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Category: Mint News

US Mint Director Edmund Moy Resigns

Director of the United States Mint Edmund C. Moy announced today that he has submitted his resignation to President Barack Obama, effective January 9, 2011.

Mr Moy reportedly will depart for a private-sector job, however the Mint didn’t disclose Mr. Moy’s new position and a spokesman didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking more information.

Moy was sworn in as 38th Director of the United States Mint in September 2006 after being appointed by President George W. Bush for a five-year term. Prior to assuming his duties as Director of the Mint, Moy was a Special Assistant to President Bush for Presidential Personnel.

In his remarks to all Mint employees about his departure, Moy praised their performance during his tenure. “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made over four and a half years. The Mint is a better place and delivering more value to the American taxpayers. The foundation has been rebuilt and the work is now in your capable hands,” he said. “Please know that I will always remember my being Director of the United States Mint as a special time in my life.”

In comments to the Wall Street Journal, David Ganz, a former president of the American Numismatic Association said: “What is surprising is how long he has lasted into the Obama administration. If you look back 50 years, there’s no Mint director that has served a full term when there has been a change of administration.”

Mr. Ganz said Mr. Moy has long had an interest in coins.

“The most fascinating thing about Director Moy is that as a kid he worked in his parent’s Chinese restaurant and as a cashier he used to go through the cash draw every night and pick out coins for his coin collection,” said Mr. Ganz.

Prior to his public service in the White House and Mint, Moy spent eight years working with venture capital firms and entrepreneurs. From 1989 to 1993, he served President George H. W. Bush as a political appointee at the federal Health Care Financing Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He has also served as a sales and marketing executive for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin.

Moy graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1979 with a triple major in economics, international relations and political science. He and his wife Karen have a daughter, Nora.

Medallic Art Company Announces New Web Site

The world-famous Medallic Art Company announced today a new web site, www.medallic.com , designed to better display its 100+ years of minting excellence and to provide ready access for customers and art historians to numerous product categories, galleries, and historic slide presentations and custom minting information.

The new www.medallic.com is intuitive, which lets a site visitor navigate with ease, letting visitors examine Medallic Art Company’s custom medals, institutional chains and maces, stock and collectible medals, specialty items, lapel pins, and spinning medals and plaques. The ten new galleries feature outstanding creations of renowned sculptors such as James Earle Fraser (the Buffalo Nickel), Victor David Brenner (the Lincoln cent), and Augustus Saint-Gaudens (the ‘double eagle” coin). Since its creation, great artists have always been affiliated with Medallic Art Company.

The new website also provides a fascinating look at the entire minting process from concept to finished medallion, underscoring the complexity and artistry demanded of the sculptors, artists, die-makers, and production specialists in the creation of a fine work of art. Highlighted for visitors is the complete film, “The Medal Maker.” First shown to the Society of Medalists in 1929, it features multi-award winning coin and medal designer, sculptor Laura Gardin Fraser in her famous New York Studio in 1929 creating the models for the Special Medal of Honor for the National Sculpture Society, America’s highest sculptural award. Every step of creation and production is shown, including sketching, preparing background plate, transferring the drawing and applying clay pellets to the model, foundry casting of the pattern, die making and striking the medal at Medallic Art Company. This exceptional movie is narrated by Elizabeth Jones, sculptor, and former United States Mint Chief Engraver, from her studio in Philadelphia.

About Medallic Art Company

Medallic Art Company was formed in 1903 by Henry Weil, a highly respected French sculptor living in New York City. Through the years, the company has reproduced bas relief work of some of the most famous 20th century American sculptors, as well as many of the important medals and awards in the United States, including the Pulitzer Prize, Congressional Medal of Honor, National Medal of Science, President’s Medal for Freedom, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and the inaugural medals for 11 United States Presidents. (more…)

Pricing Controversy with New 5 oz. “America the Beautiful” Bullion Coins

The U.S. Mint’s Dec. 1 announcement that the new 2010 America the Beautiful 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion quarter dollars were to go on sale December 6th was canceled earlier this week over Mint concerns and complaints that the much anticipated coins were being overpriced.

The US mint does not distribute its bullion products directly to the public, but rather uses a network of 11 “Primary Distributors” who purchase the coins from the US Mint at $9.75 over the spot price of silver, and then in turn mostly wholesale these out to retail dealers. Few of these Primary Distributors have retail facilities.

Here is a list of the Primary Distributors:

  • A-Mark Precious Metals
  • Coins ‘N Things Inc.
  • MTB
  • Scotia Mocatta
  • Dillon Gage of Dallas
  • Prudential Securities Inc.
  • The Gold Center
  • American Precious Metals Exchange, Inc. (APMEX)
  • Commerzbank International (Luxembourg)
  • Deutsche Bank A.G. (Germany)
  • Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K. (Japan)

As part of the December 1st announcement, the Mint surprisingly drastically reduced the mintage’s for the much anticipated 5 oz  America the Beautiful Bullion coins from an anticipated 100,000 coin  (for each of the 5 designs this year), to a mere 33,000.

After the announcement, APMEX decided to offer the 2010 5 coin set to customers and allow them to pre-order the coins from their website. Apmex is one of the few Primary Distributors that maintains a retail presence  through their website (which is excellent by the way). The 5 coin set was being offered at $1,395.

Obviously with such limited supplies, the large (3 inches in diameter) bullion coins were expected to be in hot demand .

However within hours of this pre-launch offering, complaints started to be registered with the US Mint because Apmex, responding to the anticipated demand and low mintages, had placed a $130.00 premium per coin on the set.

Apmex customers didn’t seem to mind the hefty premiums too much because within 19 hours after the posted  pre-launch offer, they had sold 1000 sets. But the US Mint did mind. In fact they halted the release of the new 5 oz coins to review the situation. (more…)

Low Mintages To Create New Modern Rarities

By Steve RoachThe Rare Coin Market Report Blog

The U.S. Mint’s Dec. 1 announcement that it is placing tighter than expected mintage limits on the new 2010 America the Beautiful 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion quarter dollars may result in the creation of some new modern rarities.

The large (3 inches in diameter) and undoubtedly impressive coins will surely be in hot demand, especially with such limited supplies.

The bullion issues are made available to authorized dealers who then resell the coins to the market. The mintages are strictly limited to not more than 33,000 of each design – a sharp decline from the 100,000 previously announced. The Mint will charge its distributors $9.75 per coin above the price of silver.

Uncirculated examples will be offered for sale directly to collectors during the first quarter of 2011. With mintage limits of 27,000 per coin, the 2010 issues seem destined to be modern classics, as the coins relate to circulating coins, are likely affordable to many collectors, and are simply big and flashy.

Of course, the long-term demand is largely dependent on whether collectors take to the large silver coins and seek to build sets.

Time will tell about the long-term popularity of these coins, but in the meantime, the lower-than-expected mintages should provide great action for speculators and spectators alike.

The American Eagle silver bullion coins provide a comparison point, having as key to the series the Proof 1995-W American Eagle with a mintage of 30,125 pieces. Examples of that issue regularly sell for $3,000.

Collectors’ difficulties in acquiring Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver bullion coins, with strict 100-coin per household ordering limits, have already created a robust aftermarket for these coins.

