After just under one week of availability, sales of the 2011 National September 11 Medals have reached 50,998. This seems to be a relatively strong start for a medal, but it remains well below the ambitious maximum authorized mintage of 2,000,000. At this point, sales account for only 2.55% of the maximum.
View the full weekly sales report at CoinUpdate.com.
The total sales for the September 11 Medals are made up of 33,046 and 17,952 of the “W” and “P” mint marked versions, respectively. The authorizing legislation had provided that to the extent possible one half of the medals should be struck at West Point and one half at Philadelphia. The US Mint allows customers to order either version without any limits or specific proportions established.
The initial unit sales are below the level of the 2011 Army Silver Dollars released earlier this year. Within a comparable sales period, the coins had sold 67,593 across proof and uncirculated versions. The initial sales figures for the 2011 Medal of Honor Silver Dollars were lower at 35,502, however the initial period only covered two days.
Some factors potentially weighing on the sales: 1.) the fact that it is a medal rather than a coin with a legal tender face value; 2.) the fact that it is not part of any ongoing series or program; 3.) competition from the flood of other silver numismatic products; and 4.) there seems to be very little awareness of the medal in the mass market where the coins could potentially sell in greater numbers.
There was some mainstream and local coverage of the launch event held at the start of sales. (This article includes some images of the actual medal.) However, the number of articles on the official US Mint medal have been fewer in number than the articles which appeared in the media earlier this year about the “bogus” or “fake” 9/11 commemorative coins offered by a private company.
I believe the last time the US Mint offered silver medals was the National Wildlife Refuge System Centennial Medal Series of 2003. The 1.5 inch diameter silver medals featured Theodore Roosevelt on the obverse and four separate reverse designs featuring the Bald Eagle, Elk, Canvasback Duck, and Salmon. The maximum mintages were 35,000 for the Bald Eagle medal and 25,000 for each of the other designs. If memory serves, each of these medals sold out rather quickly, which would have made for total medal sales of 110,000 units across the four designs.