By Richard Giedroyc
In your opinion does the U.S. government have any of the Eisenhower dollars still in vaults, or if not, are they all in private hands?
If you mean are there millions of coins in Treasury vaults awaiting to be released like Carson City dollars in the 1970s, the answer is no. We know the reason the 1999 Susan B. Anthony dollar coins were minted was because the supplies of the 1979 to 1981 dated dollars were exhausted. The reason the SBA dollar was introduced, however, had nothing to do with the supplies on hand of the larger diameter Eisenhower dollars. I was advised by bankers that they can return but can no longer request Eisenhower dollars when ordering coins for inventory. There could be some residual numbers stored somewhere in Federal Reserve vaults, but at the moment there is no way to confirm or deny this.
I’ve been following your comments about the sale of a silver American Eagle for $90,000 being due to “irrational exuberance” and E.B. Robinson Jr.’s Nov. 5 letter to the editor supporting that view. Are we seeing a grading bubble, where otherwise common modern coins are being sought for their grade rarity?
I don’t know if we are seeing a modern coin grading “bubble” or if this interest has staying power. Only time will tell if people paying large sums for such coins can in turn sell them later for even more money. There is no question about it, though. Both dealers and collectors are sending large numbers of common date modern coins to the certification services in hopes at least one will be returned in some lofty grade at which it can be sold for a significant amount of money for that reason.
If common modern coins certified to be in the finest grade possible are realizing prices totally out of proportion to their lower grade counterparts, won’t this hurt the hobby if this deck of cards collapses?
The operative word is “if.” The popularity of certain coins has risen and fallen over time. The Eisenhower dollars rose in value during the 1970s, fell out of favor after that time and are now experiencing a modest renaissance based on grade rarity. Any area of coin collecting that falls out of favor may impact the overall hobby.
Why has there been so much attention paid recently to grade rarity among otherwise common recent U.S. coins?
A combination of relatively new coin collectors and good promotional efforts by some coin dealers have led to the current interest in grade rarity among modern U.S. coins. Some of these collectors will “graduate” to older and scarcer coins, while others will likely continue focused on this interest.
I purchased a set from the U.S. Mint in August of 2012 called “Making American History.” It included a proof 2012-S silver Eagle marking the 220th anniversary of the U.S. Mint and a $5 note marking the 150th anniversary of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. I paid $72.95 for the set. Does that set have any kind of special value and is it listed in the Coin Market. If so where?
The set is available on both the Internet and through many coin dealers who are advertising it. It is currently priced at a modest premium above its initial release price The set is also able to be graded by at least one of the major coin certification services, although certification may not add any significant value. Any very recently issued coin set needs time to see if it will be able to appreciate significantly. Most recent U.S. Mint products have performed poorly in the secondary market. And as for your final question, Coin Market has been slow to add it. We’ll have to be more on the ball with this set, won’t we?
I understand there are three Baseball Hall of Fame medals that were released in June 2013. Are these U.S. Mint products?
The US Mint will strike a commemorative gold $5, silver dollar and a half dollar in 2014 to celebrate the National Baseball Hall of Fame. A surcharge income from these coins will go to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Three medals have been authorized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame in addition to the coins to be issued by the Mint. The medals are not U.S. Mint products.
Does it make any sense to have my American Arts Gold Medallions graded and encapsulated by a third-party certification service?
At the time this answer is being written the grade rarity market for modern issues is flourishing. U.S. coins and other U.S. Mint numismatic products are being graded and sold for some very lofty prices once certified to be in unusually high grades by the most recognized third-party certification services. The only times it makes sense to have a coin, medal, token, or bank note graded by one of these services is when either the item needs to be authenticated due to potential counterfeiting problems, or when the grade rarity in which you hope it will be certified will allow you to demand a significant price increase when you resell the item.
Was there any special ceremony to mark the return of the mintmark in 1968?
Director of the Mint Eva Adams held a special striking ceremony at the Denver Mint on Jan. 4, 1968, although the first coins with mintmarks – the 1968-S proofs – were already being struck at San Francisco.
When did the Treasury Department announce that it was removing the silver coins from circulation?
One of the first official announcements came three years after the switch to the clad coins in 1968, after a substantial percentage of the silver coins in circulation had already been returned through the Federal Reserve banks. The delay was intended to discourage hoarding the silver coins by private individuals in order to buy time for the Mint to strike enough clad coins to take over commercial duties. When the Coinage Act of 1965 was signed into law, a coin shortage due to hoarding was considered a critical problem.
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