With the America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Coins wrapping up their fourth year of release, I thought it would be worthwhile to take a broader look at the series and provide a summary of the mintages or last reported sales for all issues to date.
The series of over-sized silver bullion and collector coins was authorized under Public Law 110-456, which had authorized the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. Specific requirements for the series included a purity of .999 silver, diameter of 3.0 inches, weight of 5.0 ounces, and the denomination of “quarter dollar.” The bullion coins were to be distributed through the authorized purchaser network utilized to distribute other bullion products. An allowance was also made for the National Park service to resell the coins at any national site honored in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.
Some of the legislative requirements of the series were unusual or problematic. The diameter of 3 inches made the coins wider and thinner than the 5 ounce silver coins produced by other mints. This actually caused some production problems for the mint, which prompted the introduction of legislation to change the diameter requirement to “no less than 2.5 inches and no greater than 3.0 inches.” By the time the legislation was enacted, the US Mint had already produced and released some of the coins, so they chose to maintain the wide 3.0 diameter.
The denomination of “quarter dollar” made the face value of the coins ridiculously low compared to the intrinsic value of the coins. The American Silver Eagle which contains one ounce of silver carries a denomination of “one dollar”.
The distribution of the coins through the authorized purchaser network caused initial problems. When anticipated demand far surpassed production levels for the 2010-dated issues, the US Mint was forced to halt the program in the face of complaints from consumers about unreasonable premiums being charged by some distributors. The US Mint would resume the program after establishing specific conditions for distributors which limited orders and capped premiums. For the following year, the US Mint boosted production and the conditions were not necessary.
|America the Beautiful 5 oz Silver Bullion Coin Mintages
|2010 Hot Springs||33,000|
|2010 Grand Canyon||33,000|
|2010 Mount Hood||33,000|
|2012 El Yunque||24,000|
|2012 Chaco Culture||24,400|
|2012 Hawaii Volcanoes||20,000|
|2013 White Mountain||35,000|
|2013 Perry’s Victory||30,000|
|2013 Great Basin||30,000|
|2013 Fort McHenry||30,000|
|2013 Mount Rushmore||35,000|
Looking over the mintage figures for the America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins shows the wide swings in production that have already occurred for the four year old series. Following the high demand and limited production for the first year of the series, the US Mint ramped up production in 2011 to high levels which ultimately proved unsustainable. The following year, the US Mint reacted by cutting production perhaps too drastically. For the current year, production levels were increased, but all issues still saw relatively quick sell outs. This may portend another increase in production for the coming year.
The current mintage high for the bullion run occurs for the 2011 Gettysburg and 2011 Glacier designs at 126,700 pieces each. The mintage lows occur for the 2012 Hawaii Volcanoes and 2012 Denali designs at 20,000 pieces each.
The five 2010-dated issues each had mintages of 33,000 pieces, but seem to drive higher secondary market premiums. This is perhaps due to the unusual circumstances of the distribution of the coins. As mentioned, the US Mint had placed special conditions on the sale of these coins. Specifically, authorized purchasers were required to limit the premium to 10% above acquisition cost and place an order limit of only one coin per design per customer. The ordering limit presumably resulted in a wider and more fragmented distribution of the coins. Whereas other issues could be purchased in roll quantities and inventoried by dealers, the 2010-dated coins were all sold one at a time until depleted.
Following the unusual and sometimes frustrating launch of the series in bullion format, the US Mint would offer the first collector versions of the coins in early 2011. These coins carried the “P” mint mark and had a special finish created through a vapor blasting technique. The maximum mintage levels for the 2010-dated coins were lower than the bullion mintages resulting in intense demand.
Each of the 2010-dated issues would sell out of the maximum mintage of 27,000 design initial ordering limits of one per household. The actual sales figures for the Grand Canyon issue were reported lower, presumably due to quality issues and/or higher returns.
In response to the sell outs, the US Mint would increase the maximum mintages for the 2011-dated issues to 35,000 per design. Enthusiasm for the series seemed to fizzle and the pace of sales was dramatically lower. The 2011-dated issues actually remained available until the end of 2012 when sales concluded in the Last Chance offering at levels far below the maximum.
The US Mint responded by cutting the maximum mintage level to 25,000 per design for both the 2012 and 2013-dated issues. However, for all issues the actual production has been below lower resulting in early and often unexpected sell outs.
|America the Beautiful 5 oz. Silver Uncirculated Coin Mintages
|2010-P Hot Springs||27,000|
|2010-P Grand Canyon||26,019|
|2010-P Mount Hood||26,928|
|2012-P El Yunque||17,314|
|2012-P Chaco Culture||17,146|
|2012-P Hawaii Volcanoes||14,863|
|2013-P White Mountain||20,530|
|2013-P Perry’s Victory||17,707|
|2013-P Great Basin||17,792|
|2013-P Fort McHenry||19,802|
|2013-P Mount Rushmore||23,540|
Looking over the mintage or last reported sales figures for the America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coins shows the highest mintages occurring for the 2010-dated issues at 27,000 each or thereabouts.
The low occurs for the 2012-P Hawaii Volcanoes coin at 14,863 pieces. Ironically, this seems to be one of the most popular designs of the series, resulting in a combination of higher demand and lower mintage both driving secondary market prices. Not far behind are the low figures for the 2012-P Acadia and 2012-P Denali design at 14,863 and 15,225 pieces, respectively.
During 2013, sales figures ranged from a low of 17,707 for the Perry’s Victory design to a high of 23,540 for the Mount Rushmore design.
In the coming year, I expect that sales figures will move to higher levels. The series now has some secondary market winners under its belt and the low price of silver seems to be spurring a further increase in interest. The recently announced 10% discount on subscription orders should also have a beneficial impact on sales.