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All Posts Tagged With: "US Mint"

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.

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).

Coin Profile: 2000-W Library of Congress Bicentennial Bimetallic Ten Dollars

The First and Only Bimetalic Commemorative Coin Minted by the US

The Library of Congress, founded on April 24, 1800, is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. Also the world’s largest library, it houses 119 million items– 18 million books; two million recordings; 12 million photographs; four million maps; and 53 million manuscripts.

The library’s rare book collection is the largest in North America and includes the oldest surviving book printed in North America – the Bay Psalm Book, printed in 1640; the world’s largest book, John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which is 1 meter high; and the world’s smallest book, Old King Cole, about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. This book is so small that its pages can be turned only with the use of a needle- and equally sharp eyes.

President Thomas Jefferson played a key role both in the U.S. Mint’s history and in the Library of Congress’ development. Jefferson proposed the decimal coinage system we use today and advocated founding a mint on U.S. soil. A lifelong reader, Jefferson donated his personal collection of 6,487 books to Congress for $23,950 after the British burned the new Capitol and Library in 1814. On Christmas Eve 1851, another fire destroyed two-thirds of Jefferson’s collection. Although many of the volumes have been replaced, nearly 900 remain missing and the Library is engaged in a worldwide search to replace them.

Not only does the Library of Congress supply whatever research Congress needs, it serves all Americans through its 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill, its Web site (http://www.loc.gov/), and as a monument to our nation’s love of learning.

These commemorative coins are called the coins of many firsts.” The first commemorative coins of the new Century, they are also the first-ever gold and platinum bimetallic coins in the nation’s history. For the bimetallic version, the outer ring is stamped from a sheet of gold, then a solid core of platinum is placed within the ring. The coins contain about one-half an ounce of precious metal.

The bimetallic coin design was inspired by the graceful architecture of the library’s Jefferson Building. The outer ring is stamped from a sheet of gold, then a solid core of platinum is placed within the ring. Then, the gold ring and platinum core are simultaneously stamped forming an annular bead where the two precious metals meet. The obverse depicts the hand of Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom, raising the torch of learning aside the dome of the Thomas Jefferson Building. The coin’s reverse is marked with the Library of Congress seal encircled by a laurel wreath, symbolizing its national accomplishment.

Designers: John Mercanti, obverse; Thomas D. Rogers Sr., reverse

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.

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

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

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…)

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.

The Second US Mint at San Francisco: Part Three

This is the third article in the series.

Granite Lady Closes and Reopens

San Francisco Mint 1937Its replacement, the third United States Mint at San Francisco, began striking coins in 1937. This period was comparatively brief however. Following World War II, the mints at Philadelphia and Denver were greatly improved. The plan was to have all of the nation’s coinage produced at these two facilities. As a result, in March 1955, after the production of the 1955 Lincoln cents, all coinage production at the third San Francisco Mint ceased and the facility became an assay offi ce and a supplier of plainchants for the Denver Mint.

The “Granite Lady,” after its closure in 1937 and through the years of the Second World War and the 1950s, served as a storage facility and offi ce space for a number of governmental agencies. It was apparent that the future of this historic building would become a concern of the government. Many facilities, following their wartime uses, were being declared as “surplus.” In its July 1959 publication, CSNA’s “Calcoin News” reported that a February 18, 1958 meeting was held to discuss the future of the mint building. At this meeting some people believed the site should be developed for commercial interests while other argued for a museum. Still, no action was taken.

By 1968 it was decided that the Federal Government no longer needed this building and the decision regarding its future commenced. At the end of February, the General Services Administration (GSA) sent notices to other federal agencies announcing the agency would remove its 150 employees now occupying the building within the next 90 days. The “Granite Lady,” fi rst opened in 1874, now was vacant and deserted. Offi cials advised that unless some local, state or federal agency made a bid for the building, the property would be sold at public auction.

Will The “Granite Lady” Become A State College?

