Revisiting the 2013 5-Star Generals Uncirculated $5 Gold Coins

gold-coinAbout four weeks ago, the 2013 5-Star Generals Uncirculated $5 Gold Coins unexpectedly sold out at the United States Mint. I thought it would be a good time to revisit the issue which has been commanding a sharp premium on the secondary market.

The sales figures for modern commemorative gold coins had been drifting lower for several years. The gold coins issued for the 2008 program featuring the Bald Eagle had achieved respectable sales of 15,099 uncirculated and 59,269 proof coins. The issuance of the next gold coins in 2011 would see overall sales fall to less than half this level. In 2012, the uncirculated $5 gold commemorative coin would end up with the third lowest sales of the modern era.

Recent Commemorative $5 Gold Coin Sales Figures
Unc Proof
2008 Bald Eagle 15,009 59,269
2011 U.S. Army 8,062 17,173
2011 Medal of Honor 8,251 18,012
2012 Star Spangled Banner 7,027 18,313
2013 5-Star Generals 5,658 15,843

Despite the historically low mintages for the 2011 and 2012 gold commemoratives, the secondary market reaction was relatively muted.

The reaction to the sell out of the 2013 5-Star Generals Gold Coin has been much more dramatic. Almost immediately following the sell out, secondary market prices quickly jumped with strong premiums still being paid for the coins.

A survey of recently completed eBay auctions since the start of the year shows prices for raw and MS69 graded pieces ranging from $603 to $685. Examples graded NGC MS 70 have realized prices ranging from $800 to $953. Examples graded PCGS MS70 have realized prices from $980 to $1,225. The highest price points occurred for coins with an Early Releases of First Strike designation.

These prices can be compared to the last US Mint issue price of $400.45 per coin.

Two factors driving the high secondary market prices are the low mintage of the coin and the unexpected nature of the sell out. With last reported sales of 5,658, the uncirculated version of the 2013 5-Star Generals $5 Gold Coin ranks as the second lowest mintage modern commemorative coin. The only issue with a lower mintage is the long standing key date uncirculated 1997-W Jackie Robinson $5 Gold Coin at 5,174 pieces.

The uncirculated 5-Star Generals Gold Coin sold out on December 23, 2013, which was more than a week before the US Mint’s pre-announced sales ending date. As I had mentioned previously, this is the first time I can recall seeing a commemorative coin sell out prior to the announced sales ending date (except in the case of the sales reaching the full maximum mintage). No doubt, there were some collectors and dealers waiting until the final few days of sales to place orders for the coins. Once the sell out occurred, there seemed to be a scramble to find available examples of the secondary market, which served to push prices immediately higher.

Looking slightly ahead, the low mintage status of the 5-Star Generals Gold Coin should not be in any danger of being undercut this year. The only commemorative gold coin for 2014 is included in the program honoring the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Due to the popular subject matter and the special curved shape, the coins should easily surpass the low sales of the 5-Star Generals issue.

Looking further ahead, in 2015 there will be a commemorative $5 gold coin for the United States Marshals Service. In 2016, there will be a commemorative $5 gold coin honoring author Mark Twain.

Weekend Reading:

Bill Seeks Commemorative Coins for the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

John Mercanti’s Australian Wedge-Tailed Eagle Design to Appear on More Coins

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  1. smiledon says

    Does any one here have any idea why the CRA coin is on back order with an expected date of being shipped on the 15th? I held my nose to buy this coin, and I still have to wait? My order for the ASE subscription is back ordered till the 4th of next month.

  2. thePhelps says

    Smiledon – I believe others have speculated that in order to prevent having to melt extras – they are being a bit conservative in the minting of the CRA coins. This is based ont he fact they made way to many GSA coins right out the door last spring.

    As far as the ASE goes – that isn’t unsual. This is one of the most popular proof coins they make – and I would guess the discounted subscriptions drove the inventory.

  3. thePhelps says

    stephen m – the only way the baseball coin is a quick sellout is if they announce like they did this year that the coins will be available until the end of the year – and then sell em out before that date. otherwise the coin will be available for most of the year and the mint will kee making them if there are buyers.

    I also don’t expect a large secondary market to show up for the coin – at least not for several years – if it ever does. I think this will be an oversold coin and that won’t do a lot for future resells…

  4. Brad says


    Another name for the 1970-S “small date” variety is the “level 7” variety. The “7” is what is different between the two. However, I don’t know if the “level” factor is at the top of the numerals or the bottom. But, it has to do with how it appears in line with the other digits. The level factor is probably how it lines up at the top of the numbers. See if any of them look different in that respect. Hopefully that will help you.

  5. Brad says


    Actually, the more I think about it the more it makes sense that the level factor is that the seven would be level with the BOTTOM of the other numbers, not the top.

  6. Brad says


    So, I was right the first time when I said that the small date has the “level 7” at the top of the digits. I shouldn’t have second-guessed myself!

  7. Nick says

    No luck on the 1970 s’. I have two 1994 column cents. One is in bay 11 and the other is in bay 3. The one in bay 11 is only half a line at the top of the bay. The one in the other cent is a full line in bay 3 with columns on the right side damaged and a curves line underneath the extra column that looks like a scratch. I also found a 2000 wide AM

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