Potential Low Mintage 2011 US Mint Numismatic Coins

As we continue to move closer to the end of the year, there are many US Mint numismatic coins which have experienced slow sales, which could potentially translate into low mintages.

I’ve discussed some possibilities in previous posts, as well as explored the idea that low mintages don’t seem to be making the same impression that they once did. Nonetheless, mintages will always be an important measure of the absolute supply of a certain coin. Historically, anticipating low mintages and using this information to make purchasing decisions has allowed collectors the opportunity to get into future key issues early in the cycle.

Of course, not every possibility works out- so I will try to provide potential downside risks. Nearly all coins discussed carry precious metals price risk, since a large portion of the cost is based on the metal content. I also will only discuss coins that have already been released and are currently available.

All sales figures are from the newly issued US Mint Numismatic Sales Report.

2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle

After a two year hiatus, the US Mint resumed the offering of collectible uncirculated versions of the Gold and Silver Eagle. In the past, these offerings have created some key issues like the 2006-W Uncirculated Silver Eagle and the 2008-W Uncirculated $10 Gold Eagle. During the period of initial availability, collectors seem to prefer the proof versions of the coin and overlook the uncirculated versions.

The 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle has sold 5,540 coins to date, with just 32 added in the past week. Barring anything unforeseen, this issue should have the lowest mintage of any regular issue American Gold Eagle in the history of the series. The current low mintage is the 2008-W Uncirculated $10 Gold Eagle at 8,883.

Some potential downsides would be the issuance of any type of collector product that also contains the coin. For example, if the US Mint later announces a 25th Anniversary Gold Eagle Set which includes the coin, the overall mintage would be driven higher by sales of the set. Another potential downside is the period of availability. The US Mint has grown more unpredictable with their product offering time frames. If the US Mint produces a large inventory of these coins before year-end, they could be offered for many months into the following year. Finally, if the US Mint continues to issue collectible uncirculated Gold Eagles, future releases could have even lower mintages, especially if gold prices continue higher.

2011-W Proof $25 Gold Eagle

This year’s proof Gold Eagles are selling much slower compared to last year. The slowest sales have occurred for the one-half ounce proof coin, which has sold 3,805 units individually and 10,960 through the 4 coin set. This makes for total sales of 14,765. The lowest mintage for a Proof Gold Eagle is the 2008-W $10 Gold Eagle at 18,877 across all product options.

Potential downsides include those mentioned above: issuance in a special set, the continuation of sales, and future low mintages. Another is the lack of premium for existing lower mintage proof Gold Eagles. Secondary market prices for existing issues of the series are essentially the same across each denomination, regardless of mintage level. At some point a sufficiently low mintage might create some key date allure, but perhaps we are not at that point yet.

2011 Army Commemorative Half Dollars

For the first time since 2008, the US Mint’s commemorative coin program includes a clad half dollar. There are 17 other modern commemorative half dollars that have been issued since 1982.

Sales of the uncirculated 2011 Army Half Dollar are currently 35,825. If the pace of sales continues around the current level, this might set a new low. The current low is held by the 1996-S Olympic Swimming Half Dollar at 49,533.

The proof 2011 Army Half Dollar has current sales of 62,361. This has the potential to set a new low amongst proof modern commemorative half dollars. The current low is the proof 2001 Capitol Visitor Center Half Dollar at 77,962.

One of the biggest potential downsides is the cost of $19.95 (uncirculated) or $21.95 (proof) for a coin with no precious metals content. If there is not sufficient demand for the coin on the secondary market, there is no backstop for the value. Another issue is the obverse design, which was harshly ridiculed and rejected by both the CFA and CCAC. Finally, even if there is a low mintage, a premium may never develop for the issue. The only modern commemorative half dollars which sell for a significant premium are the uncirculated 1996-S Olympic Soccer Half Dollar and 1996-S Olympic Swimming Half Dollar. This premium may be the result of a halo effect from being a part of the desirable low mintage 1995-1996 Olympic Commemorative Coin Program. The 2003-P First Flight Half Dollar, with a mintage less than 10% higher than the Soccer Half Dollar, does not carry a premium.

2011 Army and Medal of Honor $5 Gold Coins

I wrote about these issues at length in this post. Shortly afterward, there was a substantial increase in sales, but this has recently slowed down after the US Mint suspended the coins and increased prices.

