US Coins

Monday Morning Brief for Nov. 30, 2020: Hold or sell?

Privy-marked Proof 2020-W American Eagle gold $50 coins, mintage 1,945, are selling in the secondary market for more than five times their original release price.

Images courtesy of the United States Mint

The lucky individuals who were successful in acquiring one of the 1,945 privy-marked Proof 2020-W American Eagle End of World War II 75th Anniversary gold coins now face a decision: Hold or sell?

The coin, which was sold by the U.S. Mint for $2,600, is bringing a lot more in the secondary market. One graded Proof 70 Deep Cameo by Professional Coin Grading Service with a “First Day of Issue” label sold for $19,125 in an online auction by GreatCollections closing Nov. 22. That kind of potential profit could make almost any collector decide to sell the coin rather than hold it in their collection. Owners have to weigh pride of ownership versus a nice profit at levels the market might not support in the future.

Of course, most Mint customers were unsuccessful in purchasing one of the coins at issue price, though not for the lack of trying. Customer experiences with the Nov. 5 release of the privy-marked American Eagle continue to dominate reader comments via email and those submitted on our website and Facebook page.

One of these writers took exception to something I wrote in last week’s Editorial (published online as the “Monday Morning Brief”) — “Collector customers of the Mint often accuse the Mint of deliberately letting dealers buy the bulk of a limited edition product. Coin World has never seen evidence that this happens.” — saying, “You don’t see ANY evidence that wholesalers or coin resalers get the bulk of limited mintage coins?” Maybe I could have been a little clearer, but I was saying that we have never seen evidence of “back-door” dealings at the Mint to enable dealers to buy limited edition coins in quantity while collectors get shut out.

We have long reported that some dealers circumvent household limits by paying employees or other surrogates to attempt to order limited edition coins and sets; one could certainly argue whether it is appropriate for a firm to do that. However, collectors buying for themselves have the same chances of success or lack thereof as those employees and surrogates.

We completely agree that the Mint needs to rethink the concept of limited editions. It should never offer another product with a mintage as tiny as that for that privy-marked gold American Eagle.


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