The U.S. Mint will double down on 2016 5-ounce silver coin production.
While it limited mintages to 65,000 for each of the five 2015 America the Beautiful designs, it plans to mint 150,000 of each 2016 design.
The mintage will be split with 120,000 reserved for bullion coin production. The other 30,000 coins are set aside for a collector’s uncirculated version, which features a Philadelphia “P” mintmark and is sold in a display box.
Adam Stump, deputy director of corporate communications at the Mint, said on Feb. 3 the Mint may strike more than 120,000 bullion coins as long as the 150,000 limit is not exceeded. This requires taking coins away from the collector’s version production.
The 2016 mintage represents a 131 percent raise over 2015’s 5-ounce coin limits. The change is most likely influenced by low silver prices and an increase in demand from Authorized Purchasers for silver bullion coins.
Feb. 1 marked the release of the first 5-ounce coin for 2016, the Shawnee National Forest 5-ounce silver bullion coin. The Mint states 41,800 coins were sold to Authorized Purchasers in the first day of sales. The uncirculated collector’s version of the coin will release Feb. 25. Silver 5-ounce coins for the Cumberland Gap, Harpers Ferry, Theodore Roosevelt and Fort Moultrie designs will arrive later in 2016.
The America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver coin series began in 2010 and features bullion and uncirculated collector’s versions of the respective quarter design. Mintages in the past have ranged from a low of 34,863 (20,000 bullion, 14,863 uncirculated) coins for the 2012 Hawaii Volcanoes issue to a high of 151,325 (126,700 bullion, 24,625 uncirculated) coins for the 2011 Gettysburg release.
The collector market for 5-ounce silver coins is varied. Some releases like Hawaii earn well over their silver content value for both bullion and collector’s uncirculated versions. Other issues trade for a small premium over the spot price of silver.
The statement from the Mint about increased mintage limits could pave the way for cheaper and more available 5-ounce coin releases in 2016.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express.
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