Will These Coins Be Future Key Dates?

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?

Long May She Rule

January 10th, 2013

With the exception of the George Washington Quarters, the Seated Liberty Quarter of 1838-1891 is the longest running quarter dollar issued in the nation’s history. The series can be divided into eight different subtypes, with each containing a number of different mint issues such as coins struck at Philadelphia, San Francisco, Carson City, and New Orleans.

The original series ran from 1838 to 1840 and is distinguished by the lack of drapery hanging down from the arm to the knee of figure of Liberty on the obverse.  From 1840-1853, drapery was added and continued throughout the remainder of the series.

In 1853, a change in the weight of United States coinage led to the addition of a matched set of arrows on each side of the date to denote a change in weight and a background of rays was added to the reverse behind the rampant eagle and shield motif. The third change came in the next year and ran from 1854 to 1855, wherein the reverse side rays were deleted from the design.

From 1856 to 1865, the weight change arrows were dropped from the date on the obverse side of the coin. With the close of the Civil War, a new change was introduced with the 1866 mintings and running until 1873. This was a scroll added over the eagle on the reverse and containing the now familiar motto: In God We Trust.

In 1873, the previously deleted arrows made a sudden reappearance. This change proved short-lived and was dropped after the 1874 issue. Starting in 1874, the Seated Liberty reverted to the 1866 design with motto above the eagle but no arrows on the obverse. This was the final design change and lasted until the introduction of the new Barber Quarter Dollar in 1892.

Considering the various years, designs and mints, collecting Seated Liberty Quarters can involve 54 different specimens, with the rarest being the 1873-CC No Arrows, of which only 6 are known to exist.

About The 50 State Quarters Program

September 9th, 2012

There were fifty State Quarters brought out by the U.S. Mint between the years of 1999 and 2008. The program was thought out as a way to attract a new generation of people that enjoyed collecting coins. It became the most popular program in the history of coin collecting for the public. The U.S. Mint allowed five quarters to be released every year. These coins were released in a specific order of how the states approved the constitution. Every quarter was designed with one of the states in mind providing the history, symbols, and tradition of each state with people, flags, and various images.

The quarter designs of each state were well thought out by each one the states. A few designs were chosen and then one was selected among them as being the quarter for the state. The governor normally made the final decision of the design of which quarter to use. In some states, the citizens would choose the final selection of the quarter. People from each state collected the fifty quarters in the order in which they came out. The 50 State Quarters Program was considered to be very popular in the United States.

At the end of 2008 all fifty quarters were released out into the public. The demand for people to collect all of the quarters for the states was great. Especially in the early part, when the program first started. People liked collecting the quarters from each state and put them in the available albums made to hold all fifty of the quarters.

The Distinctive Draped Bust Quarter

September 8th, 2012

In 1796, the US Mint came out with the original quarter coin which became known as the Draped Bust Quarters due to the front design. It initially struck people as odd to have a 25-cent coin in circulation but it eventually caught on with the masses. This particular edition was made until 1807, though the official count is only eight production years because there were times when minting was halted.

The metallic composition of the coin is eighty-nine percent silver and eleven percent copper. The front side’s design is that of a woman with long wavy tresses having a dress over her bust. The back side’s design is usually a variation of eagles. The substantial size of the coin is unexpected given its modest value but this was due to the reference to the Spanish reales.

Those who collect these coins rate the 1796 version as the most important because of its unique back design of a small eagle. While some versions may be harder to find, this one has a distinctive charm that puts it above the rest.

These quarters enjoyed wide usage which unfortunately means that those which have survived are typically far from immaculate. Yet collectors still yearn to find them in appreciation of their historical significance.