The introductory pricing period for the 2014 Civil Rights Act of 1964 Silver Dollars will conclude next week on February 3, 2014 at 3:00 PM ET. Collectors have just a few more days to take advantage of the lower pricing for the individual proof and uncirculated coins.
The United States Mint began sales for the commemorative coin program on January 2, 2014. Initial sales figures have been the lowest in recent memory for a commemorative silver dollar offering.
Through the latest weekly sales report, the US Mint has received orders for 33,855 proof coins and 13,681 uncirculated coins. This makes for total sales of 47,536 units out of the maximum authorized mintage of 350,000 pieces across all product options.
The majority of sales for a commemorative program have typically occurred during the introductory period due to the lower pricing and the tendency for collectors to order products soon after their release. Taking a look back at the sales figures for last year’s 2013 Girl Scouts of the USA Silver Dollar shows that about 70% of overall sales for the individual proof and uncirculated coins occurred during the introductory period.
If a similar percentage occurs for the Civil Rights Act Silver Dollars, it might set the stage for a historically low mintage. It is still very early, but the uncirculated version of the coin may have a chance of coming in amongst the ten lowest mintage modern commemorative silver dollars. Whether or not this occurs may depend on whether the proof or uncirculated version is included in a special product to be released later in the year as well as other factors such as the impact of promotions, the price of silver, and potential speculative buying spikes.
The lackluster sales for the 2014 Civil Rights Silver Dollars continue a broader trend of slumping sales for the US Mint’s commemorative coin offerings. Specific to this issue, some collectors may have also preferred to see the alternate obverse design recommended by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee featuring a depiction of the March on Washington within the silhouette of the Liberty Bell with reverberating bands and the words “Let Freedom Ring…” The selected obverse design featuring the protestors had been recommended by the Commission of Fine Arts and the beneficiary organization for the program, the United Negro College Fund. The final authority to select the designs for the coin ultimately rested with the Secretary of the Treasury.
If the Liberty Bell design had been used, the US Mint may have been able to produce a truly stunning design which arguably would have paired much better with the selected reverse.
At the CCAC meeting where the various design alternatives were discussed, members of the US Mint staff Steve Antonucci and Don Everhart had seemed genuinely excited about the visual possibilities offered by the Liberty Bell design. The white field to the right of the bell would have been raised with subtle vibration lines in relief and inscriptions incuse. The bell area would have been executed in lower relief with the “1964” raised and the pool and sky polished. The design could have incorporated different finishes and/or textures as seen on the actual reverse design.
In an odd image hinting at what could have been, the US Mint distributed an email containing the image above when promoting the release of the coins earlier this month. The actual coin is shown against a background image containing the setting of the unselected alternative obverse design.