Pricing Reduced for 2012 Commemoratives

In an unexpected move, the United States Mint has announced reduced pricing for the upcoming 2012 commemorative coins.

Price levels were previously announced through a publication in the Federal Register published on January 26, 2012 and dated January 19. The new prices were announced in a separate notice published today and dated February 3, 2012.

The uncirculated silver dollars will now carry an introductory price of $44.95 each and a regular price of $49.95. The proof silver dollars will have an introductory price of $49.95 and a regular price of $54.95. The new price levels represent a reduction of $5 per coin from the prices previously published.

The latest notice also includes the “Infantry Solider Silver Dollar Special Set” priced at $51.95. The previous notice had included the “Defenders of Freedom Set” priced at $61.95. It is not clear whether the newly published price refers to a different product or the same product. Also included in the latest notice is the “Star-Spangled Banner Bicentennial Silver Dollar Set” priced at $53.95.

No changes have been indicated for the $5 gold coins or the Star Spangled Banner Two Coin Set, which were included in the last notice. Prices for these products are based on a grid and will be adjusted weekly based on the average market price of gold.

The price reductions come as a surprise, since the market price of silver has risen by $3 per ounce between the date of the original notice and the latest notice. The US Mint’s pricing for silver numismatic products has been somewhat perplexing lately.

When the US Mint announced pricing reductions earlier this year, the press release stated, “The bureau was able to set these lower prices and maintain others by refining the product costing process, taking advantage of current lower prices for precious metals and negotiating better pricing from its suppliers.”

In addition to the impact of precious metals prices, I think some of the recent price changes may have had a lot to do with “refining the product costing process.”

Within the US Mint’s 2011 annual report, they had described a change in the method of allocation for sales, general, and administrative expenses. In previous years, these costs were allocated based on gross margin. From fiscal 2011 onwards, the costs are allocated based on the costs to manufacture, market, and distribute each product. The impact of the change was very apparent for circulating coin production costs, with a large increase in the amount of SG&A expenses allocated to the cent and a large decrease in SG&A allocated to the $1 coin.

This is just speculation, but perhaps for numismatic products, the US Mint had been greatly underallocating expenses to high ticket gold and platinum products and overallocating expenses to lower priced silver and clad products. After the allocations were refined, the US Mint’s “cost” to make certain products was lower, allowing prices to be reduced.

Whatever underlying reasons, lower prices for silver numismatic products will certainly be a welcome change for many collectors.

The 2012 Infantry Soldier Silver Dollars are expected to go on sale February 16, 2012. The 2012 Star Spangled Banner Silver Dollars and $5 Gold Coins are expected to go on sale March 5, 2012. There will be dedicated posts for each of the programs closer to the release date.

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow! Great catch on this, Michael! Your explanation of why they are doing this makes as much sense as anything else.

    This move from the Mint is totally unexpected. I wonder what the prices for the 2012 silver proof set and the 2012 proof silver eagles are going to look like?

  2. Wes says

    I don’t know why they haven’t reduced the price on the 9/11 medals. 66.95 is to much in my opinion for a one once silver medal that isn’t selling well. They started out 10.00 Dollars less for the early buyers. I might pick one up if the Mint does reduce the price.

  3. Shutter says

    Wes,

    At their current sales pace, the medals could take over a hundred years to sell-out. Even if they lowered the price enough to increase sales by a factor of 10, it would still take 12 years. So the best the mint can do is put them out of their misery and melt them down into something that people actually want. My guess is they’ll wait a few more months and do just that.

  4. simon says

    For those who ordered the Chickasaw 5Oz P – I ordered a unit in the first 10 min and the coin shipped today! Thank You USMint. You are AMAZING !!!

  5. Wes says

    Shutter, Mint site says they will be offered for sale through December 2012. The misery goes on.

  6. Zaz says

    Hmm, they are good at giving something with one hand, and simultaneously taking away with the other… Looks like another order is in the works in a week. Yeah, must be the mint’s version of a clearance sale, my Chickasaw order and a few other goodies shipped today as well. Mighty strange turn of events.

