On December 16, 2011, the United States Mint concluded sales for the 2011 commemorative coins. Within weeks of that date, prices for the 2011-D Uncirculated Army Half Dollar have soared on the secondary market.
The coins have generated interest from collectors due to their mintage of 39,461, which represents the lowest mintage for a modern commemorative half dollar. Previously, the lowest mintage was held by the uncirculated version of the 1996 Olympic Swimming Half Dollar at 49,533.
Prices realized on eBay auctions over the past week for the uncirculated 2011 Army Half Dollars have covered a range from approximately $50 to $70 each. Some auctions have seen higher prices, particularly for coins graded PCGS MS69 First Strike. There have also been auctions in recent days with final prices just under $50, and even a coin listed with a Buy It Now price of $36.99, which was quickly purchased less than ten minutes after listing.
These prices compare to the last available US Mint price of $19.95 per coin. From the date of the initial release on January 31, 2011 until March 2, 2011, the coins were available at an introductory price of $15.95 per coin.
The high secondary market prices seem to have compelled more people to offer their coins for sale on eBay. In the first week of January, I remember seeing just a handful of the uncirculated Army Half Dollars listed, compared to about 80 listings right now. The higher supply of coins offered for sale may serve to dampen prices.
Besides the low mintage, another interesting aspect to the Army Half Dollar is the grading. Previously issued commemorative half dollars were produced with more of a satin or matte finish, and the special striking and handling allowed for a good number of coins to receive the highest grade of MS70 from PCGS or NGC. Using the 2008-S Bald Eagle Half Dollar as an example, the NGC population census shows 1,190 graded NGC MS 69 and 5,475 graded NGC MS 70.
The 2011 Army Half Dollars seem to have been produced with a finish resembling the brilliant finish found on the 2011 Uncirculated Set coins, which makes obtaining the highest certified grade much more unlikely. The NGC population census shows 2,008 coins graded MS 69 and just 16 graded MS70. The PCGS Population Report shows zero coins graded MS70.