US Coins

Year's end brings speculation

The 2012 Star-Spangled Banner commemorative gold $5 coin is on track to be the lowest mintage type of the modern commemorative coin program. As of Dec. 10, Uncirculated coins were selling slightly better than Proof examples.

Images courtesy of U.S. Mint.

As the year winds down, so does the U.S. Mint, which will end sales of its 2012 commemorative coins on Dec. 17 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

The Mint offered two commemorative programs in 2012: the 2012 Infantry Soldier silver dollar and a dollar and gold $5 piece honoring the Star-Spangled Banner.

While both types of 2012 commemorative dollars are set to have sales in line with the Mint’s 2011 programs, the Star-Spangled Banner gold $5 coin sales are well below what is typical.

As of Dec. 10, the Mint had sold 17,852 Proof and 6,553 Uncirculated gold $5 coins. This is far below the 100,000 that the authorizing legislation allows for the type. Such drastic differences between what is allowed and what is actually sold are normal for modern U.S. commemorative coins.

Sales of the Uncirculated Star-Spangled Banner $5 coin experienced a huge jump mid-November when the Nov. 19 sales report showed an increase of more than 1,000 coins, for a total of 6,257. In the following two weeks, fewer than 300 were sold.

Typically the final week of ordering does not produce a huge surge in orders. In 2011, when two gold $5 coins were issued through the U.S. Army and Medal of Honor programs, less than 1,000 of each type were sold in the final week.

Assuming no sudden ordering surge in the final week, the total “type” mintage for the Star-Spangled Banner gold coin could be fewer than 25,000 pieces. For comparison purposes, 2011’s two gold $5 commemorative coin types reached a final “type” mintage of more than 25,000 pieces each.

A modern classic, the Uncirculated 1997 Jackie Robinson gold $5 coin had a production of just 5,174 and can sell for more than $2,500. Additionally, 24,072 Proofs were sold, for a “type total” of over 29,000 coins.

The 1996-W Smithsonian Institution gold $5 coin has a mintage of just over 9,000 in Uncirculated and commands a hearty premium over a common $5 commemorative coin. Its “type total” including Proofs exceeds 30,000.

It would take a sales surge for the Star-Spangled Banner gold $5 coin to escape its current status as the lowest mintage type of the series, although the “king” of the modern gold commemorative coin program will likely continue to be the Uncirculated Jackie Robinson $5 coin. ¦

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