On eBay, ready-to-ship examples have been regularly selling for $55.

At least one major market-maker is offering $49 a coin for 100-coin confirmed orders of Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver coins. At an issue price of $45.95, this allows a profit of nearly $300 for dealers, and provides the market-maker a large group of coins to market during the holidays.

Higher premiums don’t seem to hinder demand for Silver American Eagle Coins

By Steve Roach – the Rare Coin Market ReportCoin World

While bullion markets continue their wild fluctuations, demand for American Eagle 1-ounce silver bullion coins remains vibrant.

In October, the United States Mint increased the premium charged to its authorized purchasers for American Eagle silver bullion coins from $1.50 to $2 per coin. The premium was increased in 2009 from $1.40 to $1.50 per coin and in 2008 from $1.25 to $1.40 per coin.

While Proof American Eagle silver coins may be purchased directly from the Mint, the Mint sells the silver bullion coins only to dealers in minimum 25,000-coin shipments.

However, the premium increase seems to have had no noticeable impact on demand, as the Mint has sold more than 30 million silver American Eagles thus far in 2010, eclipsing 2009’s sales record of 28,766,500 pieces.

Surely silver hitting 30-year highs including a flirtation with $29 earlier in November has helped keep demand for the attractive and easily portable silver American Eagles robust. Demand for the coins throughout the holiday gift-giving season will mean that 2010 sales figures will continue to climb.

Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver coins went on sale Nov. 19, priced at $45.95, with a 100-coin household limit.

The Mint’s Web site already warns customers of possible ordering delays on Nov. 19, due to the deluge of customers who are likely to order in light of “unusually high demand.”

Until Proof 2010-W coins enter the marketplace, wholesalers are paying up to $57 for earlier Proof American Eagle silver coins in original Mint packaging.

Grading service population reports show that 2010 American Eagle silver bullion coins are extremely well-produced. Of the 44,160 graded by Professional Coin Grading Service so far this year, a whopping 36,470 pieces have received Mint State 70 grades. Currently PCGS MS-70 2010 silver American Eagles are selling in online auctions for $60 to $100, while certified MS-69 representatives can be found for around $35 and uncertified examples are seen at $30.

In large quantities, 2010 American Eagle silver bullion coins are available from wholesale dealers at silver spot price plus $2.60 per coin.

US Mint to Begin Selling Mount Hood Quarters Next Week Followed by Ceremonies

WASHINGTON – Quarter-dollar coins honoring Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon will enter into circulation on November 15. At noon Eastern Time (ET) the same day, the United States Mint will begin accepting orders for collectible bags and two-roll sets containing the new coin. The bags are priced at $35.95 each, and the two-roll sets are priced at $32.95 each. The Mount Hood National Forest quarter is the fifth coin released in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.

The bags and rolls contain circulating quality coins that were struck on the main production floors of the United States Mint facilities at Denver and Philadelphia. The two-roll set includes one roll each of 40 coins-one each bearing the “P” and “D” mint marks. The distinctive packaging displays the name of the national park or site, state abbreviation, mint of origin and “$10,” the face value of its contents. Each canvas bag contains 100 coins and bears a tag denoting the mint of origin, name of the national park or site, state abbreviation and “$25,” the face value of its contents.

Orders will be accepted at the United States Mint’s Web site, http://www.usmint.gov/catalog, or at the toll-free number, 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers may order at 1-888-321-MINT. A shipping and handling fee of $4.95 will be added to all domestic orders.

Mount Hood’s last major eruption was in 1790, 15 years before Lewis and Clark’s expedition to the Pacific Northwest. But on Wednesday, November 17, the public is invited to witness an eruption of a different kind, as thousands of new quarter-dollar coins struck in honor of Mount Hood National Forest are released during a ceremony in nearby Portland, Oregon. The ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time (PT) at the World Forestry Center located at 4033 SW Canyon Road in Portland.

The ceremony will include a coin exchange at which members of the public may swap their currency for $10 rolls of Mount Hood National Forest quarters at face value. Children 18 years old and younger will receive a free quarter to commemorate the event. Those unable to attend will be able to view a live broadcast of the ceremony at http://www.americathebeautifulquarters.gov.

The United States Mint will host a coin forum on the evening prior to the launch ceremony. It will be held Tuesday, November 16, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. PT at Cheatham Hall, World Forestry Center. This public forum will give collectors and others an opportunity to meet with United States Mint Deputy Director Andy Brunhart and discuss the future of the Nation’s coinage.

The coin’s reverse (tails side) design depicts a view of Mount Hood with Lost Lake in the foreground. Inscriptions on the reverse are MOUNT HOOD, OREGON, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. The coin’s obverse (heads side) design features the 1932 portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan, restored to bring out subtle details and the beauty of the original model. Inscriptions on the obverse are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and QUARTER DOLLAR.

Note: To ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products, orders placed prior to the official on-sale date and time of November 15, 2010, noon ET, shall not be deemed accepted by the United States Mint and will not be honored.

Rationing of American Gold and Silver Eagle Bullion Coins A Thing of the Past. Again.

GainesvilleCoins Blog

This September after more than two years, the United States Mint lifted the rationing of American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins. By law, the Mint is required to produce enough of both type of coin to meet public demand, but when they cannot supply enough coins, they resort to meeting as much demand as possible – by allocating the coins on a weekly basis.

The irony is that time and again the U.S. Mint imposes this limitation until it has sufficient coins to satisfy public need, at which time it ends the rationing, and consumers rush to buy the coins, draining the Mint’s resources within weeks or months.

The first time that the U.S. Mint imposed its ”allocation” program was in February of 2008, following a several-weeks’ suspension of Silver Eagles. This allocation rationed the amount of bullion coins amongst authorized purchasers, and the note of the Mint state simply said, “The unprecedented demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins necessitates our allocating these coins on a weekly basis until we are able to meet demand.”

Last year’s rationing of both the gold and the silver bullion coins ended in June 2009 but, as predicted, demand soon shot up, forcing the November 2009 suspension of sales -soon resumed under the all-too-familiar allocation program.

By March of 2010 the rationing had ended for Gold Eagle coins, and by this September, the Silver Eagle coins became fully available.

It seems unlikely, given the U.S. Mint’s unsteady history, that the allocation program for both Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins will not soon come around again.

New Lincoln Dollar Coins to be Available on November 18th

United States Mint to launch new coin at 16th President’s summer home

Presidential $1 Coins bearing the image of one of our Nation’s most admired leaders will enter into circulation on November 18.

In honor of the release of the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin, the United States Mint invites the public to a launch ceremony on November 19, to be held at President Lincoln’s Cottage on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin is the 16th release in the United States Mint Presidential $1 Coin Program. The coin’s obverse (heads side) design, by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart, features an image of Lincoln with the inscriptions ABRAHAM LINCOLN, IN GOD WE TRUST, 16TH PRESIDENT and 1861-1865. The coin’s reverse (tails side) design, also by Everhart, features a dramatic rendition of the Statue of Liberty, with the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and $1. The year of minting or issuance, 2010, E PLURIBUS UNUM and the mint mark are incused on the coin’s edge. To view and download high-resolution images of the circulating Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin, go to http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/index.cfm?action=photo#Pres.

