The U.S. Mint and the U.S. Postal Service: Time for a Collaboration

Numismatic products like the America the Beautiful quarters could bring a significant amount of revenue to the U.S. Postal Service. Local post offices, like this one in Boling, Texas, would all stand to benefit. (Wikipedia photo by Djmaschek)

Numismatic products like the America the Beautiful quarters could bring a significant amount of revenue to the U.S. Postal Service. Local post offices, like this one in Boling, Texas, would all stand to benefit from the income, wherever the coins were sold. (Wikipedia photo by Djmaschek)

A few days ago, a postal carrier in Pocatello, Idaho, penned a letter to the editor of the Idaho Press-Tribune. In it, he noted that 2017 would once again be a challenge for the U.S. Postal Service. He cautioned that privatizing the USPS would create problems like reducing service to remote rural areas; instead, he suggested “expanding services such as banking, and offering U.S. Mint products.”

The subject of how to save the USPS is a well-gnawed bone, and the complexities are too much for a single blog post to handle—and in any case, this is a blog about coins, not stamps. But the idea of selling Mint products in post offices is an intriguing one.

In numerous countries, coins can already be purchased at the local post office, sometimes at face value, sometimes at a premium. Canada Post is a vendor of Royal Canadian Mint products; the Canada Post’s website sells, for example, the 1/2-ounce silver “Reflections of Wildlife: Arctic Fox” coin for $39.95, the same price posted by the RCM.

Regular Coin Update contributor Michael Alexander, in response to an email query, writes, “In most European countries, commemorative/collector coins which the post office engage in selling are very often just made available over the counter for their face value.” He points to the Netherlands, Spain, Estonia, Germany, and other countries as examples. Depending on the country, coins may be sold over the counter in the post office itself, in kiosks within the post office, or on the post office’s website.

“The nice thing about the practice of selling these collector coins over the counter,” he adds, “is that if you grow tired of the coin or you upgrade to a Proof version through the Mint, you can simply bring it back to the post office and exchange it for cash, as in the Spanish €30 face value silver collector coins. Germany also offer this, first with their silver versions, then with their cupro-nickel pieces which they switched over to a few years ago.” (As an aside, he notes that this has not been the case lately with high-denomination collector coins in the U.K., but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule—and in any case is a subject for another day.)

postal_service_employees_-_rural_mail_delivery_-_8c_1973_issue_u-s-_stampOf course, a change of this sort in the United States would be difficult, given the fact that the postal service and the Mint are both wholly controlled by the U.S. government, which seems more interested in shackling the two entities’ ankles than allowing them to pursue effective improvements. In the countries mentioned above, the postal service and the mint tend to be state-owned enterprises (SOEs) that perform commercial activity on behalf of the government, but with varying degrees of government ownership and control. (In Canada and other Commonwealth countries, such SOEs are called “Crown corporations.”) The structure of an SOE can vary widely even within a given country, with each company falling somewhere along the spectrum between fully privatized and fully government-owned.

The concept of privatizing the U.S. Mint or the U.S. Postal Service to any degree is loaded with political baggage. Some view it as a way to shake off cumbersome federal processes and develop private-sector nimbleness; others view it as a government attempt to wash its hands of expensive, inconvenient entities that are meant to serve the public while protecting them from the effects of corporate greed. Both sides, of course, have a point. Finding the answer would require (among other things) a thorough study of the various semi-, quasi-, somewhat-privatized structures in countries with successful blends of postal and mint services.

Whatever the structural solution may be, there are also practical considerations. Would selling collector and commemorative coins over the counter make post offices vulnerable to robbery? What about vending-machine sales? In many neighborhoods, self-service postal machines have been removed due to repeated vandalism. Would limiting post-office coin sales, whether over-the-counter or through vending machines, to items of moderate value be sufficient to offset potential problems? If so, what’s the limitation—$25? $50? $100?

Ultimately, the question is this: what kind of setup would benefit all parties—the Mint, the USPS, coin and/or stamp collectors, and everyone in the public who relies on the mail system? To start, let’s consider what each group could really use:

  • The Mint needs to expand the collector base to ensure a strong and profitable future.
  • The USPS needs money. Badly.
  • Collectors would benefit from a chance to see coins in person before they buy (but without having to pay excessive mark-ups on the secondary market). They’d also benefit from being able to take their purchases home right away, and from not having to worry about purchases getting lost in (ahem) the mail.
  • The post-office-using public would benefit from the improved services that a better financial base would provide—including, perhaps, price competition with private carriers like UPS and FedEx.

Assuming the stars were aligned and it was legally possible to do so, the Mint could establish a one-year trial program. Collector coins could be sold through a selection of about a dozen well-rated post offices, located in safe areas, with plenty of tellers and ample parking. Select a few coins with solid collector prospects, and give buyers an incentive to purchase the coins at the post office. If the Mint gave the USPS a wholesale rate, with the latter promising not to price the coins lower than the Mint’s purchase-plus-shipping cost, the incentive would be the ability to take coins home as soon as they’re purchased. Alternatively, giving the postal coins a special cover, or a privy-type mark indicating their origin, could be an incentive. Or perhaps the USPS could be free to sell single Proof coins (at a price that wouldn’t compete with Proof Sets).

Michael Alexander concluded his email remarks on an optimistic note: “I could see a lucrative outlet for the U.S. Mint to involve post offices for specific collector-coin items. The American network is so vast, and their distribution is the kind of network any retailer could only dream of. There should be some kind of co-operation to expand the availability of new collector coins, but again, it’s [a matter of] educating their tellers about the coins and developing a way of redeeming them at a later date. I wonder if the post office would make the investment.”   ❑



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Comments

  1. Numismatrix says

    There is some potential if the US Mint, for example, worked with the US Postal service to sell high demand items such as bullion . They could issue a set of silver coins in 1 Oz and the standard fractionals in an exclusive USPS-only offering. The postal service could look into offering savings bonds / certificates at attractive interest rates as they do in many countries.

