Precious Metals

Mint temporarily out of stock for Smoky Mountains coin

Production of the bullion version of the 2014 Great Smoky Mountains 5-ounce silver bullion coins has resumed after the Mint’s sales to authorized purchasers depleted initial inventory.

Images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

The U.S. Mint’s authorized purchasers were informed April 21 that the Mint’s inventory of 2014 Great Smoky Mountains 5-ounce silver bullion quarter dollars was temporarily sold out.

“The United States Mint is in the process of producing additional inventory,” the Mint’s notice to authorized purchasers reads. “We will likely have additional coins in a few weeks.”

The Mint began accepting orders from authorized purchasers for the 5-ounce bullion coins beginning March 17, according to U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White.

At the time of the April 21 announcement, the U.S. Mint had recorded sales of 23,000 of the 3-inch, 5-ounce, .999 fine silver bullion coins.

White said the Great Smoky Mountains 5-ounce silver bullion quarter dollars will be struck to demand, up to a maximum of 40,000 coins.

Maximum mintages could be changed for the 5-ounce silver bullion coins remaining to be issued dated 2014 — Shenandoah National Park (Virginia), Arches National Park (Utah), Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado), and Everglades National Park (Florida).

The 5-ounce silver bullion coins are sold by the Mint through the same series of authorized purchasers approved to purchase the Mint’s other bullion issues, namely the American Eagle and American Buffalo series, for secondary market distribution.

The 5-ounce silver bullion coins are struck at the Philadelphia Mint without any Mint mark. A collector version, also with an Uncirculated finish, is produced bearing the P Mint mark. The collector Uncirculated versions are sold by the U.S. Mint directly to the public.

Both the bullion and collector Uncirculated versions bear the same modified George Washington common obverse paired with the America the Beautiful reverses that appear on the 24.3-millimeter copper-nickel clad and .900 fine silver versions.

Dedicated production

The 5-ounce silver bullion and Uncirculated collector coins are struck at the Philadelphia Mint on a special press dedicated to the 5-ounce silver coin production.

The German-made GMP 1000 coin and medal embossing press was received in January 2010 from Gräbener Pressensysteme GmbH & Co. KG. and took several weeks to assemble.

Construction began in the basement of the Philadelphia Mint during the summer of 2009 to accommodate the press.

The multi-ton press is hydraulically supported atop a 4-foot-deep, concrete-lined pit equipped with sensors to detect any equipment failure, as well as any possible infiltration of water, since the Philadelphia Mint is located close to the Delaware River.

The press has a rating showing its capacity to strike with up to 1,000 metric tons per square inch, to bring up the desired relief on the coins. 

Gräbener’s GMP 1000 press is rated as capable of striking pieces with a maximum diameter of 85 millimeters (3.346 inches), but it can be adjusted to accept a diameter up to 120 millimeters (4.724 inches), depending on blank composition. 

The press can be adjusted to register from 20 to 40 strokes per minute.

The 5-ounce silver bullion coins are being struck at the rate of 22 coins per minute, with two strikes per coin at 450 to 500 metric tons of pressure per strike to bring up the obverse and reverse coinage designs.

U.S. Mint officials indicate the press can be modified to execute other production if necessary.

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