President Lincoln’s Cottage is the most significant site associated with Abraham Lincoln’s presidency after the White House. President Lincoln lived there for one quarter of his presidency and was living there when he drafted the Emancipation Proclamation and deliberated critical issues of the Civil War. Lincoln commuted three miles daily by horseback or coach to the White House, last visiting the Cottage the day before his assassination. The National Trust for Historic Preservation opened the Cottage to the public in 2008 after a seven-year restoration. Today, the Cottage offers intimate, guided tours providing an in-depth, media-enhanced experience, highlighting Lincoln’s ideas and actions through historical images and voices. For more information about the Cottage, go to http://www.lincolncottage.org.

Presidential $1 Coins that are produced for daily cash transactions last for decades, are 100 percent recyclable and can save the country hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Like previously released Presidential $1 Coins, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin will be shipped to banks and other financial institutions in rolls, unmixed with other $1 coins. Banks may order and store each Presidential $1 Coin up to three weeks prior to the introduction, so they will have supplies on hand on the release date. The coins will be available in unmixed rolls for two weeks after the introduction of each design. The special ordering process begins again when each new Presidential $1 Coin is released.

The ordering period for unmixed quantities of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin will begin on October 28. To order boxes of wrapped rolls ($1,000 minimum order) of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin, depository institutions may use FedLine Web® Access Solution. In addition, local Federal Reserve Bank offices can handle special requests for $2,000 bags of unmixed Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coins, $2,000 bags of mixed $1 coins, and orders for Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coins after the special order period ends on December 2, while supplies last.

Presidential $1 Coins are also educational and fun to collect, with four new designs issued each year. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential $1 Coin is featured in collectible products available for purchase via the United States Mint’s Web site at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog, or by calling 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).

2011 Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Designs Unveiled United States Mint

New commemorative coin marks 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Medal of Honor

United States Mint Deputy Director Andy Brunhart unveiled designs for the 2011 Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Program today at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s annual convention in historic Charleston, S.C. The bureau is minting and issuing the commemorative coins in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the Medal of Honor in 1861, as authorized by Public Law 111-91, the Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009. Options will include gold $5 coins and silver $1 coins in proof and uncirculated qualities.

The obverse (heads side) of the gold coin, by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna, depicts the original Medal of Honor, authorized by Congress in 1861, as the Navy’s highest personal decoration. Inscriptions on the obverse are LIBERTY, 1861, 2011, IN GOD WE TRUST and MEDAL OF HONOR. The coin’s reverse (tails side) was designed by Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by Sculptor-Engraver Michael Gaudioso. The design features Minerva, based on the common central image on both the original Navy and Army Medals of Honor. Minerva, standing with a shield representing the Army and Navy in her right hand and the Union flag in her left hand, is flanked by a field artillery cannon and wheel of the Civil War era. Inscriptions on the reverse are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, $5 and E PLURIBUS UNUM.

The obverse of the silver coin, by Sculptor-Engraver Jim Licaretz, depicts the three current Army, Navy and Air Force Medals of Honor, left to right. The ribbon with field of stars in the center is the common feature of all three medals, reflecting the joint nature of modern era warfare and that the Medal of Honor is the only U.S. military medal worn around the neck. Inscriptions on the obverse are LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST, MEDAL OF HONOR and 1861–2011. The coin’s reverse was designed by AIP Master Designer Richard Masters and sculpted by Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. The design depicts a modern-day infantry soldier carrying a wounded soldier to safety under enemy fire, reflecting the courage and self-sacrifice of all Medal of Honor recipients. Inscriptions on the reverse are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ONE DOLLAR and E PLURIBUS UNUM.

Mintages for the Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Program are limited to 100,000 gold $5 coins and 500,000 silver $1 coins. Surcharges collected from coin sales—$35 for each gold coin and $10 for each silver coin—are authorized to be paid to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation to help finance its educational, scholarship and outreach programs.

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. It is presented to a person who distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty. The medals are presented by the President in the name of Congress.

“The men and women of the United States Mint are honored by the role we will play in connecting America to the values and qualities of courage, sacrifice and patriotism through the 2011 Medal of Honor Commemorative $5 Gold and Silver Dollar Coins,” said Deputy Director Brunhart.

New Collector Coins from The Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to demonstrate its skill and craftsmanship with a new selection of precious metal collector coins celebrating symbols of Canadian heritage ranging from prehistory to heraldry. These new collector products include a $300 platinum coin featuring the giant prehistoric ground sloth, a $300 gold New Brunswick Coat of Arms coin and extra-thick “Piedfort” pure gold and silver Maple Leaf coins.

“The Royal Canadian Mint values the role its collector coins play in showcasing Canada’s vast heritage through precious and unforgettable works of art and craftsmanship,” said Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint.

“Collectors from Canada and around the world will find that the Mint’s newest collector coins honour the tradition of celebrating Canada’s defining features through keepsakes of uncompromising quality”.

The following are descriptions of the products now available to collectors and gift givers worldwide.

2010 $10 1/5-OZ PURE GOLD AND 2010 $5 1-OZ PURE SILVER PIEDFORT COINS – MAPLE LEAF

The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to celebrate its expertise and artistry in the field of precious metal refining and manufacturing with a pair of pure gold and silver “Piedfort” coins whose exceptional thickness distinguishes them from ordinary coins and makes them spectacular gifts or collectibles for those with an eye for the exclusive.

Both the $10 1/5 oz. 99.999% pure gold coin -the Mint’s first gold Piedfort, and the 1 oz. 99.99% pure silver coin -only the second of these coins the Mint has produced in silver, feature the iconic maple leaf, long symbolic of the Mint’s leadership of the world bullion industry. Only 3,000 1/5 oz. coins of 99.999% pure gold and 9,000 silver one-ounce coins of 99.99% purity are being made available in this exciting release.

The entire mintage of 99.999% pure gold coins Piedfort coin is offered as part of a set including the 99.99% pure silver Piedfort coin, retailing at $679.95 CAD. Another 6,000 individual silver Piedfort coins are being offered at $79.95 CAD each.

2010 $300 PLATINUM COIN — GROUND SLOTH

The fourth issue in the Mint’s exclusive Prehistoric Animals Collection of 9995 fine platinum coins features the gigantic Jefferson’s Ground Sloth, so called after the third President of the United States of America donated, in 1797, the first fossil specimens found in North America to Philadelphia’s American Philosophical Society. The tradition of showcasing the fascinating animals which roamed ancient Canada continues on this precious Mint coin containing a full ounce of pure platinum. Like the rare bones of the creature it immortalizes, this platinum coin has been made in very low quantities, with a worldwide mintage of only 200 examples. Designed by Alberta artist Kerri Burnett, this coin retails for $2,999.95 CAD.

(more…)

Grand Canyon National Park Quarter Coin Rolls and Bags Available Starting Today

The United States Mint will offer collectible bags and two-roll sets containing Grand Canyon National Park quarters beginning at noon Eastern Time (ET) on September 20. The two-roll sets are priced at $32.95 each and the 100-coin bags are priced at $35.95 each. The Grand Canyon National Park quarter is the fourth coin released through the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.

