In just six minutes Aug. 23, the United States Mint received enough
orders to reach the maximum product limit of 12,500 each for its 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.
The silver medals went on sale at noon ET. Read our coverage from the day of the launch.
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United States 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 a
possibility that medals could become available, should orders not be
filled because of expired credit cards or returns of the shipped product.
Secondary market prices for the medals are already climbing. Within
minutes of the sellout, the medals were trading at about $100 each on
dealer trading networks. Multiple listings at eBay are offering the
medals for prices ranging from $450 to $1,000 or more for two of each medal.
Individual medals on eBay are being offered at $200 to $300 each.
The sellout angered some collectors unable to buy the medals.
on the secondary market
Some completed transactions on eBay were recorded at $120 and higher
per medal within an hour or so after the sellout.
There were confirmed sales on eBay at $109.95 to $139.99 for single
medals from either Mint in original Mint packaging; $199.99 for one
medal from each of the two production facilities; and multiple
confirmed sales at $450 to $459.99 for two medals each from the San
Francisco and West Point Mints.
Some dealers before sales began 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.
How collectors are reacting
World’s Facebook page related mixed experiences in placing
orders for the silver medals:
Christopher Brant: I purchased both of mine (2 of each) at 12:01. I
would not be surprised if they are indeed sold out.
Wenbo Li: Anyone selling for not too much? I am looking for 2.
Shawn Savage: I got all 4 of mine at 12:03.
Ernesto Aguilar: I ordered 2 and had a few hiccups with the site.
But I got my confirmation email so all is good!
John A. Zieman Jr.: Getting a confirmation number does not guarantee
you will get coins. Trust me. Till they charge your credit card, they
are not yours.
Miguel Lemus: Very disappointed.
Ken Fry: They need to fix their dang website. Took six different
tries to get mine, but I did get them.
Bill Williams: Got mine by 12:03, went back just to see and couldn’t
believe within 6 minutes they were all gone. Going to check eBay to
see what they are going for.
Bill Mulroy: They will be on the secondary market soon; and slabbed !!
Glen Wooldridge: I never get to order these, always sold out when I
Mark Boyle: I’m disappointed with the Mint. They’ll give 90% to
dealers and to hell with the average collector.
About the medals
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.
Silver medals were originally contemplated to be offered in 2015,
but were moved to the 2016 calendar year because of a crowded 2015
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
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.
The American Liberty gold coin was originally scheduled to be a $75
face value coin and contain three-quarters of an ounce of pure gold.
About the designs
The obverse of the silver medals depicts a “modern” Liberty,
portrayed standing, crowned with leaves, holding the American flag and
a torch. Inscriptions are LIBERTY and 2016.
The obverse was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion
Program artist Justin Kunz (designer’s initials JK at base left of
Liberty’s gown) and sculptured by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver
Phebe Hemphill (initials PH at right of bottom strip on flag).
The medals’ reverse design depicts an American eagle rising in
flight, gripping a branch in its talons. Inscribed along the top
border is UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The reverse was designed by AIP artist Paul C. Balan (designer’s
initials PCB above left of branch) and sculpted by United States Mint
Sculptor-Engraver Donald Everhart II (initials DE to far right of branch).
Balan’s eagle in flight design, reminiscent of the eagle reverse of
the original Gobrecht silver dollars of the 1830s, was originally
submitted but not adopted for the reverse of the 2015-W U.S. Marshals
225th Anniversary gold $5 half eagle.
Balan’s eagle design was resurrected and proposed in 2015 by a then
CCAC member for use on other U.S. Mint products. The member
unsuccessfully proposed using Balan’s eagle design to replace John
Mercanti’s Heraldic Eagle design for the reverse of the American Eagle
Mercanti’s design has occupied the American Eagle silver bullion
coin’s reverse since its introduction in November 1986.
The West Point and the San Francisco Mint American Liberty medals
both were struck on a Gräbener GMP 360 TK coinage press, each struck
three times under 219 metric tons of pressure.
The dies are oriented to strike vertically, with the upper or hammer
die being the obverse and the lower or anvil die being the reverse.
The medals were struck with a smooth, plain edge.
The silver medals are an extension of a silver arts medal program
championed by CCAC members.