The United States Mint will begin sales of the 2010 Yellowstone National Park Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin on May 17, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will be the second design released for the numismatic versions of the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins.
The Yellowstone coin features the Old Faithful geyser erupting with American Bison pictured in the foreground and background. This was designed and sculpted by Don Everhart. The obverse of the coin features a portrait of George Washington designed by John Flanagan.
Each coin is struck in 5 troy ounces of .999 fine silver, with a diameter of 3 inches and thickness of 0.165 inch. The numismatic versions of the coin carry the “P” mint mark on the obverse and have a special finish created by vapor blasting the surfaces after striking.
Details of the offering are similar to the previous Hot Springs coin. There is a mintage of 27,000 and the coins are priced at $279.95 each. The US Mint will impose an ordering limit of one per household. The limit will be in place for at least the first week of sales, after which it can be extended, adjusted, or removed.
Beyond the basic details, the circumstances of the upcoming release will be decidedly different. Due to the decline in the price of silver, the percentage premium above metal content has increased. Just before the release of the Hot Springs coin, the premium was a little less than 20%. Based on the recent silver price of $34.18 per ounce, the premium is now more than 63%. This higher premium might be enough to give some collectors second thoughts.
There’s likely to be less speculative buying activity for the upcoming release. For the Hot Springs coins, a quick sell out was widely expected, driving a fast pace for initial sales. As the quick sell out failed to take place and the price of silver dropped, some speculative orders may have been canceled. These types of buyers probably won’t come back for the next offering, although it’s worth noting that the the Hot Springs coins continue to trade for a healthy premium on the secondary market.
Finally, I have yet to see any offers from coin dealers willing to immediately purchase the upcoming Yellowstone Five Ounce Uncirculated Silver Coins from collectors. For the last release, there was an offer of $330 per coin plus shipping from one established modern coin dealer for the first 400 commitments, and another offer of $360 per coin plus shipping from a separate dealer for an unspecified number. Besides prompting a few hundred collectors to purchase coins to immediately resell them, these offers also set a tone for the market and inspire some additional speculation.
On the bright side, I don’t think there will be any need to rush to place orders within the opening minutes and contend with the US Mint’s slow or crashing website. The coins will likely be available from the US Mint for at least a few days, if not more. Personally, I plan to place my order tomorrow, in the mid-afternoon.
With this release, the picture may start to emerge as to how much genuine collector demand exists for the series.