Collectors may place their orders at the United States Mint’s secure Web site, http://www.usmint.gov/catalog, or at the toll-free number, 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers may order at 1-888-321-MINT. A shipping and handling fee of $4.95 will be added to all domestic orders.

The bags and rolls contain coins that were struck on the main production floors of the United States Mint facilities at Denver and Philadelphia for use in general circulation. The two-roll set includes one roll each of 40 coins-one each bearing the “P” and “D” mint marks-wrapped in distinctive packaging displaying the name of the national park or site, state abbreviation, mint of origin, and “$10”, the face value of its contents. A tag is attached to each 100-coin bag denoting the mint of origin, name of the national park or site, and the state abbreviation.

The coin’s reverse (tails side) design, by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill, features a view of the granaries above the Nankoweap Delta in Marble Canyon near the Colorado River. (Marble Canyon is the northernmost section of the Grand Canyon.) Inscriptions on the reverse are GRAND CANYON, ARIZONA, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The design featured on the coin’s obverse (heads side) is the 1932 portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan, restored to bring out subtle details and the beauty of the original model. Inscriptions on the obverse are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and QUARTER DOLLAR.

The United States Mint, created by Congress in 1792, is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage. Its primary mission is to produce an adequate volume of circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins.

Anti-Penny Video Rant . He Hates Nickels Too

Certainly it would be hard to logically justify the continued manufacture and use of the US penny from an economic standpoint.

The Penny costs 1.7 cents to produce and is worth only 1/26th of what it used to be worth when Lincoln was President.

In fact it is estimated that the US Mint loses over 70 Million dollars a year producing this denomination of US coinage.

Let us know what you think!  Is the Penny Useless? Should we get rid of it or Keep it?

Post a Comment

Mint of Finland issues a coin incorporating hand-crafted filigree

Filigree technique has never been used in coin minting before

Mint of Finland issues a coin which incorporates hand-crafted filigree on October 15. Mint of Finland presented the Cabbage Rabbit Filigree coin in American Numismatic Association’s conference in Boston on August 11. The Filigree coin aroused plenty of interest in the conference. The Filigree .

The Cabbage Rabbit Filigree coin will be issued by the Mint of Finland on October 15. In the middle of the collector coin there is a delicate rabbit made of filigree. The Cabbage Rabbit Filigree coin is a part of the Mint of Finland’s Year of the Rabbit series. The collector coin illustrates popular Chinese Lunar theme. Chinese astrology designates year 2011 as the Year of the Rabbit.

Filigree – traditional hand-craft art as a centerpiece for modern design

Filigree is a delicate kind of jewel work made with twisted threads usually of silver or other alloys. The silver wire is not much bigger than the thickness of a hair so making the filigree is very intricate, requiring fine attention to detail and steady hands. The filigree technique has been used in jewellery making for thousands of years but it has never been used in coin minting before.

One of the Mint of Finland’s design techniques is combining coin with fragile materials that haven’t been used in coin making earlier. “The Mint of Finland is the only mint in the world that offers collector coins minted with joining technology. The technology is developed and patented by the Mint of Finland. Before filigree the Mint of Finland has joined also stone and coin”, comments the Mint of Finland’s Collector Item’s vice president Mika Peippo. The patent number of the joining technology is FI 118505B.

In the EU-area the Cabbage Rabbit Filigree coins can be subscribed from the Mint of Finland’s webstore at www.suomenrahapaja.fi from October 15.

Mint of Finland is the leading company in its field in Scandinavia and the Baltic region. Mint of Finland owns Mint of Sweden (AB Myntverket) and 50% of Mint of Norway Ltd. (Det Norske Myntverket AS). Its activities include the design, marketing and minting of coins. The company is owned by the Finnish state. It encompasses two business units: Circulation Coins and Collector Items. Mint of Finland produces metal circulation coins, jubilee and special coins, coins sets, medals, badges of honour and jewellery. The group employs some 133 people and exports to nearly 40 countries. The year 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Mint by the order of Tsar Alexander II. During the jubilee year, Mint of Finland will issue five new collector coins, open an online boutique, and in October, Finns can discover how coins are minted at an exposition at the Finnish Science Centre Heureka. For further details about the jubilee year events, see our website at www.suomenrahapaja.fi (more…)

The Royal Mint’s Three Gold Coin Set to Commemorate the London 2012 Olympics

Faster Three-Coin Set to Commemorate the London 2012 Olympics

The Royal Mint launches its limited edition Gold Series – an exclusive three themed set created in fine 22 carat gold only. Inspired by the Olympic motto Faster, Higher, Stronger, the ‘Faster’ Series is the first set to go on sale in celebration of the 30th Olympiad in London 2012.

Including the rare £100 coin – the highest denomination for a coin available – the prestigious Gold Series is the ideal high-end memento of the first UK Olympics for over sixty years. With only 4,000 of these sets available to buy globally, this unique set is accompanied by an individually numbered Royal Mint certificate denoting the limited mintage of these coins and ensuring their high value investment in years to come.

The Faster Series coin set is presented in a luxurious hardwood walnut case with the Olympic Rings inscribed in gold foiling on the lid. The second and third three-coin sets of this singular collection, representing Altius (Higher) and Fortius (Stronger) will be available to purchase later in the countdown to London 2012.

Inspired by the classical heritage of the Olympic Games and combined with modern sporting achievement, each of the three coins in the distinctive Faster collection feature a different Roman God reflecting the first strand of the Olympic motto ‘Citius’ or ‘Faster’: Neptune, the God of the Sea, (1oz) watches over the sport of sailing; Diana, the Goddess of Hunting, (1/4oz) overlooks modern cyclists and Mercury, the God of Speed, (1/4oz) is depicted alongside track athletes.

The obverse of the coin has been designed by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS with the Olympic reverse designed by sculptor John Bergdahl, who looked at both the classical and contemporary interpretations of the Olympic Games. Bergdahl explained: “The Olympic ideals span more than two and a half thousand years of history so I took inspiration from combining the classical ideology of the ancient Gods with images of modern athletes in modern attire and equipped with modern technology. And who knows, maybe those same Gods will still be smiling down on us in London 2012.”

Dave Knight, Director of Commemorative Coins, commented: “The Gold Series is incredibly exciting for us; it is the only collection in our London 2010 coin programme to feature the iconic Olympic rings and is the first ever £100 UK coin not featuring Britannia. As the name suggests, the collection is exclusively in gold and will not be available in any other metal. All these factors come together to make the Series highly prestigious and highly desirable. With the Faster set being the first launch from The Gold Series, I have no doubt that global demand will be incredibly strong and sell out quickly.” (more…)

Prices for Proof American Eagle Gold Coins Tumble

By Steve Roach – First published in the Aug. 30, 2010, issue of Coin World

Proof American Eagle gold coins have provided some sparks in the marketplace this past year, but the fast fall in prices over the past several weeks serves as a reminder that what goes up usually comes down.

Some major buyers have stopped buying these and prices have fallen sharply.

For some smaller dealers who were stockpiling the coins in anticipation of continued demand, the change in the market means they have lost substantial money, for now, as the coins are now worth substantially less than what the dealers paid for them.

During July, several large dealers were paying between $1,950 and $2,000 per ounce for Proof American Eagle gold coins in original Mint packaging – the inner and outer boxes, original capsules and original certificate of authenticity with the same year as the coins.

