US Coins

Hawaii 5-ounce coin surprises

Collectors have gravitated to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park 5-ounce silver bullion coin, which sold out from the U.S. Mint in just over three months.

Images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

The 2012 Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park 5-ounce silver bullion coin has emerged as one of the few bright spots of this series that has flown relatively under the radar with collectors for the past several years.

The huge 5-ounce “hockey puck” coins were first produced in 2010 as part of the America the Beautiful silver bullion coin program. They have designs identical to the regular issue quarters, but for their size and their edge, which is lettered on the larger coins.

Of the five 5-ounce numismatic America the Beautiful coins issued in 2012, the Volcanoes and Denali coins (Alaska) have both reached their sales maximums of 25,000.

The Hawaii issue was introduced on Sept. 24, 2012, with an issue price of $204.94 and 9,186 were sold in the first week. It sold out in just over three months. Denali sold out in February 2013.

The numismatic versions for collectors are distinguished from the bullion versions aimed at investors, as the collector versions have a special finish and a “P” Mint mark.

In 2010 the bullion versions had a maximum mintage of 33,000, which was raised to 126,700 in 2011. The limit was lifted in 2012 and 2013.

Why did the Hawaii 5-ounce silver bullion coin sell out so quickly?

I asked one collector who said that he buys only the examples that depict parks he has visited. He purchased a Hawaii 5-ounce quarter dollar because he was attracted to the design, which plays well on the large surface area of the 5-ounce coin (it is 3 inches in diameter).

The dramatic reverse depicts an eruption on the east rift of the Kilauea Volcano. It’s one of the U.S. Mint’s most robust designs in recent memory.

Uncertified bullion versions of the Hawai‘i Volcanoes 5-ounce quarter dollar are currently selling at the $300 to $325 level in online auctions, and the 2012-P numismatic versions are realizing $500 to $600 in online auctions.

In pristine condition these sell for even more, with a 2012-P Hawaii 5-ounce coin graded Specimen 70 First Strike by Professional Coin Grading Service realizing an unusually high $859.95 in a Feb. 22 online auction. On March 2, an example graded Specimen 70 Early Release by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. brought $595. In contrast, similarly graded 2012-P Chaco Culture (New Mexico) 5-ounce pieces trade at the $400 to $450 level. ¦

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