US Coins

2017 commemorative coin sales lackluster

Sales by the U.S. Mint of commemorative coins from two 2017 programs may be struggling to reach levels that would ensure surcharges could be delivered to the respective recipient organizations.

As of Dec. 17, the Mint had not delivered surcharges to either the Lions Clubs International or Boys Town.

The Mint recorded sales on Dec. 17 of 67,683 Proof 2017-P Lions Clubs International Centennial silver dollars and 16,989 of the single Uncirculated version. The maximum mintage is 400,000 coins.

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The sale price for each coin carries a $10 surcharge. Net surcharges after the Mint recoups all of its production and related costs would then be paid to the recipients specified in authorizing legislation.

Dane LaJoye, division manager of public relations and communications for Lions Clubs International, said the service organization promoted the coins to its 1.3 million members worldwide. He commended the Mint for its promotion of sales.

“We’re disappointed of course,” LaJoye said. We would have liked to have had a sellout.”

LaJoye said among the sales deterrents were the high import fees imposed by many countries outside the United States, where Lions Clubs have tens of thousands of members. In some instances, those fees, when added to the purchase price, pushed the cost of each coin to more than $100. The Proof dollar was offered at $52.95 and the Uncirculated at $51.95.

According to the U.S. Mint’s Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2017, “Lions Clubs International coin revenue had reached $3.9 million as of Sept. 30, with surcharges of $800,000. Final surcharges are scheduled to be calculated Dec. 30.”

For the Boys Town program, as of Sept. 30, sales revenue reached $6 million, with surcharges of $900,000.

The 2017 Boys Town Centennial coin program is a three-coin program, with Proof and Uncirculated versions of a gold $5 half eagle, maximum 50,000; silver dollar, maximum 350,000; and copper-nickel clad half dollar, maximum 300,000. Each gold coin carries a $35 surcharge, each silver dollar a $10 surcharge and each half dollar a $5 surcharge.

As of Dec. 17, the U.S. Mint reports the following sales for the Boys Town Program:

??Single Proof gold $5: 1,626.

??Single Uncirculated gold $5: 2,995.

??Single Proof silver dollar: 25,665.

??Single Uncirculated silver dollar: 11,033.

??Single clad half dollar: 17,275.

??Single Uncirculated clad half dollar: 14,967.

??Three-coin Proof set: 5,405.

Sales for both programs end Dec. 31. 

The last commemorative coin program for which the recipient organization received no surcharges was for the 2013 Girl Scouts USA centennial silver dollar.

While the maximum potential release in that program was 350,000 coins, in Proof and Uncirculated versions combined, sales reached just 86,355 Proofs and 37,462 Uncirculated coins. Production costs were high, since the Mint struck more coins in anticipation of strong demand that did not materialize.

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