2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins

With no US Mint product releases scheduled for this week, I wanted to devote a few posts to upcoming or potential United States Mint commemorative coins.

Since commemorative coin programs are authorized by Acts of Congress, collectors can gain insights into the shape of things to come by following the progress of coin related bills. In addition to specifying the subject of commemoration, the bills generally specify denominations to be minted, mintage limits, the period of issuance, guidelines for design of the coins, and surcharge distribution.

Many coin related bills are introduced each year, but only a small number become law. In order for a bill to become law, it must be passed by both the House and Senate and then signed into law by the President. Under Congressional rules, two-thirds of each body must co-sponsor a bill before it is even put up to a vote, which is the hurdle that many bills cannot meet. Another rule limits the number of commemorative coin programs to only two per year.

The most recent bill to become law was the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act. The bill H.R. 2527 was introduced on July 14, 2011, passed in the House of Representatives on October 26, 2011, passed by the Senate on July 12, 2012, and signed by the President on August 3, 2012.

The program calls for the minting and issuance of up to 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 clad half dollars in recognition and celebration of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. These coins will be issued only during the one-year period beginning on January 1, 2014.

There are two intriguing aspects to the program. It is included as the sense of Congress that to the extent possible and without significantly adding to the purchase price, the $5 gold coins and silver dollars should be produced so that the reverse of the coin is convex to more closely resemble a baseball and that the obverse is concave to provide a more dramatic display of the design. The legislation specifically mentions the 2009 International Year of Astronomy Coin issued by the Monnaie de Paris, shown at left, which was shaped in this fashion. Another more recently issued dome shaped coin issued by the Royal Australian Mint is shown below.

As with the two astronomy themed coins that have used the convex/concave arrangement, the Baseball Hall of Fame coins would be particularly suited to the shape to accentuate the reverse design of a baseball. The last time that a commemorative coin program required an uncharacteristic innovation was the issue of the 2000-W Library of Congress $10 Coin, which was the first and only US Mint bimetallic coin, with an inner gold core and outer platinum ring.

A second interesting aspect of the program is that the process for selection and approval of the common obverse design will be determined by a competition held by the Secretary of the Treasury. Design proposals may be submitted from engravers of the United States Mint, as well as artists and members of the general public. Compensation of not less than $5,000 will be awarded for the winning design.

Depending on how the competition is structured, this could build some greater public awareness of the coming coin program and encourage a greater number and variety of design proposals than is typically the case for commemorative coin programs.

Early within the modern commemorative coin era, sales were multiples of current levels, likely driven by greater numbers of coins purchased by the general public. With a broadly popular topic and two particularly intriguing aspects to the program, the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coins may help spark some renewed interest in modern commemoratives.

Update: Tomorrow, there will likely be a price increase for the recently released 2012 Proof Platinum Eagle.

The initial price of the coin for the August 9, 2012 release was based on an average market price of platinum within the $1,350 to $1,449.99 range. The London Fix prices from the prior Thursday through the current Tuesday, result in an average price well within the $1,450 to $1,549.99 range. In the most likely scenario, as long as the Wednesday PM London Fix platinum price is above $1,449.99, than a price increase will take place. Price changes have generally become effective around mid-morning on Wednesday.

Sales of the 2012 Proof Platinum Eagle based on the sales report released today are 3,460 out of the 15,000 maximum mintage.

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Comments

  1. joe says

    The Mint can’t even produce a round coin (the 2012 FS coins), and congress gives them a convex coin? This should be good…

  2. joe says

    Rephrase – The Mint can’t even produce a FLAT coin (the 2012 FS coins), and congress gives them a convex/concave coin? This should be good…

  3. Larry says

    Not too far off the subject, I was looking at a Coin World add that had all the modern commemorative dollar coins listed and I noticed that the vast majority of unc coins are worth more than the proofs. Sometimes much more. I have only bought proofs because I just like the way proofs look, but this is giving me something to think about.

  4. Val says

    Based on past expectations, I will be very surprised if these coins are available for sale during the early months of 2014.

  5. dan says

    Val

    I think they will be ready on opening day but since my reasons are political in nature, I will leave them out.

    By the way, I cant wait, I just hope the mint does not strike out. These could have very high mintages if they are marketed right.

  6. Jeff in TX says

    If odd shapes become the norm for com em coins, then I can’t wait for a cookie cutter commemritive coin set. One even for all the holidays.

