US mint too high for my blood!
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Historically, margin on medals was about 20%, less for gold, much more for bronze due to the low cost of metal. Here's a summary table from FY 1898 showing Medal Department profits. The overall profit was about 17.7 percent. Notice the 372 percent gain on bronze medals.

18981123 P Medal and proof profits_Page_3.jpg

Edited by RWB
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17 minutes ago, bsshog40 said:

Well I finally shutdown all my silver subscriptions with the mint. They have just gotten to the point that the average collector can't afford to pay for these anymore. Looks like my SAE collection has ceased with 2020. I'm done with the mint.

 

https://www.coinworld.com/news/us-coins/united-states-mint-increases-prices-on-15-silver-products

In 2001 I handed out silver eagles instead of cigars for my daughters Birth.. 

$110.00 a tube cash discount.. now $67.00 each??

Crazy

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2 hours ago, Coinbuf said:

I stopped buying from the mint several years ago due to the high prices, prices now are nuts.

I also di and not just because of the absurd prices but the items they were designing appeared to me to be cheap looking and lacked imagination.  This is just my opinion.

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“In order for the United States Mint to cover rising costs, meet its fiduciary responsibility to operate at no net cost to taxpayers, and return money to the Treasury General Fund, re-setting silver prices is necessary.”

It will be interesting to see in the 2020 and 2021 annual reports if the profits from the numismatic sales goes up or down.

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For proof sets specifically, I don't read very often of collectors buying the "older" sets as their primary interest.  By "older", still referring to 1936 and later.  The impression I have is that there is a lot less collecting of this coinage than previously primarily due to the internet and much larger volume of world NCLT.

Also, seems that it's usually a sideline interest.  This is also evident in the declining mintages.  Seems to be mostly bought out of habit and with the increasing prices, one that will be easy to break and won't be missed.

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I am blown away at those prices. I already felt that the Mint was ripping off customers at the current price levels, but the proposed prices on many items is just crazy. 

Way to go to kill a dying hobby. How many people got their start in this hobby by their parents buying proof sets every year. Who's going to spend $105 on a silver proof set? 

Proof silver eagles at $83. That's a $60 mark up over silver. 

I guess the good news is that with these crazy prices, the mintages are going to fall off a cliff and we will have some modern coins that have demand above supply. Last time that happened was the Buffalo commem?

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44 minutes ago, gmarguli said:

I am blown away at those prices. I already felt that the Mint was ripping off customers at the current price levels, but the proposed prices on many items is just crazy. 

Way to go to kill a dying hobby. How many people got their start in this hobby by their parents buying proof sets every year. Who's going to spend $105 on a silver proof set? 

Proof silver eagles at $83. That's a $60 mark up over silver. 

I guess the good news is that with these crazy prices, the mintages are going to fall off a cliff and we will have some modern coins that have demand above supply. Last time that happened was the Buffalo commem?

Yep I have been buying SAE's for a long time. Looks like all my eagle sets will stop with 2020. I may even just sell them off and start a series of something else. 

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56 minutes ago, gmarguli said:

I guess the good news is that with these crazy prices, the mintages are going to fall off a cliff and we will have some modern coins that have demand above supply. Last time that happened was the Buffalo commem?

No, not really except for speculator flippers.  The mintages are low compared to circulating coinage but not for any coin in comparable quality where all of these coins are more common than 99% ever struck.

I don't see the 2001 Buffalo dollar as a good comparison.  It was a one-off commemorative with a very popular design.  There is nothing different with the coins in the list, just more of the same at inflated prices.

The mintages will only be "low" versus prior years for the same series.  But then, there isn't any evidence that actual hobbyist collectors (as opposed to financially motivated buyers) really prefer these series above nominal prices.

Financially, I'd add the entire list as future financial losers, along with practically every 20th century and later US coin outside of specialization.

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23 hours ago, bsshog40 said:

Well I finally shutdown all my silver subscriptions with the mint. They have just gotten to the point that the average collector can't afford to pay for these anymore. Looks like my SAE collection has ceased with 2020. I'm done with the mint.

 

https://www.coinworld.com/news/us-coins/united-states-mint-increases-prices-on-15-silver-products

I gave up several years ago when one of the Silver Eagles sold out in one day. May have been a few hours. I forgot. The mint did not care about all the collectors that bought every year starting in 1986 to build the set. It ticked me off enough to never buy anything again from the mint. I almost quit with the 1995-W but I went ahead and bought the gold set to have the Silver Eagle. 

This round of price increases will kill of many collectors but I don't feel the mint really cares. 

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4 hours ago, ldhair said:

This round of price increases will kill of many collectors but I don't feel the mint really cares. 

If my inference is correct that the typical hobbyist collector in the US has an annual budget or $300 to $500, probably do not care.  They are presumably targeting buyers of gold NCLT and the dealers buying in quantity which is where the money is at.