For example, on July 14 a major wholesaler was paying $2,025 per ounce; the dealer’s price gradually declined to $1,900 July 26. Then on July 27 the dealer’s buy price went down to $1,850. On July 29 in the morning the dealer’s buy price was $1,830 and by the afternoon it went to $1,800. On Aug. 3, the price hit $1,750 and then, with orders filled, that dealer stopped buying.

Incidentally, the price of gold on July 26 was $1,189 per ounce and the price on Aug. 3 was $1,184, meaning that the drop in demand was not directly related to the bullion market.

On Aug. 6, when gold increased to $1,205 per ounce, one dealer offered $1,650 per ounce for coins with original packaging, and for coins without the packaging, the price dropped sharply to $1,400 per ounce.

If those who are closest to the market are not buying at the high levels that have characterized these Proof issues for the last year, are they doing this because they know something that we at Coin World don’t know?

On Aug. 6, the U.S. Mint told Coin World that no decision has been made as to whether Proof 2010-W American Eagle 1-ounce gold coins would be struck.

If the U.S. Mint releases Proof American Eagle gold bullion coins in 2010, supplies will increase and less pressure will be placed on the current supply, likely ending the bull market for these issues.

Mr. Roach maintains a website/blog titled The Rare Coin Market Report

Perth Mint Unveils the Gold and Silver Bullion Coins to be offered in 2011

Recognized throughout the world for their superior quality, superb artistry and Government guarantee of weight and purity, the Perth Mint has unveiled it’s 2011 Australian Bullion Coin Program. These pure gold and silver coins are actives sought after by both investors and collectors.

The comprehensive line-up for 2011 includes two designs for gold bullion coins ranging from 1/20oz up to 10 kilos and three designs for Silver bullion coins from 1/2oz up to 10 kilos.

Struck by The Perth Mint from 99.99% pure gold, each coin is issued as legal tender under the Australian Currency Act 1965, the undisputed guarantee of its weight and purity. Portraying creative new reverse artistry, every 2011 gold bullion coin also features The Perth Mint’s historic ‘P’ mintmark, a traditional symbol of quality trusted by investors worldwide. Uniquely, many of these releases are restricted by mintage, a feature that creates an exciting potential for even greater investment return in the form of a numismatic premium.

AUSTRALIAN KANGAROO GOLD BULLION COINS : 1 kilo, 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz
A kangaroo is the most instantly recognisable wildlife symbol of Australia. In 2011, The Perth Mint is releasing four small gold bullion coins portraying two kangaroos ‘boxing’ in the outback. In addition, a large 1 kilo Australian Kangaroo coin is available with a classic kangaroo design by Dr Stuart Devlin, AO CMG goldsmith and jeweller to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

No more than 350,000 1oz coins, 100,000 1/2oz coins, 150,000 1/4oz coins and 200,000 1/10oz coins will be produced in 2011.

AUSTRALIAN LUNAR GOLD BULLION COINS : 10 kilo, 1 kilo, 10oz, 2oz, 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz, 1/20oz
The Australian Lunar series of gold coins epitomizes The Perth Mint’s rich tradition of minting investor coins portraying Chinese themes. This year’s releases mark the 2011 Year of the Rabbit, one of 12 animals associated with the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. In Chinese culture, people born in the Year of the Rabbit – 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 and 2011 – are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract.

No mintage limit applies to 1 kilo, 10oz, 2oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz and 1/20oz coins. However, production will close at the end of 2011, when The Perth Mint will declare each coin’s official mintage. A maximum of 100 10 kilo coins will be produced on a made-to-order basis. However, production will close at the end of 2011, when the coin’s actual mintage will be declared. The Perth Mint will produce no more than 30,000 1oz coins. Production will cease when the mintage is fully sold or at the end of the series, whichever comes first. (more…)

United States Mint to Adopt New Brand Indenty: “Connecting America through Coins”

Global strategic branding firm Siegel+Gale, www.siegelgale.com, today announced the development of a new brand promise and identity for the United States Mint, a bureau of the United States Department of the Treasury.

The new brand promise, Connecting America through Coins, communicates the widespread influence the United States Mint has on Americans’ everyday lives — highlighting coins as not only a powerful link between American values and commerce, but the basis for everyday moments shared among us. From enabling commerce to initiating the start of sporting events and even helping children learn to count — the coins produced by the United States Mint connect us in various ways.

The new promise and identity were developed based on four objectives: to strengthen the identity and level of awareness with the public, to increase sales of collectible coins, to increase the uptake and use of dollar coins and develop and further build a reputation for the organization as the only legal manufacturer of American coins.

“As the world’s largest coin maker and sole authorized manufacturer of American coins and official medals, the United States Mint has an incredible impact on the American economy,” says David Srere, co-president and chief executive officer, Siegel+Gale. “But, the American public has had little understanding of how the United States Mint touches their lives outside its role of enabling commerce. While recognizing President Obama’s call for openness and transparency in government, we wanted to develop a simple and elegant promise that would act as a foundation for the United States Mint to more clearly communicate the influence it has on us all.”

An accompanying visual identity enlivens the promise with the symbol of a coin flipping in the air to demonstrate the optimistic spirit of America and the inscription of “e pluribus Unum” as a reminder of the nation that brings us all together.

The first phase of the United States Mint’s brand rollout includes the simple and elegant design of packaging for the organization’s highest selling retail item — the Annual Sets. The new brand positioning and identity will be displayed on all the Annual Set packaging, beginning with the 2011 sets.

Siegel+Gale continues to work with the United States Mint as it introduces its new brand.

United States Mint Names 7 New Associate Designers From Artistic Infusion Program

The United States Mint today announced that seven new artists have been selected to participate in the Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) as Associate Designers. The AIP began in 2003 to help enrich and invigorate the design of U.S. coins and medals.

A call for artists was issued August 28, 2009, seeking up to 10 associate designers to supplement the current pool of artists under contract in the AIP. Applications were accepted on a rolling basis with three deadlines. The United States Mint received more than 150 applications from professional visual artists nationwide.

After the first two deadlines of November 9, 2009, and March 8, 2010, an official panel convened at United States Mint headquarters to review the qualifying applications. The panel was composed of representatives from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and National Gallery of Art, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

After its review and evaluation, the panel recommended four artists after the November 9 deadline and three after the March 8 deadline. The new associate designers are:

* Paul Cainto Balan of Round Lake Heights, Illinois
* Chris Costello of Arlington, Massachusetts
* Barbara Fox of Little Valley, New York
* Thomas Hipschen of Arlington, Virginia
* Frank Morris of Memphis, Tennessee
* David Westwood of Lakewood, California
* Gary Whitley of Kelso, Washington

The final deadline for the 2009-2010 call for artists was July 6. There are three remaining AIP associate designer positions to be filled by the panel.

In the past, AIP artists have submitted successful designs for the 50 State Quarters® Program, American Eagle Platinum Coin Program, Presidential $1 Coin Program, First Spouse Gold Coin and Medal Program, America the Beautiful QuartersTM Program and others.

