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Mint cuts ATB 5 oz coin mintages

A mintage of 126,700 for each of the 2011 5-ounce silver America the Beautiful bullion coins sounded good at the start, but with sluggish sales this past year, the U.S. Mint has decided to slash output in 2012.

“We penciled in right now 45,000 per release,” said U.S. Mint Deputy Director Richard A. Peterson in a recent telephone interview.

And the mintage for the numismatic version of the coins will drop from 35,000 for 2011-dated coins to 25,000 for 2012 pieces.

“The initial years of a program we typically see great demand,” Peterson said. “It came out strong a few years ago, but now we see decline in the out years.”

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In other Mint news Peterson noted:

• The Mint met with its Authorized Purchasers of its bullion coins for the first time in a dozen years to hear their perspectives. The APs had an interest in the platinum Eagle program. The Mint currently produces about 10,000 to 15,000 proofs annually in the Preamble series. The APs said there is interest beyond those numbers.

• The Mint recently cut prices of some Mint sets, bags and rolls. “At the beginning of the year we make assumptions on the number of coins we will sell, cost of metals, cost of production, and as the year plays out some of those assumptions are spot on, some are high and some are low. At the end of the year we see how we’ve done. If costs have gone up, we have to cover those costs going forward and raise prices for the coming year. or we have to lower them. Some of our costs have come down in 2011 so we’re passing those savings through to our customers.”

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• The Mint’s new website should be up and running late this year or in early 2013. This fall it will ask a group of customers to help test the site.

• The Mint will open its new exhibit area and tour at the Philadelphia Mint mid-summer, aiming for July 4th.

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