by Louis Golino for CoinWeek ……..
One of the long-standing traditions associated with major national coin shows, especially the annual summer convention of the American Numismatic Association, is the issuance of special coins and medals that mark the occasion. They are different from show badges and medals, which the ANA itself issues and sells and which are also widely collected.
The World’s Fair of Money that starts Tuesday, August 7 in Philadelphia is clearly the biggest coin show of the year in the U.S. Some even call it the biggest coin show in the world.
A key aspect of the summer convention is the presence of representatives of major world mints that use the show to highlight their products and new releases. This means modern world coins feature prominently at the show. It is this not surprising that a couple of these world mints would issue coins and medals for the show.
Several major world mints have just released special coins and medals for the Philadelphia show. In addition, the U.S. Mint just released its special coin and currency set that I recently discussed as well as the 2012-W American silver eagle, and the platinum proof $100 eagle coin will also be released during the week of the show (on August 9).
Chinese Panda medals
The special gold and silver Panda medals that China has issued for the 2012 ANA are likely to be very hot items at the show and after.
The medals have very limited mintages with only 10,000 of the one ounce silver medal being produced, 2,500 of the 5-ounce silver medals, and only 99 of the 5-ounce gold medals. They are all proof pieces and come in a special box with a certificate of authenticity.
The medals are being distributed by Panda America , which is based in Torrance, CA. Panda America is the official distributor for the Chinese Mint of Panda coins and medals released in the U.S.
Panda America is selling some of the medals at the show, and some are being sold online though a web site that is attached to the ANA’s main web site (www.anashowmedal.com) beginning at 10:00 am on Tuesday, August 7. Some of the medals were allocated to dealers in other countries.
A representative from Panda America told me the medals sold at the show will be less expensive than the ones sold online to reward those who attend the convention. Online prices are $150 for the one-ounce silver medal, and $500 for the 5-ounce silver.
A staff member from Panda America told me that at the show the one-ounce silver medals will cost $119, and the 5-ounce silver medals will be $399.
The silver medals are expected to sell out very quickly, particularly since only about 10% of the mintage will be made available on a rationed basis at the show.
For the gold medal, Panda America is using a lottery method. If one wins the lottery, then they will have a chance to buy a gold medal for $17,999. 19 of the 99 gold medals will be sold that way at the show. They have a current melt value of a little over $8,000.
China periodically issues special Panda medals to mark major coin shows. Earlier this year it released one for the Singapore coin show.
But China has not issued a medal for an ANA show since 1989, which is one of the reasons many people expect this year’s ANA medals to be popular items.
According to Panda America, “The 2012 Philadelphia ANA gold & silver Panda medals carry on a tradition of China issuing Panda medals commemorating prestigious coin fairs - the first ANA show with an official medal from China was the 1985 Baltimore ANA show. Chinese Panda medals were also issued for the 1986 New York ANA Convention, the 1987 Atlanta ANA Convention, and the 1988 Cincinnati ANA Convention. The last ANA show to have an official Panda medal was the 1989 Pittsburgh ANA show. These Panda ANA medals are among the most popular Panda issues from China, with low mintages & high premiums.”
Here are some examples of the past price performance of limited-issue Panda ANA show medals. The 1987 San Francisco International gold show Panda moved from an $800 issue price to $2100 in one day. The China 1985 ANA silver lamp issue currently sells for over $2000, and the 1988 ANA Cincinnati one ounce silver Panda sells for close to $1000.
Considering the size of the market for Panda coins and medals, the 2012 ANA medal mintage numbers are small indeed. They also have a very attractive design, featuring an adult and a baby Panda on the obverse, and a reverse that includes the Liberty bell and the Great Wall of China.
The Perth Mint of Western Australia (www.perthmint.com.au) has also just issued several special products to mark the Philadelphia show.
One is a special colorized version of the popular outback koala coins with a mintage of 5,000.
Perth has also released a special three coin set of half-ounce colorized coins that includes a koala, kookaburra, and kangaroo, the iconic animals of Australia. These sets are also being limited to 5,000 pieces.
Finally, Perth has issued a special white and blue dragon for the ANA show. It also has a 5,000 mintage, although the real mintage is higher because the same coin is part of the 9 and 10-coin dragon sets Perth issued earlier in the year. For more on the Perth dragon sets, check out this coin blog post:
Dragon fever or mania seems to be subsiding as collectors prepare for the Year of the Snake coins that will be released next month.
But dragons are the single most popular modern world coin theme of the past couple decades, and many dragon releases still attract high levels of interest and sell out quickly. An example is the Dragons of Legend coin Perth released on August 6 that depicts St. George slaying a dragon and which quickly sold out at distributors. St. George slaying the dragon is an iconic British image that appears on classic gold sovereign coins.
Louis Golino is a coin collector and numismatic writer, whose articles on coins have appeared in Coin World, Numismatic 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 ANA, PCGS, NGC, 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.