Today June 21, 2012 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint will begin sales of circulating quality 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarters bearing the “S” mint mark for San Francisco.
This is a new product offering, which represents the first time that the “S” mint mark has been used on circulating quality coins in more than three decades. Although the coins are “circulating quality” they will not be released into circulation and will only be available through the US Mint’s numismatic bag and roll offerings.
As discussed in previous posts, the US Mint has produced circulating quality 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters with the “S” mint mark for each of the five designs for this year featuring El Yunque National Forest, Acadia National Park, Chaco Culture National Park, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and Denali National Park and Preserve. An initial mintage of 1.4 million for each design has been struck, although the US Mint intends to produce the coins to meet demand. As such production may be re-started within the calendar year, leading to higher mintages.
This is an interesting product which, if successful, would seem to open the door to similar offerings in later years for quarters or even other denominations. At this point, the US Mint has indicated that they have not yet determined whether production of “S” mint marked circulating quarters will continue for subsequent years.
The present offering is for 100-coin bags or 40-coin rolls containing 2012-S El Yunque National Park Quarters. Based on the images on the US Mint’s website, the packaging will be similar to that used for the numismatic bags and rolls of the regular “P” and “D” mint marked versions. There is an indication of the issue, state abbreviation, face value, and the mint mark.
Each 100-coin bag is priced at $34.95 and each 40-coin roll is priced at $18.95. The product pages indicate that the bags and rolls will remain available for one year from the release date.
How will collectors respond to this new offering?
Demand was unexpectedly high for this year’s 2012 Presidential Dollar bags, rolls, and boxes. This was driven by the fact that the coins would no longer be released into circulation, but only available within US Mint products. Many collectors of the series who had been acquiring the coins from banks were likely driven to the offering. Additional collector interest may have also been driven to the series based on the lower mintages compared to prior years. It is also possible that mass marketers purchased large quantities of the coins for later promotions.
The offering of 2012-S quarters will have these same factors impacting demand, although generally the series seems to carry a lower awareness with the general public, which mitigates some of the factors. The differentiation by mint mark may also be something that carries less of an impact compared to the situation for Presidential Dollars where absolutely none are being released for circulation.