officials at the U.S.
Mint are investigating what caused thousands of 2016 American
Eagle 1-ounce gold bullion coins to be struck at the West Point Mint with the obverse relief higher
than the rim.
problem apparently prevents the coins from properly stacking on top of
one another, and the coins damage each other when stacked. Mint
officials were notified of the relief problem by a Mint customer.
officials consider the anomaly to be a variant and not an error,
according to Tom Jurkowsky, director of the Office of Corporate
Communications. Jurkowsky said as many as 63,000 coins could have been
struck with the higher-than-intended obverse relief.
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variant was first called to Coin World’s attention via email Feb. 24 from an
anonymous sender. Coin World asked U.S. Mint officials for
confirmation and an explanation detailing the cause of the anomaly and
for images illustrating its appearance. The U.S. Mint has not provided
images, and Coin World has not yet obtained images of the
variants from private sources.
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accompanying this story were taken in-house at Coin World of a
2016 American Eagle 1-ounce gold bullion coin obtained Jan. 16 on loan
from SilverTowne in Winchester, Ind., an hour’s drive from Coin
World’s Sidney, Ohio, offices. The gold American Eagles went on sale
to authorized purchasers on Jan. 11. SilverTowne is
a secondary market distributor.
Coin World’s photography did not include images of the coin
from all angles. The existence of the relief-above-rim variant was not
with images illustrating the variations in relief are invited to email
them to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Mint officials alerted
images to illustrate the normal obverse relief and the variant with
relief above the rim, Coin World contacted several authorized purchasers.
Martineau, vice president of merchandising at APMEX in Oklahoma
City, said the firm was unaware of the two variants.
L. Oliari, chief executive officer of authorized purchaser Coins ‘N
Things in Bridgewater, Mass., and president of Bay Precious Metals,
told Coin World March 4 that he learned of the two variants not
long after picking up his first shipment of American Eagle gold
bullion coins the week of Jan. 11 from the West Point Mint.
said his first shipment included more than 10,000 of the 1-ounce
coins. One of the sealed 500-coin monster boxes containing coins from
the earliest production was sent to Professional Coin Grading Service for grading
and encapsulation. Oliari said PCGS rejected all of the coins in the
box because of scrapes on them caused by the higher relief, which
prevented the coins from stacking safely. Oliari said he then notified
U.S. Mint officials. He said his firm still has most of the gold
American Eagles from that first order.
Mint’s investigation into the cause of the obverse relief above rim
variant is ongoing.
bullion coins are picked up at the West Point Mint — by the U.S.
Mint’s authorized purchasers who ordered them — in 500-coin plastic
“monster boxes” containing 25 tubes of 20 coins each. Each box is
strapped crisscross, with the strap imprinted with the name of the
West Point Mint.