US Coins

Take a gander at 5-ounce silver quarters Schechter

The 2012 5-ounce silver bullion quarter dollars for Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and Denali National Park currently have the lowest mintages for the series.

Original images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

Making Moderns column from June 13, 2016, Weekly issue of Coin World:

An unusual corollary feature of the 2010 law authorizing the America the Beautiful Quarters series requires the U.S. Mint to make 3-inch 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion versions with the same denomination.

The silver 5-ounce coins are issued in two formats. 

One is a bullion version, without Mint mark, sold only through authorized distributors, same as with the American Eagle bullion coins. Its finish is variable, ranging from flat satin to deeply mirrored. This version is packaged in tubes of 10 coins, which are then put into a “monster box” of 10 tubes. 

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The other is an Uncirculated version that the Mint offers individually boxed to all. This version has a P Mint mark for the Philadelphia Mint. Post striking, the surface is vapor blasted to impart a granular matte finish.

Initially, dealers and collectors were critical of aspects of the program. Chiefly, the 25-cent denomination seemed nonsensical; this coin is five times the weight of an American Eagle silver coin, but has one-fourth the face value!

The dimensions are also peculiar. By 2010, many other countries already had 5-ounce silver coins. The 3-inch coin is the largest and thinnest (about 4 millimeters) of all of them, which limits the prospects for dramatic, high-relief renditions of the designs.

Thus far, mintage figures of the bullion version have varied considerably throughout the series. When silver was trading over $35 per ounce in 2011, sales skyrocketed to 126,700 units for both the 2011 Gettysburg National Park and Glacier National Park issues, the highest for the series. 

When silver fell back to $26 per ounce in 2012, mintages fell in tandem. The 2012 Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and 2012 Denali National Park issues sold just 20,000 units each, the lowest in the series, despite representing popular parks and their appealing distinctive designs. The high mintage coins trade for a little over $100 each, while the low mintage designs can reach $400 because of collector demand. 

The Uncirculated versions have sold in a more constrained range from about 15,000 to 28,000 pieces, and many can be found for under $300, more for low mintage issues. 

The quality of designs and interest in silver has bolstered and sustained this series. Collectors of modern coins may want to give it a closer look while the series is still current and coins are comparatively available.

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