2016 $5 Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coins Launch

by Darrin Lee Unser on January 14, 2016 · 28 comments

Earlier today, Jan. 14, the United States Mint released two 2016 $5 Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coins.

2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Obverse and Reverse

The Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Program was authorized under Public Law 112-201, enacted on Dec. 4, 2012, to honor the life and legacy of the famed author and humorist

They are available in proof and uncirculated collector qualities and at introductory prices for a limited time. Silver editions with different designs will follow later.

Mark Twain was the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, who was born on November 30, 1835 in Florida, MO. Clemens was raised in Hannibal, MO near the Mississippi River which would serve as a source for many of his later writings. His subject matter was extremely varied but often touched on the troubling concepts surrounding the American Civil War and race and economic inequalities.

Clemens was responsible for such classics as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Nearly every book he wrote is still in print, with more than 6,500 editions translated into 75 languages.

2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Obverse in Spotlight

A classic portrait of Mark Twain is seen on the obverse (heads side) of the $5 gold coin. Designed by Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) artist Benjamin Sowards and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart, the obverse effigy is surrounded by the inscriptions of “LIBERTY,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and “2016.”

Both the proof and uncirculated coins are produced at the U.S. Mint’s facility in West Point which is indicated with a mint mark on the obverse just below the year.

2016-W $5 Proof Mark Twain Commemorative Gold Coin, Reverse in Spotlight

The reverse (tails side) of the gold coin features a steamboat on the Mississippi River. “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “$5,” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM” complete the design as created by AIP artist Ronald D. Sanders and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna.

Limited to a combined 100,000, these coins are struck with the same basic specifications as other modern U.S. gold commemoratives. That includes a composition of 90% gold and 10% alloy with a diameter of 0.850 inches. Weighing 8.359 grams, each has about 0.242 troy ounces of gold. 

Ordering, Introductory Pricing and Surcharges

Order 2016-W $5 Mark Twain Commemorative Coins from this U.S. Mint online page or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).

The proof gold coin is $364 and the uncirculated gold coin is $359, each $5 less because of introductory pricing. Regular prices kick in at 3 p.m. ET on Feb. 16, 2016. Also, pricing can change up to weekly depending on the latest weekly average of LBMA gold. The current prices are based on a gold average that sits within the range of $1,050.00 to $1,099.99.

Prices include surcharge amounts of $35 for each gold coin. The collected funds will benefit museums and educational programs dedicated to Mark Twain.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Christopher Williams January 14, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Ordered my Mark Twain “Gold Proof.”

Whistler January 14, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Of late the gold commems even with lower mintage carries no real premium over melt. Another sign that there are less ‘collectors’ & more investors. The mint needs to accordingly adjust their ridiculous pricing, such as this where gold value is about $250 or worse the 5oz ATB, @ $150 = 10x melt…….we is pidgeons

John K. January 14, 2016 at 2:19 pm

These will still be on the Mints web page in 2018…or they may be on backorder tommorrow or listed as Sold Out or TBD..one thing for sure the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing at the U.S. Mint

Blue January 14, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Just purchased a 2011 Army $5 gold unc, 8062 mintage for $320.

vadim January 14, 2016 at 8:27 pm

Will have to wait until silver Twains go on sale. I think these will remain on sale for a long time.

jim January 15, 2016 at 12:48 am

Totally forgot to place an order today and the mint is already saying they’re unavailable. I don’t believe they’ve sold 100,000. I also don’t understand why just because they’ve sold all those they’ve already minted they can’t keep taking orders until they reach the max mintage. I think they’ve got the idea that if one places an order they should ship that day and don’t realize that waiting for more coins to be available before allowing more orders is the same delay one would experience if they ordered and the coins hadn’t been minted yet.

Christopher Williams January 15, 2016 at 6:28 am

Jim, I just read that this morning.

Tinto January 15, 2016 at 11:17 am

@jim

I think since there was no house hold limit the big buyers and flippers bought a lot, had them express shipped, inspected them, send the best to third party graders for grading and labels like First Strike, Early Release, etc. Then those cons that did not make the cut are probably returned to the Mint, all within their return window time frame. Then the Mint will resell those coins … all IMO

Christopher Williams January 15, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Now they’re on “Backorder.”

Christopher Williams January 15, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Mike “Sold Out, Limited Editon” Mezack will be hawking his coins tonight (1/15/16) on HSN.

I’m wondering if he’ll be hawking the new Mark Twain coins.

Tinto January 15, 2016 at 6:13 pm

@Christopher Williams

And he will probably have them with First Day of Issue labels too ….

Seth Riesling January 15, 2016 at 6:29 pm

Christopher Williams –

I am watching the ripoff artist at work on HSN as I type this! I need a good laugh after my Dr office visit today (that New Year deductible is a real kick in the rear!)
I don’t see how that sorry excuse of a man sleeps at night. Even Mr. M. M. wouldn’t offer the U.S. Mint’s 2016 Mark Twain $5 gold commemorative coins that were offered starting yesterday on his 2-hour HSN coin show tonight would he!? LMAO. He has done worse than that as you well know ! I feel sick to my stomach now just watching his snake-oil salesman tactics. It is like watching a bad car wreck!

Happy collecting Mr. Williams!

-NumisDudeTX

Christopher Williams January 15, 2016 at 6:32 pm

@Seth.

It is sickening, isn’t it.

Christopher Williams January 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm

Mike Mezack and his “Sold Out, Limited Edition.”

PFFFFTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John K. January 15, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Please read my comment above from 1/14/16 at 19 minutes after the MT release

Christopher Williams January 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Incredible, John.