  2. data dave says

    Continuing the discussion about the Gold FS coins from the previous thread. My guess is that the mint makes about the same number of each coin type each year unless there are special reasons. That is pretty much true based on the final sales of the 2014 coins. For 2015 they made more Kennedy coins because they knew they would sell more. They also made more proof coins than they did in 2014. So I would guess they made at least 1900 Johnson UNC coins and these will be for sale this entire year.

  3. Macro H. says

    Data Dave, I agree that mint may produce 1900 Johnson unc. However, the key issue is number 1 below

    The case for Bird Johnson unc. As the key.

    1. Mint pulls 2015 spouse in next few weeks. Johnson sales around 1750.
    2. Mint does not pull 2016 spouse coins until year end.
    3. Nixon and ford unc. sales reach 1800 by year end.
    4. If 1, 2, 3, you won’t find any bird Johnson unc. Below $2500 for sale in 2018.

  4. curt A says

    Privatization of government assets makes the buyer of the government entity wealthy with no benefit to the taxpayer.
    I certainly agree that private enterprise is more efficient but that efficiency savings wont pass through to the public.

    Post Office banking and bullion sales are a wonderful idea. The post off could also remain open on the weekends.

  5. Erik H says

    It would be nice if the US Post Office sold mint & proof sets as well as proof ASE (those seem to be core products).

    USPS should also use dollar coins as change at the register not just the self service machines.

  6. Dustyroads says

    I love the idea of certain coins being sold over the counter at the USPS, but I believe brick and mortar retail is suffering and probably isn’t going to help the problem. As for making the USPS profitable, I’m afraid it is what it is. The only way to run the post office today is to charge more for services. If people do not want to pay for the USPS services, there are other avenues to use, which are being used successfully. In my opinion, the US Mint might benefit from an advertising campaign targeting young professionals, but lets get real, when is Congress EVER going to take the time to work on that.

  7. DBR says

    Intriguing article. I like the idea because it would actually make me want to go to a government facility. As it is, I’m not fond of the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, the IRS, the VA, jails, court houses, etc.

    I would definitely shop at the USPS branches because I do already. I buy stamps there and use them for shipping.

    A coin dealers lobby may not be so keen on the post offices selling coins direct but increased exposure of U. S. mint products would theoretically expand the collecting base. Coin dealers will always be needed for older issued coins and antique coins and currency. The selling of bullion would be another likely sticking point. This idea would shake things up and prompt innovations in the hobby and how all “do business.”

  8. Mattarch says

    I would have just the current Mint Set and the ATB circulating and uncirculated quarter sets available at the post office. Keep it Simple. Especially the circulating quarter set is inexpensive and could help get youth interested in both coins and the National Parks. The Post Office could retain a $2 – $4 markup.

    I don’t like the idea of being able to return the coin sets for a refund. That would cause many problems for the Post Office and any profit margin would be expended handling returns..

  9. Dustyroads says

    Come to think of it, 41.3% of US citizens can essentially become distributors of US Mint coins since they’re on the payroll anyway.

  10. Teach says

    Maybe this would save on shipping and returns? You buy the coin there, you could examine the coin on the spot and ask to see another one if you are not satisfied with the coin you are first handed to purchase.

  11. a Bob says

    It would be an interesting experiment to make one upcoming commemorative coin program available at the USPS – not exclusively. WWI?
    I have no doubt the program would be more successful than the recent ones.
    All that would take is for Congress to add it to the bill.

  12. Ryan says

    Selling mint coins wouldn’t move the needle compared to the massive losses that the post office has year after year. Adding banking might make a difference but I’m not sure the government wants to get into that. I read an article a few years back about the post office offering savings accounts or bonds or something like that a long time ago but the government already got rid of paper bonds long ago and I just don’t see them going back. The only thing IMO that could potentially save the post office is by offering some sort of registered and secure email system that they would insure and guard against hacking and also put laws in place that make those registerd emails official legal documents in place of fax and courier documents, so they could be used for banking, business, real estate, court fillings and things like that. Also just the ability for normal citizens to have an email address that has special laws in place for privacy where you pay to send or receive, basically an email that has all the privacy and search and seizure laws that a paper letter has. Many people don’t realize that when you use any free email service you have no right to privacy because it’s a free service. By doing this the post office can make a few pennies on many millions of emails and it would turn into a lot of new revenue.

  13. MikeinPA says

    a lot of people don’t realize that a poison bill was passed that makes the USPS fund it’s retirement plan for 75 years in advance, in an attempt to bankrupt it and privatize it, not going to mention what political party did it, but we all know or should

  14. So Krates says

    I know a local coin dealer who always refers to the American Arts Gold Medallions as “post office coins”. I was not buying gold in those years (1980-84) but have heard that the USPS was involved in the ordering of the AA series. I think there was some sort of time/date stamp (available only at the PO ) that was needed to verify the spot price along with a coordinated phone call to the mint. By all accounts I heard it was a painful ordering process. Does anyone recall the actual procedure?