  7. KEITHSTER says

    YA’ Thank`s Mint you asked what I wanted most my answer was lower mintages and lower prices. and now you are doing it.PLEASE keep at it. PS. HOW ABOUT SOMETHING NICE FOR YOUR BIG ROLLERS LIKE THE OTHER MINTS

  8. Matt L. Detectre says

    This tells me that the price of silver should stay close to where it is, 34 bucks an oz or lower for awhile longer maybe several mos. I assume the mint has inside info on metal pricing from the Treasury Dept. Even though metal price is supposed to be market driven it is common knowledge the gov’t intervenes in markets (Plunge Protection Team) and the Treasury dept. controls the mint. I think I’m gonna wait a little longer on silver purchases as perhaps there will be another decrease. But I could be wrong as I don’t have inside information. One thing we know for sure, the unexpected usually surprises us.

  9. says

    Matt,

    While I do think there is some manipulation of the gold and silver markets, I doubt these guys are collaborating with the US Mint.

    I think Michael’s explanation is plausible. The other explanation I can think of is the Mint’s current financial situation. If you recall Michael’s exploration of the Mint’s financial statements a few weeks ago on Coin Update here: http://news.coinupdate.com/cent-nickel-and-dollar-coins-chart-uncertain-future-1158/, you will also probably recall he warned that the Mint is very likely to take a loss in 2012 with the continuing high costs of producing the penny and nickel combined with the loss of seigniorage.

    It is entirely possible that the Mint simply wants to sell as many products as possible to offset the loss they are going to take this year, and are keeping prices a bit lower in exchange for keeping their numismatic products moving out the door. We’ve all seen the greater sales of the 2011-W ASE for example.

    Additionally, I don’t think the price of gold and silver can stay where it is for much longer. I don’t have a link handy but the CME actually CUT margins on gold and silver tonight, which is a very bullish sign for the metals. I think at this point only an actual Greek default will keep prices of metals down.

  10. Kelly says

    Hey captain

    You really think a Greek default would keep the prcies of PM’s down, I would have thought just the opposite and it would accerlerate the increases.

  11. says

    Kelly,

    The spot price of PMs have been moving according to the following formula for some time now: Euro up/Dollar down = metals up. And Euro down/Dollar up = metals down.

    Generally whenever the metals suddenly surge during a trading day in the last few months, it’s usually because some news story has hit the wires that Greece (and the Euro) are saved. Seriously, watch the PM prices and the next time you see a big plunge or big increase, poke around Zero Hedge or some other finance news site after about a half-hour to an hour, and you will find a story about Greece either being saved or a story about how the EU couldn’t get a deal done.

    A collapse in Greece will absolutely crush the Euro and send panicked investors and HFT algos stampeding into the US dollar for short term safety. A Greek default will cause a huge dollar surge and will likely send gold and silver plunging right back to where they were in January, maybe even lower. You might have a cascade effect similar to the Lehman collapse in 2008.

    On the other hand, a bailout for Greece will be bullish for the Euro and bearish for the US dollar. Should Greece truly get a bailout, expect metals to surge like crazy.

  12. Matt L. Detectre says

    Greek default is unlikely. The Euro currency is a political currency not a financial currency so all the stops will be pulled out to save Greece. Perhaps there could be some backdoor US taxpayer contributions through the IMF to the European banks to loan Greece. I agree with CaptainO that this would be bullish for metals but I think only slightly. I know the mint can stop on a dime and jack up prices as rapidly as needed. If silver hits forty bucks I just can’t see the Mint juggling the books enough to keep silver mint coin prices where they are. Thats one of the reasons why I think silver will only go up a dolla or two in the next couple mos. If for some reason Greece is allowed to go under and metal prices take a dump then the mint will still be okay with their new pricing – in fact really okay.

