US Coins

Mint official explains ATB pricing rationale

U.S. Mint officials arrived at the $279.95 opening price for the first 5-ounce silver Uncirculated 2010-P America the Beautiful bullion coin by adding the market value of the precious metal and the manufacturing costs to the anticipated selling, promotion, and general and administration costs.

Coin World posed a number of questions to Mint officials concerning what factors went into determining the selling price for the numismatic version of the 5-ounce coins.

Among questioned factors was the spot price at which the Mint acquired the silver for Sunshine Minting Inc. in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to produce the blanks. The silver for the 2010 coins was first obtained prior to the start of production in September 2010. All bullion and numismatic versions were struck in calendar year 2010.

The spot price of silver has more than doubled since September.

According to the Mint’s April 14 response provided by spokesman Michael White: “We are not program specific when purchasing silver. Instead, we purchase silver based on the needs of our manufacturing process for all of our programs. That silver is then sent to fabricators to produce blanks. In providing silver for production of blanks, we use a combination of hedged silver, silver which has been obtained from melting excess inventory (along with condemned coins/blanks), as well as newly purchased silver.”

White said the Mint is currently looking for additional vendors. At present, Sunshine is the sole provider of the 5-ounce blanks, White said.

White said contractual terms and conditions prohibit the Mint from disclosing the average cost the Mint pays to acquire each blank.

White disclosed that the cost of the post-strike finish application is included as part of the overall manufacturing costs. ¦

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