  15. gary says

    The alliance of the U.S. Postal Service AND the U.S. Mint and the cross-promotion of their products is a NO-BRAINER!!!! It had been my wish that this would have been done way back when I was a child. It is a perfect dovetailing of products with a potential for a great many low price point items to collect to get kids interested and hopefully and addiction to art and history and oh, yes, the incidental byproduct of new philatelists and numismatists. Why not launch a program of clad ATB quarters in combination with U.S. stamps of each park?
    Before anyone here says it’s too late to do that now, it isn’t. I for one would LOVE to get the USPS stamps made for all of the previous ATB releases to go with my 5 oz. “P” Mint silver ATB set. PLUS there are already collectors of the ATB clad numismatic quarters and proof sets who may want to augment their sets with some great matching U.S. pictorial stamps.

  16. gary says

    ALSO…. Just imagine the wonderful possibilities of matching pictorial stamps for every new U.S. Co fmmemorative coin? Especially the 2018 WWI Commemorative silver dollar and even more so for the 2019 Apollo 11 Moon Landing 50th anniversary coins.( At least it could offset the never-ending bottomless oversight of the politicians and lawyers with no apparent aesthetic for the art of coinage to have demanded a needless repetition of designs on a large group of coins.) A chronological timeline of NASA’s achievements would be done in any set number of stamps & just for the occasion, call them airmail to boot! 🙂

  17. gary says

    @A bob…
    You said,” All that would take is for Congress to add it to the bill.”

    You are absolutely correct except for one great fault in this theory. The new 2017 congress will be myopically involved in the deconstruction of Obama Care for quite some time to build their individual “legacies to America”to wipe Obama’s achievement for STARTING THINGS IN A POSITIVE DIRECTION and cover Trump’s sensational secret miracle plan with their thumbprints. And the beauty of Trump’s simple plan is that will be easy to reveal on Twitter!

  18. Mint News Blog says

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren has suggested having the post office provide limited banking services, but I don’t know where the idea has gone since it was first brought up. And the USPS inspector general released a white paper on “non-bank financial services” that seems to support the idea (I confess I haven’t read the whole thing). Links:

    http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/04/sen-elizabeth-warren-proposes-replacing-payday-lenders-with-the-post-office/
    https://www.uspsoig.gov/sites/default/files/document-library-files/2015/rarc-wp-14-007_0.pdf

  19. The Kid says

    Doesn’t the post office already sell “stamp permits” for hunting ducks?

    Yes, they do. I have purchased Duck Hunting Permit stamps in the past at the Post Office. Those permits do look a lot like stamps. You might very well imagine that the U. S. Post Office system may prove to be just too big of a target for the new Republican Administration to miss.

    The Kid

  20. MarkInFlorida says

    If a PO has problems with robbery and vandalism we have bigger problems than budget shortfalls. These animals should be in prisons so that we have a civilized society. Glad I no longer live in a urban jungle.

  21. JARHEADnFLORIDA says

    With the state quarters the USPS, and U.S. Mint worked together. I have the whole set, with each quarter and stamp together of each state.

  22. Imwithher says

    Another marketing idea would be have state subsets. Only available in your state, you would need to collect all 50

  23. Mint News Blog says

    @Michael Alexander, do post offices typically provide so-called non-bank financial services (like check cashing and payday loans) in the U.K. or elsewhere in Europe?

  24. M ALEXANDER says

    8th January

    They do – for instance in the UK, a recipient of unemployment benefits can actually receive their money from a Post office bank account – deposited directly. There are also other Banking services such as currency exchange, savings accounts and debit cards.

    Another Post office perk here is that the Royal Mint have at some selected locations, a kiosk for some of the latest products which are sold as products – not over the counter. This means a collector can have some of the newer collector coins just after the New Year – the 2017 Proof set and Mint sets are now available and judging from some of the comments I’m receiving, the 2017 sets are selling well.

    It might be a nice money-saving eercise if the US Mint could do something similar, order your coins – pick them up at selected USPO’s and save the shipping costs – the affiliation seems so obvious from here.

  25. So Krates says

    Banking? While they don’t mind taking your cash, the PO is usually incapable of cashing their own money orders!

  26. Buzz Killington says

    Adding some retail products is not going to do one thing to save the Post Office’s financial problems. Although I think we have to continue to provide taxpayer subsidies to the Post Office no matter what, there are large institutional changes that should be implemented. The idea of keeping a huge fleet of vehicles to bring junk mail directly to your house six days a week is certainly at the top of the list of things that could stand changing.

  27. So Krates says

    The USPS has for many years now taken pictures and accepted passport applications and payments for the Department of State.

  28. So Krates says

    “…to bring junk mail directly to your house…”

    Does that include the Mint catalog? 😉

  29. cagcrisp says

    100,000 coin Mintage WITHOUT demand vs. 100,000 coin Mintage WITH demand…

    100,000 is just a number. Could be Low demand for a 100,000 mintage and there could be High demand for the exact same mintage. Lot of factors goes into demand, however, for ME, Low mintage without demand is not worth having from an investment point of view. There are Plenty of other investments available to make money, make it, and then you can come back and get in line for the ‘buy what you like’ coin with money left over.

    I personally would rather have a 20 coin tube of yearly ASE’s that have 30+ million mintage than a 5 oz. bullion “P” puck that has mintage of less than 20 thousand. Personal preference from an investment point of view.

    The SLQ has a stated mintage of 100,000 with Currently sales listed at 86,351. Less than 14k left and the SO sign will be hung in the Mint’s window. A Complete Success from the Mint’s point of view. A Total Failure from my point of view. 320+ million people in the United States and you can’t sell 100,000 coins in a timely manner? Dismal. These coins have been on sale for 18 weeks without a SO. Eighteen weeks without a SO. These coins will take a minimum of 6 Months to SO. Posters on this blog stated there would be SO within Hours of Launch. Within hours of Launch and now it’s going to be a minimum of 6 months to SO. These coins should have been SO within the first 24 hours of Launch. There is plenty of blame to go around but ultimately the Mint chose to follow a different path than I would have chosen and the results from a Mint’s point of view will be an Arguably Complete Success.

