US Coins

U.S. Mint sells older gold, silver coinage to select dealers in sealed-bid auction

The U.S. Mint sold 192,607 30th Anniversary Proof 2016-W American Eagle silver dollars to select bulk dealers after the products went unsold to collectors.

Images by Coin World Senior Editor Paul Gilkes.

In an effort to maximize revenue from the sale of unsold 2016 to 2018 numismatic products in U.S. Mint inventory, the bureau offered tens of thousands of gold and silver coins by sealed-bid auction to select bulk dealers.

While U.S. Mint officials provided Coin World with sales of each product for which unsold inventory was available, they refuse to disclose how many millions of dollars in revenue the sealed-bid sales generated.

“We will not disclose this information,” Todd Martin, the U.S. Mint’s acting director for corporate communications, said via email July 6. “Making this information public would essentially be setting the market price for these products, which would impact what both buyers and sellers can earn in the secondary market.”

Bureau officials chose to liquidate the excess inventory by auction instead of melting the coins, reclaiming the metal, and scrapping the packaging.

According to a statement provided July 2 to Coin World by U.S. Mint spokesman Michael White, “The United States Mint made some 2016, 2017, and 2018 products available to select bulk dealers on an auction basis. Minimum bids for each of these products were set at a premium over spot price for the metal contained in the product.

“These coins were sold via an auction mechanism because this resulted in a higher return for the Mint. When the Mint melts coins, we pay a charge for the service, so the net benefit to the Mint is less than the metal value of the coins. In this case, by specifying a minimum bid above the metal value, the Mint guaranteed that the net benefit would be higher than the metal value.

“At this point, the Mint has identified no additional excess inventory suitable for this kind of auction. However, based on remaining inventories and when current and future products are removed from sale, the Mint may choose to use this mechanism again in the future.”

The accompanying table illustrates the products the U.S. Mint offered to the select bulk dealers and how many of each product were sold.

SKU

Product Description

Units Auctioned

16EA

AMERICAN EAGLE 2016 ONE OUNCE SILVER PROOF COIN

192,607

16EB

AMERICAN EAGLE 2016 ONE OUNCE GOLD PROOF COIN

2,017

16EC

AMERICAN EAGLE 2016 ONE-HALF OUNCE GOLD PROOF COIN

601

16EG

AMERICAN EAGLE 2016 ONE OUNCE SILVER UNCIRCULATED COIN

200

16EJ

AMERICAN EAGLE 2016 ONE OUNCE PLATINUM PROOF COIN

36

16SD

BETTY FORD 2016 FIRST SPOUSE SERIES ONE-HALF OUNCE GOLD UNC.

41

17EA

AMERICAN EAGLE 2017 ONE OUNCE SILVER PROOF COIN

151,447

17EB

AMERICAN EAGLE 2017 ONE OUNCE GOLD PROOF COIN

4,656

17EC

AMERICAN EAGLE 2017 ONE-HALF OUNCE GOLD PROOF COIN

1,843

17ED

AMERICAN EAGLE 2017 ONE-QUARTER OUNCE GOLD PROOF COIN

43

17XD

AMERICAN LIBERTY 225TH ANNIVERSARY SILVER FOUR-MEDAL SET

16,586

18EC

AMERICAN EAGLE 2018 ONE-HALF OUNCE GOLD PROOF COIN

32

18ED

AMERICAN EAGLE 2018 ONE-QUARTER OUNCE GOLD PROOF COIN

78

18EE

AMERICAN EAGLE 2018 ONE-TENTH OUNCE GOLD PROOF COIN

79

18EG

AMERICAN EAGLE 2018 ONE OUNCE SILVER UNCIRCULATED COIN

485

18EL

AMERICAN BUFFALO 2018 ONE OUNCE GOLD PROOF COIN

44

18EM

AMERICAN EAGLE 2018 ONE OUNCE SILVER PROOF COIN

42

 

The numismatic product with the highest number of previously unsold pieces that were sold by auction was the 30th Anniversary Proof 2016-W American Eagle silver dollar with 192,607 coins, followed by the Proof 2017-W American Eagle silver dollar with 151,447.

The U.S. Mint also offered Uncirculated 2016-W and 2018-W American Eagle silver dollars; Proof 2016-W, 2017-W and 2018-W American Eagle gold coins; Proof 2018-W American Buffalo gold coins; and Uncirculated 2016-W Betty Ford, First Spouse gold coins.

The sales also included 16,586 of the 1792–2017 225th Anniversary four-piece silver medal set featuring examples struck with different finishes at the West Point, Denver, San Francisco and Philadelphia Mints.

Numismatic Guaranty Corp. has been grading and encapsulating thousands of the previously unsold Mint products with a grading label indicating “West Point Hoard.”

Mint protocol

In past years, the U.S. Mint has offered continued sales of annual numismatic products in precious metals into the following calendar year. Sales of the previous year’s coins, such as Proof gold and silver American Eagles, often end as soon as the incoming year’s issues are released.

The U.S. Mint has been holding this unsold product in vaults, primarily at the West Point Mint where the bulk of the unsold items were struck.

Some products by law cannot be offered after the end of the calendar year — primarily commemorative coins.

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