The AIP was specifically designed to develop and train a pool of talented external artists ready to work with the United States Mint’s in-house staff of sculptor-engravers to create new coin and medal designs. United States Mint Sculptor-Engravers model the designs submitted by the AIP artists. (more…)

2010 American Eagle Platinum Proof Coin Available August 12

Coin features second new reverse design in six-year “Preamble Series”

The United States Mint today announced that it will begin sales of the one-ounce 2010 American Eagle Platinum Proof Coin at noon Eastern Time (ET) on August 12, 2010. The 2010 coin features the second reverse (tails side) design in the six-year “Preamble Series” program introduced in 2009. The program commemorates the core concepts of American democracy by featuring the six principles of the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution. The 2010 coin design is emblematic of the theme “To Establish Justice,” the second principle found in the Preamble.

The reverse designs of the coins in the series are inspired by narratives prepared by the Chief Justice of the United States at the request of the United States Mint. The other five design themes are: “To Form a More Perfect Union” (released in 2009); “To Insure Domestic Tranquility” (2011); “To Provide for the Common Defence” (2012); “To Promote the General Welfare” (2013); and “To Secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity” (2014).

Orders will be accepted at the United States Mint’s Online Catalog at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog or at the toll-free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers may order by calling 1-888-321-MINT. A shipping and handling fee of $4.95 will be added to all domestic orders. Orders will be limited to five coins per household for the first week of the product’s release. At the end of this week, the United States Mint will re-evaluate this limit and either extend, adjust or remove it.

The 2010 coin’s reverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. The design features a blindfolded justice-symbolizing impartiality-holding traditional scales and carrying a branch of laurel. Inscriptions are JUSTICE THE GUARDIAN OF LIBERTY (from the east pediment of the Supreme Court building), 1oz., $100, .9995 PLATINUM and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. A new design element, an American Eagle “privy mark,” is being included on each coin in the series. The privy mark is from an original “coin punch” identified at the United States Mint at Philadelphia. The coin’s obverse (heads side) was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Chief Engraver John Mercanti. The design features Lady Liberty, a symbol of vigilance and resolute faithfulness to duty.

The American Eagle Platinum Proof Coins are minted at the United States Mint at West Point and have the W mint mark. Mintage is limited to 10,000 units. The coin’s price will be based on the United States Mint’s pricing structure for numismatic products containing precious metals.

The Story of the Two Greatest Gold Shipments In The History of the United States Mints

by Dr. Thomas F. Fitzgerald from the California Numismatist

Twice within a span of almost twenty-five years, all of the gold from the vaults of the 2nd San Francisco Mint, sometimes called the “Granite Lady,” was sent to the United States Mint in Denver, Colorado. Yet the story of these two operations could not have been more different. The first transfer was accomplished with so much secrecy that even the newspapers knew nothing of what was going on. But the second transfer was so well publicized that it included parades and search-lights calling attention to the shipments. This is the story of these two great shipments of gold.

The Very Secret Gold Transfer of 1908

In May 1897 newspaper editor and publisher Frank A. Leach accepted a political appointment by President McKinley to become the superintendent of the San Francisco Mint. He had wanted to divest himself of the newspaper business and this seemed like an ideal new career. Leach assumed his duties on August 1, 1897.

The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fires

It was a typical dawn in the Bay Area. Without warning a shaking of the earth occurred. It was 5:12 a.m. Wednesday, April 18, 1906! The “Great San Francisco Earthquake,” as it became known, was followed within seconds by a violent shaking that ruptured numerous gas lines resulting in dozens of fires. At the same time it was discovered the city’s water mains had been damaged. San Francisco, surrounded on three sides by water, could not battle the flames with water.

Just two years after the famous 1906 earthquake left the San Francisco mint’s surroundings in shambles, concerns about the mint’s storage capacity and security prompted the move of 331 million dollars worth of bullion to the mint in Denver.

Frank Leach made his way from his home in Oakland to the mint and, together with 50 mint employees and a squad of 10 soldiers, prepared to fight the inferno and save the mint. However, at the beginning of the struggle, the outcome was very much in doubt. The battle lasted for hours but shortly before 5:00 p.m. the fires were out and the building was saved. The men were able to leave the mint, return to their homes and reunite with their families.

More importantly for our story, the mint’s basement vaults that contained millions of dollars of gold and silver coins were saved. (more…)

Yosemite National Park Quarters Available July 26

The United States Mint will offer America the Beautiful QuartersTM bags and rolls, containing quarter-dollar coins honoring Yosemite National Park in California, beginning at noon Eastern Time (ET) on July 26. The coins, minted at the United States Mint facilities at Denver and at Philadelphia, will be available in two-roll sets priced at $32.95 each and 100-coin bags priced at $35.95 each. The two-roll sets contain one roll each of 40 coins bearing the P and D mint marks, wrapped in distinctive packaging displaying the name “Yosemite,” the abbreviation “CA” for California, the mint of origin and “$10,” the face value of its contents. The canvas 100-coin bags bear tags denoting their mint of origin, “Yosemite,” “CA” and “$25,” the total value of their contents.

Orders will be accepted online at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog or at the toll-free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers with TTY equipment may order by calling 1-888-321-MINT (6468). All domestic orders are assessed a shipping and handling fee of $4.95 each.

The Yosemite National Park quarter is the third release in the United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program, a new multi-year initiative to honor 56 national parks and other sites in each state, the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories. The coin’s reverse (tails side) design depicts the iconic El Capitan, which rises more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor and is the largest monolith of granite in the world. Inscriptions are YOSEMITE, CALIFORNIA, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse image was designed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.

The coin’s obverse (heads side) design-common to each coin in the series-continues to feature the 1932 portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan, restored to bring out subtle details and the beauty of the original model. Inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and QUARTER DOLLAR.

The United States Mint, created by Congress in 1792, is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage. Its primary mission is to produce an adequate volume of circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins.

Note: To ensure that all members of the public have fair and equal access to United States Mint products, orders placed prior to the official on-sale date and time of July 26, 2010, noon ET, shall not be deemed accepted by the United States Mint and will not be honored. For more information, please review the United States Mint’s Frequently Asked Questions, Answer ID #175.

Great Coin Design, by Committee

The CCAC is on a mission to improve the designs of U.S. coins. As the first bold step to accomplish this goal, they established a subcommittee. Seriously.

Along with the new Subcommittee on Coin Design Excellence, the effort also produced a ‘visual definition of design excellence’, which includes an image reference guide of 25 U.S. coin designs and 39 world coin and medal designs, and a helpful list of 17 characteristics of design excellence. The latter bears repeating in entirety (as quoted in Coin World):

* use of texture and pattern
* meaningful negative space
* thoughtful relationship of negative to positive space
* stylization
* ethnical influences
* allegory and symbolism
* detail yes, crowding no
* use of perspective
* used of forced perspective
* minimal layers
* harmonious, restrained type styles
* clarity
* interwoven images, not busy collages
* contrast of texture and smooth
* fluidity
* subtlety
* relevance of obverse to reverse

Ok, pop quiz. In 25 words or less, describe precisely what any three of these list items mean, as applied to coin design, and discuss whether that item is or is not currently identifiable on any U.S. coin. Points will be deducted for the use of jargon. Bonus: show which items in the list are more or less the same as other items in the list.