Well done.

jim January 15, 2016 at 11:24 pm

Tinto –
If that’s what’s actually happening (and I don’t doubt it) it kind of takes the fun out of collecting. It’s too bad if the mint just tosses rejects back in a sell it again pile. It’s unfair to everybody else to resell somebody’s reject. Maybe they should charge a restocking fee for melting, creating a new blank, and restamping the blank into a new coin. Then those who reject a new coin because it isn’t perfect can pay to have a perfect coin minted. I’ll be interested to see what the numbers are in the next couple weeks.

Tinto January 16, 2016 at 9:30 am

@jim

I’ve had it with the Mint for a while and this year is the last where I buy anything substantial (for me) from them. They are totally lacking in transparency and don’t about true collectors, they seem to cater to the big buyers and the Authorized Purchasers who bring in the big bucks. I read months ago about the head of the Mint head honcho having a private meeting with the authorized purchasers (and maybe others who knows) during one of the big coin shows.

And they are very sneaky, they’ve stamped lots of status on many of their offerings like Currently Unavailable for the MT gold proof but there is no such status for the silver MT and someone glancing at it might believe that it was available now though it has not been issued as yet! And I read in a comment section of another blog that the Mint’s original announcement about the launch date of the Mark Twain has been purged after the silver coins were moved to “TBD”.

What the Mint needs is a thorough investigation by the powers that be on all aspects of their management, operations and procedures …. just because they are making a profit doesn’t mean they should me left alone (apparently) all IMO

Tinto January 16, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Correction
“Back Order” for the MT gold proof ..

Seth Riesling January 16, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Tinto –

You make some very good points about the U.S. Mint’s ordering system & other issues. They seem to take one step forward sometimes & then two steps backwards! Since they switched vendors for their call center & fulfillment warehouse there have been a few really good improvements, but this thing about switching around from Unavailable to Backorder Status to TBD is simply crazy! If i want to order an item that is not sold out totally, they should welcome such an order & do what they used to & give me just a rough estimate of backorder time. At least that way i know my order is in line for fulfillment as long as it isn’t sold out totally. Since the Mint doesn’t charge your credit card till the day it ships this wouldn’t cause any billing issues for customers or to the Mint. The way it is now, you have to check the website often daily or get a e-mail reminder that an item is available again for ordering. They have upgraded one of their two computer systems a little but in the process they have made a simple process a very complicated one!
As far as the delay of the Mark Twain commemorative silver $ coins, it is due to a major error printed on the COAs. The Mint didn’t discover the printing error until many certificates had been printed for both the Proof & Uncirculated versions! God only knows how long it will take for their outside printing vendor to reprint all of those certificates & insert them in the boxes & make sure all the error ones are destroyed. What a mess! They need to hire an extra full-time proofreader because this is not the first printing error on products recently.

Good luck with your collecting Tinto.

-NumisDudeTX

Christopher Williams January 16, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Looks like the “Back Order” date for new inventory is March 15th.

Mike and the rest of you guys rock with your insightful comments.

Christopher Williams January 16, 2016 at 6:36 pm

@Seth.

I wasn’t aware of the “printing issue” for the Mark Twain silver coins until you posted it.

Thank you for that info.

Peter-James January 17, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Im dumb-struck here in Canada…this is crap that such a prominent mint could/would even consider such dealings with those who not only pay the wages from taxes paid by your honorable selves from the massive profits reaped from our purchases & I surely hope they read these followings ‘plaints and get their collective arses in gear.
We are the oil that makes the wheel go round…
Thanks for all your input folks…..I was so close to ordering just then!

jim January 19, 2016 at 11:43 am

The back order story is that they are in the process of making more inventory but it won’t be available until March 15, 2016. This is well past the introductory discount expiration date of Feb 16, 2016.

So, I’m ordering a coin now to see if 1 – I can lock in the introductory discounted price (assuming gold stays in the same range) and 2 – if the price of gold changes in the next 2 months will I be charged at today’s gold price or will I be charged at the March 16 gold price. Gold has been hanging in the 1050-1100 range for a while but it’s been a lot closer to 1100 lately.

Any thoughts?

Seth Riesling January 19, 2016 at 12:18 pm

jim –

Just a quick note about your question. When you place an order for any precious metals product & they accept your order (with a confirmation #) you lock in the price of that item(s) at the price quoted on their website that day (even on backorder items). Of course there is always “fine print” that basically states they can refuse to fulfill any order at any time for any reason. But that rarely happens for any reason. Good luck with your collecting Jim!

-NumisDudeTX

jim January 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm

Thanks. Now I guess I hope the price of gold goes up so it looks like I got a good deal.

Eric R. January 21, 2016 at 6:20 pm

I bought the MT Gold Proof on the first day and I’ll receive it next week. However, notwithstanding the fact that the proofs are not available right now and looking at the overall numbers, maybe I’ll buy the uncirculated coin too since those numbers are likely to be much lower overall. This is also usually true for all the other gold coin offered by the US Mint. Looking at the historical numbers for recent gold coins, uncirculated coins sold at a rate of roughly 50% or less of the proofs. As a collector, I personally like the proofs much better from an aesthetic point of view. But as a long-term precious coin investor, the uncirculated ones seem a better investment in the long-run. Any thoughts about this out there?

Christopher Williams January 21, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but those that receive their “Mark Twain Proof” coins on the Backorder date of March 15th, won’t have “First Strike” eligibility.

I’ve never gotten any of my coins graded, but from what I observe, the “First Strike” coins seem to bring a premium.

And if that’s true, that also means only a small percentage would be eligible for “First Strike (Provided they are sent in with the coin still in the original sealed box from the US Mint).”

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