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Paul Gilkes

Mint State

Paul Gilkes

Paul is a senior editor and has been a member of the Coin World staff since 1988. Paul covers the U.S. Mint beat and has memorably reported for more than two decades on many of the hobby's most important stories including the record sale of the Farouk/Fenton 1933 double eagle and the ongoing legal proceedings of the Langbord 1933 double eagles. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania and collects autographs and memorabilia from The Andy Griffith Show.

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Archive for 'August 2014'

    Denver Mint 'stampede' atypical for gold half dollar purchasers

    August 13, 2014 1:42 PM by
    ​It was a shame that United States Mint officials announced the need Aug. 7 to suspend sales early for the gold Proof 1964–2014-W Kennedy 50th Anniversary half dollars at the American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in Rosemont, Ill., and sales centers at Mint headquarters in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia and Denver Mints.

    But you can’t blame them, as the safety of the general public and Mint employees was of major concern. While it appears the literal stampede of potential coin buyers waiting in line at the Denver Mint for Aug. 7 sales was the likely culprit for sales suspensions at all outlets, the incident was an isolated one.

    Aug. 7 was the last day of sales at the three Mint facility locations, leaving 100 unsold coins at each location to be returned to the Mint’s order fulfillment center. And the 500 coins each day for both Aug. 8 and 9 at the ANA venue were also returned.

    At $1,240 per coin, the U.S. Mint gave up $1,612,000 in retail sales at the four venues combined in the name of public safety.

    No one could have anticipated the size of the crowds at each site. I was present at the ANA venue, and checked the line activity throughout each day, beginning with the line assembling the evening of Aug. 4 waiting for inaugurals.

    From what I witnessed, except for some line jumpers, the crowd was orderly and policed themselves. It was repeated each day a new line assembled.

    I also monitored activity at the other three venues through my sources on-site, who experienced similar orderly behavior,

    The sales of the gold Proof Kennedy 50th Anniversary half dollars was THE story of the show, making national headlines.

    There was more positive publicity and feedback generated for the hobby from the coin launch that no amount of money could buy.

    The U.S. Mint is planning to sit down for internal discussions to determine what officials felt was done right, what glitches there might have been and what things can be improved upon.

    The Mint is already looking at the release of an undisclosed numismatic product at the 2015 ANA convention, to be held at the same venue in Rosemont, Ill.

    It will be interesting to see what the product will be, and how the launch will be handled. I know I’m looking forward to it.

    By the way, as of Aug. 10, the U.S. Mint recorded sales of 112,134 of the gold Proof Kennedy 50th Anniversary half dollars.

    Gone are the days of U.S. Mint's 'salmon sheets'

    August 1, 2014 12:23 PM by
    If you haven't yet, read my first post about mintage numbers.​

    When I started covering the U.S. Mint beat for  Coin World  some 25 years ago, the Mint’s public affairs personnel periodically released what were referred to as “salmon sheets.”

    Containing the latest production figures for circulating coins and sales for precious metal coins and numismatic products, the “salmon sheets” derived their moniker from the color of the paper on which the figures were printed. Some of the figures reported were neither sales nor production, but what was shipped.

    Today, much of the same data for current programs is disseminated weekly online at  www.usmint.gov , or more frequently if we specifically ask the Office for Corporate Communications.

    The Mint reports the number of each denomination of U.S. coin struck for circulation and shipped to the Federal Reserve.

    Collectors often follow the sales numbers for numismatic products to determine whether to place an order with the Mint for a current numismatic product or to pursue a product on the secondary market for a program that has closed.

    The U.S. Mint reports final “sales,” not mintages, within six months after a numismatic program has officially closed and all sales reconciled and audited.

    In some instances, the wait to learn the final sales, mintage, or whatever the end number is to be called, can take longer, especially for programs for which sales are extended into the next calendar year.

    Commemorative coin sales are mandated to end on the specific date provided for in the enabling legislation.
    Sales of Proof or Uncirculated versions of American Eagle and American Buffalo coins carried over from the previous continue as long as inventory remains, but usually end once the new issue is released.

    First Spouse coins dated 2013 are still being sold, in 2014. There are several other 2013 products still being sold in 2014 even though their 2014 counterpart has been issued. Learning the final mintage for those 2013 products will be delayed until sales are cut-off, the program ends and the auditing subsequently completed.

    For American Eagle and American Buffalo bullion coins, as long as product remains in inventory for acquisition by authorized purchasers, the final “mintage” will not be disclosed, even though the number of coins actually struck is known.

    And because of the plethora of annual numismatic products containing some of the same coins in multiple packaging options, the final sales or mintage of a particular coin will be delayed even further until all those products have been pulled from sale and audited.