US Coins

U.S. Mint considers circulating rarity for 2019

In addition to a circulating rarity of unknown design, denomination and mintage, the U.S. Mint also plans in 2019 to release several youth-oriented numismatic products to introduce kids to the hobby of collecting coins.

Images courtesy of United States Mint.

U.S. Mint officials are keeping a tight lid on details surrounding the bureau’s plans to create a numismatic rarity to be released into general circulation in 2019.

Mint Director David J. Ryder alluded to the issue in comments made during the Mint’s third annual Numismatic Forum held Oct. 17 at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C. Roughly 200 individuals associated with the numismatic hobby were invited to the day-long program, with more than half that number attending.


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Ryder did not elaborate further about the circulating coin, concerning the denomination, composition, mintage or how the “rarity” would be introduced into general circulation.

During the meeting, Mint and BEP officials discussed the closer cooperation between the two agencies’ collector programs. The BEP has shut down its own website offering numismatic products; those items are now being offered through the Mint’s website.

The U.S. Mint and BEP also plan to produce a number of jointly packaged numismatic products to offer to the collecting public.

During the Numismatic Forum, details were provided on a number of upcoming U.S. Mint products for 2019, including three directed at youth, in addition to products featuring American Innovation dollar coins and 2019 commemoratives.

The Mint said it is developing new products it hopes will help attract new collectors and offset a declining customer base.

In his opening remarks, Ryder stated that the Mint has to develop innovatively themed and creatively packaged numismatic products that will excite current customers and entice prospective hobbyists.

The Mint has to revamp its offerings to stem a continually eroding customer base. Ryder said when he served as the 34th U.S. Mint director beginning in 1992, the bureau had a mailings list boasting 2 million names. When he took office this spring at the 39th Mint director, Ryder said the customer profile had dwindled to roughly 500,000.

Ryder said the Mint is looking at producing and issuing colorized coins, as well as offering multinational products, packaging items manufactured by other countries under partnerships with the Mint.

During one of the “breakout sessions” in which forum attendees participated on a variety of separate topics, a dealer with a presence in the Asian market asked Mint officials whether any thought had been given to producing gold bullion coins larger than the 1-ounce American Eagle and American Buffalo $50 coins

Mint officials responded that no such plans have been discussed concerning larger U.S. gold coins. The dealer noted that, while sales numbers could be lower than the 1-ounce releases, revenue could be higher from the increased gold content.

Youth initiatives

Among the three new youth-oriented products for 2019 is a  product packaged in the shape of a rocket ship, that will launch in February 2019, one of three new youth-oriented products for 2019. The Mint’s Kara Murphy Haire, who oversees youth-oriented marketing, said that kids love dinosaurs and space, so the space set has a Native American dollar, Kennedy half dollar and an unidentified quarter dollar; a second product is an Explore and Discover set containing a magnifying glass with a cent planchet that kids can remove and handle; and a third kids-oriented, character-based program includes Eli (a fox) and Timmy (a boy), and has been presented to focus group  and will be introduced at shows.

Other products

The Mint is developing products associated with the official launch of the American Innovation $1 Coin Program in 2019. An introductory dollar is legislated for production and issue by the end of 2018, to kick off a 14-year program that, with the inaugural 2018 coin, will comprises 57 coins. Mint officials say the biggest challenges in implementing the congressionally authorized program are clarifying innovators versus innovations in the designs and getting the public interested in a program with coins that will not be released into general circulation.

The Mint will also continue to gauge demand of silver medal products that so far have exceeded the bureau’s expectations. Mint officials indicate they are hearing from customers that they plan to buy an example of each one of the silver Presidential medals the Mint will issue.

The first two issues in the ongoing program, for George Washington and John Adams, were offered beginning Aug. 16. As of the Oct. 21 sales report, the Mint recorded sales of 12,832 of the 1-ounce .999 fine silver Washington medal, and 9,779 of the Adams medal, at $39.95 each.

The Mint also offers bronze versions of the same medals in 3-inch and 1.3125-inch versions at $39.95 and $6.95 each, respectively. 

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