Proof Julia Grant First Spouse Coin Sold Out

The US Mint’s website is showing the proof version of the 2011-W Julia Grant First Spouse Gold Coin as sold out. This represents the first of the 2011-dated issues that is no longer available for sale from the US Mint.

The coins originally went on sale June 23, 2011. The stated maximum mintage was set at 15,000 across proof and uncirculated versions, but it appears that the US Mint had produced far fewer than this amount.

As of the most recent sales report, the Proof Julia Grant coins had sold 3,968. The uncirculated version, which still remains available for sale, had sold 2,580. This makes for combined sales to date of 6,548 coins.

The US Mint has an indicated policy of leaving each release of the First Spouse Gold Coins series available for sale for approximately one year or until the entire maximum mintage has been sold, which ever occurs first. In practice, sales for a particular issue would typically conclude to coincide with the start of sales for the issue one year ahead in the schedule. The exception to this general pattern occurs when the US Mint produces fewer than the maximum authorized mintage and all coins produced are sold prior to the end of the one year period.

The exceptions became more frequent than the standard practice starting last year, when six out of eight versions of the 2010-dated coins sold out early. The same thing might be happening this year.

Somewhat significantly, the Proof Julia Grant First Spouse Gold Coin will have the lowest last reported sales for a sold out proof issue of the series at 3,968, which might change slightly in the next sales report. The previous low was held by the proof Margaret Taylor coin at 4,787. Ultimately, we may see the other 2011-dated issues also come in with low numbers.

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  1. William says

    Wow, Julia was not a pretty bird. The Conqueror of the Confederacy could have done better…..

  2. auxmike says

    Zero interest. I just want my 2012 ASE proof!
    Totaly off topic; Are 40% Kennedy half rolls worth buying?

  3. VA Bob says

    auxmike – 40% half’s can be harder to get rid of for a good price unless you have a large quantity of them. My advice would be to stick to 90%, they are easier to liquidate. Of course, I wouldn’t spend a 40% a face, either, lol. People do buy them. If you could have picked them up when silver was sub $10, the < spot hit they can take would be easier to overlook at todays prices. If you feel silver is going to go a LOT higher than it is today, and you are getting a decent price, then you may want to buy.

  4. guysmiling says

    Once this story makes it out there and people and dealers find out about it, I would imagine that the price will find new and perhaps extreme levels. I am thankful that Michael is willing to be on top of the news.

    There is no way to know what happened with quantity of Julia Grant proofs. What other coin series that the mint is producing is half ounce 24K? There could have been a shortage of planchets at the time these were minted. Its also possible that the mint made a lot more of these but they either didn’t meet quality standards, or people returned them.

    My understanding from talking to the mint ordering system staff is that when they receive coins back due to customer returns, they are required to destroy them, not resell them.

    If the mint was to discontinue the series, the run from 2007 on would be a lot more reasonable total cost to collect than if they run the whole series out as planned. I’ve read that some people believe that there is some risk of being discontinued due to lack of sales.

    In summary, between the lack of sales, potential shortage of 24K planchets at various times, and the costs of manufacturing the spouses exceeding sales due to the low volume, that the future of future first spouse gold is uncertain.

    Count me in as a buyer; I think there is a lot of potential if one is willing to be patient. I think that the 2011’s have the potential to be the new keys, replacing 2008’s and 2009’s as the key year.

    By the way, 4,000 coins at $1000 apiece is equal to $4 million dollars. The lower mintage uncs would require even less. I would imagine that it wouldn’t take too many well to do buyers and/or dealers to get that kind of money together and corner the market.

    Your opinion may vary.

  5. Brad says

    The good thing about it is that the series can’t just be ended on a whim. It would require a change in the law, which would take some time. Hopefully no one is concerned about it enough to pursue that action.

    Unless gold prices fall, there may be even lower mintage years ahead. 2013 is another 5-coin year, due to Woodrow Wilson having two different spouses during his years of service. If the coins stay as expensive as they are now or go even higher by then, those coins could have some pretty low sales numbers. I guess it all depends on how many of the dedicated buyers bail out. There are those like me who plan to buy the entire series unless circumstances dictate that it simply can’t be done any longer. I haven’t reached that level yet, and I hope I don’t. I’ve managed to maintain one proof set and two uncirculated sets since 2007, and I really want to finish them.

    Now, if we can just get the show for 2012 on the road, that would be great.

  6. Dan says

    Its amazing, I still have an order backordered from the 10th of March and I have to read about it being sold out here. One would think that they would have a better inventory control system for their gold. Wonder how long till they tell me?

  7. Brad says


    It’s possible that you might still receive your coin. I don’t remember when the backorder notice was posted, but orders placed at around that same time would still have a chance to be fulfilled. Orders placed yesterday before the official notice would most likely be goners, but yours might work out.