The 2011 Army $5 Gold has sold 16,240 proof coins and 7,051 uncirculated coins. The 2011 Medal of Honor $5 Gold has sold 16,766 proof coins and 7,318 uncirculated coins. Any modern commemorative $5 gold coin with a mintage under 10,000 currently sells for a premium. The lowest mintage and highest premium is for the 1997-W Jackie Robinson $5 Gold Coin with a mintage of 5,174.

The lowest proof modern commemorative $5 gold coin is the 1996 Smithsonian at 21,840. It seems that this year’s proof issues should have mintages lower than this.

2011 First Spouse Gold Coins

I have also written on many occasions about the low mintages for the First Spouse Gold Coins. The length of the series, the obscurity of some of the figures depicted, and the escalating cost have kept sales low.  Since 2008, essentially all issues of the series have had extremely low mintages when compared to other modern issue US Mint gold coins.

This year, sales have become somewhat erratic due to the frequent suspensions and price increases. The US Mint has also become more inconsistent with the period of availability. Nearly all of the 2009 issues sold out earlier than expected, without reaching the maximum authorized mintages.

These convening factors create the possibility for an extremely low mintage coin to be created. There’s also the outside chance that the series could be canceled, if legislation is passed to eliminate the Presidential Dollar series.

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  1. simon says

    Your comments about the Olympic half reminded me that I have the full 32-coin set of the 1995-96 Centennial Olympics.

  2. SunTzu says

    Thanks for the breakdown. As much as I want one of the 2011 AGE’s I can’t stomach ponying up that much cash. I have the gold commemoratives which I bought on the first day of issue. With the snails pace sale of Eliza Johnson UNC, I believe it will beat Julia Tyler. But, going forward if the series survives, I bet you’ll see even lower numbers. It’s a risky series to collect if you’re solely trying to guess which one will have the lowest mintage as an investment rather than purchasing them for the enjoyment of the hobby.

    Remember all the hoopla surrounding the 2010 ATB bullion? It looks like a couple of the 2011’s (especially Chickasaw) will have even lower numbers! If the series continues into 2012 there very well can be lower numbers across the board for that year compared to 2010. Wonder what that would do to the long term value of the 2010’s. This bullion series seems to have fizzled out for now at least.

  3. Bill says

    If gold breaks $2000.00 an ounce, one wonders how many gold coins will be bought…

    The final figures for all recent gold coins probably won’t be known for years… particularly, if gold falls to a $1000.00 an ounce. More coins will no doubt go into a furnace for it’s melt value.

    Heads they win, tails you lose.

  4. Brad says

    I still think Lucy Hayes will end up being the lowest-mintage First Spouse coin of 2011, possibly of the entire series so far. The timing of her issue, coupled with the very high price of gold (and hence her selling prices) leading to slower sales will not give the Mint much confidence on striking many more coins before the end of the year to sell into next year. I think we’ll see a very early sellout for her coins (by February or March, possibly) at lower levels than have been seen thus far.

    Lucretia Garfield will probably have a higher mintage simply because those coins can be sold until almost the end of 2012. They COULD do that with Lucy Hayes too, since the Mint has offered FS coins longer than one-year in the past, but typically they do not. So, with sales slated to end by early September and slow sales for 2011, they’ll never make it that far.

    Now, will we see the Alice Paul coin in 2012 for Chester A. Arthur’s presidency? I hope so, even though I still think it should have been a 5th Liberty coin. The coin will stick out like a sore thumb in the series, but I guess first the series has to SURVIVE at all for that to be a problem. I certainly hope those bills floating around don’t end the Presidential Dollar and First Spouse series prematurely. I really want to see the complete collection together in the end.

  5. jimmy says

    there will be no rare coin or premium coin for those 2011 commemorative silver and gold coins. the premium coin already set for those previous years. that’s it. this also applied to other 2011 coins such as AGE proof and unc. with w mint mark. those annual sets and so forth. the end.

    the only 2011 coin can attach premium are:
    the 2011w reverse proof and 2011s uncirculated within the 25th anniversary set. both have 100,000 mintage.

  6. says

    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for posting your recommendations. Glad to see you’re sticking with your prediction you made earlier in the year on the commemorative halves, as that convinced me to buy them! I think clad coins are getting ignored too much, and strongly agree with the Dave Harper article linked off CoinUpdate.

