Precious Metals

Frederick Douglass 5-ounce silver coin 37th in series

The 2017 Frederick Douglass National Historic Site 5-ounce silver bullion quarter dollar was offered for sale by the U.S. Mint to its authorized purchasers for the first time on April 3.

Initial orders were placed for 12,000 coins, for a total of 60,000 ounces of .999 fine silver.

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The authorized purchasers are from the same network of buyers approved to purchase American Eagle and American Buffalo bullion coins.

Another hectic release for the U.S. MintAnother botched release from the United States Mint: Inside Coin World: The release of the Congratulations set adds to the narrative that the U.S. Mint needs to overhaul its approach to limited-edition releases.

The 5-ounce silver bullion quarter dollars are not sold directly to the general public. Instead, they are sold through a network of authorized purchasers who buy the coins from the U.S. Mint based on the closing London PM spot price per troy ounce of silver on a given day, plus a $9.75 per coin premium. The coins may then be sold at a markup to collectors, investors, and other dealers.

For the 2017 Frederick Douglass National Historic Site 5-ounce silver bullion quarter dollar, the issue has a maximum authorization of 150,000 combined in bullion and Uncirculated versions. U.S. Mint officials have not yet disclosed the split, but previous 5-ounce silver bullion releases have had 120,000 coins reserved for the bullion market, with the provision that should bullion coin demand exceed 120,000 pieces, an additional amount could be reallocated to bullion production from the Uncirculated coin allotment.

The bullion and Uncirculated versions are both struck on the same dedicated press for producing the series at the Philadelphia Mint. The Uncirculated version bears the facility's P Mint mark while the bullion version does not. The Uncirculated version, which is sold to the public as a numismatic product, receives a post-strike finish.

The coin's reverse was designed by Thomas Hipschen, an artist with the U.S. Mint's Artistic Infusion Program, and a former engraver for U.S. paper money with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The design was sculptured by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Phebe Hemphill.

The reverse depicts Frederick Douglass seated at a writing desk with his home in Washington, D.C., in the background.

The obverse bears then U.S. Mint Sculptor Engraver William Cousins’ rendering of George Washington, first used for the State quarter dollar series of 1999 to 2008. Cousin’s work is based on sculptor John Flanagan's original portrait of Washington as executed for the Washington quarter dollar, introduced in 1932. Flanagan’s portrait of Washington was based on a bust of the nation’s first president by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon.

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