Gold and Silver Mine

One of the magazines I subscribe to has the United States Mint report that lists the mintage figures of all coins struck so far this year.

I like to peruse this report to see if any coins, due to the low mintage figures, represent a potentially good investment for future gain. It also is an indication of the popularity of certain issues and whether the public is getting weary of all the offerings the mint has produced in the last 30-plus years.

Because the mint is striking many new coins for collectors every year, and the fact these same coins can be bought for less than the price the mint charged in subsequent years, some collectors have stopped buying from the mint. Reviewing this report shows some interesting numbers and potential for investment, but maybe not by purchasing from the mint. There are some low mintage figures in the report, but just because they are low doesn’t mean there will be a demand latter. Only time will tell.

First for review is the 2017 $100 high relief gold coin featuring an image of an African American woman as Lady Liberty. This is the third coin in a series that started in 2009 with a close reproduction of the famous St. Gaudens high relief $20 gold coin which had a final mintage figure of 114,427 coins. The second in the series is the 2015 American Liberty design which sold 49,325 coins. This year's coin has an authorized mintage of 100,000 pieces, but as of this report, only 24,555 coins have sold. The intent for this series is to release a new coin every other year featuring Lady Liberty as a different ethnic person to represent the diversity of our country.

Looking at other gold coins, the U.S. mint has been striking gold coins for collectors and investors since 1986 in both uncirculated condition (for gold investors) and proof condition (for collectors) and in denominations of $5 (1/10th ounce), $10 (¼ ounce), $25 (½ ounce) and $50 (1 full ounce). The uncirculated coins are typically sold at a percentage over their gold value and through bullion dealers, whereas the proof coins are available directly from the mint, but at a price much higher than their gold value. Initially the proof coins maintained their premium valuation, but in today’s market they are trading at the same price as their uncirculated brothers.

This year's mintage figures for the proof coins reflect the pullback of the buying public. For example, with only two months left to purchase these coins, only 1,463 proof half-ounce coins and 2,314 quarter-ounce coins have been minted. These numbers are way below those of previous years.

Another group of gold coins, and by which, I mean the entire series, is the First Spouse series of coins minted since 2007 in one half-ounce of gold, four different coins each year, and featuring the wives of our presidents in order of their presidency. For those presidents that didn’t have a wife while president, an image of Lady Liberty was used.

Coins were struck in both proof and uncirculated condition. Mintage figures started high with almost 20,000 coins of each condition and for each first spouse struck the first year. Mintage figures dropped in half for the second year and have continued their decline ever since. Typical mintage figures now hover around 2,000 coins, a little higher for the proofs and a little lower for the uncirculated, an exception being the coins issued for Jackie Kennedy. This year's trend is continuing, with the only exception being the coin for Nancy Reagan, reflecting her popularity.

In my mind, any coin with a mintage figure of less than 2,000 coins is a good buy, and to make it even more attractive, these coins can be purchased at near their bullion value, making them a great investment.

More next week.

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins Inc. He and his wife, Linda, operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles, formerly in the Shore Mall and now at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old Wawa building just beyond the former Cardiff Circle in Egg Harbor Township. They have satellite offices in Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have more than 70 years of experience in the coin and precious-metals business. They are members of the American Numismatic Association, the Industry Council of Tangible Assets, the Numismatic Guarantee Corp., the Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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