    For info on the Working Group on Financial Markets commonly referred to as the Plunge Protection Team it is Executiver Order 12631 issued by Pres. Reagan after the crash in Oct., 1987. Actually I think it should be called the Plunge Prevention Team. This is group of gov’t officials that dabble in all the markets to stablize them using big banks as proxys. No, they don’t have complete control of the metal markets or metal prices would still be half of what they are now. They just help keep ’em goin’ up at in orderly, acceptable pace. If confidence in the dolla is ever lost then all bets are off. This Executive Order is located in the National Archives at this site: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/12631.html

  13. Silver Surfing Scott says

    Another ugly commemorative coin from the mint. I see why they
    droped the price. I’m saving my money for something more
    artful. 🙂

  14. GMS says

    Michael, (or anyone) any idea why the mint has changed the issue dates to TBD for the upcoming dollar products and removed the previously listed 2012 Presidential proof sets from the schedule completly?

  15. Michael says

    I think they might just be delayed from the originally planned release date. The US Mint actually had product pages created on their website, but then deleted them, which was odd, but they have done that before.

  16. Samuel says

    Is there anybody like me that feel so relieved after yesterday? –No more new coins from mint. I can keep my eyes on other parts of the world. By the way, the Perthmint opal coin are gone from all other sites, except Talisman is $200 now.

  17. stephen m. says

    Matt L. Detectre: Greece, the size of the state of Wisconsin, is much ado about nothing as far as precious metals prices and the world economy is concerned. The better the USA’s enconomy and the world economy is the lower precious metals prices fall. Of course opinions do vary on these points.

  18. Hidalgo says

    @Samuel. The opal coin is unappealing to me. Since I am a collector, not a flipper or investor, I only buy collect coins that appeal to me. I would not pay $500 for the opal coin… I guess to each his own 🙂

  19. says

    Samuel,

    I don’t know about you, but at the reduced price I am definitely picking up the infantry commemoratives. With both the Defenders of Freedom set, combined with the price cut, I no longer really believe that the infantry coin will be a winner on the secondary market, but it seems like a good buy at its current price level.

    As for the opal, I like it but can’t afford it after the red and black dragons. If I buy any other Perth Coin, it’ll be the USS Constitution coin. Otherwise I’ll wait for the high relief proof.

  20. Samuel says

    Captain,
    Regarding the HR dragon, I think we’d better just forget about it from this moment. We just can not get it. I still remember the experience for last year’s colored/proof/typeset dragon. Their website just wont allow us to get it.

  21. says

    Samuel,

    Let’s not give up so quickly! I didn’t know about Talisman last year and Perth’s release of the black dragon went much more smoothly than the release of the typeset.

    The one I think we might have trouble getting is that two ounce painted dragon from the ANDA show.

  22. Samuel says

    Captain,
    The show coin mintage is only 1000, right? If they sell some at the show, I bet there wont be much left. So……………..

  23. Samuel says

    More, if you look at the tiger coin, it is about $400 now. It supports my argument that we will never get it.

  24. G says

    In re: Perth Mint. I received the Opal and Black Dragon coins today (!) Fastest the Perth has ever shipped. The Opal coin comes with a build in light in the case, so if you pull the tape off the back, it automatically shines a tiny light directly on the Opal when you open the case. It’s really beautiful and cool as heck! Looking forward to trying for the high relief. One more thing: I had the red dragon in my cart, but as I was checking out, it sold out, so I couldn’t order that one, but got it from Talisman before he raised the prices. Meanwhile, I have that burnished 2011 on backorder still… expected the ship on 2/25 (ordered on 1/14)

  25. Samuel says

    1. Credit card charged, no tracking yet.
    2. we need to forget about the w AGE, this situation is just like the 25th set.

  26. says

    Samuel,

    Just to be clear there’s two coins apparently coming next month, the ANDA 2 oz painted and the high relief proof. I feel confident of getting the high relief proof because there will probably be a mintage of at least 5K; the ANDA not so much.

    And yes, the ANDA isn’t on their schedule. According to Schalk in the world coins thread, ANDA Lunar coins have been released as a faux “surprise” before.

  27. pl.mark says

    It would seem obvious that in order to get the ANDA coins you would need to find someone who attends these shows. Try Ken Downie of Australia; if any dealer has these coins, it would be him. The coins might not be on his two websites so calling him toll-free from the US would be advisable. Since the call is routed to Australia, you can call on Sunday evening which equates to Monday morning over there (they are about 16 hours ahead of us). First, check his two websites http://www.downies.com and http://www.eurocollections.com and there you will have his toll-free number.

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