US Coins

Mint projects sales for 2016 centennial coinage

The United States Mint is projecting official sales for the three 2016 24-karat gold 100th anniversary coins could reach between 145,000 and 225,000 units combined.

Mint officials announced late Nov. 10 the bureau is moving ahead with plans to issue centennial editions in 2016 of the Winged Liberty Head dime, Standing Liberty quarter dollar and Walking Liberty half dollar in .9999 fine gold.

The dime and half dollar designed by sculptor Adolph A. Weinman and the quarter dollar by sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil were struck in .900 fine silver when issued in 1916.

When Mint officials announced plans in June 2015 outlining the initiative for the gold commemoratives, the bureau did not have the formal approval from the Treasury secretary or his designee to move forward. The Mint had surveyed collectors in 2014 about a number of commemorative options to mark the 2016 centennial of the three coins.

Tom Jurkowsky, director of the Mint’s Office of Corporate Communications, said Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin approved the United States Mint’s plans Oct. 8 for the three coins.

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee recommended the development of the coins on Jan. 28, 2015, and reviewed the proposed designs on June 17, 2015. Commission of Fine Arts concurred on June 18.

Also, “based on the recommendation of the CCAC, the Winged Liberty dime will carry a $.10 nominal value; the Standing Liberty quarter will carry a $.25 nominal value; and the Walking Liberty half-dollar will carry a $.50 nominal value,” according to Jurkowsky.

Mint officials are projecting sales based on analysis of sales for two recent special gold coins.

Jurkowsky said that in 2014, the Mint sold 64,305 of the 24-karat gold Proof 1964–2014-W 50th Anniversary John F. Kennedy half dollar, generating $76.2 million in revenue. In 2013, the Mint sold 43,800 Reverse Proof 2013-W American Buffalo gold $50 coins, generating $49.9 million in revenue.

Based on the sales performance of those two numismatic products, U.S. Mint official estimate sales for the three 2016 24-karat gold 100th anniversary coins could reach between 145,000 and 225,000 units combined, Jurkowsky said. Those sales represent potential sales revenue of  between $54 million and $119 million at prevailing gold prices, he said.

“The Mint will use gold from its working stock gold reserves for initial production of these coins, to allow production without substantial purchases in the market prior to sales,” Jurkowsky said. “The Mint will purchase replacement gold upon issuing the coins.”

Details about specific mintage levels, on-sale dates, pricing, finishes and which Mint production facility or facilities will strike the coins will be announced in 2016, according to U.S. Mint officials.

Approximating dimensions

To approximate the three 1916 silver coins’ dimensions, the 2016 Winged Liberty dime will contain a tenth troy ounce of 24-karat gold, the 2016 Standing Liberty quarter dollar will contain a quarter ounce of 24-karat gold, and the Walking Liberty half dollar will contain a half ounce of 24-karat gold.

While U.S. Mint officials have not disclosed which production facility will strike each of the three 2016 gold coins and whether they will bear a Mint mark, the obverse of the 2016 Walking Liberty half dollar mock-up image shows the D Mint mark of the Denver Mint, which has not traditionally struck U.S. gold coins in recent years.

The U.S. Mint did release the following information in its Nov. 10 announcement:

In addition to rendering Weinman’s and MacNeil’s original designs from 1916, the 2016 versions will also incorporate  “AU” (the symbol for gold), “24K,” and the weight designated as 1/10 OZ, 1/4 OZ or 1/2 OZ.

Some comments from Coin World’s Facebook page:

Daniel Pon: The placement of the markings for weight and purity are really distracting and ruin the beauty of the design. I’d rather they replace the denominations with them. After all, we know it’s not really a half dollar, a quarter dollar, or a dime we’re dealing with here.

Zach Schueler: I know why they did it, but the purity markings ruin the aesthetics. They should have placed them on the edge or incorporated into the reverse. More than that however, the Mint needs to get back to the true artistry of coins. I would have liked to have seen “modernized” redesigns of the classics for the anniversary rather than a .999 money grab. Passing on this set. I’m saving my cash for surely forthcoming platinum nickel.

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