The 17 characteristics are intended to be “a benchmark to inspire those who design U.S. coins to be more innovative and creative.” Though “not trying to blame anyone or point fingers”, and noting that “we believe we have some wonderful artists and don’t doubt their talent at all”, it is the work of these same artists with which the CCAC seems to find fault. Were I a current Mint coin designer I would be skeptical of the CCAC’s non-finger-pointing assurance.

This endeavor seems to be an attempt to quantify the answer to the basic question of “What is good design?”. The implication is that good design will happen if all 17 guidelines are met. Oh, and by being inspired by the 39-item reference guide set. Certainly there are principles to which good design adheres, but can excellent creative results be summoned by following a list? It seems obvious to note that design appreciation is subject to the experience and interests of the viewer. Great art for thee is not necessarily great art for me.

The Subcommittee on Coin Design Excellence is a classic bureaucratic response to a perceived problem: create committees, study the issue for awhile, create guidelines, apply guidelines, have a bunch of meetings, and then congratulate yourself for solving the problem. Or, possibly, bemoan the fact that people aren’t listening to you. The reality of such efforts is that the process often becomes more important than results.

It is ironic that contemporary U.S. coins appear in the reference guide set (think about that- good enough to be in a reference set but not creative or innovative?); and that CCAC Chairman Gary Marks likes the 2010 Union Shield cent reverse, while member Donald Scarinci says the design makes him ‘want to vomit’. So, which is it? Do we currently have excellent designs or don’t we? Marks also admitted that, regarding coin design, “It’s art, so it’s subjective to some degree”.

This begs the question: if two prominent members of the CCAC don’t agree on what represents good design, how will a subcommittee, the CCAC, and the CFA all reach agreement on what is good design? And, even if all members agree on what they think to be some really excellent coin designs, what if the public (and artists not part of the CCAC or CFA) don’t like them at all? What if everyone agrees on only 10% of new coins designs? Is that enough to call it a 21st century coin renaissance?

What I see in this are words and phrases of indeterminate definition, a possible clash of egos, and an attempt to put into a box an extremely subjective endeavor. I am reminded of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon, wherein “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” The CCAC would have each and every U.S. coin design be ‘above average’.

The desire is of course understandable. It is natural to want all things to be perfect, to have all efforts to achieve success. But it is also necessary to realize that great efforts, lists, committees, and intent do not necessarily produce great results. Sometimes, I’m afraid, just the opposite. I suspect that in spite of the CCAC’s zeal, ‘great’ coin designs will continue to be rare, and subjective. Perhaps that is as it should be.

US Mint to Release Annual 2010 Uncirculated and Proof Coin Sets This Month

The 2010 United States Mint Uncirculated Set®, priced at $31.95, will be available on July 15; and the 2010 United States Mint Proof Set®, priced at $31.95, will be available on July 22.

Both sets include the first five commemorative quarter-dollar coins in the America the Beautiful QuartersTM Program, honoring Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas), Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming), Yosemite National Park (California), Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona), and Mount Hood National Forest (Oregon). The sets also include four Presidential $1 Coins, honoring Presidents Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln; one Native American $1 Coin; one Kennedy half-dollar coin; one Jefferson 5-cetn coin; one Roosevelt dime coin; and one Lincoln one-cent cent.

The United States Mint Uncirculated Coin Set includes two folders, each containing 14 coins from the United States Mint facilities at Denver and Philadelphia. The coins are struck on special presses using greater force than circulating coins, producing a sharp, intricately detailed image. The satin-finish coins are displayed in a folder that includes a Certificate of Authenticity.

The United States Mint Proof Set contains 14 coins that bear the “S” mint mark of the United States Mint at San Francisco. The coins are manufactured using specially prepared, highly polished dies. The coins are extraordinarily brilliant, with sharp relief and a mirror-like background. A frosted, sculpted foreground gives these coins a special cameo effect. The coins are sealed in three protective lenses to showcase and maintain their exceptional finish. A Certificate of Authenticity is included with each set.

Sales for these sets will open at noon Eastern Time (ET) on the specified release dates. Orders will be accepted at the United States Mint’s Web site, http://www.usmint.gov/catalog, or at the toll-free number, 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers may order by calling 1-888-321-MINT (6468). All domestic orders will be assessed a shipping and handling fee of $4.95 per order.

Customers may also acquire the United States Mint Uncirculated Set and the United States Mint Proof Set through the Online Subscription Program. For more information about this convenient ordering method, please visit http://www.usmint.gov/catalog. (more…)

1999-W 1/10th Eagle $5.00 Gold Matte Finish Error or Variety?

By Ken Potter – NLG – CoinLink Content Partner

Some time ago a fellow sent in an error-variety coin with some very interesting questions. He said: “I have a 1999-W $5.00 Gold 1/10th Eagle that was struck by the Mint with an Uncirculated Matte Finish instead of the intended Proof finish for the West Point issue. Is this an error or variety — the grading service states it’s an error? Also, why is it referred to by the grading service as struck with “Unfinished Proof Die” when the die has clearly been “finished” albeit the wrong finish?

Phot by Ken PotterHe made to very good points and I had to explain that it was both an error and a variety and that the grading service was technically wrong. My answer to him was as follows and aught to be of interest to others.

According to Alan Herbert in his book, The Official Price Guide To Mint Errors:
“Only a small fraction of the mint product is an “error.” The E word was born back in the dark ages when almost nobody knew anything about the minting process. Today we know enough about the complexities of minting coins to be able to pinpoint the exact cause, or causes, in 99 percent of the cases. We desperately need the proper language to fit with that increased knowledge. Teaching novice collectors nicknames and slang is akin to teaching a chimp how to use a baseball bat. It curls my hair to hear professional people, engineers, doctors, lawyers and other college graduates misusing the language like they do.

We know that many actions by mint personnel are expedients-things done to speed up production, salvage worn or damaged dies, use up substandard planchets, or just simply to save money. Obviously, an expedient is not an “error.” It was done deliberately. Other mint products are different because of wear and tear to the dies, coin press, or other equipment. Again this stretches the definition of “error” to have to include a normal result of heavy usage.

The more we know about the minting process, the harder it is to stretch the E word to fit the end result. The simple solution is to have a “real” term which will include any and all variations, and-just as important-will include “errors,” but in their proper perspective. That term is minting varieties.

A minting variety is, by definition, “A coin which is normal or which exhibits a variation of any kind from the normal, whether intentional, accidental, or due to wear and tear on the equipment, as a result of any portion of the minting process, whether at the blank or planchet stage, as a result of a change or modification of the die, or during the striking process.”
(more…)

Coin Profile : Royal Canadian Mint 5-Oz Gold Coin – 75th Anniversary of the First Bank Notes (2010)

A reproduction of the allegory that appeared on the original 1935 $500 bank note

[ CoinLink News ] At a time when so many new coin releases exhibit such uninspired design, we can across this incredible beauty being offered by the Canadian Mint in a Limited Mintage of 200 pieces.

Perhaps we have just “classical” taste for the rich allegorical figures of yesteryear which seems to impart an importance to the design, or it may be that the “clip art” mentality exhibited on most modern coins just leaves us cold. In any case, this 5 oz gold just struck a cord, and provides us with a reminder of what exceptional coinage could, and should look like.

