Thousands of gold 'Mercury' dimes are available again
- Published: Dec 13, 2016, 6 AM
UPDATE: All of the gold Winged Liberty Head dimes made available by the U.S. Mint on Dec. 15 have been sold.
As many as 8,000 to 9,000 unsold 2016-W Winged Liberty Head gold dimes that have been languishing in the U.S. Mint's inventory for almost eight months will be offered for sale by the bureau beginning at noon ET Dec. 15.
The unsold coins are returns from individuals who originally ordered and received them as well as product never shipped because orders could not be processed due to expired credit cards or other obstacles.
As of the U.S. Mint’s Dec. 4 sales report, 116,096 of the maximum 125,000 coins were recorded sold.
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Pricing for the coins to be offered Dec. 15 is set at $200, based on the Mint's pricing grid for coins containing precious metals. When the product first went on sale April 21, the coins were offered at $205 per coin, with a household ordering limit of 10 coins.
For the Dec. 15 offering, orders are limited to one coin per household. U.S. Mint officials anticipate a sellout within minutes of their release, similar to what occurred when they initially went on sale in April.
When the gold dimes were offered April 21, sufficient orders were placed to exhaust the maximum mintage in a matter of minutes.
The gold dimes are struck on planchets matching the Mint’s specifications for .9999 fine tenth-ounce gold blanks used for the American Buffalo fractional gold $5 coin, last produced in 2008.
Why did the U.S. Mint issue a gold Winged Liberty Head dime?
The 2016-W Winged Liberty Head gold dime is one of three special commemorative gold coins issued in 2016 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of three classic U.S. coins that began circulating in 1916: the Winged Liberty Head dime, the Standing Liberty quarter, and the Walking Liberty half dollar.
The dime and half dollar were designed by Adolph A. Weinman, while the quarter's designs were the work of Hermon A. MacNeil.
Read Coin World's historical features on all three coins:
Winged Liberty Head dime celebrates 100th anniversary milestone: The Winged Liberty Head dime series is extremely popular with collectors, many of whome began in the hobby by retrieving examples from general circulation.
Standing Liberty quarter dollar celebrates centennial: Hermon MacNeil's designs for the 25-cent coin, which would be called the Standing Liberty quarter dollar, are arguably the most beautiful for the denomination in its long history.
Weinman’s masterpiece: 100 years of the Walking Liberty half dollar: In a time of war abroad, economic disruption at home and discord at the United States Mint, the Walking Liberty half dollar, which marks its centennial this year, was conceived.
The 2016 gold commemoratives were issued in order from smallest denomination to largest.
Are there unsold gold quarters and half dollars?
The Mint has potentially higher inventories of gold Standing Liberty quarter dollars (from a maximum mintage of 100,000 pieces) and gold Walking Liberty half dollars (from a maximum mintage of 70,000 pieces); neither program is sold out yet.
Those two coins had tighter initial order limits placed on them — one per customer for the gold quarter, and three for the gold half dollar — than the gold Winged Liberty Head coin had during its initial release.
Order limits on both the quarter and half dollar were lifted when coins remained after the initial sales rush with the coins' release.
The phenomenon of sales almost immediately hitting the maximum mintage did not happen with the quarter and half dollar as it did with the dime partly because of the sales limits, and partly because the two larger gold coins are more expensive, beyond the reach of many of the collectors who could have hoped to purchase the dime.
Undamaged returns or cancelled orders on these products, since they are not sold out, simply return to the remaining inventory on sale, without fanfare.
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