If the Mint makes more cupped coins, it might want to review its 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame cupped coin playbook.
As of Feb. 23, legislation for a cupped basketball coin to be struck in 2019 started dribbling through Congress.
Ron Drzewucki, owner of Modern Coin Wholesale, Lakewood Ranch, Fla., called the idea for another cupped coin great for both coin collectors and sports fans.
“This would be wonderful for the sport and wonderful for the coins,” he said. “If there was some hesitation to embrace cupped coins before, there won’t be any now.”
Matt Crane of L&C Coins, Los Alamitos, Calif., said the 2014 baseball coins success proves the United States Mint can strike and market a cupped coin well.
“I don’t remember the Mint having any issues with producing the baseball coins, so it should be a smooth process for the basketball coins,” he said. “It’s all about marketing and how the Mint introduces them to collectors. What was really cool about the baseball coins was that we saw people who don’t even collect coins buying them.”
In 2014, the Mint sold out of the 50,000 mintage baseball gold $5 and the 400,000 mintage silver dollar within two weeks. The clad half dollar, with a mintage limit of 750,000 pieces, was not a sellout though many were purchased.
Drzewcucki said he sold a lot of baseball coins upon release that are still being held in collections.
“We don’t get calls from people looking to sell the baseball coins back to us, so that tells me they are holding onto them,” he said. “The people who wanted them, got them.”
He said cupped coin releases even before the United States’ baseball coins proved to be popular.
“I was a distributor for the Royal Australian Mint’s Southern Sky coins when they were released,” Drzewucki said. “We had people calling after they were sold out, looking to buy more. That told me the baseball coins would do well.”
Crane said the baseball coins did well because the cupped shape complimented the design.
“I think people enjoy having the dimensional aspect of the cupped shape,” he said. “The baseball coin had such a good design with the baseball and catcher’s mitt combination. It will be interesting to see what design is created for the basketball’s concave side.”
Since their release, he said the baseball coins have developed a strong market.
“Their prices haven’t moved down much from when they went on sale,” he said. “We still have customers calling about them, asking if we have them in stock or if we have a certain signed specialty holder.”
He said grading companies helped promote the baseball coins when they offered specialty signed labels. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation had labels with authorized facsimiles of famous baseball players like Cal Ripken, Jr. and Nolan Ryan. Professional Coin Grading Service used hand signed labels from a number of players including Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson.
On eBay, a survey of completed sales show the baseball coins held onto their prices on the secondary market into 2016.
Even though two years have passed since they were issued the gold $5 coins remained winners. Those still in their original packaging trade in the $450 to $500 range, over the issue price of $419.75 for the uncirculated version and $424.75 for the proof.
Both the baseball silver dollars and clad halves go for close to their initial sales price. The silver dollars originally sold for $47.95 for an uncirculated example and $51.95 for a proof. The clad halves went for $22.95 per uncirculated coin and $23.95 per proof.
For slabbed and certified examples on the market, player signed labels bring in additional premiums. Prices vary depending on who signed the label.
If it turns out anything like the baseball coins, the proposed cupped basketball coins could be a slam dunk with collectors and fans alike.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
>> Subscribe today or get your >> Digital Subscription
More Collecting Resources
• Are you a U.S. coin collector? Check out the 2016 U.S. Coin Digest for the most recent coin prices.
• Subscribe to our monthly Coins magazine - a great resource for any collector!