US Coins

Gold Mercury dimes still remain in Mint inventory

U.S. Mint officials had not determined as of April 28 how to fairly and equitably distribute the nearly 3,800 Uncirculated 2016-W Winged Liberty Head Centennial gold dimes remaining in inventory from returns or orders that could not be successfully processed.

“If we say that 125,000 is the mintage, this is what we want to sell,” said Tom Jurkowsky, director of the Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications. “It’s revenue, but we want to get the coins out to customers and ensure it is done fairly.”



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The coins went on sale at noon Eastern Time April 21 at $205 each, with a household ordering limit of 10 coins. Jurkowsky said the Mint received sufficient orders within the first 40 minutes of sales to put the product into “currently unavailable” status. As of April 28, following preliminary order reconciliation, the Mint recorded sales totaling 121,201 coins.

Many coins already delivered to the customers who ordered them are bringing multiples of their issue price on the secondary market.

The entire authorized production of 125,000 gold dimes was executed between Feb. 23 and March 21 at the West Point Mint.

The difference now held in inventory between recorded sales and the actual maximum production represents coins from orders that could not be successfully processed because of expired credit cards, efforts to use the same credit cards on multiple orders for different addresses, general returns, and coins returned because of damage.

Coins returned because of damage will not be reshipped to other customers, nor will additional coins be struck to replace them, to maintain the final maximum production at 125,000 coins, Jurkowsky said.

At the time the gold dimes went on sale from the Mint, about 110,000 of the coins were already at the Mint’s order fulfillment contractor PFSWeb in Memphis, Tenn., with the remaining production en route, Jurkowsky said.

The Mint’s website is designed to allow customers to select the “Remind Me” function to inform them of product availability if they were denied access to order a product because enough orders were already placed to exhaust available product.

Jurkowsky said the system is not designed, however, to remind customers of product availability in the order in which they selected the option or were initially unable to have an order processed.

Mint officials have not yet decided whether to issue a blanket reminder notice simultaneously to all customers who selected the “Remind Me” option, or pursue another remedy for disseminating any coins still in stock for which orders are not already in the website product queue, Jurkowsky said.

No Full Split Bands

Some collectors have questioned why the reverse of the gold dimes does not exhibit the full split bands appearance of sharply struck examples from the 1916 to 1945 dime production on which the 2016 issue is based.

The terms “full bands” or “full split bands” are used for original Winged Liberty Head silver dimes that exhibit distinct separation between both parallel lines in the center horizontal band on the fasces on the reverse of the coin.

Many original Winged Liberty Head silver dimes exhibit striking weakness from metal flow issues, particularly in the region of the center horizontal band on the fasces on the reverse. Weakness is less noticeable on the lower horizontal band.

Two parallel lines comprise the bands, with a separation or “split” between them. Although some numismatists refer to this separation as “full split bands,” they are referred to as “full bands” by others, including some grading services.

The silver dimes designated “full bands,” even if exhibiting striking weakness in other areas, generate significant premiums over coins without full bands.

Mint spokesman Michael White said the absence of full bands on the 2016 gold dimes is the result of the evolution of production technology.

“In 1916, only certain levels of detail were able to be machined into hubs/dies by the Janvier transfer engraving machines,” White said via email. “When finer details were required, such as those found in the original Mercury Dime, that detail had to be hand scribed into the tooling by artisans of the day.  

“This hand scribing of additional detail in the tooling stage was phased out many years ago. The current digital process enables the Mint to achieve very high levels of detail.

“However coin diameter, coupled with the physical limitations of milling steel hubs/dies while trying to achieve fidelity of detail, are all connected. Some limitations in detail achieved are inherent in the process.” 

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