    I also agree on the likelihood of Lucy Hayes sales being the lowest yet in the First Spouse series. The only things supporting the Julia Grant and Eliza Johnson sales were the combined fears of the cancellation of the First Spouse/$1 coin program and the runup in gold prices – people were buying the First Spouses to “get them while you can!” But now that fears if the program ending seem to have receded somewhat and metal prices have stabilized for the moment between $1800-$1900, the impetus to buy the First Spouse coins is gone. So Lucy Hayes is likely to be the rarest yet.

  7. G says

    I think the one major coin missing here is the gold buffalo proof. I know the 08 is a lower mintage, but considering the beauty of the coin, I think this year will be a winner- have you noticed how few are for sale anywhere? The 1oz gold W coin could be as well, but I suspect a 25th anniversary set will come out around xmas- how would they have the silver and not the gold? As far as the ATB coins- it seems like the mint issued are the winners, while the bullion continues to slide. I think the figures will go up since so many people are buying for their IRAs, and I think the 2010’s will hold up as ‘first year’ issues considering all they hype, but it’s fun to see what happens.

  8. Wylson says

    The mint would be smart to not offer the proof buffalo and AGE unc in 2012 so they can sell their remaining inventory. That would be good for the goverment’s finances and a good lesson to all the greedy mintage watchers/flippers.

  9. Tim says

    2010 ATB bullion or numismatic will always have the allure to a collector “first year”, always remember that.

  10. Michael says

    “That would be good for the goverment’s finances and a good lesson to all the greedy mintage watchers/flippers.”

    Sure, and we can also try to get the next edition of the Red Book to delete all of the mintage figures.

    We all collect coins for many reasons. There are many coins and series that I will collect, regardless of mintage, as I am sure is the case for most other readers.

    I am just exploring one particular facet in this post- potential low mintages, which can lead to later price appreciation. It’s always nice to see the coins you bought increase in value, whether or not you ever plan to sell them.

  11. Tim says

    Lots of different coins are great, with tremendous mintage’s, for the simple fact they are neat or beautiful. Ah, Lady Liberty on the Peace Dollar for example.

  12. Michael says

    “I think the one major coin missing here is the gold buffalo proof.”

    I did have this coin in the initial draft, but took it out. I have mentioned previously that it will probably have the second lowest mintage for a one ounce proof Gold Buffalo. This, combined with the extreme popularity of the series may result in some future premiums.

    I eventually decided to leave it off this list because the coin wasn’t at the long established historical lows of the other coins mentioned. Also, across the entire series, the 2008 fractional weight coins (proof and unc) will all have lower mintages, which might take away some of the allure as a low mintage issue.

  13. ClevelandRocks says

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting pretty annoyed about the 2010 silver sets “now you can buy them, now you can’t, now you can….”. Please raise the price of the sets, or put them out of their oversaturated misery and stop selling them (it’s pushing 2012…).

    I was going to post that we 100% will have a price decrease tomorrow, and an opportunity for us ’11 burnished AGE-W fence sitters to get one for $50 less than maybe ever in the future, BUT I just noticed that gold is creeping up in the world market now, and if it goes up another $8 before the London morning fix, I think the Mint has the right to not give us the decrease?

  14. Michael says

    “Glad to see you’re sticking with your prediction you made earlier in the year on the commemorative halves, as that convinced me to buy them!”

    I did order a few more of these and received today. The other thing that concerns me with the uncirculated versions is the poor quality of the coins. Past commemorative half dollar have had an uncirculated finish similar to the commemorative silver dollars. These Army Half Dollars seem to have a brilliant finish similar to the coins included in the 2011 Uncirculated Mint Sets.

    This results in more frequent imperfections, which make the coins generally inferior to the quality of past commemorative half dollars. This is disappointing considering the price of the coins.

  15. Michael says

    “BUT I just noticed that gold is creeping up in the world market now, and if it goes up another $8 before the London morning fix, I think the Mint has the right to not give us the decrease?”

    Yes, if the Wednesday London PM Fix Price is $1,850 or above, then prices will remain unchanged regardless of the weekly average. This odd nuance in the pricing policy has more often than not worked in the Mint’s favor.

  16. Leo S. says


    CoinNews.net used to have a First Spouse web site “First Spouses Gold Coin Prices and Guide” that listed all the FS coins with their mintages, prices, etc. It has stopped updating the page on June 7, 2011 with the Lincoln coin partially complete. Do you have any information as to what happened to this site and why they have stopped undating. It was a nice referance site.