    I wonder how low the mintages of some of the 2011 Uncirculated coins are? It may well be possible that coins like Lucy Hayes and Lucretia Garfield might have had 2,500 or less uncs struck. That would beat the current low held by Julia Tyler by several hundred. With the pace of sales, that seems plausible to me, especially for Lucy Hayes. I doubt any of those coins will make it to the “approximately one year” mark. It looks like Eliza Johnson might, which kind of surprises me. I would have figured the Mint wouldn’t have struck very many more of those at the end of the year, if any at all. It’s been a slow seller for many months.

  8. Wylson says

    “I doubt any of those coins will make it to the “approximately one year” mark. It looks like Eliza Johnson might”

    My take is for Eliza, it went on backorder during 2011. They struck a small batch more of the uncs for sure. Hard to predict for the proof since it didn’t go to backorder.

    Since they are sell 10 or less per week, it’s possible all might go a year. Gheez talk about a crash in interest.

  9. auxmike says

    Pardon me folks.
    This blog is fantastic and fun to read. But can someone recommend a forum that can help less advanced collectors get answers to questions covering about war nickels and JFK halves?

  10. says

    I beleive many more new lows are yet to come. For anyone that is bullish on gold over the long haul, you can’t go too wrong with pure half once gold coins of historically low mintages.

  11. ClevelandRocks says

    I think the Grant proof will be a winner with mintage under 4k, a neutral obverse and nice reverse. A lot of Grant groupies too. If mintages get lower, folks will notice and start buying.

  12. simon says

    auxmike : you can consider They have a broad spectrum of members from novice to advanced, and a wide range of topics.

  13. joe says

    Out of curiosity, I am wondering why the Mint would ever dream of producing more Eliza Johnson coins. It is by far the worst of the entire FS series (which is saying something). Furthermore, her husband was an almost unknown who was impeached, which doesn’t bode will for the coin either. They should have only made 2.5K of the proof and 2K of the unc and left it at that. It will never sell out if they made as many Johnson’s as they did Grants. Pathetic really…

  14. MarkInFlorida says

    This is off-topic but I just read that Canada will eliminate the cent next year. Will we be next?

  15. Alan says

    We just eliminated the dollar coin… I think our chances of losing the cent anytime soon are low. It’s not about saving money, it’s about keeping people happy! What’s a few cents here and there?

  16. KEITHSTER says

    I see the Chester Arthur Dollar 250 & 500 boxes are up and going on sale at the same time as the rolls.Not eliminated yet will be fun to see if any one circs. these over time

  17. says

    Off topic…wow, that NGC MS70 Army Half is now bid up to $710 with about 17 hours to go. Well, some folks must be doing well in this economy..I just can’t see paying that much for a clad half dollar…you could buy the $5 gold in MS70 for that price.

  18. ClevelandRocks says

    I’ve got a one of a kind snowflake, ms70, in my freezer. Bidding starts at $500. PT Barnum would love this Army unc crap. You could buy a 70+ year old beautiful PT Barnum/ Bridgeport comm with a cool art-deco eagle on the reverse for less than half the above army clad….
    What is up with the Mint? How can they have a “sell out” of Julia Grant with a micromintage and well under the time limit for sales? Glad I got one….
    The 2011 Buffalo continued sales is maddening.

  19. simon says

    It’s a fad! I would spend money on a pre-1800 EAC unit – even in low AU grade you have something historical, rare, and unique.

  20. ClevelandRocks says

    The fools bidding on the Army clad don’t understand that the less expensive the coin costs from the Mint, the fewer (% of sales) will be slabed by buyers, meaning there are thousands of unslabbed Army clads (including my hoard, of which a few appear ms70 under loupes). Notice the ebay NGC for discussion is NOT an early release.

  21. Shutter says

    the less expensive the coin costs from the Mint, the fewer (% of sales) will be slabed by buyers

    While generally true, not true here. According to NGC 2,239 MS Army halves slabbed (39,461 sold) compared to 2,135 MS Silver $ (43,517 sold). 18 halves got graded MS70 or 0.8%. 1,598 Silver $ got MS70, or 74.8%. Even if by some miracle all the remaining Army halves got submitted for grading, we could expect around 320 to receive top grade. Here is where market dynamics come into play. There are and always will be more than a few hundred people who would want an MS70 US commemorative coin. At higher price this number is lower. At lower price this number is higher. Total number of people interested in scrapings from your freezer — zero, at any price.

    Oh, and WRT sucker commemorative from 1936, I’m pretty sure that top grade sells well over a thousand. If an MS70 example were to be found, ti would sell for much more than that.

  22. ClevelandRocks says

    Any thoughts on this Michael?
    I’d like to hear a bigger picture of the “slabbing % numbers” for modern coins.

