US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Jan. 13, 2020: My 2019 predictions scorecard

None of the 2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary commemorative coins sold out, not even the Proof 5-ounce silver dollar shown here. We had predicted that the coin would sell out.

Original images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

A year ago, I made four predictions about the hobby and the marketplace for 2019, and promised to revisit them in 2020 to see how well I did. As it stands, I was fairly accurate, though not with the first prediction.

Prediction #1 for 2019: The Proof 2019-P Apollo 11 5-ounce commemorative silver dollar will sell out in less than 24 hours.

Not quite. The coin sold well, at 68.3 percent of the maximum mintage (68,306 out of a maximum of 100,000 pieces).

I obviously overestimated interest in the coin, which admittedly had strong selling points: It commemorated a truly significant event and was the nation’s first 5-ounce silver convex/concave coin. 

In fact, none of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary coins sold out in 2019, though one coin product did: 99,998 out of maximum of 100,000 2019 Apollo 11 Half Dollar sets were sold.

Prediction #2 for 2019: In the precious metals field, palladium will shine the brightest.

I nailed this one. Palladium began 2019 at $1,263 an ounce Jan. 2 and closed Dec. 31 at $1,920 an ounce, with a peak price of $1,971 on Dec. 13 (London Market); the London PM Fix for Jan. 8 was $2,103.

The trend to higher prices for palladium will be felt later this year when the Uncirculated 2020-W American Eagle palladium coin is offered, and it is being felt now with the Reverse Proof 2019-W offering, which was just bumped up in price to $2,437.50. Sales for that coin opened on Sept. 12, 2019, at $1,987.50 per coin.

My prediction for 2019 did suggest the possibility of a sellout for the 2019 American Eagle palladium coin, which did not happen. Overall, I count my prediction as accurate.

Prediction #3 for 2019: The U.S. Mint will announce some sort of “innovation” for a coin or packaging that has not been used previously for a Mint product.

I nailed this one as well, and then some. As we reported in the first part of our analysis of the Top 10 Stories of 2019, the U.S. Mint offered a number “special” coins during the year: three 2019-W Lincoln cents in different finishes, offered as premiums with 2019 annual sets; five 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars, struck in circulation quality and released into circulation through the Federal Reserve; and the Enhanced Reverse Proof 2019-S American Eagle silver dollar, a coin limited to 30,000 pieces and that essentially sold out in 20 minutes.

Mint officials at the 2018 Mint Forum in Washington, D.C., announced various possible products for 2019 or later, including a possible circulating rarity. 

They made good on that promise, though as you know, the results were controversial in the case of the 2019-W quarter dollars and especially with the Enhanced Reverse Proof 2019-S American Eagle silver dollar.

Prediction #4: There will be no improvement in the overall health of the hobby.
As I noted in my 2019 predictions, the aging demographics of coin collectors and changes in the marketplace will continue to plague the hobby. While young collectors are showing an interest, the coin community continues to be demographically older. 

As part of my prediction, I said that the market for top-notch rare coins, particularly those with Certified Acceptance Corp. stickers, will continue to be strong. That seems to be accurate for CAC-stickered coins.

However, as Legend Numismatics states in its year-end “Market Report” for 2019, after February, “a strange unexpected event happened — prices started doing what we call a step down. It was very quiet and everyone was in denial.”

I would count this prediction as mostly accurate.

What will 2020 bring? I will offer some predictions in a future issue. 


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