    From my point of view, this is an Example of 100,000 coin Mintage WITHOUT demand (for Arguable reasons that were self-inflicted).

    NOW for 100,000 coin Mintage WITH demand. Full disclosure. I only buy Morgan Silver Dollars for investment purposes IF they have a little ‘-cc’ following the date. Carson City or nothing for me from an investment point of view when it comes to Morgan Silver dollars.

    TODAY you will get the chance to See a coin Sell that has 100,000 coin Mintage WITH demand.

    TODAY the KEY of KEY’S for the Morgan Silver dollar series is being offered. I’m not a buyer (or a would be buyer) but I am a Watcher. 100,000 coin Mintage WITH demand. That’s what I’m ultimately after. Demand.

    TODAY you get to see an ‘authentic’ ungraded 1893-S Morgan Silver dollar being sold at auction.
    The Sale goes off in ~ 12 hours and Current bid is $2,900.00. (From a purchasing point of view I would think this coin would be Fully valued at $3,500.00).

    Watch and see what an Ungraded coin goes for that has 100,000 mintage with High demand as part of a High demand series…

    .

  30. earthling says

    Until the economy booms like it did in the last century, fuhghet about the Numismatic World ever booming again. Things were different back then. Bringing POGS back would face the same problems as bringing the Coin Market back. Bringing Beanies back – same thing.

    The people that would buy Coins can’t afford them now. It’s hard to buy Coins when you need Food, Clothing, Shelter, Beer and Bratwurst.

  31. Macro H. says

    Once my tax refund arrives, I will buy a few Bess Truman and bird Johnson unc. Coins from our mint. Hopefully they will still be available by then. Risk/reward looks favorable at this point.

  32. Barry says

    The premium above spot on the SLQ kept me from buying one. I liked the coin but, not enough to pay the mint’s price.

  33. a Bob says

    Are you shipping anththing liquid, fragile or perishable today?
    No.
    Fragrance or lithium batteries?
    No.
    Would you like a NASA half dollar with your purchase today?
    No. Can I just get my spider man stamps and go?

  34. says

    IMO the problem with the post office is the same as with all .gov employees and that’s their pension programs, take those away and force them to invest for retirement like everyone else. Why should my tax dollars fund their retirements?

  35. So Krates says

    Ahhh the King of the Keys…Interesting comparison with the golden SLQ I guess. You would think they are in VERY high demand but the truth is they are readily available (especially with problems like the one referred to). A quick check shows 35 Kings sold in December alone, so well over one per day. Just wait till tomorrow and, poof, here comes another.

    A few years back I traded a common BU St. G for a raw 93-S. I was practically crapping my pants thinking it might be fake. Looked up all the diagnostics and crossed my fingers. Came back problem free VF25. Nice trade, but I called all the LCSs and coudn’t get a good offer. I shopped it around at the next regional coin show and got very few offers. Most dealers didn’t want to tie up the $4-5K and wait around for someone to buy. Some had one or two in stock already. So yeah, more demand than a gold SLQ but not as much as you’d think.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1893-S-Morgan-Silver-Dollar-Coveted-King-Of-Keys-Choice-VF-XF-RARE-Key-Date-/351947517910?hash=item51f1b4efd6:g:lt4AAOSw44BYaA0H

    Gotta think about why this coin is raw and not slabbed. Seller seems reputable, coin looks genuine, but it probably would not make it into a regular slab with those scratches, rim bumps, and puncture wounds. If someone is interested in one of these, wait for a good, honest, problem free coin. They are a better investment.

  36. DBR says

    Full disclosure: I’m a political scientist by education and my comments below are my opinion and observation.

    Certainly a portion of numismatists are motivated to purchase and collect U.S. Coins because they are patriotic about this nation. I have personally witnessed a marked increase in a negative tone and tenor of how our nation was portrayed during the last 8 years. From the current administration and the mainstream media who report the news, this nation (our country and her people) was not portrayed in a flattering light. We’ve been told to apologize, doubt our greatness and to question and reexamine what good we thought this nation had done since her founding. This approach, whatever its intentions, has not been good overall for the morale of the American people. No matter what your politics, public sentiment isn’t rosy. People love and enjoy the lifestyles they enjoy here, but many citizens are no longer proud of this nation and her history. This reality was lived by us all this past 8 years including our children and young adults. Some people reveled in it while others loathed it.

    My point: If one isn’t proud of one’s country then one isn’t likely to be motivated to collect this country’s artifacts (coins, flags, stamps, memorabilia, books, maps, etc.)

    We need more optimism and positivity to raise our national esprit d’corps. Collecting is a hobby and our people’s real household income and wealth has dropped for many. And so for many, there is no disposable income for collecting and little patriotic fervor to do so either.

    I was stunned by the decreasing sales numbers in those annual mint sets and proof sets the mint offers. (2012-2015) These are basic coins that build begginer coin collections.

    Perhaps those with money to set aside in savings could be persuaded to diversify their retirement planning and keep a certain percentage of their portfolio in PM’s. That’s what I have done with my return to the hobby in 2013, and my purchase of gold and silver coins from the U.S. Mint. Long term investing in PM is what I do since the short term or furtures trading is not for the faint-hearted.

    Thanks MNB for this forum. Happy New Year 2017 to all here!

    I wish our nation well, warts and all. It’s a special place!

  37. The Kid says

    Investing 101….

    Keep ten percent (10%} of your Investments in gold.
    Reposition your investments annually.
    Keep your investments diversified.

