US Mint Update on Bullion 2015 American Silver Eagles and Erroneous Information

by Mike Unser on June 30, 2017 · 28 comments

Bullion American Silver Eagles lack mint marks to denote where they are made — unlike companion proof and uncirculated editions.

2015 American Eagle silver bullion coins

CoinNews photo of bullion 2015 American Silver Eagles

Most are struck at the U.S. Mint facility in West Point. When it was discovered earlier this year that a relatively small number of them in 2015 came from the Philadelphia Mint for the very first time, a firestorm of interest ensued. The excitement ratcheted higher under the possibility that they could be identified from West Point strikes.

The United States Mint sent an update June 30 to news editors about its production of the 2015-dated coins. That statement is immediately below, along with an included CoinNews video showing one of the Auto-tuber machines that was mentioned.

Notes to Editors

Updated Information: 2015 American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Box Numbers

The information below updates the American Eagle Bullion Note to Editors from the Mint on May 26, 2017, regarding erroneous information that was released on March 20, 2017, in response to a request made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act. (Read the May 26 statement.)

The erroneous information, as well as confusion surrounding the Mint’s use of internal manufacturing tracking numbers — specifically those connected with American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins — resulted in a mistaken belief that some of these coins are rarities.

As stated in the May 26 Note to Editors, the Mint offers bullion coins through Authorized Purchasers to provide investors the opportunity to acquire precious metal coins at a slight premium to spot market prices. As such, all American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins are, by their very nature, homogeneous. None of these coins bears a mint mark designating the facility where it was produced. The Mint’s goal is to ensure that the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins struck at any of these three facilities are identical and indistinguishable from one another.

The results of a comprehensive review by Mint staff are provided here:

The information released on March 20 incorrectly stated that the box numbers of American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins minted in West Point in 2015 each had six digits, while those minted in Philadelphia had five digits.

2015 American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins minted in West Point were packaged in one of two ways: manually, or by one of the West Point Mint’s two Auto-tuber machines.

 

2015 American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins minted in Philadelphia were all packaged manually. The coins were shipped in so-called "monster boxes," each of which contains 25 tubes of 20 coins, for a total of 500 coins in each box.

All monster boxes of 2015 American Eagle Silver Bullion coins minted in West Point bore a computer-generated label that included "WPM." Labels on manually packaged (or "hand-tubed") boxes included "WPM," but were not numbered. The box tracking numbers were hand written on the boxes of hand-tubed coins. Labels on boxes packaged by Auto-tuber #1 and Auto-tuber #2 bore "WPM" followed by a five- or six-digit number. The box tracking numbers were also hand written on the boxes.

Monster boxes of 2015 American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins minted in Philadelphia did not have a computer-generated tracking number label. Box tracking numbers were hand written directly on the boxes.

A monster box with its original computer-generated label containing "WPM" followed by: no number, a five-digit tracking number, or a six-digit tracking number would indicate that the coins were struck at West Point.

Box tracking numbers 10001 through 10159 were used on boxes of coins minted in Philadelphia. Those same box tracking numbers were also used on coins minted in West Point. However, only the West Point monster boxes were shipped with computer-generated labels.

Because of duplication of box tracking numbers at Philadelphia and West Point, as well as any mistakes in labeling or the possibility that labels on the boxes could have been removed or altered at any time after shipping, the Mint will make no attempt to "verify" the origin of any boxes using techniques related to tracking numbers, labels, or otherwise.

Philadelphia

  • 79,500 one-ounce units delivered to West Point Mint for shipping.
  • (The information released on March 20, 2017 stated that 79,640 one-ounce units were produced; that number is accurate, but includes 140 units condemned and not shipped. Only 79,500 one-ounce units were delivered to West Point for shipping.)
  • Assigned Box numbers 10001-10159 for internal tracking purposes.
  • Box numbers were hand written on box only.
  • Data on labels did not include box numbers or any sort of Mint identifier.
  • "West Point Mint" was printed on the banding of all boxes shipped from West Point.

West Point

  • 46,920,500 1-ounce units produced and shipped from the West Point Mint.

