This post was edited for clarity on November 4 at 2:30 p.m. While the individual coins aren’t numismatically valuable, the Circulating Coin Sets see plenty of aftermarket activity. They are valued at $15 per set in the current Red Book and often go for considerably more on ebay.
While higher-end collectors and investors mull the effects of today’s jobs report on gold prices—or of increases in Chinese manufacturing on silver prices, or of Tuesday’s election results on, well, just about everything—bread-and-butter collectors are eyeing humbler targets. On November 22 the Mint will release the America the Beautiful Quarters 2016 Circulating Coin Set.
With the price of the Walking Liberty Half Dollar Centennial likely to be $915.00 or higher, the idea of a $5.95 product offering is somewhat refreshing. The individual coins have no bullion value and no particular numismatic value, barring the luck of an error coin slipping into the set. As circulating coins, they lack even the cachet of the Mint’s special Uncirculated versions, which are struck on burnished planchets that are hand-fed into the coining press. For the P-Mint and D-Mint strikes of this year’s five quarter-dollars, you’ll still spend less than the cost of a fancy coffee.
No one will ever mistake the flat, graphic-novel-illustration style of the Presidential dollar designs for the Beaux Arts brilliance of Adolph A. Weinman’s Walking Liberty half dollar. But some will marvel at the incredible appearance of depth where the three barrels push up in front of John Brown’s Fort, or the sheer size of the landscape behind Teddy Roosevelt’s horse, achieved in a mere 24.3-millimeter circle (even smaller, once you subtract the border). When Weinman’s Winged Liberty made her debut, her predecessor had been described as having “the neck of a coalheaver, the face of a Flemish cook and no top to her head under the liberty cap”—yet the Barber dime today is a treasured part of numismatic history.
On November 22, at 12 noon (ET), you can pick up another piece of numismatic history, and it won’t matter who gets elected or how many factories are going up in Asia. The enjoyment will be untarnished, either way.