Commemorative Coin and Medal Sales Ending Next Week

The United States Mint is scheduled to conclude sales for 2012 Commemorative Coins and the 2011 September 11 National Medals next week on December 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM ET. This gives collectors only a few more days to place their final orders.

The authorizing legislation for both the 2012 Infantry Soldier and Star Spangled Banner Commemorative Coin Programs provide that coins may only be issued during the calendar year beginning on January 1, 2012. As in the past, the US Mint will conclude sales ahead of close of the year to allow time for order processing and fulfillment.

The authorizing legislation for the September 11 Medals specifies that no medals may be struck after December 31, 2012, but does not provide any limitations on the period of issuance. However, from very early in the offering, the Mint had indicated that sales would conclude in December 2012 so as not to delay the distribution of surcharges to the beneficiary organization.

Many collectors have been examining the latest sales figures for the programs ahead of the conclusion of sales. The table below shows the last available sales figures for the coins. The final number column indicates total sales for each coin across all product options. For example, the 2012 Proof Star Spangled Banner $5 Gold Coin is sold both individually and within the Two Coin Set. In order to get an indication of the total sales levels, both products need to be considered.

Infantry Soldier Silver Dollars
Product Sales Total Coin Sales
Proof 109,623 158,754
Uncirculated 43,863 43,863
Defenders of Freedom 49,131
Star Spangled Banner Commemorative Coins
Product Sales Total Coin Sales
Proof $5 Gold 6,184 17,852
Uncirculated $5 Gold 6,553 6,553
Proof Silver Dollar 115,543 165,555
Uncirculated Silver Dollar 40,946 40,946
Two Coin Set 11,668
Bicentennial Set 38,344
September 11 National Medals
Product Sales Total Coin Sales
West Point Proof 108,764 108,764
Philadelphia Proof 67,578 67,578

The most closely watched coin from the above has been the uncirculated version of the 2012 Star Spangled Banner $5 Gold Coin, which has only been offered individually and has sold 6,553 units. Depending on sales levels during the final days, this seems likely to end up as the second or third lowest mintage for a modern commemorative gold coin. (See a list of the current ten lowest here.) It seems that there has already been some speculative buying for the issue, as sales skyrocketed in late November to more than 1,000 coins in a single week.

As mentioned in the past, low mintages for recent gold issues do not seem to carry as much of an impression on the secondary market. Earlier commemorative gold coins with mintages below the 10,000 level hadreached prices more than $1,000 after the sell outs. However, last year’s two uncirculated gold issues which ended at 8,062 and 8,251 can still be acquired for only modest increases above the last issue price.

Other numbers worth examining from the above chart are for the uncirculated versions of both the Infantry Soldier and Star Spangled Banner Silver Dollars. While the total sales figures are not far off from last year’s uncirculated commemorative silver dollars (see those figures here), the ratio of proofs to uncirculated coins for each issue is way down. Last year, proof silver dollars had outsold uncirculated silver dollars by a ratio of about 2 to 1. This year the ratio is about 4 to 1, driven by sales of the proof silver dollars included in special sets.

Finally, some collectors have been examining the sales for the September 11 National Medals, which stand at less than 10% of the maximum authorized mintage of 2 million. In the past, there has been a weaker reception for US Mint medals as opposed to legal tender coins. Prior silver medals issued by the US Mint include the 2003 National Wildlife Refuge System Medals of 2003, the Benjamin Franklin Firefighters Medals of 1993/1994, and the Philadelphia Bicentennial Medal included within a Philadelphia Set issued in 1993. Of these medals, the lowest mintage was for the Philadelphia Bicentennial Medal at only 12,689. Despite this low figure, the medal can still be found by itself for under $100.

However, as opposed to the other silver medals, the September 11 Medal should carry greater resonance with a wider number of collectors and the general public contributing to greater ongoing demand in the secondary market.

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  1. DCDave says

    Picking up some Sept 11 silver medals, not expecting a big bump in secondary market (wouldn’t be surprised if the “P” did go up a bit fairly soon).
    $10 goes to the Sept 11 National Memorial and Museum, can’t beat that!

    Not chasing lows (they keep getting lower) on gold, can’t afford it and not worth it to me.

  2. says

    What I found interesting was that sales of the two coin proof SSB set outsold the individual issue of the proof gold SSB coin. This seems like a potentially good packaging option for the Mint to consider using in the future and they might consider doing a similar set for the uncirculated varieties going forward.

    I’d thought the higher cost of the two coin set might discourage buyers, but it looks like I was wrong. Seems like a lot of people who brought the proof gold coin also wanted the proof silver coin.

  3. vaughnster says

    I wish they would have minted the SSB silver coin in gold. I would have eagerly spent the money on it. I agree, it is one of the nicest silver commemoratives in recent memory.

  4. says


    I actually like both designs, though I agree the silver is better. I own pretty much every variant of the SSB products because I liked the line so much.