  7. Jeff in TX says

    Does anyone think that the commemorative coins from any mint, might be running coin collecting in the ground. Even though these coins look great with their shapes, sizes, gems, enamaled images can be overwhelming.

  8. VA Bob says

    Concave so it looks like a ball? IMO if the baseball fills the entire field that would be one boring coin. Maybe I’m reading into it wrong.

    We got the ATB 5oz, Hockey pucks, now we just need a football shaped coin.

  9. george glazener says

    @Larry;
    Yes, I quite agree. I “discovered” this for myself about a year ago, and wished I’d known it many years before. Especially with last years US ARMY Clad Half Dollar. Now I buy twice as many UNCs as Proofs. Love ‘em both, but gotta think about future value too…

  10. Don says

    Will the grading companies use “first strike”, “second strike”, and “third strike” designations? I see the coins will also be produced in a “base” metal. The initial concept looks interesting enough not to “walk” away from it. Let’s see how well the Mint goes to “bat” for us. I hope they stay on the “ball” and don’t “whiiff” on this one. Let’s see how they “pitch” these commemoratives.

  11. TK in Minneapolis says

    Hey Michael,

    Where would I look for the rules/specs to submit a design for this commemorative? That is when they get the competition set up.

    I think it sounds like an interesting program and as a graphic designer and collector it would be fun to put in a submission or two for the heck of it.

    Thanks!

  12. Mint News Blog says

    The program has only just been approved recently, so I don’t believe there are any rules/specs established yet. As soon as anything is known, I will definitely pass it along in a new post.

  13. says

    Thanks for the information on the Baseball Hall of Fame coins, Michael. I didn’t recall we would be getting a gold coin and clad half dollars too!

    I’m pretty enthused to see the mint attempting some innovation like this. This combined with the Panama Expo coins that are hopefully coming makes me feel better about the Mint than I have in awhile.

    Now, if only they were coming sooner…

  14. Shutter says

    IMO if the baseball fills the entire field that would be one boring coin. Maybe I’m reading into it wrong.

    You’re probably reading too much into it. It says that the reverse of the coin is convex to more closely resemble a baseball and that the obverse is concave to provide a more dramatic display of the design. It doesn’t say that the entire reverse should be made to look like a baseball. No guaranties that the mint will pick the best design, but there many ways to comply with this requirement and still produce an interesting looking coin.

  15. ClevelandRocks says

    Looking at the sales report, is it possible there were zero sales of the burnished 2012 w gold eagle last week?

  16. Mint News Blog says

    This is what the US Mint provided within their report, which is the data used for the Coin Update articles. It could be possible, if there were literally zero sales, or if the number of returns/cancellations exactly matched the number of new sales. It’s also possible that the number was not updated.

    If the numbers for a product appear way out of line, I do ask for confirmation.

  17. says

    It appears that the 1/2 oz 2012 Gold Eagle Proof coin may be worth watching. With total sales so far of only 4982 (1554 ind, & 3428 4-coin set).

    What is the low mintage thus far for a Proof Gold Eagle?

  18. ClevelandRocks says

    What makes you think the Mint won’t keep a 2012 product around until 2014?
    The 2011 proof gold Buffalo has been on sale since Spring 2011 and still going….

  19. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    guama says:
    “150 million atb quarters and still see very few in change. Who’s hoarding these and why?”

    dear sir,
    if u take from 1965 avg 5,000,000,000 quarters / year.
    that equals approx. 50 years x 5,000,000,000 = ~250,000,000,000 quarters total.
    yes that’s a quarter of a TRILLION quarters.
    in 2010 only about 300,000,000 ATB quarters were made that year P and D.
    Therefore there is about a 300,000,000/250,000,000,000 probability of finding a 2010 quarter.
    This is 1 in 1,000.
    You have to loook through at least 25 rolls (40 x 25 = 600 quarters) to find one 2010 ATB quarter

  20. ClevelandRocks says

    Maybe the ATBs will sell out now in this decade…
    Gold may go up another notch next week.
    The burnished 2012 w gold eagle may be a good idea.

  21. says

    Cleveland,

    I can’t speak for others but if this rally continues into next week, I’m probably going to pick up the AtBs finally. I’d been hoping for a price cut, but this rally seems like it might finally be “real” so I think the chances of a price cut are receding pretty drastically right now.

  22. Eddie says

    I for one hope they come up with a killer of an idea when designing these coins. I hope they do use a convex/concave for the silver dollar and something equally as nice as the “silver” half dollar.

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