Archive for the ‘Collector Coins’ Category

A Varied and Educational Numismatic Product

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

The United States Mint is constantly experimenting with new formats for offering their numismatic products. Oftentimes this has been a recombination of disparate coins into a new type of “prestige” or “limited edition” set. In other cases, the coins have been brought together with a diverse assortment of educational materials from a variety of sources.


One such product type that has been offered on four separate occasions is referred to as the Coin and Chronicles Set. These sets have typically contained one or more coins together with educational materials relevant to the subject of the coin. These sets for the more popular subjects have often proven extremely popular with the public, achieving rapid sell outs.

Some of the materials included in these special sets have included intaglio prints from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing or special versions of medals produced by the United States Mint. The first set included a booklet prepared by the Supreme Court Historical Society, and the second contained a reproduction of a book published by the government printing office. Finally, United States Postal Service stamps have appeared within the sets.

For the first three times these sets were offered, a maximum product limit of 50,000 units had been established. Two out of the three sets had achieved a sell out. The most notable was for the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles Set which managed to sell out in less than a week, despite an ordering limit of one per household.

Most recently, the Theodore Roosevelt Set was offered without a product limit. Sales have been slower, perhaps due to a long delayed shipping date. These sets contain a .999 fine version of the Roosevelt Presidential Medal.

Will These Coins Be Future Key Dates?

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

The United States Mint has offered proof versions of the popular American Gold Eagle since 1986. These coins are struck in the same composition and purity as the bullion versions of the coin, but feature a high quality proof finish and a mint mark. Additionally, instead of being produced based on bullion demand, they are often subject to limited mintages or available for only a brief space of time.

For the duration of the series, there has not really been a significant key date. Although mintage levels have fluctuated during more than 25 years of issuance, they have never dipped to such a low level as to create a significant premium. The one exception is perhaps the reverse proof coin issued in 2006, however this is not strictly part of the proof run, and was available with in the 20th Anniversary Set.

The situation may be changing with the 2012 Proof Gold Eagles. These coins were offered in the standard line up including one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce coins, with a four coin set also available. The period of sales lasted for much of 2012 and for some product options into the following year. Perhaps as a result of collector ennui and an uncertain economy, sales levels were extremely low. In response, the US Mint did not produce to the full extent of the established maximum mintage levels.

The coins began to sell out at historically low levels. When the dust settled and all product options were sold out, it was apparent that each of the four proof coins would have the lowest mintages for their respective denomination. The new lows were set by a somewhat significant margin. So far, the coins seem to be very hard to come by, although premiums have yet to develop. Are these future key date coins in the making?

The History of Proof Coinage

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

A proof coin is an early minting which will not be released into circulation, but rather distributed to collectors. In its earliest state, it is often sharper and shinier than later versions, with smooth fields and mirror-like blank areas. They are often double-stamped, though this rarely results in noticeable doubling of the image. In 1916, the U.S. stopped minting proofs, but resumed the practice twenty years later. For almost twenty years the U.S. mint even allowed consumers to order single proof coinage from pennies to half-dollars.

After 1942, however, it was no longer possible to do this. Clients had to buy sets of coins: pennies, nickels, dimes, etc. Certain errors make particular examples especially rare and costly to buy. There have been various special designs created including the Lewis and Clark nickels, Statehood quarters, Presidential dollars, wartime nickels, and more recently ‘America the Beautiful’ quarters.

Most sets contain five or six coins, but there have been exceptions. The most coins in a single set — 18 — were the result of a special year. 2009 marked the bicentennial of the birth of Lincoln, leading to a more extensive series of proofs to mark the occasion.

Proofs and mint sets are different. Mint coins are not regular circulation strikes, which are placed into special packaging. Although the quality of the coins is usually higher than typical, these coins are still considered the circulation issues, which have higher mintages than proofs. In certain cases these mint sets contain coins that were not released through other channels, which can make the sets containing them much more valuable.

Gold Rush Origin Of The Double Eagle

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

The Double Eagle is a twenty dollar gold piece that was produced in United States mints between 1849 and 1933. The origin of the Double Eagle can be traced back to the discovery of gold in California in 1848. This was the beginning of the Gold rush that resulted in the mining of indescribable amounts of gold.

In order to deal with all the bullion that was arriving at the mints across the country, the Coinage Act was approved on March 3, 1849. This Act authorized the production of the Double Eagle, so called because it was worth twice the ten dollar Eagle that had been in circulation since 1792. Although the lesser denomination had seemed adequate until that time, it was decided that a coin of larger value was necessary to process all the gold efficiently.

The chief engraver, James B. Longacre, designed the first coin with the head of Liberty on the obverse and the heraldic eagle on the reverse. Other than the addition of the motto and spelling out the denomination, this basic design lasted into the 20th century. In 1907, the St. Gaudens design was deemed of greater artistic merit. With a few changes, this was the Double Eagle that lasted until production was discontinued in 1933.