In May 2012, the United States Mint surprised collectors with news that the San Francisco Mint would be striking circulating quality 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters. These would not be issued for circulation, but only offered within numismatic bags and rolls sold at a premium to face value.
This was a very interesting development since it would mark the first time in about 40 years that the “S” mint mark had appeared on circulating quality coins. It also represented a genuinely new type of product offering from the US Mint, as opposed to some other “new” products created for the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, which simply remixed existing coins into different packaging options.
Initially, it had been reported that the US Mint would produce a maximum mintage of 1.4 million for each of the five designs. This number struck me as extremely low, possibly setting the stage for a prompt sell out. By comparison, the bags and rolls of “P” and “D” mint marked quarter routinely sold greater than this number, and in theory the “S” mint marked coins should have generated greater interest since they were not released for general circulation or within other numismatic products.
Very shortly after the initial information was released, the US Mint seemed to backtrack and stated instead that the coins would be produced to demand and the 1.4 million figure was simply the initial production for each design. Furthermore, once the first products were released, the product pages specifically indicated that the bags and rolls would remain available for one year from the original release date. These two factors put a damper on the initial speculative interest and seemed to remove the possibility of a quick sell out.
In late November, the situation for the product changed yet again, when the 100-coin bag options for the Chaco Culture and Hawaii Volcanoes Quarters unexpectedly sold out. At the time, the US Mint confirmed the sell out had occurred (despite the assurances on the product pages) because production had already been switched over to 2013-dated coins.
In the following weeks and months, additional sell outs occurred for most available options for circulating quality 2012-S America the Beautiful Quarters. As of the writing of this post, the only two options still available for sale are the 40-coin rolls for the Denali and Acadia Quarters.
While the US Mint has not specifically confirmed the mintage levels for each of the five designs, we can get a good idea by calculating based on the number of bags and rolls sold for each design. The figures below are based on the most recent sales report from earlier this week.
|Circulating Quality 2012-S America the Beautiful Quarters|
|40-coin rolls||100-coin bags||total coins|
|*still available for sale at US Mint|
The 2012-S Chaco Culture and Hawaii Quarters, which have sold out of both bags and rolls, reflect total coins sold which is very close to 1.4 million. The 2012-S El Yunque Quarters have total coins sold very close to 1.7 million.
Putting together earlier statements, it seems that initial production of 1.4 million was used for all five designs. The El Yunque design may have seen another 300,000 coins struck based on initially high orders. Since orders had slowed by the subsequent releases, the US Mint probably did not see the need to revisit production for the other designs.
This would lead to the possible conclusion that the remaining Acadia and Denali products will sell out once the number of coins sold approaches the 1.4 million mark.
The sold out 2012-S America the Beautiful Quarter products have seen a spike in secondary market prices. A quick survey of completed eBay auctions shows prices realized for El Yunque 40-coin rolls between $62 and $81 over the past few days compared to the original price of $18.95. The Chaco Culture 40-coin rolls show prices between $35 and $43, with higher prices for the less frequently seen bags. The Hawaii products have fewer completed listings at this time.
Looking ahead, the US Mint will be offering circulating quality 2013-S America the Beautiful Quarters. In addition to the individual 40-coin rolls and 100-coin bags, a new product type will be a three coin set which includes the “P”, “D”, and “S” mint mark rolls. The products for White Mountain National Forest will go on sale January 28, 2013.