The United States Mint today announced the release date for this year’s 5 ounce .999 fine America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins®. It also revealed that collector uncirculated versions would be available, and the mintage splits for each 2010 coin.
The investment-grade bullion coins will be released on Monday, December 6, 2010. Each of the five 2010 America the Beautiful Bullion Coins will have a maximum mintage of 33,000 for a combined production run of 165,000.
US Mint Director Ed Moy during a coin forum in February had suggested the possibility that numismatic versions of the America the Beautiful Silver Coins would be made available to collectors as well. The possibility became an official reality today as the US Mint confirmed it would offer America the Beautiful 5 ounce Uncirculated Coins. However, while the collector coins will be produced this year, they will not go on sale until the first quarter of 2011. Each uncirculated silver coin will have a maximum mintage of 27,000, representing a combined 135,000 mintage across all five 2010 coins.
Adding the numbers, 300,000 of the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Coins will be produced this year. That is down from the 500,000 the US Mint anticipated making earlier this year.
It is expected that buyers will leap at the opportunity to grab all 300,000. Anticipation is already building for their release. The US Mint noted as much in a memo today to its network of Authorized Purchasers.
"Because the United States Mint was only able to produce and make available a limited quantity of each these silver bullion coins in the relatively short period since the authorizing legislation was approved, we anticipate that demand for these coins will be significant."
The America the Beautiful Silver Coins Program is similar to the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program. Both series share the same designs and each honor national parks or other national sites within the United States and its territories, as mandated by Public Law 110-456.
The silver coins are much more prominent than the quarters, however, because of their diameter, silver composition and edge letterings denoting their .999 fine fineness and 5 ounce weight. They are also more detailed.
"Feature-wise, the designs are identical, however, the relief on the 3-inch bullion coin is reduced because of the ratio of the thickness to diameter is lower on the bullion coin," U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White explained in October. "More detail will be present on the 3 inch since each work die is engraved and not hubbed. The hubbing process (used on standard coins like the quarters) softens the design and removes detail."
There will be 56 different coin designs from 2010 to 2021.
America the Beautiful Bullion and Uncirculated Coin Distribution
There are several notable differences between the investment-grade America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins and the collector uncirculated versions. The bullion version, like its American Eagle Bullion Coin counterparts, will have no mintmark. The numismatic version will have an uncirculated finish and feature the “P” mintmark denoting its production at the Philadelphia Mint.
The coins are also distributed differently. The US Mint does not offer bullion products directly to the public but instead uses a network of authorized dealers who buy bullion coins in bulk and then resell them. These buyers will purchase the 5 ounce coins beginning on December 6 in quantities of 10,000 ounces/2,000 coins. They will pay the spot price of silver, plus an extra US Mint premium of $9.75 per coin. (Authorized Purchasers are charged a $2 premium for each American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin.) They will then offer the coins to the public for "as narrow a spread between buy and sell prices as prudent business judgment permits" and "in a manner which ensures that that they will be available, accessible, and affordable to all members of the public."
The US Mint will directly sell the 5 ounce uncirculated coins to the public through its website and call center. Their premiums will be significantly higher than those of the bullion coins, which is typical for all collector products. Prices have not yet been announced.