The design is a reproduction of the allegory that appeared on the original 1935 $500 bank note; a seated woman holding a sickle surrounded by the fruits of harvest to symbolize fertility.

This is the fourth time that the Mint has produced a 5oz gold coin. Previous issues: 2007 – Queen’s 60th Wedding Anniversary, 2008 – 100th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Mint and 2009 – 150th Ann. of beginning of Construction of Parliament Buildings.

Theme:
The Bank of Canada began operating 75 years ago in 1935 and was given responsibility to regulate the country’s money supply and to “promote the economic and financial welfare of Canada.” Accordingly, it was given the exclusive right to issue Canada’s bank notes. On March 11, 1935, the Bank of Canada issued its first series of bank notes.

The inaugural series of 1935 included denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 and $1,000. (A $25 note was issued later in 1935 to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V).

The front of the notes featured a portrait of a member of the royal family or of a former Canadian prime minister while allegorical figures representing Canada’s growing agricultural, industrial and commercial prosperity appeared on the back. Each denomination was available in English or French, a practice that ended with the introduction of bilingual notes in 1937.

(more…)

2010 Proof Buffalo and Jane Pierce Gold Coins Go on Sale Today from US Mint

[CoinLink News] The  United States Mint announced that beginning today, June 3rd , the 2010 American Buffalo Gold Proof Coins will go on sale at noon Eastern Time (ET).

The obverse (heads side) and reverse (tails side) designs of the American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin are based on the original 1913 Type I Buffalo nickel by James Earle Fraser.  The obverse features the profile of a Native American with the inscriptions LIBERTY, 2010 and the W mint mark for the United States Mint at West Point.  The coin’s reverse features the revered American Buffalo-also known as the bison-with the inscriptions UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, IN GOD WE TRUST, $50, 1OZ and .9999 FINE GOLD.

Each American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin is presented in an elegant hardwood box with a matte finish and faux leather inset.  The coins are exhibited on a platform which can stand at an angle for display when the box is open.  A Certificate of Authenticity signed by the Director of the United States Mint is included.

Also today, June 3, The United States Mint will begin accepting orders for the Jane Pierce First Spouse Gold Coin at noon Eastern Time (ET).  The one-half ounce 24-karat gold coin, struck at the United States Mint at West Point, will be available in proof and uncirculated conditions.

The maximum mintage for the Jane Pierce First Spouse Gold Coin is set at 15,000 units across both product options.  Customer demand will determine the ratio of proof to uncirculated coins produced within the total maximum mintage.  There is no household order limit for this product.

Bronze medals bearing a likeness of the gold coin also will be available for $5.50 each.  There is no mintage or household order limit for the bronze medal, which is 1-5/16 inches in size.

The coin’s obverse (heads side) features a portrait of Jane Pierce designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Donna Weaver and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart.  Inscriptions on the obverse include JANE PIERCE, IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY, 2010, 14th and 1853-1857, the period during which she served in the White House.  The coin’s reverse (tails side) was also designed by Weaver and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers.  The design depicts Pierce sitting and listening to debates in the visitor’s gallery of the Old Senate Chamber in the U.S. Capitol Building.  Inscriptions on the reverse are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, $10, 1/2 OZ. and .9999 FINE GOLD. (more…)

United States Mint to Release Yellowstone National Park Quarter June 1

Second Coin in America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program Available in Bags and Rolls

The United States Mint will begin accepting orders for products featuring the Yellowstone National Park quarter beginning at noon Eastern Time (ET) on June 1, 2010. Available options include a two-roll set priced at $32.95 and 100-coin bags priced at $35.95 each. The coins in the bags and rolls were struck on the main production floors of the United States Mint facilities at Denver and Philadelphia for use in general circulation.

The two-roll set includes one roll each of 40 coins-one each bearing the “P” and “D” mint marks-wrapped in distinctive packaging displaying the name “Yellowstone,” abbreviation “WY” for Wyoming, mint of origin, and “$10,” the value of its contents. Each canvas bag has a tag with “Yellowstone,” the “P” or “D” mint mark, “WY,” and “$25,” the value of its contents.

Orders will be accepted at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog, or at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). Hearing- and speech-impaired customers may order by calling 1-888-321 MINT (6468). A fee of $4.95 will be added to all domestic orders to cover shipping and handling costs.

The Yellowstone National Park quarter is the second release in the United States Mint America the Beautiful QuartersTM Program, the United States Mint’s new multi-year initiative to honor 56 national parks and national sites in each state, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

The coin’s reverse (tails side) design features the Old Faithful geyser with a mature bull bison in the foreground. Inscriptions are YELLOWSTONE, WYOMING, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. The reverse was designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart.

The coin’s obverse (heads side) design features the 1932 portrait of George Washington by John Flanagan, which has been restored to bring out subtle details and the beauty of the original model. Inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and QUARTER DOLLAR. Each coin in the series will bear the same obverse design.

The United States Mint, created by Congress in 1792, is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage. Its primary mission is to produce an adequate volume of circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins. (more…)

US Mint to Start production of 5 oz Bullion Coin with “America the Beautiful Quarter” Designs

The U.S. Mint has confirmed that it plans to release five-ounce .999 fine silver bullion coins later this year in accordance with the AMERICA’S BEAUTIFUL NATIONAL PARKS QUARTER DOLLAR COIN ACT OF 2008 . The coins will be the first five-ounce coins ever produced by the Mint.

The coins will bear the same designs as the new legal-tender quarters of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The first quarter in the program, honoring Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, was released into the banking system April 19, 2010. Four more quarters will be released this year, with five quarters being released annually through 2021, concluding with the final quarter in 2022. The new quarters will commemorate 56 national parks and sites.

The Mint’s America the Beautiful Program will be well received as will be the companion five-ounce silver bullion coins. The America the Beautiful Quarters Program follows on the heels the U.S. Mint’s hugely successful State Quarters Program, which only recently concluded. The five-ounce coins will be sold via the U.S. Mint’s distribution system that has made American Eagle gold bullion coins and American Eagle silver bullion coins the best-selling gold and silver bullion coins in the world.

The five-ounce silver bullion coins will be near exact replicas of the legal-tender quarter dollars, with the inscriptions on the silver bullion coins identical to those on the quarters, including the denomination “quarter dollar.” However, legal-tender quarters will have milled edges (Also called reeded edges in the coin industry.) The five-ounce coins will not have milled edges but will have their fineness (.999) and their weighs (five troy ounces) incused as edge lettering. The individual coins will be three inches in diameter.

The Mint has not given a release date for the five-ounce coins beyond “mid-year.” Nor has the Mint disclosed how the coins will be packaged. The Mint ships its one-ounce Gold Eagle coins and one-ounce Silver Eagle coins five hundred to a box, twenty-five tubes, twenty coins to a tube. This packaging method has worked extremely well, both for shipping and for protecting the coins against damage during shipment and while stored by investors. It is likely that the Mint will package the coins five or ten to a tube, five hundred ounces (100 coins) to a box, which would weigh right at forty-two pounds.

Finally, the Mint has given no hint as to the premium at which it will sell the new five-ounces silver coins. It is likely that the America the Beautiful silver bullion coins will carry smaller premiums than the premiums on 1-oz Silver Eagles.