  17. Coinflationation says

    Just 32 unc AGE’s sold in the past week – I like those numbers. I’m glad I bought mine when I did a couple of months ago. I’m sure hoping for a low mintage on this one like I had hoped – but then future year’s mintage figures for this coin might be even lower so who knows.

  18. DCDave says

    The elephant in the room is that if gold falls to say $1400, the first spouse, $5 comms, AGEs (proofs and w-UNC), gold buffs will all be losers (maybe a few exceptions like Julia Tyler and Liberty FSs, w-UNC..). Buying ugly first spouse coins even with micro-mintages also carries a risk of low demand.
    Of course if gold goes to $2500, even bullion would be considered a brillant move. Finally, I’m not sure if the 5oz Ps are dead in the water yet. I think most people have been spending way to much on Mint products this year and as Michael has said are being burnt out. Things may change in the future.

  19. Leo S. says


    Thanks for the information. I will check these sites out. And thanks again for running an very informative and interesting coin site. I too hope that the FS coins series is not cancelled and goes to completion. However, it is getting a bit expensive.

    Leo S.

  20. says

    “The other thing that concerns me with the uncirculated versions is the poor quality of the coins.”

    Have to agree with you there too. A lot of the commemorative halves I’ve bought have not exactly come in premium condition. Problems with them seem more frequent than most other mint releases I’ve purchased. They also have poor quality packaging – the uncirculated just comes in a cheap piece of plastic. I know that the Mint has had trouble with commemorative clad half dollars in the past, but they should have been able to do better than this.

    Still, the general maltreatment of these coins may mean that we could end up with a good premium on them down the line.

  21. coin collector says

    It is interesting to read what people have to say, but why do so many of you insist on endlessly speculating on things you simply are not in a position to determine now like which first spouse will have the lowest mintage? If you have some hard facts to support your view, fine, but so many of you try to state views that are purely speculative as if they are established fact.

    Michael’s piece is good because he works from the facts as we know them now, much of which may change. But it is simply way too early to know. for example, which spouse will be the lowest. Just collect what you enjoy.

    As for the folks who say virtually every Mint product will have no long-term premium above melt, well, that is just silly, but if that is what you think, then buy bullion or whatever. But when you can buy a coin that appears to have a low minatage and you are paying almost the same premium as you pay for bullion, that is a likely winner, but if you only buy it because you think it will be low mintage, you may be in for a surprise later. So again buy what you like!

  22. Wylson says

    Michael I enjoyed your article on these potential mintages but my comment “That would be good for the goverment’s finances and a good lesson to all the greedy mintage watchers/flippers” involves the fact they have probably minted many more than they have sold or that people have been hyping in these blogs. There have been several posts stating they have only made 5K of the AGE unc. That was obviously not true and they probably made 50K of the buffalo based on the previous 2 years mintages. I was just pointing out it would be better for the mint to sell through the coins already minted then start a new run of 2012’s that few people want.

  23. fosnock says

    I’m probably beating a dead horse but what about the silver proof sets.
    I’m getting these and the ATB bullion coins because they are the same price or cheaper than buying bullion ASEs but do you think they will be worth anything for their mintage. The mintage’s for the silver proof sets are at all time lows for the commemorative program (not including the quarter sets)

    The 2010 sets including the silver quarter sets are currently approximately 837K (528K without the quarter sets), the 2011 are currently approximately 568K (455K without the silver quarter sets) Do you think they will fizzle like the 2009 silver proof sets (mintage of 937K, 664K without the silver quarter sets) or take off like the 1999 silver proof sets (total mintage 804K) once people need to complete their collection

    Thoughts anyone?

  24. Piotr says

    over 2 k. No thank you. I got the unc’d @ 1778 before the weekend when USA’s credit got downgraded from AAA. that was a great move. Now I’m just waiting on 25th Ann. ASE and Perth dragon.

  25. DCDave says

    I think the ’10s are dead for aftermarket demand. They have been for sale way too long and I know dealers that bought a lot of them initially when the prices were lower on speculation. Of course the silver content makes them an attractive buy for bullion value. The ’11s may be the sleeper. Not much hype about them and not a lot dealers stocking up on them. Question like all the other products (other than the commems that must end by 12/31/11): how long will they be offered? You can get great deals now on raw 5oz ATBs. You should check them out as you may get a raw DMPL-MS 69 for under $230.