    The Kid

  38. Raphael says

    Like it or not a lot of the USPS, problems are of their own making. They act as if they woke up one day and were blindsided by the use of computers. But they should be able then to do better then the mints economy shipping by Fedex ground, that took on average 7 days to deliver coins from the Memphis,TN area to Jacksonville,Fl.

  39. cagcrisp says

    @DBR, “I was stunned by the decreasing sales numbers in those annual mint sets and proof sets the mint offers. (2012-2015) These are basic coins that build begginer coin collections.”

    FY12-FY15 the Mint had an Net Loss in Total of $31.5 million on a combination of the Silver Proof set, the Proof set and the Uncirculated coin set.

    FY15 Lost $8.5 million on Annual Sets
    FY14 Lost $16.9 million on Annual Sets
    FY13 Lost $3.4 million on Annual Sets
    FY12 Lost $2.7 million on Annual Core Sets

    SO…As sales of the Annual Sets continue going South, either prices must Increase (catch 22) OR we will continue to lose money and Gold/Platinum/Silver will have to continue to carry the water bucket for profitability…

  40. Dean says

    Speaking of gold, is anyone else watching the 1907 St. Gaudens High Relief on eBay being sold by GSC?

    Waaay out of my league but I’m curious to see where it lands.

  41. cagcrisp says

    @Dean, I’m a Watcher…not a Bidder.

    IF you watch enough of GSC auctions you will note that they Attempt to list their Higher Dollar coins Last.

    My above referenced 1893-S Morgan is the Last Offering Today and the 1907 High Relief is Next to Last…

    SO…GSC Anticipated the High Demand for the 1893-S Morgan…

  42. cagcrisp says

    “If someone is interested in one of these, wait for a good, honest, problem free coin. They are a better investment.”

    Some Bidders Tend to Disagree. Doing a 15 day search of completed listings for GreatSoutherCoins under “Morgan Silver Dollars” and you will See that there have been 467 Sold.

    …Of those 467 Sold Only 2 were Sold (1 a 1892-cc PCGS MS64 Blast White) at a Higher Dollar than Currently listed price for the 1893-S for $2,900.00.

    …SO…Someone thinks a Minimum of $2,900.00 is a good Investment (however you want to define investment) for this coin that has ” scratches, rim bumps, and puncture wounds.”…

  43. Buzz Killington says

    @SK —

    Unfortunately, I do include the Mint’s catalog as junk mail. You can’t even order out of it anymore — it just directs you to the website. I wonder how much sales are motivated by mailing out that catalog. That is probably true of a lot of catalogs, though — inducements to visit a website. What do I know about direct mail marketing? Nothing.

  44. Goat says

    I think the coin market moves in waves. What causes the move ?

    @ Dustyroads;The 1999 silver proof set sold for more than $300 at one time . What caused the fall to less than $50 now ? The 2012 silver set is now following the same path (should of disclosed this after I sell my sets) but I think it might be true. Many past commemorative coins have followed this path and it’s well commentary here at times. Note I have made good money on some of these waves but missed the boat on many. No need to worry about inflation when the turn-a-round is within 5 yrs. or less. My prediction one will see on the UNC. Half Clad NPS. Was not favored at sales time but a wave will create excitement.

    As a collector, one will miss this opportunity and I have trouble with this at times.

    It’s like a stock well publicized many will buy and (price going up that puts stars in your eyes) over buy and then price falls to nothing leaving a few (collectors) holding.

    @DBR, the sad thing is a few people think in order to change to good morale is a crises/war and one can only hope that group is not in charge at the time.

    @So Krates; is it the new wave for Morgan’s when a group switches form modern to classic. I have purchased many coins that were well publicized only to find out it the highest mintage for the series and the profit end was terrible. Time tells all.

    @cagcrisp ; your right have something that is wanted is easy to sell, but some waves are created too make this statement true.

    Well better go now all these waves, I’m getting sea sick. For all those who pray, I will have another major surgery this week. I will have to make it back so I can sell my 2012 silver sets, more medical bills to be paid.
    Thanks to all.

  45. So Krates says

    @ cagcrisp – There is nobody banging down the door for problem coins. I don’t know if $2900 is a good investment or not (will probably bring closer to $3500). I do know it’s not XF like advertised and it has very little eye appeal. IMO, in general – and especially with big key dates, you’re better off with a good, honest coin that is solid for the grade rather than a raw problem coin (like this one) with better details. It is a refinement of the “buy the best/highest grade you can afford” rule of thumb rule discussed earlier. Why not buy a holed example? They are even cheaper.

    I have noticed you have remarked in the past about tracking and buying pre-33 cleaned gold. I feel the same about these coins. While there is a time and place for these, it ain’t now. The difference between cleaned and nice BU half eagles, eagles and double eagles is so small now, it is foolish to save a few bucks by buying a problem coin when you can buy Mint State for just a bit more.

    “Buy the whole coin” -Jerry Bobbe quoting an unnamed coin pro

  46. gary says

    @DBR…What is the actual measure of greatness? Is it the length of a string? Certainly the U.S.A. has had incredible moments of greatness and provided inspiration and hope for countless people. But “greatness” is really only a word or more aptly a meme (belie)f rather than an actual entity. With every passing year the complexity of modern living gets ever more complicated. Much of it is caused by the technology (disruptive even if with benefits) to which the world relies on. We SHOULD apologize, where apologizing is the right approach. Apology is NOT a weakness, for one one person or any one nation. Public sentiment right now SHOULD NOT be rosy because that is an illusion. It means people are doing some self reflection but when stuck there it is merely navel gazing. You mentioned how hard the last 8 years were especially hard for children and young adults. Unfortunately it is going to get much harder for them and still much harder for their children.

