By CoinWeek Staff Reports …..
Earlier this week, ModernCoinMart announced the launch of a new two-coin commemorative program honoring the sport of American football. One, a silver 1-ounce coin with a legal tender face value of $25. The other, a gold 1-ounce coin with a legal tender face value of $200.
The coins, struck by the Royal Canadian Mint are shaped like a football and feature a convex shape. Designed with an eye for realistic detail, the coin’s reverse design depicts a top down view of a football with two thick stripes to either side of raised “stitching”. Adding to the realism is the fine detail dimpling in the fields. The denomination is inscribed above and the date below. The coin’s obverse is concave and features Susanna Blunt’s (View Designer’s Profile) effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. CANADA above and ELIZABETH II D·G·REGINA below.
CoinWeek wanted to learn more about the program, so we reached out to ModernCoinMart Product Development Manager Hayden Tubbs to discuss the coins and to find out how similar programs released in recent years have fared in the marketplace.
Tubbs, a 10-year veteran of the industry, worked directly with the Royal Canadian Mint to bring this program into fruition.
CoinWeek: So, tell me about this football coin that the Royal Canadian Mint and ModernCoinMart have teamed up on?
Hayden Tubbs: The football coin is something that we’ve been working on for a few years. Going back a few years, we saw the incredible success that the Hall of Fame Baseball coins had from the U.S. Mint, and we thought, since football is the most popular American spot – especially at this time of year – why don’t we produce a football shaped coin? So, we reached out to the Royal Canadian Mint. In part, because of their minting technology and because Canadians also love football. Not only are their thousands of Canadian NFL fans, but there is also the Canadian Football League. You know, through the years, there have been a number of players that crossed over to the NFL from the CFL, one of the most well-known being Doug Flutie.
CW: How challenging was the football coin design to execute?
HT: It was very challenging. If you’ve seen the pictures of the coin, it’s, for lack of a better term, super concave. They really nailed the look we were going for with the coin in that it closely resembles an actual football. This was harder to achieve than the domed coins that we’ve seen in recent years.
CW: So, describe the thinking behind the program.
HT: Well, we wanted to have a program for the average collector, someone like you and me. So we went with a one-ounce silver coin. And we augmented that with a one-ounce gold coin for the super fans and the big money collectors.
CW: One of the things that made the baseball coin program successful was the crossover appeal of the coins. Do you think we will see a similar situation develop with these coins?
HT: I think so. We believe that we’ll see some really good crossover with these coins, with our collectors and with avid football fans.
CW: And the mintage on the silver coin, if I’m not mistaken, will be 8,500 pieces?
HT: Yeah, 8,500.
CW: And how much of that allotment have been reserved for the U.S. market?
HT: We’ve brought in 2,200 pieces of the silver coin and 275 of the gold.
CW: And that gold allotment is out of a total mintage of 550?
CW: Will this program be an exclusive to ModernCoinMart, then? Or will some percentage of the coins be purchasable directly through the Royal Canadian Mint?
HT: This is actually our idea and our program that we brought to the Royal Canadian Mint and convinced them to produce it. The agreement we have with the RCM is that we have exclusive U.S. distributorship. So, we’re the only distributor that’s authorized to sell these coins in the U.S. They are available in Canada directly through the mint, but for Canadian customers only.
CW: What is ModernCoinMart’s sales plan for the series? Will MCM offer the coins in their original Mint packaging and in certified holders?
HT: That is correct, yes.
CW: So, what has the quality of the coins been? Have most of the coins submitted for certification earned the 70 grade?
HT: Yes. Everything the Royal Canadian Mint produces for their collector coin programs is high-quality. The silver coins graded 60% in 70. Which is really quite impressive, considering the shape and depth of the strike.
CW: How do novelty coin programs like these perform in the market?
HT: They perform quite well. That’s why you see so many of these programs come out. There’s been Marvel licensed coins. The Royal Canadian Mint has a made a massive push this past year with the Star Trek coins and DC Comics coins. The Perth Mint have released their Star Trek coins and coins for vintage comics. So what we are really seeing is a lot of interest in this custom coin programs – programs that cross over and are fun for coin collectors and for collectors or fans of other types of properties. And because it is a coin and is legal tender, collectors look at these as being something much more important than a trinket.
CW: What can you tell us about the age demographic range of customers buying this type of numismatic product from Modern Coin Mart?
HT: They cross all age barriers, depending on the program. You will see items with pirate themes- they may skew younger. But then with Star Trek, you have a program that hits all age demographics. So, these programs really do hit different age groups.
CW: One of the bills that we see come up from time-to-time in Congress would authorize another domed-shape U.S. coin, one honoring the National Basketball Hall of Fame. Do you think this would be as big a success as the baseball coin if the bill becomes law?
HT: Absolutely. I think it would be huge. There’s no doubt that anything new and unusual that the U.S. Mint puts out is going to be a hit, especially with their low mintages and order limits that we’ve seen. The demand for the baseball coin was unforeseen by anybody at the Mint and I think we will consider to see that demand so long as their new releases have interesting themes. We see demand for the Liberty medals. That sold out fast. So, I think people will always want good U.S. coin designs and programs to put away in their collections. And I think programs like these turn non-collectors onto numismatics.
CW: Do the baseball coins still have legs in the market?
HT: You know, like we often see with U.S. Mint releases, there is the initial demand and then prices taper off. But we just recently put up baseball halves and dollars in NGC Cubs and Indians labels from NGC and those did incredibly well.
CW: I guess, in that regard, a coin like that really is an evergreen tree. It can always be repurposed and repackaged depending on the flow of current events.
HT: Exactly. And plus, you are always going to have new collectors come in and they might want to have an unusual coin like the baseball coins. The fact that the half dollar is still an affordable coin makes it a perfect entry level coin for new collectors.