    I’m not as excited by the 2013 commemoratives, though. They seem rather average compared to the good stuff we’ve had in the past two years. The reverse of the Girl Scouts silver coin looks decent enough, but I thought the rest was rather bland.

  5. fosnock says

    @ClevelandRocks – I was wondering the same thing. How can you have one of the better looking coins, and one of the blandest ones on basically the same subject? I know you can’t incorporate lady liberty but then they incorporate fireworks to show the “rockets red glare?”

  6. simon says

    The appeal of the Ag SSB is the stellar artistic combination of lady Liberty with the Flag. As far as I know, not been done before. They really should consider this design for other issues, perhaps even a circulation dollar.

  7. MarkInFlorida says

    OT but I just read that Ebay is starting a special precious metals division run by APMEX which supposedly will make the coin market more liquid.

    But last time I bought, Provident charged $10 less than APMEX per 5 oz AtB bullion.

  8. Ikaika says

    Regarding the low mintage gold coins: what sells for a premium today may sell for bullion tomorrow. High precious metal prices, lack of interest from collectors (e.g. FS is a good example), weak economy, and finally sale and publicity strategy from the mint will keep mintages low. But at the end, what good is a low mintage coin if nobody wants them?

  9. DCDave says

    Hawaii and Denali current low mintage 5 oz bullion winners (20k total).
    See Michael’s article on Coin Update.

  10. Hidalgo says

    @Ikaika -it’s what I’ve been saying for a very long time…. demand and supply drive secondary market prices. That’s economics 101. Sometimes dealers help to create a frenzy by stating this or that coin is rare and desirable. That’s good for a relatively short period of time. But when the hoopla dies down, interest and demand falls, and secondary market prices fall. We’ve seen that time and time again with certain goings skyrocketing in value, and then, with time, having their values fall (e.g, some proof sets, early commemoratives, etc.).

  11. Ikaika says

    @ Hidalgo
    Great complement to my post. What makes things worse is the fact that US Mint made even harder for the few collectors interested in the FS series (including myself) to purchase these coins. The release schedule eliminated any possibility of purchasing them unless you have tons of cash under the mattress or is brave enough to charge them to your CC.

  12. William says

    You can’t always get what you want…you get what you need…

    Yes, this year has been a real challenge to purchase “first spouse” gold coins, but over all I feel the mint does a good job.

    Next year will be even better. Thank you for this wonderful web site.

    Wild Bill in the hills

  13. Dan in Fla says

    Next year there are five FS coins to collect. I just received my Harrison FS and the Mint is back to the gold box. Has anyone else heard this?

  14. HistoryStudent says

    The mint wants to CAPITALIZE on the American Silver Eagle coins anyway they can. Now if they only could FIX the MILK spot major problem and their mindset.

    I wonder if the fall from 126,000 units for the Gettysburg bullion 5 oz’er to the current Hawaii and Denali 5 oz’ers to only 20,000 units portends the future for 2013?

    85% “ain’t” the most promising start for next year. It is for the collector who wants take advantage of the management mindset however. Spouses and 5 oz’er “ain’t” gonna set the world on fire in sales, they won’t.

    Best wishes ~ HS

  15. Ikaika says

    @ William

    “You can’t always get what you want…you get what you need…”

    I agree with you. However in the case of the FS series, if the US mint had released them 2-3 months apart, the few supporters would probably had a better chance to purchase all the ladies. 2-3 months to come up with $1000 is less difficult than $4000. Based on the secondary market, it seems like most purchases are being made by the dealers. You know things aren’t going well when prices in the secondary market starts heading south.

  16. Smiledon says

    I got 2 ag proofs and 1 proof gold. This set along with the MOH silver set would have looked great in color. Laser coloring can be done to enhance SOME coins. I made the mistake of buying a colorized ASE; never more.

  17. Craig says

    Dan, are you serious? I prefer the old packaging, but my Alice Paul gold box was all messed up. The mint said they couldn’t replace the box unless I sent back the coin, (which looked fine so I was afraid to return it and get a different one). I don’t care for the packaging thr firtst Cleveland came in. But now, they all don’t match! You would think if they were going to switch, they would do it for the entire year!

  18. ClevelandRocks says

    Army UNC never really did much, so buy the SSB if you like the coin.
    The SSB silver proof is one of my favorite coins to look at.
    Looks like the Defenders of Freedom set will not sell out early.

  19. Dan in Fla says

    Craig Yes they did change the boxes. My FS Cleveland proof is the brown ugly box. I did complain after I got it but they didn’t offer me a replacement box. However they did send me this gold box this time. The Mint is probably using up the old before they bring in the new. You can buy new boxes from the internet but who wants to do that?

  20. McLovin says

    I just recieved a proof and unc Harrison FS coins. The proof is in the old gold box, while the unc is in the new brown box.

  21. Hidalgo says

    I bought the UNC Army gold coin because of talk that it would increase in value. I spent $500 for it. Now, some of the noncertified coins are selling on eBay for less than what I paid for. Lesson learned. Buy a coin because you like it. You can get burned if you speculate…..

