Some of the US Mint’s 2009 bags and rolls offerings are turning up as surprise sell outs and big winners on the secondary market. The outlier example is two roll set of 2009 Birthplace Lincoln Cents, but the same may hold true for quarter and dollar coin offerings.
All 2009 District of Columbia offerings have now sold out, including the Two Roll Set and the 100-coin bags and 1000-coin bags of coins from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. The 2009-P William Henry Harrison Rolls were briefly listed as “not available.” Although they have returned, these rolls have sold at a faster pace than the last two Presidential Dollar releases.
The new found popularity of the bags and rolls offerings can be attributed to several reasons.
First, 2009 dated coins are proving extremely difficult to obtain through the normal channels for circulating coin distribution. In past years, with some effort, uncirculated rolls new circulating coins could be obtained from banks or financial institutions at face value. This year it has become much more difficult. For most denominations, it seems that banks are no longer able to order unmixed quantities of newly minted coins. Most 2009 coins seem to be turning up only sporadically or mixed with older coins. Many collectors who would have gotten their 2009 coins from banks, might be turning to the US Mint instead.
Second, several 2009 circulating coins have the lowest reported mintages in decades. As a result of the current economic environment, old coinage is reentering circulation and retail activity is diminishing. These two factors create less demand for new coins and lowered production from the Mint. The lower mintages are no doubt catching the attention of some collectors, hoping to put away rolls and bags of future key dates.
Third, the US Mint has far fewer product offerings this year. At the end of last year, the US Mint slashed their product offerings by 60%. They have also recently announced the delayed release of the 2009 Proof and Uncirculated Gold and Silver Eagle coins. In the absence of other options, collectors seem to be buying more bags, rolls, and commemoratives coins.
Finally, it seems like the US Mint is putting aside less coins for the bags and rolls sales. For example, the District of Columbia Two Rolls Sets are listed as sold out. Last week’s sales statistics indicated that 27,505 of the sets were sold. This is far below the number of two roll sets sold for prior quarter releases. The US Mint sold around 70,000 Two Roll Sets of the Alaska and Hawaii Quarters before the products were removed. The US Mint might be doing this intentionally to try to avoid overstocking their inventory (remember the “Last Chance Sale”?), or this might be a consequence of the overall lower production.
Taken together, the factors have created a situation of increased demand and diminished supply. The US Mint’s offerings sell out quickly and then secondary market prices begin to escalate.
The recently sold out 2009 Lincoln Birthplace Two Rolls Sets were briefly selling for over $100 on eBay. This compares to the $8.95 issue price, which many considered high in the first place. Prices have settled down, but they still seem to be holding above $70. View current eBay auctions here.
When the 2009-P William Henry Harrison Rolls were temporarily listed as “not available,” eBay prices surged briefly above $100. The offering went back on sale at the US Mint on Friday at the original offering price of $35.50. (As a side note, the US Mint now seems to be using the notice “Sold Out” rather than “Product is not available,” which should help to avoid mistaken sell outs.) Nonetheless, it was surprising how quickly prices spiked after there seemed to be a sell out.
Some other big winners might be yet to come. Today the 2009 Puerto Rico Quarter Bags and Rolls went on sale. Before the release of this latest quarter design, the US Mint apparently has already stopped production. The posted mintages are 53 million from Philadelphia and 86 million from Denver. As mentioned in 2009 coin production, this will be the lowest mintage in decades. If distribution through traditional channels continues to be sporadic, the US Mint’s premium for the bags and rolls should be well worth it.