US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Jan. 25, 2021: Sticker shock for some

This bronze medal honoring Chinese-American veterans went on sale in December for less than $40. Effective Jan. 1, the price was raised to $160.

Original images courtesy of United States Mint.

Collectors who missed our earlier news coverage of price increases for the United States Mint bronze medals program are now experiencing sticker shock.

One reader recently wrote us about the huge cost increase for the Mint’s medals, most notably the jump to $160 for the 3-inch medals from the former price of $39.95, but also about the price increase for its 1.3125-inch and 1.5-inch bronze medals, going to $20 from $6.95. The new prices went into effect on Jan. 1.

When we first reported on the price increases in September 2020, I opined that this “is a guaranteed way to kill a U.S. Mint program. ...” I stand by that comment despite the lack of new sales information for the Mint medals program.

The price increase is a huge shame, for the bronze medals program offers dozens of great pieces in a wide range of subjects, including Code Talkers medals, other military themed medals, Presidential medals, and medals celebrating sports legends and others who have contributed to mankind in science, medicine, politics and more.

By raising the price 400% for the 3-inch medals, Mint officials have priced them out of reach for many of the Mint customers. You will have to really be in love with a particular medal’s theme and design to buy, especially knowing that just a few weeks ago the same medal cost less than $40.

Mint officials justify the price increase by stating that the program had been losing money. No one wants the Mint to lose money in a program, but was a 400% increase really necessary?

I hope that I am wrong, and that the bronze medal program does not wither away. However, I think that history will prove that I am right.
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