At some point, the supposedly unthinkable might happen where annual proof and mint sets may be discontinued entirely. 

Some or many current collectors may care (somewhat) now but many more won't later. When might "later" happen?  Don't know but more likely if it doesn't make sense to strike any of the current denominations or coinage at all. This could be due to substantial decrease in cash usage or future inflation which makes the purchasing power of current coinage even more worthless than it is now.

 

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On 10/11/2020 at 4:29 PM, World Colonial said:

If my inference is correct that the typical hobbyist collector in the US has an annual budget or $300 to $500, probably do not care.  They are presumably targeting buyers of gold NCLT and the dealers buying in quantity which is where the money is at.

At some point, the supposedly unthinkable might happen where annual proof and mint sets may be discontinued entirely. 

Some or many current collectors may care (somewhat) now but many more won't later. When might "later" happen?  Don't know but more likely if it doesn't make sense to strike any of the current denominations or coinage at all. This could be due to substantial decrease in cash usage or future inflation which makes the purchasing power of current coinage even more worthless than it is now.

 

This is an infinite spiral. All costs must be covered, as RWB has written, and ALL means ALL. That means as demand falls, increased fixed costs have to be spread over fewer and fewer unit sales, requiring even higher prices the following year. There is no rescue for this situation. The only alternative is to have taxpayers subsidize the numismatic division at the Mint. There are three divisions - numismatic, bullion, and circulating coinage. Each has to financially stand on its own. Not even cross-subsidization is permitted anymore. The message needs to be delivered to Congress. As Bob Newhart yelled in a famous comedy bit, "STOP IT!"

Edited by VKurtB
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On 10/11/2020 at 11:33 AM, ldhair said:

I gave up several years ago when one of the Silver Eagles sold out in one day. May have been a few hours. I forgot. The mint did not care about all the collectors that bought every year starting in 1986 to build the set. It ticked me off enough to never buy anything again from the mint. I almost quit with the 1995-W but I went ahead and bought the gold set to have the Silver Eagle. 

This round of price increases will kill of many collectors but I don't feel the mint really cares. 

These are NOT the Mint's decisions. They are mandated by the Government Accounting Standards Bureau.

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11 minutes ago, VKurtB said:

This is an infinite spiral. All costs must be covered, as RWB has written, and ALL means ALL. That means as demand falls, increased fixed costs have to be spread over fewer and fewer unit sales, requiring even higher prices the following year. There is no rescue for this situation. The only alternative is to have taxpayers subsidize the numismatic division at the Mint. There are three divisions - numismatic, bullion, and circulating coinage. Each has to financially stand on its own. Not even cross-subsidation is permitted anymore. The message needs to be delivered to Congress. As Bob Newhart yelled in a famous comedy bit, "STOP IT!"

Maybe so, but in my eyes, the justification doesn't equal the valuation! 

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3 minutes ago, bsshog40 said:

Maybe so, but in my eyes, the justification doesn't equal the valuation! 

They ARE astonishing, but not out of line when compared with the pricing at other major World Mints. They're pretty much in line. We've gotten spoiled by being subsidized forever up until now.

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We all know how Congresscritters use their power to make commemorative coins, don't we? They do it to pander to some favored constituency or other, at least 9 times out of 10. Isn't it obvious to everybody? They don't do it for you, or for me, or for the hobby generally. We are the suckers. They do it to polish their "street cred" with some interest group or other. Veterans are a frequent honoree, so we get scads of military-themed stuff. Think it's a pure accident that military themes abound when one party has control and diversity themes abound when the other has control? Nobody is that naïve, are they? Did anybody take the politicians seriously when they said .999 silver stuff would be cheaper than .900 silver. C'mon! Nobody is that naïve, are they? Look, I don't need to be less cynical, you need to become MORE cynical, folks.

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14 minutes ago, VKurtB said:

They ARE astonishing, but not out of line when compared with the pricing at other major World Mints. They're pretty much in line. We've gotten spoiled by being subsidized forever up until now.

I agree with your reply to my post, on the economics.

I don't follow the pricing of any new releases, US or otherwise.  But what I will say is that to remain competitive, the US Mint cannot generally charge (roughly) equivalent prices because the mintages are so much higher. 

There are more collectors of US coinage, but I don't believe the difference in the base is proportionate though I haven't checked this either except very selectively.  To my knowledge though, mintages for the more preferred NCLT like Britannia and Libertad proofs are (or were) less than 10,000 (a lot less on occasion) while for ASE a "key date" like the 2019-S ERP (a gimmick coin not even bought by all ASE collectors) is 30,000 and the regular proof is hundreds of thousands.  It might be somewhat more favorable for annual proof and mint sets but I doubt much.

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1 minute ago, VKurtB said:

They ARE astonishing, but not out of line when compared with the pricing at other major World Mints. They're pretty much in line. We've gotten spoiled by being subsidized forever up until now.

