US Coins

Editorial Opinion: New Enhanced Uncirculated finish is likely here to stay

The sales odometer is slowly creeping up on the U.S. Mint website and time is running out to buy a 2013 American Eagle West Point 2-coin silver set from the Mint. The set contains a Reverse Proof 2013-W silver American Eagle and an extraordinary new coin: the Enhanced Uncirculated 2013-W American Eagle silver dollar.

In an era where people order coins online, this Enhanced Uncirculated coin has a particular attribute: it does not photograph very well. The visual experience of seeing this coin in person and viewing it in photographs is very different, and unlike the usual situation, in this instance the Enhanced Uncirculated coins look much better in person.

The future value of these sets and whether or not they will prove good long-term investments or short-term objects of speculation depends on a variety of factors. Among these is how prevalent the new Enhanced Uncirculated finish will be on future issues in the silver American Eagle bullion coin series.

If this is a one-time experiment, then the Enhanced Uncirculated 2013-W coin could be a coveted issue within the series with a unique finish.

However, the U.S. Mint’s pride in producing this issue with its innovative combination of finishes, and its stated interest in exploring more frosting technologies, indicates that the 2013 coin likely will be the start of a series of Enhanced Uncirculated issues produced to add some spice to special sets.

The U.S. Mint first offered its sales odometer last year for its 2012 American Eagle San Francisco Two-Coin Silver Proof set marking the 75th anniversary of the third San Francisco Mint.

Like the 2012 set, sales of the 2013 set started strong and are showing modest daily gains during the ordering period. If the pattern seen in 2012 holds true, a surge of late orders will likely occur before the U.S. Mint closes sales for the set for good at 5 p.m. EDT June 6.

With sales at 219,979 sets ordered as I write this on May 31, the 2013 set will certainly eclipse the final odometer reading of 251,301 sets that was recorded with the 2012 set.

Collectors must also remember that the concept of a final mintage for these sets is far away and is likely to be less than the final odometer reading. For example, for the 2012 sets, on Dec. 6, 2012, U.S. Mint officials announced the final but unaudited totals had been cut to 224,981 because of cancellations of orders, on the part of either the Mint or the customer.

As the U.S. Mint experiments with different finishes on its coins for collectors, expect the Enhanced Uncirculated finish (and variations on it) to be used on future issues of this and other popular series.


Steve Roach

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