American Liberty Silver Medal Coming in 2016
On December 19 the U.S. Mint published on its web site a product schedule for 2016, much to the delight of collectors. Release dates are of course subject to change, but buyers can now begin planning many of their purchases and saving up for the more expensive items.
The new schedule front-loads many products since many of them will be issued earlier in the year than usual. This is especially true of the final three First Spouse $10 gold coins, the final issues of that series.
In addition, as usual, many of the most interesting products have no projected release date and are list at the end as “TBD”- to be determined.
Within this last category are two versions, one struck at West Point and the other at San Francisco, of the 2016 American Liberty high relief silver medal.
This is the silver medal that bears the same design as the 2015 American Liberty high relief $100 gold coin, which is close to achieving a sell-out of its entire maximum mintage of 50,000 coins due to strong sales when it was released and later in the year.
The silver medal was originally going to be issued in 2015 and possibly sold as a pair with the gold coin and individually. The reverse bears the superb flying eagle design that was proposed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee as a new reverse for the Silver Eagle.
Details about the 2016 silver medal at this point are not available, including what finish they will have (proof or business strike), whether they will have a maximum mintage or be issued to demand, and when they will be issued.
Gary Marks, the former chairman of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, told me that back in June the U.S. Mint’s staff showed him a business strike, i.e. uncirculated, version of the medal. He said that he and other members of the Committee “urged them that a proof finish would capture more collector interest and sell more. They ended up delaying the medal to 2016 with the idea to retool to produce the medal in proof,” although the Mint has not publicly stated what finish the medal will have.
Marks also said that he “and other Committee members also urged Mint officials to consider selling the medal in a paired set with a proof “S” mint marked Silver Eagle that could only be obtained in the set. They could market it as a “Double Eagle” or “Double Liberty” set.
I like these suggestions, but if the Mint does pair it with a 2016 “S” proof eagle, it is important that the proof coin not also be sold in another product given what happened in 2012 when it released an S-proof eagle in two different sets, which angered collectors.
It is also important that the Mint produces a medal that will appeal to coin collectors, who in many cases do not purchase medals, though the popularity of the presidential medals in the Coin and Chronicles set shows they will buy medals under the right circumstances.
The plan to issue two medals with different mint marks may not go over well with buyers given the poor sales of the 9/11 medal issued in 2011 that also carried two different mint marks. Collectors felt it was confusing to have mintmarks on a medal and never understood the reason for issuing two versions.
What do you think about the 2016 silver medal? How do you think it should be sold?