  23. ClevelandRocks says

    I’d really like to hear what Michael or anyone “in the know” thinks about the % numbers for modern coinage slabbing. This may require some time to research. I’m sticking to my theory that expensive products are more likely to get slabbed than inexpensive products.

    Buying older coins slabbed makes sense for authenticity and to try to objectify the ms60-68 grades; however, modern coinage seems to create almost all numismatic coins in the 68-70 range with most as 69s or 70s. So there is so much hype about a 69 v 70 and an ER/FS, makes me wonder….

  24. Michael says

    Generally, I think people slab coins when it is reasonably expected to add value in excess of the cost of slabbing. Or in the case of marketers, if it adds marketability to their offering.

    With Shutter’s calculations, I don’t think you can apply 0.8% to the entire mintage. The 2,239 halves submitted already includes some selectivity from the submitters.

    For example, if someone has 100 of the coins, they might look through them and find the 10 best ones to submit in the hopes of getting an MS70. The other 90 coins aren’t submitted because they are assumed to be MS69 or lower.

  25. Shutter says

    With Shutter’s calculations, I don’t think you can apply 0.8% to the entire mintage. The 2,239 halves submitted already includes some selectivity from the submitters.

    That is very likely true. But if so, the actual percentage of MS70 coins would be even lower. There are other issues I ignored. For example someone might have received an MS69 coin from PCGS and cracks the slab to send the coin to NGC. Or both NGC and and PCGS getting re-graded by ANACS. Nevertheless, it should be obvious that chances of an Army half getting MS70 grade are pretty slim.

  26. Shutter says

    there is so much hype about a 69 v 70

    That, I agree with. A few months ago I had a conversation with someone who was mad at the mint about 25th Anniversary sets. Out of 25 coins, he got 2 graded MS68, 1 PF69, and the rest were all 70. His basic argument was that all new coins direct from the mint should automatically be graded perfect.

  27. Shutter says

    I’m sticking to my theory that expensive products are more likely to get slabbed than inexpensive products.

    No one is arguing with that. But if a particular coin seems to have very low percentage receiving top grade and jumps in price, a lot of people are tempted to play the grading lottery. Of the 2,239 Army halves graded by NGC, 231 got graded in the last 2 months (since Michael posted his article on the subject) and 2 MS70 coins got added. Guess what. Same 0.8%.

  28. Fosnock says


    I thought that your question was answered, but I will give you a longer answer. You can get 40% and 35% silver coins cheaper than other silver coins because the smelters\refiners do not normally take them unless its in a large quantity, IE they are harder to sell. If your picking up a large face value of them and if you can get them at or below the current spot price then they may be hard to pass up, but normally your better off getting normal junk silver (90% silver). In a nutshell you generally get what you pay for, and with you being a novice I would stick to more popular forms of silver until at least you learn a little more about the market and the sliver coinage.

  29. Fosnock says


    I forgot most refiners will not take war nickles due to the manganese, and they are not hot collector’s items so I would avoid them like the plague.

  30. Zaz says

    Back to the topic at hand, I believe the Mint came up with a “magic number” based on previous sales of the 2009/2010 dated FS coins in quarterly intervals compared with the spot price during each interval. Probably the number for the four 2011 coins is 7,000: 3,000 of the uncirculated, 4,000 of the proof. If this is the case, both Eliza Johnson coins should follow into “sell out” territory soon. This is something they should do with the ATB uncirculated as well, instead of leaving them up until the full 35,000 mintage is sold, which may take a year or more at this point, but 2011s were based on the anamolies of 2010s.

  31. jeff72 says

    “I see the Chester Arthur Dollar 250 & 500 boxes are up and going on sale at the same time as the rolls”….

    I know its not nice to question what others collect, my cynicism is more directed at the mint…..500 count box of plated plated tin dollars? …..really…we are collecting these? …in boxes of 500? …the whole series? …where? -my wife would throw me out! 🙂

  32. Goat says

    @ Shutter
    I was told once , follow the coat tails of the big boys. Think !! low /high mintage does not matter it’s what is being marketed at the time. I like your investigation of Army halves, some day the BIG BOYS will break these out of the VAULT and make a GREAT BIG PROFIT. Learn it’s fun ! As a boy with my farther at the coin shop, I DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE ! Today not a clue. I’m such a analytic also. Question profit made now or later, it’s our choice.

  33. auxmike says

    @ Fosnock
    Thanks for the advice. I did buy a nice unc war nickels set in a white new Capital lucite holder for $69. Seemed like a good deal as the other sets listed were $100+!
    I have no plans on loading up on grey war nickels besides my one nice set.
    RE: 40% halves. I was tempted by them since you get a lot for a little and they do have silver so no ugly clad visible on the edges. But indeed spending the bucks to get the 1964s is good advice. Everyone like those!

  34. VA Bob says

    auxmike – Your welcome. Advice is easy, but always do your research from multiple sources, then do what is best for your situation. These pages are a great start.

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