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in its June 27, 1969 edition that the 2nd San Francisco mint building was to be given to the San Francisco State College system for a downtown campus. To facilitate this plan, the property was transferred to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. The transfer was made offi cial on June 19, 1969. However, the State College wanted the site not the building and announced plans to demolish the old Mint building. (more…)

The Second US Mint at San Francisco: Part One

This is the first article in the series.

The “New Mint” – The “Granite Lady.”

The early history of Alta California included the establishment of a series of Missions by the Franciscan Monks, accompanied by Spanish soldiers from Mexico and, from the north, the fur trappers, including those from Russia. The population, at fi rst, was sparse. On September 16, 1848, there were only about 15,000 people in Alta California. However, this changed rapidly with the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill near Coloma by John Marshall on January 24, 1848. Soon, the “gold rush” began, led by the miners known as the “49ers.” Within two years, California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state in 1850.Workers inside the SF Mint

A desperate need for financial institutions soon followed. Some twenty private mints of various sizes and efficiency were established. On September 16, 1848, a newspaper, “The Californian” printed a resolution reciting this great need and asking for action.

The “action” was soon forthcoming. President Fillmore, in his first Message to Congress, December 2, 1850, recommended that a U.S. branch mint be established in California to meet the need there. The California State Legislature, meeting in Sacramento on April 9, 1852, approved a resolution asking that a mint be established in San Francisco. Congress authorized a U.S. branch mint in California and passed the Act of July 3, 1852 noting the facility would be located in San Francisco.

The minting of coins soon got underway. The new mint was located in a small, sixty square foot building located on Commercial St. However, it soon became apparent the facility was inadequate, even with modifications. The mint’s director remarked: “It is almost impossible to conceive how so much work can be well done, and so much business transacted safely in so small a space.”

The problem grew worse. With the discovery of the vast amount of silver from Nevada’s Comstock Lode, the huge influx of silver sealed the fate of the small facility on Commercial St. The plans to either find a new building or look for a new site and construct a facility commenced. On December 6, 1866 the “Daily Alta California” reported a recommendation to the Secretary of the Treasury by a person named Miller that “the Vara lot located at the corner of Mission and Fifth Sts., owned by Eugene Kelly, be purchased to house the new building.”

In his annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1866, James Pollock, Director of the Mint, wrote: “I cannot too earnestly urge upon the Government the importance of erecting a new Mint building at San Francisco. The present building is not only wholly unfitted for the large and increasing business of the Branch Mint, but unsafe, and unworthy of the great mineral wealth of the Pacifi c States.”

A special telegraphic message to the “Daily Alta California” on Feb. 5, 1867, reported the purchase of this lot on Feb. 4th for $100,000 in coin. The plans were for a building 220 feet long by 166 feet wide, to cost $600,000. (more…)

Hot Springs National Park Quarter Available in Bags and Rolls Beginning April 19

The United States Mint today announced the release of products featuring the Hot Springs National Park quarter at noon Eastern Time (ET) on April 19, 2010. Available options include a two-roll set priced at $32.95 each and 100-coin bags priced at $35.95 each.

The Hot Springs National Park quarter is the first release in the America the Beautiful QuartersTM Program, the United States Mint’s new 12-year coin program that will honor 56 national parks and national sites.

The coins contained 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 of the national park or site, state abbreviation, mint of origin, and “$10,” the total value of its contents. Each canvas bag has a tag with the “P” or “D” mint mark, name of the national park or site, state abbreviation, and “$25,” the total value of its contents.

The coin’s reverse (tails side) design depicts the façade of the Hot Springs National Park headquarters building with a fountain in the foreground. The headquarters was built in the Spanish colonial revival style and completed in 1936. The National Park Service emblem is featured to the right of the door. Inscriptions on the reverse are HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS, 2010 and E PLURIBUS UNUM. It was designed by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart and sculpted by Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.

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 on the obverse are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, LIBERTY, IN GOD WE TRUST and QUARTER DOLLAR. Each coin in the series will bear the same obverse design.

Customers may order at the United States Mint’s Web site 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 (6468)

US Mint Unveils First Five Coins in America the Beautiful Quarters Program

The United States Mint unveiled the designs for the first five quarters in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program in a special ceremony today at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

United States Mint Director Ed Moy treated special guests and the media to a first look at the new designs, which celebrate the spectacular natural wonders that are found in the United States’ national parks, forests, shores and other national sites.

