(From the November 20th special State of the Industry Issue of Numismatic News) >>
I have been buying from the U.S. Mint since the 1970s and I see a big change in what the Mint is doing. The limited production sets that the Mint is producing have changed a lot since the 1997 Botanic Set came out. At that time, most collectors were not so much into buying low mintage sets, but just collecting them and keeping the sets in their own collections.
Also, the Mint got into the matte finish coins. The special coin in this set was the Jefferson nickel. This was not the first matte Jefferson nickel that came out. The 1993 Jefferson nickel was also special minted in matte, but anyway the trend caught on with this matted process when the U.S. Mint came out with the low mintage of the Kennedy half and dollar set. And then came the state quarter set especially the silver proof set for 1999.
This is when I think a lot of new collector came into collecting coins. What I am trying to say is that the last several years the U.S. Mint has gotten into recycling coins to make it special low mintage coins or sets.
For example, take the 2004 special four different design nickel set. That is when they were selling this set off the Mint site for $19.95 per set (I think) and most collectors didn’t catch on until it was sold out. Then the eBay auction site was used to sell these at a profit to other collectors. A lot of the sets were selling around $60 and up . This nickel set was also part of the regular proof set and also the silver proof set.
Now look at the Lincoln set with the proof copper cents and the silver proof Lincoln dollar for $55.95 per set without the $4.95 shipping and only 50,000 sets produced. This is another way of recycling the set. The Lincoln cent is also part of the regular and silver proof sets. The silver proof Lincoln dollar was sold individually also. What a way for the Mint to milk the collectors out there. With the special fancy box picture of Lincoln and millions of proof Lincolns produced and 500,000 of silver proof Lincoln dollars, is this a 50,000 set or just the box saying it is?
Also with the so called recession and all of the 2009 nickels and dimes that are selling way over face value on most auction sites, why is the U.S. Mint not trying to make some money from the rolls? I mean just like the rolls of 2009 Lincolns they are selling at $8.95 without shipping per roll of “P” and “D,” which again is way overpriced, but the U.S. Mint can also make some profit from selling the rolls of nickel and dimes. This doesn’t make any sense.
If this is happening now in 2009, I will see the same thing for 2010. More products and more confusion in the direction of where the Mint is heading.
** More “State of the Industry” submissions will be printed in coming weeks.