    I turn 65 this year (coin collector since 11 yrs old). Married 38 years and no children and very happy with that decision I and my wife made. I am an artist sculptor, naturalist, historian by profession.

    This country CAN make itself great again and Trump has a half solution and a very excellent one…infrastructure rebuilding, modernization, and new building of useful and enduring structures (i.e. no expensive walls, history is replete with wall failures and way over the top as a public art project 🙂

    The next thing (but what really must be the first in order to justify the former infrastructure rebuilding is to TAKE THE LEAD IN GLOBAL HEATING DEFENSE STRATEGIES and be THE LEADER. Their is real potential glory in this for every American. If we cannot take real action (too late for lip-service stuff) WE would be admired by every modern nation and aboriginal people in this world. Every year we leave this planet a much poorer place for today’s children and young adults and thusly more dangerous. So at the end of the day unless a nation, some nation of people who have real grit and the cherries to do the only right thing for biological diversity,the morale of 7 billion+ will continue to sink lower and lower and more and more problems become ever more complex and unsolvable. We as a nation react instinctively negative and respond to most ideas with opposition. That’s NOT greatness! It only creates more inertia as the problems get worse. You CANNOT be GREAT even if you were formerly great. To continue to be GREAT you have to evolve. PERIOD.

    Lastly, I want to thank you for your post DBR. It was a very thoughtfully presented opinion. 🙂

  47. Joseph says

    Looks like the 2012 silver set is dropping faster that you think, Ugh…
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/2012-US-Mint-Silver-Proof-Set-/332085503579?hash=item4d51d6a65b%3Ag%3ANTQAAOSwopRYcXcn&nma=true&si=UfnhSuz23hqe6aA5G%252FMz%252BecartM%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

    sell yours before it’s too late. LOL

    Goat says
    JANUARY 8, 2017 AT 5:30 PM

    I think the coin market moves in waves. What causes the move ?

    @ Dustyroads;The 1999 silver proof set sold for more than $300 at one time . What caused the fall to less than $50 now ? The 2012 silver set is now following the same path (should of disclosed this after I sell my sets) but I think it might be true. Many past commemorative coins have followed this path and it’s well commentary here at times. Note I have made good money on some of these waves but missed the boat on many. No need to worry about inflation when the turn-a-round is within 5 yrs. or less. My prediction one will see on the UNC. Half Clad NPS. Was not favored at sales time but a wave will create excitement.

    As a collector, one will miss this opportunity and I have trouble with this at times.

    It’s like a stock well publicized many will buy and (price going up that puts stars in your eyes) over buy and then price falls to nothing leaving a few (collectors) holding.

    @DBR, the sad thing is a few people think in order to change to good morale is a crises/war and one can only hope that group is not in charge at the time.

    @So Krates; is it the new wave for Morgan’s when a group switches form modern to classic. I have purchased many coins that were well publicized only to find out it the highest mintage for the series and the profit end was terrible. Time tells all.

    @cagcrisp ; your right have something that is wanted is easy to sell, but some waves are created too make this statement true.

    Well better go now all these waves, I’m getting sea sick. For all those who pray, I will have another major surgery this week. I will have to make it back so I can sell my 2012 silver sets, more medical bills to be paid.
    Thanks to all.

  48. gary says

    May your surgery be successful and with a short recovery period. We need you back here on this blog Joseph!

  49. Dustyroads says

    Goat, I’m in your corner. Fight, and keep your head up! I’ll be looking for a report.

  50. DaveB says

    @DBR Patriotism had nothing to do with my collecting coins. I started because my father was a small collector. If I had extra money I would collect. When I didn’t have money I didn’t collect. The middle class, the main collector base, had been gutted. If the middle class ever comes back, numismatics will benefit. My opinion, the middle class will not come back under the incoming administration. BTW, there’s nothing wrong with apologizing, if you’ve done something wrong.

  51. Just Another Dave In Pa says

    As far as as the USPS is concerned I think it would be a great combination. The USPS provides a valuable service at a reasonable price.

    The upcoming commemorative stamp for the 100th Birthday of JFK would go great with a JFK coin.

    There’s a lot of overlap between coin and stamp collecting that could create some interesting offerings.

    @ Goat – good luck and good health!

  52. Xena says

    Goat – I’ll pray for you, and more importantly the docs, nurses and others that are caring for you.

    Dusty – what does your 41.3% number refer to? Certainly 41.3% of US citizens are not govt employees.

    longarm – they did take a majority of the pension away in 1983, There is a small pension now (and likely to get smaller in the next 4 years, already new folks have to pay more for it), but we have to invest for retirement in our 401K like everyone else. Your (and my) tax dollars have to pay for it because that’s how we pay for govt. We get a tremendous amount of benefit out of our govt. Yes, govt could be smaller, but what part of disaster relief, social security, medicare, air traffic control, border agents,coast guard, military, law enforcement, park rangers, highways, etc etc do we want to give up?

  53. Dustyroads says

    Xena, No, but that is the percent of US citizens who are receiving Government assistance.

  54. Xena says

    KCSO, Paddy – talked to the Scoutmaster and he was good with donations. He also wasn’t sure how we would appropriately give away anything – but was more than willing to figure it out. I think giving a coin or proof set to every Scout who takes the merit badge would be fine, and if that means all 70 kids take the badge, then I’ll stock up on some of the cheaper proof sets!

    Paddy – you are going to make the trek into town for the Frederick Douglass Coin Launch (April 3), aren’t you?

