By CoinWeek Staff Reports ….
With the beginning of the second quarter of calendar year 2018 just a few days away, we thought we’d take a look at how the year’s major U.S. Mint Releases are faring. We take a look at sales figures as reported by the Mint (3/25) and, when applicable, population reports from PCGS and NGC. We also glance at recent eBay sales to see roughly how much the certified coins are going for on the secondary market.
Yesterday we examined the numbers for the WWI Centennial and Breast Cancer Awareness commemorative programs. Today we check out the Mint’s numismatic precious metal products, with an emphasis on the Proof versions of its popular bullion coins.
American Silver Eagle 1oz Proof
The first numismatic release of the year, the 2018 American Eagle 1oz Silver Proof Coin went on sale January 4 with First Day Sales of 229,926 units (ounces and coins being interchangeable). As of Sunday, March 25, first quarter sales total 258,642 – which means 28,716 have been sold since they became available.
However, if we’re trying to get some sense of their worth on the secondary market, then we should have as complete a reckoning of the pieces that are out there as we possibly can. Knowing that each 2018 Congratulations Set contains one Proof Silver Eagle, we can add the 14,828 sets that have been sold to our total, which comes to 273,470 ASE Proofs. This was also the second year of the Mint’s bulk packaging program for the American Silver Eagle, and so we must also add the number of coins from those as well. The Mint sold 183 of the bulk boxes, which consisted of 210 Silver Eagles per package; therefore, we add 38,430 to our previous total for a grand total of 311,900 American Silver Eagle 1oz Proof coins potentially available on the market.
Certified numbers are as follows:
PCGS PR-69: 3,468
NGC PF-69: 5,870
PCGS PR-70: 23,466
NGC PF-70: 49,398
You may notice the much higher populations for Proof 70 (“perfect” coins) as contrasted with Proof 69. This is primarily a result of bulk submission arrangements. A dealer submitting coins to a third party grader in bulk can choose not to put coins that fail to grade at a certain level in holders. Here, obviously, that level is Proof 70. Looking at eBay, prices hover around $46 for a certified Proof 69 and $86 for a 70 – so you can see that collector demand justifies this.
2018 Proof 1oz Silver Eagles are still available directly from the Mint, as are 2018 Congratulation Sets. Silver Eagles by themselves retail at $55.95, while Congratulations Sets go for $56.95. There are no mintage, product or household order limits in effect for either product.
American Gold Eagle 1oz Proof
Moving on to the Gold Eagle, we will skip the fractional weights and consider only the one-ounce denomination. Since it became available for purchase on March 1, the 2018 American Eagle Proof 1oz Gold coin has sold 2,311 units.
There is, however, a four-coin set that consists of the one-ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce and one-tenth-ounce Gold Eagles; to date, 4,185 four-coin sets have been sold. This adds up to a total of 6,496 potential American Gold Eagle 1oz Proofs on the market, but of course not everyone who bought the four coins altogether will break up their set.
At any rate, while there is no mintage limit on the Gold Eagles, there is a product limit for the 1oz Proof coin of 25,000 across all options. This means that approximately 26% of the maximum mintage has been attained. Incidentally, there is also a product limit for the four-coin set of 18,000 units.
PCGS has certified 69 examples at PR-69 and 371 at PR-70. NGC census numbers were not available at the time of writing.
American Gold Eagle 1oz Proof coins are still available on the Mint’s online catalog for $1,677.50. There was a household limit of one in effect for the first 24 hours upon release but that was, of course, removed after the first day.
American Platinum Eagle 1oz Proof
For 2018, the United States Mint issued “Life“, the first of three Platinum Eagles themed around the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence. “Liberty” will be released in 2019, and “Pursuit of Happiness” will come out in 2020. The 2018 American Eagle 1oz Platinum Proof coin went on sale January 25.
Since then, the Mint has sold 9,318 pieces out of a maximum mintage of 20,000, or about 47% of the issue. Of that percentage, we have only 179 coins certified Proof 69 by PCGS and 157 certified 69 by NGC. Again, it’s a little more substantial for Proof 70, with 975 certified by PCGS and 1,995 certified by NGC.
A rough estimate from eBay gives us a going price for Proof 69s of approximately $1,400 and $1,700 for Proof 70s. If you’re interested in the “Life” American Platinum Eagle coin, you can buy it from the Mint for $1,370 retail. An initial household limit of one is no longer in effect.
Pictured Rocks 5oz Silver Uncirculated Coin
And now for something (completely?) different.
The 5oz silver Uncirculated America the Beautiful coins are among the largest precious metal coins the Mint has to offer. And the series is perennially popular, due to the larger pallette for the quarter’s artwork as much as for the relatively large amount of silver per coin. The first ATB quarter to be given this treatment in 2018 is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore 5oz Silver Uncirculated coin, which was released on February 9.
The series popularity is quite evident when you see that in barely two month’s time, the Pictured Rocks 5oz silver coin has sold 15,243 units – or over 76% of its 20,000 mintage limit. A look at eBay did not reveal past auctions for certified examples; indeed, pop reports were not available from PCGS and NGC at the time of writing. Visit the Mint’s catalog page for the coin if you’d like to secure yours for $154.95 retail.
American Liberty 1/10oz Gold Proof
Finally in our brief survey, we come to the 2018 American Liberty 24k Gold 1/10oz Proof coin. A fractional version of last year’s American Liberty 225th Anniversary of the U.S. Mint gold coin, the one-tenth Liberty went on sale on February 8. Created as a cheaper alternative to the 2017 gold coin for those who might be interested in the American Liberty series but cannot afford current prices for one ounce of gold, the Mint established a somewhat optimistic mintage limit of 315,000.
In the almost two months since release, the 2018 coin has sold slightly more than 6% of that number, at 19,509 units.
To ensure that collectors had a fair chance of buying as many coins as they desired from the Mint, a household order limit of five was put in place. That limit has, like all the others today, been eliminated.
A certified census was not available from PCGS at the time of writing, but NGC reports 471 graded PF-69 and 2,021 pieces graded PF-70. And if you buy your coins directly from the Mint ($215 retail), you may find it worthwhile to have them certified, as a rough average for Proof 69 on eBay is about $230 and Proof 70 brings in about $300.
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Hopefully the two parts of this quick and dirty guide to products from the United States Mint for 2018 has helped you decide how you want to spend your collecting budget going forward. We’ll be back again this summer for an update.