US Mint Again Sells a Surplus of Previous Date Coins to Bulk Account Buyers
Posted on 7/14/2020
By Chris Clifton, President of Coin Advisor LLC
The US Mint’s recent decision to sell surplus numismatic products is simply a smart one. Last October at the Mint’s fourth annual Numismatic Forum, a senior US Mint official announced that 183,781 2016‐W Proof American Silver Eagles would be sold to bulk account buyers via a sealed bidding process. The sale generated millions in gross revenue, and with the Mint not turning a profit for many years, this was a step towards profitability.
I spoke with that senior US Mint official to find out the details of a second sale that was just conducted in June 2020, again in sealed bid fashion to bulk account buyers. More information will be released by the Mint in its upcoming official press release, but what I can share with you is this second sale contained coins dated 2016‐2019, and included West Point Mint Silver Eagles, Gold Eagles, Platinum Eagles, Gold Buffaloes and 225th Anniversary American Liberty Silver four-medal sets.
I asked for clarification as to why these coins exist as surplus sitting in the Mint’s vaults. The answer is more complex than you may think. The Mint sells its products via its website, usmint.gov, as well as at major coin shows around the US and at its retail and kiosk locations. Having product spread all across the country and a loose understanding of demand numbers has caused over production in some cases.
Furthermore, in the age of fast delivery, the Mint is committed to having products ready to fulfill orders upon their release, but with that promise comes guessing market demand. If the Mint undershoots demand, it loses out on much needed revenue, and if it overshoots demand, a surplus is created
The Mint’s senior administrative team closely looked at the value of its “de‐trashing” policy versus selling the surplus coins, and the answer was clear from a fiscal standpoint. The previous “de‐trashing” policy for surplus product consisted of manually removing thousands of coins from their packaging, which takes many employee hours, and then sending the coins in for metal reclamation.
When you calculate all the costs accrued in this process, it left the Mint with an unnecessary loss. He went on to explain one of his major goals is to work more closely with the larger wholesale dealers to forecast demand. This will create more accurate projections resulting hopefully in a “zero‐waste environment,” so the Mint does not have to sell surplus product using the sealed bidding process.
Addressing these issues shows that the Mint is committed to improvement, and a better run Mint will ultimately mean better pricing to the public.
The pandemic that America is facing right now is deeply affecting everyone involved in the hobby of coin collecting. Many collectors were forced out of work. The Mint has slowed production and even moved some production of coins to different locations.
If you follow numismatics closely then you are probably aware of the recently released 2020 Philadelphia Emergency Issue Mint State Silver Eagles. By mintage, this coin now stands as the second-lowest minted Silver Eagle since 1986, the beginning of the program. Out of this pandemic arose a very nice opportunity for collectors. I am confident these backdated numismatic issues will also be well received by collectors looking to acquire something special while the Mint has otherwise slowed down new releases.
Be on the lookout for more detailed information from the Mint, as well as these coins beginning to hit the marketplace. NGC-certified options will be available with special designations to mark their unusual status.
This is a guest article. The thoughts and opinions in the piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.
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