Tomorrow, May 26, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET, the US Mint will begin sales of the 2011 Proof American Platinum Eagle. This coin is the third in the design series presenting the core concepts of American democracy as expressed in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.
The reverse design for the coin was unveiled last week. It represents the concept “To Insure Domestic Tranquility” with an image of the harvest goddess emerging from a field of wheat. She holds a stalk of wheat in one hand and extends the other to a landing dove. The obverse features an image of the Statue of Liberty, designed by John Mercanti and used for each issue of the broader series.
The maximum mintage for the coin will be 15,000, with an ordering limit of five coins per household. The price of the offering will be $2,092.00 based on a platinum market price within the $1,750 to $1,849.99 range.
Can the 2011 Proof Platinum Eagle achieve a quick sell out similar to the past two issues of the series?
There are a few factors working against the offering this year. Foremost is the increased maximum mintage. At 15,000 coins, the mintage level is nearly double the number of coins minted for the initial coin in the design series. If the entire mintage manages to sell, the 2011 Proof Platinum Eagle would rank as the third highest mintage for a one ounce Proof Platinum Eagle, across all years of the series since 1997. Personally, I would rather purchase coins at the low end of the mintage spectrum, unless I have already made the decision to collect the entire series.
Second, the price is several hundred dollars higher than previous years and the coin is competing with numerous high priced offerings and the steady release of numismatic America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Coins. When the 2009 Proof Platinum Eagle was released, the popular Proof Gold and Silver Eagles had been canceled. This may have resulted in some collectors purchasing the platinum offering since it was the only proof American Eagle available for that year. This year, with a proliferation of choices, collectors may opt for other offerings.
On the other hand, there are some factors working in favor of the offering. Since late 2008, the United States Mint has not offered any American Platinum Eagle bullion coins. Initially, the reason cited for the temporary suspension was to focus production capacity of gold and silver bullion coins. However, production was never restarted and the US Mint is under no legal obligation to produce platinum bullion coins. With a lack of fresh US Mint platinum bullion coins available, precious metals investors need to turn to offerings of other world mints, prior year Platinum Eagles (which one precious metals dealer has priced at $200 above spot), or the 2011 Proof Platinum Eagle.
Another factor working in the favor of this offering is the design, which has been very favorably received by collectors. This is in contrast to the 2009 design, which was criticized by many collectors. The extent to which this might help sales may be minimal, since the price is so high.
Last, although I do not have any direct insight into the level of demand from this channel, others have written that administrators of Individual Retirement Accounts purchase quantities of the Proof Platinum Eagles each year. With increased interest in precious metals investing, this could be a factor driving continued sales, especially given the fact that there are no bullion Platinum Eagles available.
Below, I have summarized information on the 2009 and 2010 Proof Platinum Eagle offerings, including the maximum mintage, sales start date, original price, and sell out date. This might be useful for anyone comparing this year’s release to prior years.
The US Mint announced a maximum authorized mintage of 8,000 coins and ordering limit of five per household. Sales began on December 3, 2009 with a price of $1,792 per coin, based on a platinum market price in the $1,450 to $1,549.99 range.
The first available sales figures through December 6, showed 7,207 of the coins sold. On December 10, the US Mint began accepting orders for a waiting list, signaling that orders had been received to meet the maximum mintage.
The maximum authorized mintage for the offering was increased to 10,000 coins and the ordering limit of five per household remained unchanged. Sales began earlier in the year on August 12, 2010. The price for each coin was $1,892 based on a platinum market price in the $1,550 to $1,649.99 range.
Through August 15, the US Mint had sold 8,268, representing a faster pace of sales than the previous year, but still short of the maximum mintage. A pricing adjustment took place on August 18, reducing the cost of the coin to $1,792. The following day on August 19, the US Mint began accepting orders for a waiting list, signaling that orders had been received for the 10,000 maximum mintage.