Collectors have a single day left to place last-minute orders for this year’s commemorative coins from the U.S. Mint. They will be removed from sale tomorrow, Friday, December 16, 2011 at 5:00 PM ET.
The coins slated to be pulled from U.S. Mint store shelves include those honoring the establishment of the United States Army and the Medal of Honor. These gold, silver and clad collectibles are minted in both proof and uncirculated qualities.
In two noteworthy items, prices on the gold issues were reduced just Wednesday and this year’s coins look to end with relatively low mintages based on their current sales and compared to past commemorative mintages (jump to the sales table below). Lower mintage coins tend to achieve higher values in later years.
While the deadline for the commemorative coins is quickly approaching, the U.S. Mint did give fair warning to all customers. The Mint added the strikes to a special "Last Opportunity" section of its website in early October, indicating the final day of sale for the U.S. Army and Medal of Honor issues would be the 16th of December.
Further, those familiar with modern commemoratives may recall that the U.S. Mint is generally limited in how long they may offer them. The condition is found in a section of the laws which authorized each series with both associated Acts of Congress containing a variation of the phrase:
"The Secretary of the Treasury may issue coins minted under this Act only during the 1-year period beginning on January 1, 2011."
As such, the U.S. Mint cannot legally sell this year’s releases after December 31st. In order to allow for order related activities such as payment clearing, shipping and returns, the Mint ends sales slightly early.
A total of ten individual coins will no longer be available after Friday. This includes six different U.S. Army Commemorative Coins and four Medal of Honor Commemorative Coins. Brief information on both programs is provided below.
U.S. Army Commemorative Coins
The United States Mint began selling the U.S. Army Commemorative Coins on January 31, 2011. Created as part of the program are six different strikes including proof and uncirculated varieties of a U.S. Army $5 Gold Coin, a U.S. Army Silver Dollar and a U.S. Army 50¢ Clad Coin.
Coins of the program were created "in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the United States Army in 1775, to honor the American soldier of both today and yesterday, in wartime and in peace, and to commemorate the traditions, history, and heritage of the United States Army and its role in American society, from the Colonial period to today," according to the United States Army Commemorative Coin Act of 2008, Public Law 110-450, which authorized the Army coins.
The U.S. Mint was directed by the legislation to collect surcharges on the sale of each — $35 per gold coin, $10 per silver dollar and $5 per half dollar coin. Proceeds of the surcharge are to be forwarded to the Army Historical Foundation to help finance the National Museum of the United States Army.
Medal of Honor Commemorative Coins
Sales of the Medal of Honor Commemorative Coins began on February 25, 2011. Four different were created as part of this program, including a proof and uncirculated $5 gold coin and a proof and uncirculated silver dollar.
The strikes were authorized by Congress under the Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009, Public Law 111-91, "in recognition and celebration of the establishment of the Medal of Honor in 1861, America’s highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States, to honor the American military men and women who have been recipients of the Medal of Honor, and to promote awareness of what the Medal of Honor represents and how ordinary Americans, through courage, sacrifice, selfless service and patriotism, can challenge fate and change the course of history."
Surcharges on the sale of each Medal of Honor Coin in the amount of $35 per gold coin and $10 per silver dollar will be sent to the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation to continue its work.
The following table offers the latest United States Mint sales figures for the coins as of Monday, December 12, 2011.
U.S. Mint Sales Figures for 2011 Commemorative Coins
|$5 Gold Proof||$510.00||17,002||100,000|
|$5 Gold Uncirculated||$500.00||7,718|
|Silver Dollar Proof||$59.95||117,958||500,000|
|Silver Dollar Uncirculated||$54.95||43,185|
|Clad Half Dollar Proof||$21.95||67,454||750,000|
|Clad Half Dollar Uncirculated||$19.95||38,464|
|Medal of Honor|
|$5 Gold Proof||$510.00||17,739||100,000|
|$5 Gold Uncirculated||$500.00||7,910|
|Silver Dollar Proof||$59.95||109,270||500,000|
|Silver Dollar Uncirculated||$54.95||43,414|
Orders for both 2011 U.S. Mint Commemorative Coin Programs may be made via the Mint’s website of www.usmint.gov/catalog or by calling the bureau’s toll-free number at 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
Somewhat interesting to see the low mintages and there isn’t much fanfare, The 25th Anniversary Eagle set has 100,000 mintage limit and sells out in 5 hours. Lots of American Eagle collectors now, but will that always be the case? 5 years from now will people be looking back and wondering why they didn’t buy any of these with such low mintages? For the long term, it is generally the things that weren’t as popular initially that become more valuable in the future. I remember when you could find proof eagles for $13 in Antique stores when they cost $24.95… Read more »