  55. Xena says

    Dusty – do you mind saying what your source is? There is a whole lot of bad data out there. A quick google search shows a lot of different numbers. Some things make sense to include in that kind of number, but some don’t.

    That number wouldn’t include all the corportate tax breaks as a form of govt assistance, but that’s another huge percentage.

  56. cagcrisp says

    @So Krates “I have noticed you have remarked in the past about tracking and buying pre-33 cleaned gold. I feel the same about these coins. While there is a time and place for these, it ain’t now. The difference between cleaned and nice BU half eagles, eagles and double eagles is so small now, it is foolish to save a few bucks by buying a problem coin when you can buy Mint State for just a bit more.”

    You have NO idea what my investment goals are for myself, those I advise or those I bestow gifts. No idea. I have set down with my children and discussed our ENTIRE investment program. In some cases I buy Nothing but ungraded coins. Some are cleaned and some are not. In some cases I buy nothing but specific graded, specific dated and specific mint marked coins. What I do with coins is part of an Overall investment plan. A small part. My coins will never be sold and HOPEFULLY those that I give will never be sold. I try to buy Specific coins that have Specific meaning to those that I gift those coins. IF they sell those coins then Everything that I set up is for naught. HOPEFULLY There will be enough financial assets to go around that they will not need to sell coins.

    For someone that makes a living investing and gambling, I find it humorous that I would take investment advice from someone that has no idea my goals, financial assets or financial plans. When I was gainfully employed and managing manufacturing plants I used to set up 401k plans for employees and the first thing I asked them was what was “their” goals. I have a client that is a CPA that is in 90% cash and I have a 70 year old client that is in 90% stocks. Not my advice, but their goals. Everyone is different and painting with a broad brush investment advice is financially irresponsible. It’s all about risk/reward and everyone has a different definition of risk.

    In My specific case I have a pie, and I’m trying to divide that pie in as many pieces as I can and I’m trying to make sure Every piece of pie is as big as it can be…

  57. cagcrisp says

    The Ungraded 1893-S Morgan Silver dollar sold last night for $3,200.00

    The Ungraded 1907 $20 St Gauden HIGH RELIEF sold last night for $11,402.00…

  58. says

    Xena
    The net loss includes $5.7 billion for the prefunding requirement of the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund and an additional $1.2 billion in non-cash workers’ compensation expense, consisting of $485 million related to changes in interest rates and $697 million of other non-cash workers’ compensation expense. These items are outside of management’s control.“The legally mandated $5.7 billion prefunding requirement for the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefit Fund contributed to our continuing losses,” said Corbett. “Due to lack of sufficient cash, we were forced to default on the $5.7 billion prepayment, underscoring the need for legislative change.”
    https://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2014/pr14_059.htm

  59. Gary Not Dave says

    Since the Mint has lack luster buying opportunities this year. I will continue my Pre 1933 Gold collecting. If anyone has any good tips to pass along, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks

  60. Macro H. says

    It looks that we may have negative weekly sale number of national parks gold unc. Will it beat Jackie as the new key?

  61. So Krates says

    Cagcrisp – What’s humorous is your “You don’t know me… you don’t know me” straw man argument.

    I gave simple coin buying advice, not investment advice. I am assuming the “goal” of the purchaser of the coin is to lose the least/gain the most value possible when buying a nice coin she likes. If one’s personal goals are the opposite of that then they may be better off seeking out problem Morgans, cleaned gold, and buying the most quantity of the lowest grade they can afford. It is silly to think that I need to sit down with each buyer for a pow wow about their 401K in order to give general, sound, coin advice. Yes, there may be a few exceptions (wear for jewelry, gift little kids so they can handle, trying to create a tax loss?, etc.) but they are few and far between. I have not heard any specific points of this opinion addressed – only that I shouldn’t offer it. For $10-$50 more, why not avoid cleaned gold and “Buy the whole coin” ?

    Who would take stock advice from a guy who only buys and holds and brags that he’s never , ever sold a single stock and never intends to?

  62. Montana John says

    My New Years Resolutions..1.continue to follow MNB…I find it very informative with alot of insightful contributors…2 Buy a lot less (if any ) products from the U.S. Mint…3 Hope everyone will buy a dictionary and look up the difference between “racism” and “prejudiced”…4 Practice tolerance…it would be wise to forgo labeling certain people as “intolerant” until you deal with your own intolerance ….5 Do a good deed,&help someone everyday..Happy New Year to all

  63. cagcrisp says

    @So Krates ” from a guy who only buys and holds and brags”

    “No brag, Just fact.” – Guns of Will Sonnett…

  64. IPS_STUFF says

    #joe#2 – don’t forget Washington Mutual
    My dad held 10k shares of that mess.

    I use to get my investment ideas from him.
    I did solidified a few Ideas I already had from his reading the stock to bankruptcy;
    1) Never have to much in a single investment.
    2) a good dividend does not always make a good stock
    3) you have to be willing to take a loss on an investment

  65. So Krates says

    @ Cagcrisp- After rereading my comment on cleaned gold, I can see how it looks as if I’m calling you a fool for buying it. Not my intention at all. I sloppily went from referring to your specific actions to recommending an alternative to the general community. It is clear you are not the average bear and you often express your unique criteria for purchasing. I’m sure you have your own specialized reason for buying cleaned gold but since you have chosen to omit it, I felt the need to push back on your positive sentiment towards substandard material. Your comments implying that buying the best loses you the most, referring to a crappy key date coin, and an affinity for cleaned gold may lead your average collector down a path that may bear much unnecessary disappointment in the end.

