Precious Metals

American Liberty medal 'unavailable' after 6 minutes

It took just six minutes Aug. 23 for the U.S. Mint to receive enough orders to reach the maximum product limit of 12,500 each of the Proof 2016-S and 2016-W American Liberty silver medals.

The medals, struck at the San Francisco and West Point Mints, were offered at $34.95 per medal, with a maximum household ordering limit of two of each medal, for a total of four medals.

U.S. Mint officials indicate the medals will remain in "unavailable" status until all orders that were placed before the mintage limit was reached are reconciled. That leaves open the possibility that medals could become available, should orders not be filled because of expired credit cards or returns of the shipped product.

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Secondary market prices for the medals are already climbing. Some dealer trading networks are offering the medals for $100 in original Mint packaging. The eBay auction site has multiple listings offering the medals, from $450 to $1,000 or more for two of each medal. Individual medals on eBay are being offered at $200 to $300 each. Some completed transactions on eBay were recorded at $120 and higher per medal within an hour or so after the sellout.

A handful of dealers were offering premiums to persons willing to place orders for the maximum number of medals permitted per household, offering a windfall of $25 to $100 per medal the orderer would make available.

The medals bear the same obverse and reverse designs that appear on the 2015-W American Liberty, High Relief gold $100 coins, but the silver medals bear a lower relief and lack statutory coinage inscriptions. The original vision for the silver medals called for the same high relief, but the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee recommendation for a larger palette for the silver medal required changing the relief specifications.

The 40.6-millimeter American Liberty 1-ounce silver medals are struck on the same kind of blanks as are used for the American Eagle silver dollar. The American Liberty, High Relief gold coins were struck on special blanks, having the same 30.61-millimeter diameter as the 1964–2014-W Kennedy gold half dollar but a thickness of 3.128 millimeters. The extra thickness boosted the American Liberty gold coin’s weight to 1 ounce.

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