US Coins

Early buyers of Marshals Service coins prohibited from profiting

Employees who purchased Proof 2015 United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary commemorative coins three months before their official release won’t be able to financially benefit from their acquisitions for at least 14 months, if ever.

The purchases by United States Marshals Service employees in September were permitted under Section 5(c) of the enabling legislation, Public Law 112-104, which states, “The [Treasury] secretary may issue coins, to the public, minted under this Act beginning on or after January 1, 2015, except for a limited number to be issued prior to such date to the Director of the United States Marshals Service and employees of the Service for display and presentation during the 225th Anniversary celebration.”

However, restrictions have been imposed on any resale of the commemorative coins.

Drew J. Wade, chief of public affairs for the United States Marshals Service, said Oct. 17, “Early purchasers may not personally financially profit by receipt of payments for loan or use of the coins during the 225th period. 

“The early purchase of the coins is an unusual privilege and was allowed by Congress for the good of the USMS and the public interest in celebrating the 225th anniversary and history of the USMS, not for personal gain.”

Wade said the celebration period runs from Sept. 24, 2014 — the 225th anniversary date — through Dec. 31, 2015, the last day the commemorative gold $5 half eagles, silver dollars, and copper-nickel clad half dollars can legally be struck by the U.S. Mint.

Wade told Coin World he did not know if the prohibition against financial benefit extended beyond Dec. 31, 2015.

Pre-sales confirmed

Adam Stump, deputy director of public affairs for the United States Mint, said Oct. 16 that the “limited number” of pre-sale coins referenced in the enabling legislations totals 35 Proof examples of each of the three commemorative coin denominations.

“Sixteen of each coin type have been sold thus far” to U.S. Marshals Service employees, Stump said. “The USMS personnel said they are planning to purchase the remaining 19 of each coin type.’

The coins were not sold in special three-coin-set packaging, though Mint officials anticipate offering such a set when sales begin in 2015.

“Each coin was individually packaged,” Stump said.

Nine examples of each of the three denominations were delivered personally Sept. 18 by Deputy Mint Director Richard A. Peterson to USMS Director Stacia Hylton at USMS headquarters. Wade confirmed Hylton purchased one of each denomination, buying three Proof coins.

At a Sept. 24 ground-breaking ceremony for the United States Marshals Service Museum in Fort Smith, Ark., all of the coins were purportedly distributed to those United States Marshals Service employees who purchased them.

Coins graded by NGC

Two of those purchasers, United States Marshals Service Chief Inspector Scott Sanders and Senior Inspector Oscar Blythe, both identified as coin collectors, subsequently submitted their purchases to Numismatic Guaranty Corp. for grading and encapsulation.

The grading labels pedigree Sanders’ and Blythe’s coins to the Sept. 24 museum ground-breaking ceremony. Precedent in the numismatic marketplace has shown that coins pedigreed to a special event with a grading label confirming the provenance have often appreciated significantly in value on the secondary market over those without Proof of provenance.

Max Spiegel, vice president of sales and marketing for NGC’s parent company, Certified Collectibles Group, said that the two gold coins were graded Proof 70 Ultra Cameo; the two silver dollars Proof 69 Ultra Cameo; and the half dollars, one was graded Proof 70 Ultra Cameo and one was graded Proof 69 Ultra Cameo.

Signed certificates

The gold coins Sanders and Blythe submitted to NGC were accompanied by certificates of authenticity personally dated Sept. 24 and signed by Peterson congratulating each on being among the purchasers of the first 35 gold coins. The certificates of authenticity for the silver dollar and copper-nickel clad half dollar were not autographed.

As far as the certificates of authenticity for any of the remaining coins, “you will have to check with purchasers as to which COAs were signed,” Stump told Coin World. “We do not have possession of the COAs. They are with the coins, which are with the purchasers.”

Stump said the prices paid for the coins by U.S. Marshals Services employees represent the introductory price sans the $35 surcharge for the gold coin ($370.45), $10 for the silver dollar ($36.95) and $3 for the copper-nickel clad half dollar ($11.95).

Stump said the Mint is prohibited by law from collecting surcharges on coins in years in other than those in which the coins are intended to be issued.

The Proof gold half eagle is being struck at the West Point Mint with the W Mint mark; the silver dollar at the Philadelphia Mint with the P Mint mark; and the copper-nickel clad half dollar at the San Francisco Mint with the S Mint mark.  

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