Hand Tubed:

  • Assigned Box numbers 11001-23451 for internal tracking purposes
  • Box numbers 11001-23451 hand written on box only
  • Labels were West Point-specific but did not include box numbers  
  • "West Point Mint" was printed on the banding of all boxes shipped from West Point

Auto-tuber #1:

  • Assigned Box numbers 00001-31100 for internal tracking purposes
  • Box numbers 00001-31100 hand written on box and printed on label.
  • Mint specific label with number – (WPM 00001-WPM 31100)
  • Hand written number on box did not have WPM prefix and may not have had leading zeroes.
  • "West Point Mint" was printed on the banding of all boxes shipped from West Point

Auto-tuber #2:

  • Box numbers 200001 – 250200 hand written on box and printed on label.
  • Mint specific label with number – (WPM 200001-WPM 250200)
  • Hand written number on box did not have the WPM prefix
  • "West Point Mint" was printed on the banding of all boxes shipped from West Point

San Francisco

No Silver Bullion coins were produced at the San Francisco Mint in 2015.

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Ana June 30, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Is this good or bad?

Seth Riesling June 30, 2017 at 5:34 pm

Ana –

It is bad for dealers who still have these so-called 2015 (P) ASE $1 bullion version coins in slabs in stock. Customers who already bought these from dealers are screwed. The most important part of the Mint’s press release is the underlined part – The U.S. Mint will NOT verify any of the coins in the 500-coin green plastic “Monster Boxes” as being struck at the Philadelphia Mint in 2015 (other than saying that 79,500 coins were struck there, but they could have been put in a number of boxes randomly & cannot be verified in any way as being struck at the Philadelphia Mint).
Another good lesson in not buying the “special” labels from the grading services. The only thing that matters on a slab label is the date, Mint mark (if there is one) & the grade!

-NumisDudeTx

Richard June 30, 2017 at 5:41 pm

If anybody is a collector of ASE varieties to the point where they want a slabbed item based on the tracking number of its box, go for it. Otherwise I think we’re a bit past the level of sanity.

Tim June 30, 2017 at 6:18 pm

We now must hear from third party graders how they determined the Philadelphia from West Point mint silver eagles. I foresee finger pointing in every direction.

GS June 30, 2017 at 7:07 pm

What about a 2015 monster box with straps that say United States Mint? Where is that box from if the Mint says all 2015 boxes have West Point Mint straps?

Robert F Hall June 30, 2017 at 8:23 pm

Whaaaaaaat??

SW July 1, 2017 at 5:08 am

What about 2017-(P) silver eagle ? Also the same as its 2015 version?

SW July 1, 2017 at 5:13 am

What about both 2016 and 2017 – (p) eagles? Exactly the same issue they have ???? :((((

sk July 1, 2017 at 9:15 am

Even though the Mint will not verify the origin, if you have a coin from boxes 10001-100159 handwritten on it, it is from Philadelphia. However, if that was not the criteria used by graders to determine the origin, then the results cannot be verified.
It will be interesting to see the graders reaction (garbage in, garbage out?) and if they can re-verify using the new criteria above.

KC&SO July 1, 2017 at 9:41 am
Naty July 1, 2017 at 10:00 am

We’re can we buy these and how much are they?

Txcoin July 2, 2017 at 12:42 am

It’s fake news don’t buy them

joera July 2, 2017 at 2:49 am

If the U.S. Mint can not verify the origin of the boxes then that means that the grading companies should not verify the coins either. It is underlined! In other words “TAKE NOTICE!” Mezack calls these “Secret” Silver Eagles. lol

Ana July 2, 2017 at 3:06 am

People are still buying them on ebay, I guess label collectors don’t really care if the coin was minted in Philadelphia or not they just want the slab label to say it for some weird reason. After all to you really think grading companies got it right for every coin they graded. You basically have a 50/ 50 chance it’s from the P mint. But as long as the label say it it’s, that’s all label collectors care about, after all their buying the slab not the coin. If they cared for the coin they could just buy the $17 coin raw or ms69 regular brown label for $30.

Paul July 2, 2017 at 11:58 am

If the grading companies cannot verify the origin, W or P, will they buy them back?

Tinto July 2, 2017 at 8:25 pm

Will the numismatic press now go and ask the TPGs’ response to the Mint’s clarification …..

Seth Riesling July 2, 2017 at 8:33 pm

Tinto –

You can bet they will ! NGC has already tried to cover its a$$ by saying they determined these 2015 (P) ASE $1 bullion version coins through a “proprietary” process! LMAO. They are so crooked with this.

-NumisDudeTx

Tinto July 2, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Seth Riesling
“..they determined these 2015 (P) ASE $1 bullion version coins through a “proprietary” process! ….”

LOL! I just went over to PCGS to see the population for that 2015 (P) and I couldn’t find it. Only the W .. ..

