Mark Twain Silver Dollar Sales at 43,600

by Mike Unser on February 4, 2016 · 6 comments

In roughly three days, sales of the new proof and uncirculated 2016-P Mark Twain Commemorative Silver Dollars totaled 43,600 coins, or 12.5% of their maximum 350,000.

Mark Twain Silver Dollars in Cases-a

Proof and uncirculated Mark Twain Silver Dollars in their presentation cases

The proof with its unique degrees of frosting is outselling the other silver dollar with its standard uncirculated finish by 2.6-to-1, having sales splits of 31,500 and 12,100. Released on Monday, the two commemorative coins are available at introductory prices of $45.95 and $44.95.

Mark Twain Gold Coins have been available since mid-January. (See photos of the two gold coins and the proof’s three levels of frosting.) Costlier at $376.15 for the proof and $371.15 for the uncirculated, their resultantly moving slower with respective weekly gains of 521 and 241 for new sales splits of 7,953 and 3,759 — a ratio of 2.1-to-1. Their combined sales of 11,712 coins represent 11.7% of their maximum 100,000.

A week ago Wednesday, Jan. 27, prices of each gold coin went up $12.15 in response to a rising gold market. Their prices will climb by the same amount next Wednesday, Feb. 10, if gold continues to stay above $1,150 an ounce.

Order Mark Twain coins from the U.S. Mint’s online section of commemoratives or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

jim February 4, 2016 at 11:52 am

I continue to wonder why they still make uncirculated coins since the cost difference for the gold coins is only $5 or less than 1.4% and $1 or a little over 2% for the silver coins. Or for that matter why people even buy the uncirculated coins considering the cost and aesthetic differences.

Two Cents February 4, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Jim, The short answer is that as long as people buy both proof and uncirculated versions of the same commemorative, the US Mint will continue to sell both.

The long answer is that it’s traditional — in the past, and I mean from the very beginning of US coinage, proofs were minted as representations of circulating coins for presentation purposes (and later for well-heeled collectors). The US Mint continues that tradition of issuing proof coins and the coins that they represent in unc. condition.

Proof coins were not always available to the general public — sometimes you had to be an insider to know that proofs had been minted and available for sale. In the very early days, some proofs were minted to demand and sold (usually at face-value) to very well-connected individuals for their personal collections or to sell at higher prices to other collectors.

When the Mint started selling proofs to the public, they were at many multiples of face value for the special dies and treatment, and for the individual handling of each coin; uncirculated coins were minted with regular dies in standard production, and were often priced at face value plus a modest markup for packaging, mailing, and handling. For many people, buying proof coins was an expensive option that was not necessary to complete a collection — proof was a type of production, not of condition.

In more current times, proofs and unc. coins are priced at relatively closer ratios, and collectors now consider both to be highly collectible, as in one of each, for their collections.

For the Mint, it sees both versions as appealing to coin collectors, and therefore as money-makers, and continues to produce both. It’s up to the individual to purchase whichever one they want, or if they want both.

Personally, I like the proof for the sharp contrast between the field and design elements. I also like the unc. for the softer glow that permeates across the entire coin, including the field and design. In addition, recent proofs are laser frosted, leaving a little less detail in the design elements, whereas the uncirculateds have more detail present. So if I buy a commemorative coin, I will buy both proof and unc. As a bonus, the unc, will have a lower mintage than the proof, and years later might have a higher value.

jim February 5, 2016 at 9:10 am

Two Cents –
Thanks for responding. I think some people buy the uncirculated coins just because they’re available and not because they’re building an uncirculated collection. Regardless I think the proof coin is a refinement of the uncirculated coin and the mint will always start out with an uncirculated die and then polish and refine into a proof die. Consequently there will always be uncirculated dies and coins made.

RonnieBGood February 8, 2016 at 6:53 pm

Hi Jim.
My 3-cents worth (there was a 3 cent coin when stamps cost 3 cents each. lol). The only reason I have ever purchased an uncirculated version of a minting was due the lower coin mintage. In most cases a much lower mintage. I believe that this again will be the case with the uncirculated Mark Twain issue (due to the “special” triple finish proof) in both Gold and Silver.

With the recent instability of the stock market both Gold and Silver coins have again begun to spark the interest of investors.

Tommy2coins March 15, 2016 at 7:47 pm

I love proofs but know the uc coins usually have a much lower mintage. Because I also consider my enjoyment of numismatic endeavors a long term investment, I usually purchase the uc versions. If I had the bucks I would get both, but IMHO the lower mintages will pay off.

jim March 16, 2016 at 12:18 pm

T2c –
I know the unc’s usually have a lower mintage and the goal is to get the rarer coins but has that paid off any over time?
The spouse coins have turned into real duds so that even the proof coins have mintages in the low 3,000’s or less. Do you think the unc’s will have more value even when their mintages are only 700-800 fewer?

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