The United States Mint will begin sales of the 2011-W American Gold Eagle Uncirculated Coin on May 5, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET. This will mark the return of this collector version of the popular bullion coin, following a two year gap.
The coins are struck on specially burnished blanks and carry a finish similar to the bullion version. The collector versions carry the “W” mint mark on the obverse of the coin, while the bullion versions do not carry a mint mark.
The collectible uncirculated American Gold Eagles were introduced by the United States Mint in 2006, first issued as part of the 3-coin 20th Anniversary Gold Eagle Set. In the following month, the US Mint began sales of the coins on an separate basis, with individual one ounce, half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce coins, and a 4-coin set available. At the time, the Mint stated that these collector versions were “priced at the relative mid-point” between the proof coins and bullion coins.
For the following two years in 2007 and 2008, the US Mint also issued the uncirculated Gold Eagles in four individual denominations and the 4-coin set. As part of a sweeping elimination of products near the end of 2008, the Mint announced that the individual half ounce, quarter ounce, and tenth ounce coins, as well as the 4-coin set would be discontinued. In 2009 and 2010, the remaining one ounce version was not issued, as the US Mint canceled the product in order to meet demand for bullion coins.
The one ounce 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle will be priced at $1,778.00. (This price is only $7 cheaper than the individual one ounce proof version, which went on sale a few weeks ago.) The US Mint has indicated that the collectible uncirculated coins will be minted to demand, and there will be no household ordering limits. Each coin will come encapsulated in plastic and mounted in a presentation case with a certificate of authenticity. Pricing may fluctuate weekly based on the market price of gold.
Some previous year collectible uncircualted Gold Eagles carry large secondary market premiums due to their low mintages. In fact, the 2008-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle quarter ounce coin has the lowest mintage for any coin of the series, across all versions, at 8,883 coins.
How will the 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle fare? Even though the product is returning after a two year gap, there doesn’t seem to be much excitement brewing for the release. There is certainly not the impression of pent up demand that existed for the return of the Proof Gold Eagles after their one year gap.
When these “W” mint marked uncirculated coins were last available a few years ago, I was always very favorable about them. With more collectors opting for proof coins, the uncirculated coins remained overlooked and under ordered. This led to the low mintages, which eventually led to higher premiums. Could the same thing happen again?
I’ll be watching the sales numbers closely to see what happens.