2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins have proven to be a hot item for collectors.
So popular, that buying them in the first few hours proved problematic for some United States Mint customers. The high demand also resulted in quick sellouts of the $5 gold coins — more on that later.
First, the Baseball Hall of Fame coins were released for sale on Thursday, March 27, 2014. Included in the commemorative coin program are $5 gold coins, silver dollars and 50c clad coins with each produced in both proof and uncirculated qualities.
The United States Mint anticipated significant demand for the commemorative coins, announcing household ordering limits on the day prior to their launch in the amount of 50 for the gold coins and 100 for the silver and clad issues. In addition, a "waiting room" was implemented on the Mint’s website prior to the release to funnel traffic into the online store on a first-come, first-serve manner.
Despite the measures, some visitor’s to the Mint’s website experienced long delays as they waited their turn to enter the store. Even after entry was allowed, additional delays and sluggish responses were noted by some.
During the first 12 hours, the United States Mint tally of sold coins was as follows:
|$5 Gold Baseball Hall of Fame Coins||26,798||14,999||41,797||50,000|
|Silver Dollar Baseball Hall of Fame Coins||108,164||48,511||156,675||400,000|
|Clad Half Dollar Baseball Hall of Fame Coins||43,376||29,978||73,354||750,000|
The above numbers represented over 83% of the authorized mintage for the gold coins, 39% of the silver dollars and 9.8% of the half-dollar coins.
Those sales do not tell the whole story, however. By 6:30 PM (Eastern), a "waiting list" announcement was posted on the proof and uncirculated $5 gold coin product pages. Additional orders were being taken and would be fulfilled as possible based on previous order cancellations and returns. On Monday, March 31, the U.S. Mint officially moved the gold coins to its website section of "No Longer Available" products and stamped "sold out" by their names.
Currently, only the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative silver dollars and half-dollar coins are available for ordering. The silver dollars are offered for $51.95 for the proof and $47.95 for the uncirculated. The clad proof coin sells for $19.95 and the uncirculated for $18.95. These represent introductory pricing which will be lifted on April 28, 2014 for any remaining coins.
The prices also include surcharges of $10 per silver dollar and $5 for the half-dollar coins. These surcharges will be forwarded to the National Baseball Hall of Fame to help finance its operations.
The program was authorized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act, Public Law 112-152. In the Act, Congress required a public competition for the coins and requested, to the best extent possible, that the $5 gold coins and the $1 coins feature a convex reverse and a concave obverse. The shape was inspired by the 2009 International Year of Astronomy coins issued by Monnaie de Paris (French Mint).
This unique shape lends itself to the theme of baseball since Congress required a common reverse for all three coins to feature a baseball similar to the ones used by Major League Baseball. The shape also proved appropriate for the obverse as the chosen winning design features a baseball glove.