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Community Voice Responses (Aug. 8, 2017)

From the July 14 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Community Voice 0808

Is a 225,000 mintage too low for the Mint's 2017 Enhanced Uncirculated Coin Set?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

Yes, I think the 225,000 set is too low. Or should they restrict purchase to one per household?

Marion Kaufman
Gainsville, Ga.

In my opinion, 225,000 mintage is too low for the Mint’s 2017 Enhanced Uncirculated Coin Set. In fact, I think all Mint issues should be struck to order. That way no one misses out on a product they would like for their collection.

Gary Werner
St. Louis, Mo.

The Mint seems to be playing guessing games with the American public. Just recently they came out with the 2017 225th Anniversary American Liberty Silver Medal with no mintage or production limits. Now they are placing the 225th Anniversary Enhanced Uncirculated Coin Set with a mintage and product limit of 225,000 sets and no household order limit. I have and will purchase both items from the Mint. I believe that these two items will be good additions to my collection. I just cannot understand why they would not put a time limit on the medal and no household ordering limit on the enhanced set. All we ask for is a fair opportunity to obtain their products without going to the secondary markets and paying two, three or four times their issue price. We can only hope that the Mint considers all of their customers important and not just the few who can order thousands of an item at a time.

Leo Darmstadter
Vineland, N.J.

I don’t know, but I’m planning to purchase several if my order is accepted when ordering opens.

Michael Stith
Address withheld

225,000 mintage? Nice gimmick, just right. I may just order a set.

Klaus Schwalfenberg
Torrance, Calif.

No. It should be lower. Whatever happened to the 50,000 to 100,000 release range? Wasn’t the five-coin set from 2011, American Eagles capped at 100,000? I remember the complaints about that, but I guess we need to ask ourselves, ��Self, are we looking for coins that will make me a profit or do I just want to collect coins that 20 years from now might be worth more or less then the Mint’s selling price at the time?” I’m looking for coins with low mintages and hoping 20 years from now I’ll turn a nice profit on my investment.

Michael McLoughlin
Address withheld

It’s just another Mint gimmick to see more profitable versions of basic offerings. I think that the mintage should be too high, as anyone buying is, in my opinion, foolish.

Name withheld

The prices and the mintages are much too high. The only one who wins is the government.

Look at Canada’s quality and low across-the-board mintages and there is no comparison.

Robert Duitz
Address withheld

I wanted to take a minute to respond to your questions about the limit on the 2017 Enhanced Unc Coin Set.

I have been buying coins and sets from the United States Mint since 1962, so you can see I have been at this a while. I am just an average coin collector who loves coins. I like the designs, the sharpness and the fun of thinking about the history of the 1836 half dollar I have. Where has it been, what stories could it tell. Most of our coins today just don’t have any class. The current coins struck by the Mint are just plain boring.

I really don’t care about the mintage of a coin or a set, and let me explain why.

1. Because they usually become available on the aftermarket very soon after the Mint releases them.

2. If I wait for the aftermarket and special large dealers put them up for sale, I can get certified MS-70 coins.

3. If I bought the coins from the Mint direct, I would have to send them in to get certified and pay the price, and I would never get one of my submissions back as a MS-70. The best I could hope for might be a MS-66. (But the grading practices of the major grading companies is another long story. Maybe a good topic for your next survey. Do you think an individual can submit coins to a grading company and get the same grade as a major dealer? I’ll bet you and I could both guess the results of that poll.)

4. The quality of the “special” coins that I have received from the Mint just isn’t that good. (I purchased the trio of gold coins of the Mercury dime, Standing Liberty quarter and the Walking Liberty half, and the quality is terrible. The heads and faces wouldn’t grade as an EF-40 from most dealers I know. Just not great quality for the ice I paid.)

5. I also do not feel like paying the cost for some of the elaborate packaging that the Mint likes to charge for.

6. So I will let the Mint decide how many of the coins they want to make, and I will just wait for the product on the aftermarket and see if it is something I like.

7. I can’t remember the last time I bought some special set from the Mint and actually will have it go up in value. Maybe the 2001 Buffalo coin set.

Mr. Harper, keep asking your questions, and I love reading your articles.

Thanks for being there for us average coin collectors.

Tom Daugherty
Address withheld

I think this figure is too low. It should be at least two times this figure. This would fall into pattern with past levels. Anyone wish to differ? Please feel free to do so.

Gary Kess
Sherman, Texas

The idea of introducing an extra layer to the Mint’s cash “cake” is not new – and, to some of us, it is identified as a purely economic ploy, a change in direction to keep the machines coining as cash money is replaced by the plastic swipe card.

In Australia, the Royal Australian Mint has been doing it for years with the production of “Specimen” sets of Non-Circulating Legal Tender coinage such as the large fine silver dollar Kangaroo – and charging a premium for them.

The changes to the Kangaroo dollar and other sets – such as production in different qualities, bimetals, fine gold or inserts, “reverse” frosting compared to the normal proof sets, a dab of enamel on a specific coin, artistic interpretations, et al. – started to feature more frequently in these standard-style NCLT items, all now aimed at the boutique collector with disposable income.

However, production numbers of these previously popular, basic iconic sets has plunged quite significantly in the last few years as the Mint played musical chairs with them and became makers of the limited edition pretty baubles to cater to this new fickle group of national and international gatherers.

The number of issues of limited edition “specials” has increased in an effort to attract new era customers.

Many small-“c” collectors have turned away from these new types of “medallion” issues – even though it means their national accumulations will never be as complete as they would like. Too much choice is nearly as bad as too little, and our hobby dollars only stretch so far in many instances so, eventually, choices become inevitable for us.

The thin edge of the wedge has now been inserted into U.S. Mint products – and, no doubt, hobbyists – and even more dedicated collectors of these types of coins will also be forced to make choices, like choosing frosted cupcakes in a bakery.

Caveat emptor?

Graeme E. Petterwood
Tasmania, Australia

Very few if any of the coins in the uncirculated sets will ever make it into circulation. That’s 225,000 coins of each denomination that will remain in pristine condition. 225,000 is more than enough sets.

What I want to know is where are the billions of cents that are minted every year? I find it hard to believe that billions of cents are put into circulation. Does anyone audit the Mint statistics? We use less and less cash transactions every year. Common sense tells me we need less coinage.

However, production continues to rise.

Dom Cicio
Groveland, Fla.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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