dan. I really doubt the Mint director knew dealers bought so many of the reverse proofs at the ANA, as his comments were made prior to the publication of Coin World’s article. Also, as far as platinum and palladium eagles, it’s not either/or. The Mint knows there is demand among collectors for both a palladium collector coin and for platinum bullion 1 oz coins and is trying to do both. On the silver eagle sets, most people feel it is time to give it a rest, and I really think the Mint is trying to be responsive to collectors on that. I agree the shipping delays were very problematic, but I have noticed other mints around the world cater to larger dealer orders to an even greater extent. For example, they give them price discounts, whereas the U.S., with some exceptions, charges dealers the same price as collectors, which helps to support a higher baseline value for our coins, and other mints also charge much higher premiums. Our Mint is far from perfect, and there will always be a certain tension between meeting the needs of different buyers, but overall I think our Mint deserves more credit than it tends to receive.

  5. Louis says:

    A note for readers of this column: I have asked the Mint about how sales of the reverse proof coin were handled at the show and will report back when I hear something.

Post a Comment


 

 
 
LinkedIn