Today, the United States Mint will begin sales of the 2011 September 11 National Medals. Up to 2 million of the proof quality, one ounce silver medals will be issued.
The designs used for the medal are intended to be “emblematic of the courage, sacrifice, and strength of those individuals who perished in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the bravery of those who risked their lives to save others that day, and the endurance, resilience, and hope of those who survived.”
As covered in a previous post, the obverse features Liberty holding the Lamp of Remembrance with two beacons of light in the background, while the reverse features an eagle against a background of flowing water. The inscriptions read “Always Remember” and “2001-2011” on the obverse and “Honor Hope” on the reverse. The obverse and reverse were designed by Donna Weaver and sculpted by Phebe Hemphill (obverse) and Joseph Menna (reverse).
The medals are struck in .999 fine silver with a diameter of 40.6 mm and weight of one troy ounce. Production will take place at West Point and Philadelphia, with separate coins available featuring the “W” or “P” mint mark on the reverse.
The authorizing legislation allows the medals to be struck until December 31, 2012 and does not specify a sales ending date. Separately, the US Mint indicated that they would conclude sales in December 2012.
Introductory pricing is $56.95 for each September 11 National Medal, effective from June 20 to August 18, 2011 at 5:00 PM ET. After this time, the price will be $66.95. Orders placed during the introductory period will receive a document showcasing the artwork for the designs. Medals are not expected to begin shipping until September 1, 2011.
All prices reflect a surcharge of $10 per medal, which will be distributed to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to support operations and maintenance.
There is a greater than typical incentive to order the medals during the introductory period. The price increase after the end of the stated period reflects an increase of $10 per medal. This year’s proof commemorative silver dollars, which also had lower introductory pricing, experienced an increase of $5 per coin after the end of the period.
Pricing in general also seems quite low by US Mint standards. The proof commemorative silver dollars, which only contain 0.7736 ounces of silver content, were initially priced at $54.95. This pricing was established on January 3, when the market price of silver was around $30.60.
The upcoming 2011 Proof Silver Eagle, which contains the same silver content as the September 11 Medal, will be priced at $59.95. If you consider the $10 surcharge added to the medal, the Proof Silver Eagles are priced $13 higher.
The relatively lower pricing for the September 11 National Medal may reflect expectations of higher sales volume due to the potential for broad demand. So far, I have not seen too many mainstream mentions of the medals. If the US Mint can get the word out, this is an issue that many members of the general public may want to purchase.