“Through America the Beautiful Quarters coins, we will be transported to national parks, forests and wildlife refuges, part of a vast public land legacy belonging to all Americans-natural and cultural treasures protected for our recreation, relaxation, education, inspiration and transformation,” Director Moy said.

“This program holds real value in helping Americans of all ages learn more about U.S. history, landmarks and culture through highlighting 56 national parks and sites throughout our country and territories in a series of quarters that will live on for generations,” said Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios.

The first quarter in the series, which honors Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, will be released into circulation on April 19, with an official launch ceremony in Hot Springs on April 20. It will be followed by quarters honoring Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming (June); Yosemite National Park in California (July); Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona (September); and Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon (November). (more…)

Unusual Items: US Mint ‘Gold Disks’ Made for Oil Payments to Saudi Arabia

One of the things we find most exciting about reporting on the numismatic marketplace is coming across those things we either didn’t know beforehand, or finding obscure and unusual numismatic items. Just recently we came across one such item, the Gold Disks produced by the US mint for ARAMCO oil payments to Saudi Arabia after World War II.

Below are excerpts from two different articles we located, one from 1981 and the other from 1991.

The Coins that Weren’t

“In Saudi Arabia, gold coins have always been important in the monetary system. For years, in fact, paper money was unacceptable, and to pay royalties to the government, Aramco once flew kegs of both gold and silver coins to jiddah. In 1952, when the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) was formed, the first coin issued was a Saudi sovereign – a gold coin equal in weight and value to the British sovereign – that was later demonetized and today sells for about $124.

To collectors, however, the most interesting Saudi gold coins weren’t coins at all; they were “gold discs” Similar to coins, they were minted by the Philadelphia Mint in the 1940’s for Aramco, and bore, on one side, the U. S. Eagle and the legend “U. S. Mint, Philadelphia, USA” and, on the other side, three lines on the fineness and weight. They looked like coins, they were used as coins, but, technically, they weren’t coins.

In the 1950’s, numismatists were puzzled by these “discs” until-in 1957 – the story emerged in The Numismatist. Aramco, required to pay royalties and other payments in gold to the Saudi government, could not obtain the gold at the monetary price fixed by the United States so the U. S. government specifically began to mint the “discs” – actually bullion in coin form for these payments. In 1945, for example, the mint turned out 91,210 large discs worth $20, and, in 1947,121,364 small discs worth $5, according to The Numismatist.

(more…)

First Spouse Gold Coin Series: Abigail Fillmore Available March 18

The United States Mint will begin accepting orders for the Abigail Fillmore First Spouse Gold Coin and Abigail Fillmore First Spouse Bronze Medal on March 18, 2010, 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.

Pricing for the coins will be based on the United States Mint’s pricing structure for precious metals products. Click Here For current pricing information. The bronze medals, which bear a likeness of the gold coin, will also be available for $5.50 each.

The coin’s obverse (heads side) features a portrait of Abigail Fillmore by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill. Inscriptions on the obverse are ABIGAIL FILLMORE, IN GOD WE TRUST, LIBERTY, 2010, 13th and 1850-1853, the period during which she was the spouse of the President.

The coin’s reverse (tails side), by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Susan Gamble, depicts Fillmore shelving books in the library she established at the White House. Inscriptions on the reverse are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, E PLURIBUS UNUM, $10, 1/2 OZ. and .9999 FINE GOLD.

The maximum mintage for the Abigail Fillmore First Spouse Gold Coin is 15,000 across all product options. Customer demand will determine the ratio of proof coins to uncirculated coins produced within the total maximum mintage.

Abigail Powers Fillmore was born in 1798 in Saratoga County, New York. She developed a passion for learning early in life. Financial circumstances forced her to begin working at the age of 16 as a teacher while she continued her own education.

While teaching at the New Hope Academy in Sempronius, New York, she met future husband, Millard Fillmore. (more…)