Louis Golino

Modern Numismatics

Louis Golino

Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. In addition to writing about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World, he also has written a regular column for CoinWeek.com since 2011, writes a monthy column for The Numismatist magazine and has written for other coin publications. In 2015, for his CoinWeek column “The Coin Analyst,” he was presented with the Numismatic Literary Guild's award for best online column. He is also a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum. 

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What does the quick sellout of the silver Homestead bullion coin mean?

On March 31 the U.S. Mint told its network of authorized purchasers that it had sold out of the 5-ounce silver 2015 Homestead National Monument of America quarter dollars. Sales of the coin reached the maximum authorized level of 35,000 units in about six weeks from the time the coins first went on sale Feb. 17. That was after the Mint announced the coin had sold out of its initial run of 20,000 coins after about a week. 

That is a quicker sellout than was achieved with many previous issues, and it raises questions about what drove the fast sellout. It was likely not the coin’s design, which many collectors have said is better suited to the quarter format in which it is also minted. Instead, it appears that lower silver spot prices, which enabled buyers to pick it up for about $100, is what drove the sellout. And the fact that the bullion version was available for 50 percent less than the price of the Mint's numismatic version with a P mintmark made it seem like a bargain.

Another question arises too, which is whether the fast pace of sales of the Homestead coin is likely to drive up secondary market premiums. Of course, only time will tell, but I suspect this coin will not be a major long-term winner compared to some other issues in the series.

The coins that have done the best have either sold out unexpectedly like last year’s Arches bullion coin, had one of the lowest mintages, or sported a design that most collectors believe has great appeal. Some coins like the 2012 Hawaii Volcanoes issue have all these attributes, and others like the 2013 Mount Rushmore coin are favorites because of their design and the fact that they depict well-known national parks.

This series continues to have excellent long-term potential with relatively low risk at current spot silver prices. One of the best arguments for buying the coins is that one of them is typically priced either the same or a few dollars less than the cost of five one-ounce silver American Eagle coins. Yet their mintages are roughly a little less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the mintage of the eagles. 

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