Joe Brown July 3, 2017 at 2:49 am

Our US mint is the greatest for all they had to go through to establish themselves and they wasted no time designing and producing coins and medals up there with the best the world mints had to offer. In this day and age any good collector will disect everything. The US mint think tank must have known this could happen with all the high resolution cameras I would imagine the mint can see every detail that goes on in the coin manufacturer shops and design rooms two packing dock and shops. Never been to a mint so I don’t know, I’m sure it’s been said over the years. Does the mint get kickbacks from NGC, PCGS, ICG, or ANECS raiting companies? Thats why they let this happen. I have no problem as long as it goes back to the federal gov. Everyone should know. And any counterfeiting outside the mint of the package has been done The rating companies would know how to detect after all the years in the business. Just like they detect counterfeit coins, they are highly trained. Thank god there is a free info act. What if the US has to rely on their own precious metal.Its amazing how precious metal can work in our world along with other valuable natural resources. They have a lot to do with the way the world turns.This is one of the reasons I enjoy collecting there is a lot happening.

Johnny D July 7, 2017 at 12:05 am

This a serious issue. Collectors have spent from $500.to $4500 + for these coins, based on the label that does not match a mint mark. I think anyone who is going to buy one of these coins must be made aware that there is no mint mark on the coin and if you take the coin out of it’s slab it devalues the coin greatly and the coin can not get re-slabbed. I fear that these coins will have an * in the coin books to notify buyers to be beware.
.

joera July 9, 2017 at 6:19 am

This has gone beyond the 2015 (P). It seems like none of the 2016 or 2017 can not be verified as coming from a particular mint. Even though Mike Mezack is now selling sets of the 2017 (P), (S) AND (W) as the “SECRET SILVER EAGLES.” A set “that the government never intended the general public to know about.” It seems like there should be more to be heard about this whole mess.

Rick K July 11, 2017 at 4:59 pm

I will pay $50 for either PCGS or NGC MS69 2015-(P) and $75.00 for a MS70. This seems cruel but in reality this is all their really worth at best. I will pay more than the usual $30 for a slabbed MS69 but being a “Calamity Coin” earns a little premium. I feel sorry for the owners (sorta) The folks who paid $4K plus for 70’s probably have enough money that it won’t hurt them. The Good People REALLY hurt are the average working guy who collects labels as such and spent money saved for a period of time. Instead they could of had a nice CC Morgan but instead they got a lemon.
One suggestion to owners of these lemons: if you bought off Ebay and used Paypal to pay for it you have 6 months to file a dispute. They are definitely “not as advertised” Paypal is always very buyer friendly in their decisions. Good luck folks…………….I do feel sorry for you.

Seth Riesling July 11, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Rick K. –

I agree totally with your good advice for those who got taken by this bad situation.

-NumisDudeTx

Mark S July 11, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Rick K – if you can get a PCGS or NGC 2015-(P) in MS69 at $50, immediately turn around and sell on eBay. People are still bidding $400+, and you can take your profits and buy some nice CC Morgans. The laws of supply and demand will always prevail, and unless the “demand” side of that equation become educated on this situation (and 11 days in they still are not!), these unjustified prices will continue. Coin collecting – what a fascinating world!!!

Mark S July 11, 2017 at 8:49 pm

Personally though, I agree with you, Rick. I would only sell with “full disclosure”, but many do not. Buyer beware, I guess. Maybe eBay will remedy the situation.

Rick K July 12, 2017 at 5:48 am

I would kind of like to have one just because of the debauchery. I consider these “Calamity Coins” I would even agree to let someone who has one to sell for the realistic price to scratch a X on the reverse side of the slab just to show that I’m not going to profiteer from others misfortune.
I think these will become collectible to a degree simply because of the disaster that the Mint instigated.

Rick K July 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

I have been very disappointed to see a couple of dealers that I have purchased from in the past still trying to sell these using the original hype. No mention of possible (P) Mint error as explained in the Mints 6/30/2017 press release. I will never buy from these dealers again as they have loss all credibility. There are other dealers who immediately pulled their listings and ads for these in May when the Mint released that the numbers were erroneous. These dealers have my respect and will have my future coin “allowance”

Mark S July 12, 2017 at 7:54 am

I guess it is possible that the dealers/sellers themselves don’t know about the 6/30/17 announcement. It is not widely posted or easily found. Not even, as far as I can tell, on the US Mint website. I’m not a dealer, just a personal collector, but I had to root around quite a bit to even find this article. And even if they find the announcement, it does seem to leave itself open to interpretation or argument. And the whole NGC ‘proprietary process’ grading explanation doesn’t help any.

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