As the end of the year approaches, it’s a good time to revisit the 2013 commemorative coin programs. Under the authorizing legislation for each program, the coins may be minted and issued only during the 2013-calendar year. In recent years the United States Mint has typically concluded sales for commemorative coins at a pre-announced date in mid-December. This would leave less than two months of availability remaining for the current year’s coins.
The 2013 Girl Scouts of the USA Silver Dollars went on sale February 28, 2013. The coins were issued to mark the centennial of the organization and carried a maximum mintage of 350,000 pieces. The coins were offered individually in proof or uncirculated versions, with a Young Collectors Set released later in the year containing the uncirculated version of the silver dollar.
The 2013 5-Star Generals Commemorative Coins went on sale March 21, 2013. The coins featured the five United States Army 5-Star Generals George Marshall, Douglas MacArthrur, Dwight Eisenhower, Henry Arnold, and Omar Bradley. Sales options included individual proof or uncirculated versions of $5 gold coins, silver dollars, and clad half dollars. A three coin proof set was also available and limited to an issuance of 10,000 sets. Later in the year, a Profile Collection was offered containing the uncirculated versions of the silver dollar and half dollar with a bronze medal. Across all product options, mintages were limited to 100,000 $5 gold coins, 500,000 silver dollars, and 750,000 half dollars.
For both programs, current sales levels remain well below the maximum mintage levels. Sales levels for many of the coins remain near historic lows.
The table below shows the sales levels calculated by coin from the most recent sales report. The figures represent the number of coins sold across both the individual options and the set options.
|2013 Five Star Generals Commemorative Coins|
|$5 Gold Proof||15,044|
|$5 Gold Unc||4,559|
|Silver Dollar Proof||64,588|
|Silver Dollar Unc||29,079|
|Half Dollar Proof||44,297|
|Half Dollar Unc||29,318|
|2013 Girls Scouts Commemorative Coins|
|Silver Dollar Proof||82,267|
|Silver Dollar Unc||34,862|
As has been the case for a few years running, the uncirculated version of $5 gold coin seems to be bound for final sales at the very low end of the historical spectrum. Until recently, sales for a commemorative gold coin below the 10,000 level had been considered extremely low with these coins commanding significant premiums. For both 2011 and 2012, the uncirculated $5 gold coins ended with final sales below this level, but haven’t really generated significant premiums as the market seems to be reevaluating what constitutes a “low” mintage.
The current lowest mintage modern commemorative gold coin is the 1997-W Unc Jackie Robinson $5 Gold Coin at 5,174, followed by the 2001-W Capitol Visitor Center $5 Gold Coin at 6,761. The 5-Star Generals gold coin currently has sales below these levels, but it is likely that there will be some increased buying activity heading into the end of the year.
This year’s silver dollars are pointing to sales levels that will likely represent the lowest in more than a decade. However, over a longer time frame there have been plenty of modern commemorative silver dollars with lower mintages. Each of this year’s issues are already at sales levels which are above the ten lowest mintage modern commemorative silver dollars.
The uncirculated version of the 5-Star Generals Half Dollar seems poised to set a fresh mintage low among modern commemorative half dollars. The current low of 39,461 was established for the 2011-P Uncirculated Army Half Dollar, which had experienced sharply higher secondary market prices shortly after the sell out.
As with the uncirculated 5-Star Generals gold coin, it seems likely that there will be some increased buying activity for the uncirculated half dollar going into the end of the year.