    And BTW it can’t be a fact if it’s hypothetical. I don’t actually know anyone who buys and holds all the stocks he ever bought and brags about his intention to never ever sell one single share. It is an imaginary construction to illustrate an important point. However if such a character existed, I certainly would not take stock advice from him (and neither would you), regardless of whether his frequent mentioning of it could be considered bragging.

  66. cagcrisp says

    @So Krates, IF you read my comments , I only comment “I’ve never sold a coin” in replying to Comments that Since I want a “reasonable” HHL that I am a Dealer or a Flipper…

  67. So Krates says

    JANUARY 9, 2017 AT 3:42 PM “… I only comment “I’ve never sold a coin” in replying to Comments that Since I want a “reasonable” HHL that I am a Dealer or a Flipper…” – Cagcrisp

    JANUARY 9, 2017 AT 7:51 AM “My coins will never be sold and HOPEFULLY those that I give will never be sold” – Cagcrisp

    Who was asking you about flipping and HHLs here?…my imaginary buy and hold everything forever stock broker? 🙂

  68. Just Another Dave In Pa says

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

    I believe I commented that a higher hhl (gold mercury dimes) was more attractive to flippers and dealers than a hhl of 1.

    I never accused anyone of being a flipper or a dealer though.

    I still hold that a hhl of 10 was ideal for flippers and that opinion seems to be substantiated by another poster (Steve?) in a recent thread. It’s just common sense that a higher hhl and a limited mintage will attract flippers much moreso than a hhl of one although (Steve?) stated that he circumvented mint policy and bought at the 1 hhl to flip, as well.

    I do not follow ebay auctions and I have a hard time believing that someone with no skin in the game would do so on an almost obsessive basis. That’s entirely another matter though and people are free to do as they please.

    I like to think that all advice from the Internet is worth its price. That’s my 2 cents.

    Cagcrisp was accusing someone of shilling for low mintage First Spouse coins a week or two ago and I wonder how many posts verge on advertising or marketing in some fashion. People who espouse buying certain items and discourage buying other items can muddy the waters, either willfully or unwillfully.

    Buying what you like is the most sensible advice I’ve heard. Where pre-33 gold is concerned, I would only buy in higher grades from a reputable dealer that I know and trust. Fakes and forgeries abound and it’s not worth the risk.

    I’ve always wanted a CC Morgan from the GSA Hoard in an original holder. They seem to be selling at their high water mark now and so I don’t think it would be good to be a buyer right now. Still, just one would be nice.

  69. Macro H. says

    Why several dealers have recently been aggressively selling first spouse gold coins on bay? Spent too much working capital on gold liberties and national parks gold. Now Credit card bills are due. So they have to price their spouse coins very aggressively. The silver lining is that there are several aggressive buyers around to offset the sudden selling pressure.

  70. So Krates says

    @ Just Another Dave in PA – You can get a nice (MS63) 1882, 1883, or 1884 CC GSA complete with a personal message from Tricky Dicky for less than the issue price of a gold Mercury dime. Don’t see them getting too much cheaper but there’s no rush as there are lots out there. Was just reading yesterday that there was only one single 1889 CC coin in the entire GSA hoard.

  71. Dustyroads says

    Xena, 128 million is from Jan 8 2013, so your right, that search brings up a lot of different results.

  72. Just Another Dave In Pa says

    @ So Krates – With little coming from the US Mint in the near future I’ll probably look for one of the more common dates and maybe add at least 1 or 2 each year for a while.

    2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the first GSA sale of these Morgans and I hope to have a good start by then. I have some Morgans already but I really like the GSA ones.

    Here’s an interesting auction

    https://gsaauctions.gov/gsaauctions/aucindx/?sl=71QSCI17810002

    You can about $2.00/lb for scrap copper so that’s over $4700 worth of copper there.

  73. Boz says

    Most post offices today are in leased strip mall type buildings that are hardly secure. The only thing that keeps them from being demolished by thieves today is that there is nothing of value in them at night and that business is now done by credit card instead of cash. Also hundreds of small ones have already been closed or cut back in clerk hours. There may be staffing for just an hour or two as needed to unload/load a contractor truck and distribute mail to carriers and post office boxes.

    As with passport applications and draft registration, postal clerks must stop doing their core job functions to subsidize other federal agencies at virtually no profit when one of those comes through the door. Ever been waiting to mail a package when somebody ahead of you has the clerk tied up with a passport application?

  74. Boz says

    Post offices receive so little cash now, as was pointed out earlier, that it may be tough to exchange a larger money order. Also as noted above, brick and mortar retail is in trouble, thanks to shoplifting, poor employee pay and benefits, flash mobs, unruly kids whose parents turn them loose, and law enforcement that knows who the problem repeaters are but will not or cannot keep them locked up. Coin people gonna make it worse by doing what they already do to the mint, buy stuff, cherry pick it, and return most of it? How would that help a retailer?

    Bank branches do sometimes sell bullion, but who wants to be seen comng out of a bank anymore with a satchel of something that might be valuable, for fear of being targeted and perhaps followed?

    if it was worth doing and there was a profit in it, don’t we think banks and pawn shops would already be doing it?

    Give us a break on your anti-pension rants! Social security is nothing but a pension. Employee pays in some and employer pays some. If you don’t want it you don’t have to accept it. And there are plenty of places for you anti-pension people to work where having a retirement plan is not an option. If you are not interested in public service or working for a stable employer, there are some used car dealers who will take you on as an independent contractor and 1099 you without a qualm.

    Too bad Congress did not apply the same standard of adequate funding to social security, or to GE or General Dynamics, or Delta Airlines, etc. It would be amazing if we would start holding our government and business leadership to making good on the promises they make instead of allowing them to help themselves to Al Gore’s “lockbox.”

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