US Coins

Top 10 of 2016: Centennial gold coins excite hobby

The U.S. Mint saw a golden opportunity in 2016 and issued .9999 fine gold versions of the Winged Liberty Head dime, Standing Liberty quarter dollar and Walking Liberty half dollar to mark the 100th anniversary of each coin’s original production in .900 fine silver.

The coins were struck on tenth-ounce, quarter-ounce and half-ounce gold planchets, respectively, that met the specifications the U.S. Mint used for last producing fractional American Buffalo gold bullion coins in 2008.

The coins exhibit a “business strike” finish, according to U.S. Mint officials, without any special planchet or die treatment. Major grading services are calling the finish “Specimen.”

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The release of each Centennial gold numismatic product was met with both heavy anticipation (that quickly morphed into disap­pointment) and mild controversy, both seen most with the Winged Liberty Head dime.

Critics argued before its April 21 release that the 2016-W gold dime’s 10-coin-per-household ordering limit was way too high for the only 125,000 coins being made available, at $205 per coin.

The entire mintage was seemingly absorbed within 40 minutes of its noon ET launch, disappointing numerous collectors unable to obtaining even one coin for their collections.

Within two weeks of their release, after customers who successfully ordered the coins began to receive them, some of the gold dimes began a return trip to the Mint. Coins were returned for refunds because of damage to the coins or packaging, or because customers who ordered multiple coins were unable to flip them for the quick profit they had anticipated.

The returns joined other examples retained at the U.S. Mint’s contracted order fulfillment center in Memphis, Tenn., that were never shipped, because of expired credit cards or other obstacles that prevented successful order processing. Shortly, the Mint found it had an inventory of 8,000 to 9,000 examples of the “sold out” coins.

Officials placed the Winged Liberty Head gold dimes back on sale Dec. 15 priced at $200 each. Mint officials refused to state the exact number of coins offered Dec. 15, but this time they limited sales to one per household and prohibited anyone who purchased them previously from acquiring an additional coin.

The second round of sales lasted about 90 minutes, after which the dimes were again described as sold out at the Mint website. The Mint’s Dec. 11 weekly sales report, the last report before Round Two of sales began, showed 116,096 coins sold; the Dec. 18 chart shows a total of 124,950 coins sold.

Examples of the dimes grad­ed Specimen 70 by either Profes­sional Coin Grading Service or Numismatic Guaranty Corp. are offered at a number of retail sources for just under $300 each.

Standing Liberty 25¢

The 2016-W Standing Liberty gold quarter dollars was released at noon ET Sept. 8 priced at $485 per coin, with a household ordering limit of two coins. The issue has a maximum mintage of 100,000 coins. On Sept. 21, U.S. Mint officials lifted the household ordering restrictions.

As of the Mint’s Dec. 18 sales report, the gold quarter dollar’s total sales had reached 85,325, more than 14,000 coins short of its maximum. The price of the coin was last chang­ed to $447.50 per coin.

The coin remains available from the Mint, and officials have not disclosed whether they will offer any remaining coins on into 2017.

Walking Liberty 50¢

The maximum number of three-coin Centennial gold sets that may be assembled is 70,000 — the maximum mintage for the 2016-W Walking Liberty gold half dollar.

The gold half dollar went on sale at noon ET Nov. 17 at $865 per coin, with a household ordering limit of three coins. Less than two weeks after the launch of sales, the order limit was lifted.

The Dec. 18 sales report from the Mint indicates 59,048 of the coins were sold.

The half dollar is still available from the Mint, at $840 per coin. The issue price of the coin, while available, is subject to change weekly with changing trends in the spot price of gold. 

Read all of our Coin World Top 10 of 2016 series:

U.S. Mint issues gold Centennial coins
Pogue IV auction tops $16 million
Rare English gold coin found in toy box
Boutique bullion trend catches on worldwide
Langbord 1933 double eagle case rolls on
1974-D aluminum cent returned to U.S. Mint
Treasury announces new Federal Reserve note designs
1964 Morgan dollar tooling uncovered
American Liberty silver medal released
U.S. Mint plans yearlong 225th anniversary party

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