Paul Gilkes, senior editor, U.S. coins, is a Long Island native who has written for Coin World since 1988. While covering the U.S. Mint, Paul has reported many memorable stories including the record sale of the Farouk/Fenton 1933 Saint-Gaudens double eagle, the legal proceedings involving the Langbord 1933 double eagles, the aluminum 1974-D Lincoln cent, and the development of the concave/convex 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame coins.Visit one of our other blogs:
Gone are the days of U.S. Mint's 'salmon sheets'
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.