  22. ClevelandRocks says

    @Hidalgo: I agree 100%
    If you happen to be a flipper (I’m not), sell while you can.
    Years ago, on Michael’s blog, I posted how I was buying the “not hot” 2000 silver annual sets for $28 and predicted that $280 “hot” 1999 silver sets did not deserve such a premium. The Hayes UNC will LIKELY not stay the lowest mintage, the 2012 w AGE will likely not stay the lowest mintage.
    So hold the truly unique coins (UHR) and sell those that gained quick premiums, since they probably will only go down eventually. Even the Robinson UNC may fall quite a bit in the future.
    Buy what you like and want to keep and you will be happy.

  23. Ikaika says

    @ Hidalgo and ClevelandRocks

    You guys comments are right on. Some of the coins mentioned will eventually sell for bullion. The other day I was revisiting the article published by Louis in CoinNews right after the release of the 2010 ATB’s 5oz bullion. He predicted the sets could not be bought for under 2K in a couple of years (today). At that time I was able to buy 2 sets from the authorized dealers. I decided to get rid of one. I called a major dealer the other day and was informed that they have too many in stock so they aren’t buying. So it can get worse!!!

  24. vaughnster says

    Ikaika– How about those people who paid $3,000-$4,000 or more early on for a set of the 2010 ATB 5 oz. bullion sets? How they must feel now. I was able to get several sets from a variety of Authorized sellers (although it was a pain in the behind) and sold many of them with the profits going to buy other coins. I was in agreement with Louis thinking they would always be around $2000 a set. One never knows in this hobby 🙂

  25. Kraw says

    If you bought the 2010 AtBs from the AP’s then you did alright. I got mine for below spot from them back then…

  26. Smiledon says

    I buy the coins that I like, and support the cause they represent. I was in the Army, and I got the 3 Army coin set. I love this nation, so I got the Star Spangled Banner 2 coin set. The 2 coin set for the Medal of Honor means a great deal to me, so I got those. If the coins go up in price, so be it. If not, oh well. When I pass the coins on to my son, they will have gone up in value.

  27. says

    Salacious Crumb,

    I bought the SSB gold proof, though not with the expectation of any real profit. I just liked the coin and decided to give an extra push to get it. I already own the uncirculated coin.

    I also want to repeat a comment I made in another venue in response to the talk about coin values. While it is true some coins “pop” and then “deflate” on the eBay markets, I sometimes think the eBay flipper mentality has crept too much into coin collecting – that is, an expectation of an instant surge in value the moment a product sells out, and an assumption of worthlessness in any product that fails to surge in this manner (or fails to stay “surged”).

    Also, in case anyone hasn’t yet seen it, Michael did a very nice write-up on the Mint’s research report on changing the composition of US circulating coins on Coin Update:

  28. EvilFlipper says

    Nice write up on the mint’s thoughts for new coin compositions Michael! I have to say it doesn’t seem feasible that the coin quality will match past standards if they use these new metal mixes. I can foresee lots of spotting an rust problems with any use of steel in the new coins. Aluminum is quite light and wouldn’t have the same feel. I wish they would go to a precious metal bimetallic issue- like a coun with a gram of silver in the middle with an outer layer of copper and such. It would at least make ME feel like the money I carry is actually worth a little something.

  29. says


    I think it’s unlikely the composition will be changed.

    I imagine Michael will do a wrtie-up on it for MNB too, but if I understood the results of the report properly, I think it’s far more likely the penny and nickel will simply be completely eliminated given that changing the composition looks like it fails to make it profitable for the Mint to produce those coins.

  30. EvilFlipper says

    I think you’re right CO. Sucks cause pennies are my favorite modern issues… Now I might have to collect just native dollars.

  31. Ikaika says

    @ vaughnster

    Yes, those that purchased the 2010 ATBs for 3-4K or higher do not have a good chance of recouping their money unless silver skyrockets. Those who purchased from the authorized dealers should be able to get their initial investiment if they buy back at current silver prices. I tried and they said no thanks. Using the online auction will take an eye and leg in fees. There goes any chance of recouping your initial investiment.

  32. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    Forgive me for diverging off subject, but I just read Michael’s other website. Did they really choose the side profile for T Roosevelt?? I hope they didn’t. It makes him look weak and introverted, which he was NOT. He was the ROUGH RIDER. The likeness of T Roosevelt illustrated in this article is MUCH BETTER.
    Also, please don’t choose the side profile of W Wilson either. It makes him look like Bill Gates. He guided us through WWI.
    Only Bill Gates is Bill Gates.

  33. merryxmasmrscrooge says

    The Mint may as well make a coin commemorating Steve Jobs for that matter. May be a good choice.

  34. Craig Thomas says

    The side profiles for Roosevelt and Wilson don’t look nearly as nice as the Taft and McKinley straight on portraits. I wish they would have kept the Roosevelt design we saw om 12/12.

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