    Keep in mind if gold “pops” again over $2000, silver may or may not follow, of course silver could “pop” above $45 without gold popping, so who knows? The only thing I would not do, is buy any PM that is already priced at a high premium like slabbed ATB selling for a lot. The 1999 silver proof sets you mentioned have come back down in pricing (I think down 50%) over the past year or two and actually makes me think those premiums will not be seen again for annual sets.

    Personally, I just purchased a 2011-W Uncirculated Gold Eagle with it’s new lower pricing. I realized I should have bought it when it was cheaper, but I think the value will only go up from here. Can’t argue with a classic look coin weighing a full ounce that will have a record low mintage ever!

  26. says

    Any chance the 2011 platinum eagle might fit on this list? It does seem unlikely to hit the maximum mintage (15,000) before sales end and the design is also exceptionally attractive.

  27. DCDave says

    The fact that platinum is not carrying it’s “usual” $200-$300 premium above gold makes me concerned that platinum is NOT the PM of choice world wide at this point. The Indians and Chinese and most Americans prefer the yellow stuff. The ’09 plat “PC” proof will be the “key date” mintage wise, so I doubt the ’11 will have a great premium even thought I agree the design is 1000% better than the “no white man on the coin” “rainbow” PC ’09 design.

  28. fosnock says


    You are correct the 1999 silver proof sets are down over 50% from a high of $400 to a current price of $150, and the 2001 silver proof sets are down from a high of $200 to a current price of $85, and I also do not think those premiums will be seen again, but they are still way above their issue price and their melt value. FYI I purchased mine at $250, and $100 respectively. Unfortunately I can not justify going into the gold market its just too expensive for my taste, especially after getting the ATB bullion coins. Thank you for your input about the ’10s and ’11s. I did not know that the dealers took a bunch of the ’10s, but I was thinking along the same lines about the ’11s but I may wait for the ’12s and stock up on them, but that would depend on the issue price . Thank you again

    The only thing I’m looking forward to is the 25 Anniversary ASE Set

  29. coin collector says

    The 2011 proof sets will more than likely be available well into next year like the 2010’s were, so it is hard to say what the final mintage figures will be. I really think it is very hard to come out ahead on any proof sets other than if silver goes up a lot. I just get 1-2 each year and focus on other stuff. It is also a bulky way to buy silver and takes up too much space.

  30. says

    Coin collector,

    It’s true that it is bulky, but you can always crack open the plastic cases and just slip the quarters into a quarter tube if you just want to use them as bullion.


    I think platinum and gold, based on price patterns through the last month, are going to be at 1 : 1 for the foreseeable future, until strikes and nationalization fears cause the platinum price to go back up. I also don’t agree it’s not being treated as a safe haven – in general platinum has been trading fairly closely with silver and gold the past month or so. When “safe haven” buyers pour into gold and silver, they also now pour into platinum. The odd man out is palladium, which is still marching to the beat of its own drummer.

    This belief part of why I’ve been pumping the platinum eagle on my blog and this one and watching its performance so closely (that, and as I mentioned, I love the design).

  31. says

    Gambling on low mintages is a very dangerous game. I had purchased the Letitia Tyler, Mint state, convinced it would hold as the lowest minted coin in the series. Then, the mint changes the date of the Julia and ends the production early. Immediately, and for some time, collectors have paid a premium to get their hand on that coin. Now, I read that the Lucy Hayes is predicted to under sell it. It will likely be that many collectors will now rush to grab that coin. Gold prices will then drop, and some dealers will sit back and chuckle.

  32. Nantahalacsh says

    I’m a 30 year collector but never posted here. I assume the population for the 2011 1 oz Gold Eagle, listed as 7,894? is for the “W” burnished collector series? Why is there such a high percent of NGC MS70’s in this coin, over 1,100? That’s nearly triple the typically 5% to 6% percent make that grade? The PCGS has a population of 79 for their MS70 grades which makes more sense for investing. But compared to the 2008 Buffalo PF70 which brought a premium of 3 to 4 times spot very quickly with a higher popluation that the 2011 W Eagle this looks like the buy of the year to me. I would appreciate any of you regulars shooting holes in my theory.

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