By Christopher Bulfinch for CoinWeek …..
In a year of high-profile United States Mint product releases, there is no doubt that the U.S. Mint’s 2021 Morgan dollar “reissues” will be counted among the most interesting and infuriating products to be issued this year.
For most collectors, buying the coins at issue price was an exercise in futility. The Mint’s website was rendered virtually inoperable on the coins’ May 24 launch date, slowing to a crawl underneath a crush of customers, both real and automated.
As quickly as the coins sold out they began to appear on the secondary market. And in the months since, even though physical coins will not see delivery until October, we can see the contours of the pre-delivery market take shape.
The first two 2021 Morgan dollars, with privy marks displaying the letters “O” and “CC” within raised ovals–honoring the New Orleans and Carson City Mints, respectively–on the reverse in place of the defunct facilities’ mint marks, went on sale May 24 at noon. Where the Morgan dollars of the 19th and early 20th centuries were .900 fine, the 2021-O and CC dollars are .999 fine. Both coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint with an Uncirculated finish.
Mintages of 175,000 were authorized for each coin, 10 percent of which were reserved before sale for the Mint’s bulk purchasers through the Authorized Bulk Purchasers Program.
Initially priced at $85 with a household ordering limit of 10 coins, the new Morgans sold out almost immediately. The Mint’s website slowed to a crawl and many users received error messages. Collector frustration was palpable, with countless angry posts on web forums and comments lamenting unsuccessful attempts at ordering and describing the failure of the Mint’s website.
The release was so buggy that the Mint postponed the sale of the remaining 2021 Morgan and Peace dollars until August 3 and 10, respectively. The two Morgans with D and S mint marks will be available on the third, while the final Morgan without a mint mark and the 2021 Peace dollar will be available on the 10th.
2021 Morgans on the Secondary Market
Almost immediately after the lightning-fast sellout in May, the coins appeared on the secondary market, in many cases for multiples of their issue price.
eBay results for a single coin with either privy mark have trended between $150 and $300. Pairings of the two coins have sold for around $500, and bulk lots of the coins have been offered for more than $1,000, depending on the number of coins in the lots.
Once released, will the coins see higher prices? There’s no way to know for sure, but experience suggests that they will. Once collectors see the coins in hand, and once the inevitable wave of premium holders and special promotions hits its stride, the perception that these coins will retain and build on their current levels could take root. Another factor to consider is that many of these coins went into collectors’ hands, meaning that there probably isn’t as high a concentration of these coins on the wholesale market as people might think.
The Mint has also indicated that they consider these coins a continuation of the Morgan dollar series of 1878-1921. Few collectors may agree, but the popularity of this issue will all but assure that the Mint carries out its promise of continuing to produce these collector-issue Morgan dollars in the years to come. This will afford a new generation of collectors the opportunity to collect a popular coin series and may even serve as an entree for new collectors into the most popularly collected coin in the classic U.S. series.
The current secondary market prices probably don’t reflect the market that will emerge as the October delivery date approaches.
Jesse Constans, owner of Jesse James Rare Coins, explains that the “eBay market is not a true representative of the market at large” for 2021-O and CC Morgans, and that small sellers comprise the bulk of those offering the 2021-O and CC Morgans on the platform.
“No seasoned seller is going to sell on eBay right now and risk or harm their eBay standing… many sellers are not selling on [the platform] because of eBay shipping deadlines of 30 days,” he continued.