US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for March 21, 2022: Canceled plans

The United States Mint has canceled plans to strike and release 2022 Morgan and Peace dollars as a follow up to the 2021 program, which included the 2021-D Morgan dollar shown here.

Original images courtesy of the United States Mint.

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley. If this statement by Scotland’s Robert Burns is not the official motto of the United States Mint, maybe it should be.

As Paul Gilkes reports this week, the Mint has canceled plans to strike and release 2022 Morgan and Peace dollars as a follow-up to the 2021 coins. This announcement was a surprise, but given the reasons why Mint officials decided not to issue the 2022 coins, maybe it should not have been.

“This calculated pause is directly related to the global pandemic’s impact upon the availability of silver blanks from the Mint’s suppliers,” the press release reads. “We’ll be required to make business decisions like this until the supply chain for silver blanks recovers from the disruptions caused by COVID-19,” said Mint Deputy Director Ventris C. Gibson in the press release.

The global supply problems have led to shortages of innumerable products, with no date in sight for when normal deliveries of your favorite food or computer chips or silver planchets might resume.

Silver itself is not in short supply. The same supply-chain problems faced by other industries are behind the planchet production shortfalls.

Compounding the problem is that world mints, both government and private, are issuing new numismatic products of uncountable number and variety. The U.S. Mint is issuing not only bullion and numismatic coins authorized by Congress, but is also issuing silver medals of various sizes and themes. Since the Mint does not produce coinage strip or create coinage metal from the raw elements, it is entirely dependant on private suppliers for the needed products, and the U.S. Mint is competing with other mints for those products.

The Mint, faced with reality, apparently found that all of the planned 2022 products could not be produced. Something had to give, something had to be abandoned. But what?

Will the one-year gap in this program reduce the interest in the program? That is what one of our staff editors wondered upon being informed of the news. Once our news coverage hit the internet minutes after we received the Mint press release, others began asking the same question.

Collector response that we are seeing has been rather muted. Many of those commenting online show a preference for making the new Morgan and Peace dollars a one-year issue. After all, many commenters note, the program was intended to celebrate the centennial of the transition from the Morgan design to the Peace design in 1921. With the centennial year of 2021 past, no need exists to issue future editions.

As one reader wrote at our Facebook page, “We don’t need another ‘commemorative’ in a series. The 2021 should have been a one and done (albeit, not enough were minted to meet demand). If people want a Peace or Morgan, get a real one with 90% silver in a nice grade. Quit looking backwards for new sales.”

However, not everyone agrees that canceling the planned 2022 coins was a good decision. One reader succinctly sums up his opinion: “Boo.”

One wonders whether the 2022 Morgan and Peace dollars will be the only canceled program this year. Time will tell, to use a cliché.

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