Thousands of gold 'Mercury' dimes remain unsold
- Published: Jul 6, 2016, 6 AM
The U.S. Mint is currently holding in its inventory nearly 9,000 2016-W Winged Liberty Head gold dimes, and the nation's coin producer has yet to announce plans for reselling the coins.
The U.S. Mint offered the maximum authorization of 125,000 coins at noon Eastern Time April 21 at $205 per coin. At the household ordering limit of 10 coins, enough orders were placed to consume the entire maximum mintage of the tenth-ounce .9999 fine gold coins in less than an hour.
However, as of July 5, Mint records reflect 116,111 coins sold.
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The gold dime marks the centennial anniversary of the Winged Liberty Head dime introduced in .900 fine silver in 1916.
If the coins sold out so quickly, why are there leftovers?
In short, canceled orders and returns.
Like any other retail purchase, the initial U.S. Mint transaction is not always the final.
Within two weeks of the coin's sellout, after many were already shipped to the customers who ordered them, order cancellations began. The Mint canceled some orders because of expired credit cards or other Mint customer account problems.
Then, whether because of buyer's remorse or inability to quickly flip the coins for a sizeable profit, the number of returned coins began to rise. Also, some coins were returned because of damage to the coins or to the packaging.
So what now?
U.S. Mint officials have been considering how the bureau will resell the unsold coins. Many collectors have been highly critical of the Mint's original decision to allow sales of 10 coins per household, instead of limiting sales to just one or two and allowing more collectors to acquire the coins at issue price.
Since pricing for the coins is based on the spot price of gold and a pricing grid the Mint has established, when the gold dimes are placed on sale a second time buyers may be paying a different price than the initial release price.
More gold 1916 centennial coins on the way
Gold market fluctuations will also determine pricing for the 2016-W Standing Liberty gold quarter dollar and 2016-W Waking Liberty gold half dollar still to be released.
Mint officials have not announced whether the gold dimes may be offered in tandem with the initial sales of the gold Standing Liberty quarter dollars or at a separate time.
No information on release dates, mintages, or household ordering limits has been disclosed for the gold quarter dollars or half dollars.
The gold Standing Liberty quarter dollar, however, did make a surprise appearance at the Central States Numismatic Society convention earlier this spring.
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