They're selling the clad basketball commem for $42. This is a JFK 50c with a different design in a 20c cardboard box. No way in hell it costs them more than $1 for the coin and the box. The Mint must have $10,000 toilet seats they are spreading the cost of over all the products. 

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1 minute ago, World Colonial said:

I agree with your reply to my post, on the economics.

I don't follow the pricing of any new releases, US or otherwise.  But what I will say is that to remain competitive, the US Mint cannot generally charge (roughly) equivalent prices because the mintages are so much higher. 

There are more collectors of US coinage, but I don't believe the difference in the base is proportionate though I haven't checked this either except very selectively.  To my knowledge though, mintages for the more preferred NCLT like Britannia and Libertad proofs are (or were) less than 10,000 (a lot less on occasion) while for ASE a "key date" like the 2019-S ERP (a gimmick coin not even bought by all ASE collectors) is 30,000 and the regular proof is hundreds of thousands.  It might be somewhat more favorable for annual proof and mint sets but I doubt much.

All of what you write here is true, and it offers a chance for a socio-economic experiment. Yes, even at these astonishing prices, the U.S. sets will likely still outsell some other nations' sets. So now we get to see what matters over time. Will lower mintages of foreign sets prevail, or will the "I'll wait to buy it on the secondary market" demand keep U.S. prices high? We can't know for sure, but I believe it's been proven that demand is still king.

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7 minutes ago, gmarguli said:

They're selling the clad basketball commem for $42. This is a JFK 50c with a different design in a 20c cardboard box. No way in hell it costs them more than $1 for the coin and the box. The Mint must have $10,000 toilet seats they are spreading the cost of over all the products. 

All costs means all costs. You haven't even started to account them. All you have STARTED with are variable per unit costs. Open your mind to fixed cost distribution. Just as one obvious example, the creation of curved clad coins necessitated a whole new technology and an underutilized brand new VERY EXPENSIVE special purpose striking machine, which I believe came from Switzerland, if memory serves. That machine also needs repair and maintenance, and having worked with Swiss capital equipment, let me assure you that "overengineering is Job One".

Edited by VKurtB
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25 minutes ago, VKurtB said:

All of what you write here is true, and it offers a chance for a socio-economic experiment. Yes, even at these astonishing prices, the U.S. sets will likely still outsell some other nations' sets. So now we get to see what matters over time. Will lower mintages of foreign sets prevail, or will the "I'll wait to buy it on the secondary market" demand keep U.S. prices high? We can't know for sure, but I believe it's been proven that demand is still king.

No doubt US Mint products will outsell others even with much higher mintages at the same price .

But in the secondary market longer term, I equally do not believe that 2020 issues (and presumably later years) will hold even the same proportionate value versus recent years.  I don't see any evidence that the buyers (notice I didn't say just collectors) really like it that much.

Let the death spiral you described begin.

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6 minutes ago, World Colonial said:

No doubt US Mint products will outsell others even with much higher mintages at the same price .

But in the secondary market longer term, I equally do not believe that 2020 issues (and presumably later years) will hold even the same proportionate value versus recent years.  I don't see any evidence that the buyers (notice I didn't say just collectors) really like it that much.

Let the death spiral you described begin.

Alas, the inevitable fate of all golden egg laying geese. "Change" is vastly over-rated.

By the way, have you ever priced a base metal (CuNi) Swiss mint set or proof set at their website? Amazing how much they sell for. We have been spoiled literally for decades. Nowhere else in the whole world is their the assumption that numismatic coins closely track the metals used to make them. It's a uniquely American fetish and expectation.  

Edited by VKurtB
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17 minutes ago, VKurtB said:

By the way, have you ever priced a base metal (CuNi) Swiss mint set or proof set at their website? Amazing how much they sell for. We have been spoiled literally for decades. Nowhere else in the whole world is their the assumption that numismatic coins closely track the metals used to make them. It's a uniquely American fetish and expectation.  

Their mint set is 40 CHF ($44) and the proof set is 85 CHF ($93.50). 

The quality of their mint sets blows the hell out of the US garbage. Their mint sets are gem PL coins that would typically grade MS68. Ours are garbage that would grade MS64. Their proof sets are equal in quality to ours.

They also limit the mintages to 8000 mint and 2500 proof. This allows them to hold their value in the post market much better.

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3 minutes ago, gmarguli said:

Their mint set is 40 CHF ($44) and the proof set is 85 CHF ($93.50). 

The quality of their mint sets blows the hell out of the US garbage. Their mint sets are gem PL coins that would typically grade MS68. Ours are garbage that would grade MS64. Their proof sets are equal in quality to ours.

They also limit the mintages to 8000 mint and 2500 proof. This allows them to hold their value in the post market much better.

So I ask the forum, who likes $93.50 for a base metal proof set? Are you willing to swim in that pool? The point is that these products cost money to make, SERIOUS money. We have been spoiled.

Edited by VKurtB
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