The Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications has issued a press release concerning spurious branch-mint identification of certain American Eagle silver bullion coins. Back in April, PCGS announced that it would begin providing branch-mint identification on slabs for some ASEs dated 2014–2017. The service resulted from Coin World’s obtaining information from the Mint through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The Mint’s press release (emphasis added by the editor):
By way of background, while most American Eagle silver bullion coins have been minted at the West Point Mint, to meet demand the United States Mint (Mint) has sometimes produced these coins at the Philadelphia and San Francisco Mint facilities. It is important to note that the Mint offers bullion coins through Authorized Purchasers to provide investors the opportunity to acquire precious metal coins at a slight premium to spot market prices. As such, all Mint silver bullion coins are, by their very nature, homogeneous. None of these coins bears a mint mark designating the facility where it was produced. The Mint’s goal is to ensure that the American Eagle silver bullion coins struck at any of these three facilities are identical and indistinguishable from one another.
On March 20, 2017, in response to a request made pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, the Mint released internal manufacturing tracking numbers used on the boxes that contain American Eagle silver bullion coins that are shipped to Authorized Purchasers. It has come to the Mint’s attention that some of the information that was released on March 20 was erroneous.
The erroneous information released on March 20, as well as confusion surrounding the Mint’s use of internal manufacturing tracking numbers—specifically those connected with American Eagle silver bullion coins—has resulted in a mistaken belief that some of these coins are rarities.
The internal manufacturing tracking numbers on these boxes support the Mint’s quality control program and were not intended for the public to rely on to establish which Mint facility produced the silver bullion coins.
It’s not quite clear from the statement whether “erroneous” means “inaccurate” or “irrelevant.” The Mint concludes the press release by stating it will “provide new information regarding these coins by the end of June. ❑