Centennial gold coins make price guide debut

?When the U.S. Mint announced that it would issue gold versions of the Winged Liberty Head dime, Standing Liberty quarter dollar, and Walking Liberty half dollar to celebrate the centennial of their release in silver in 1916, the editors here began planning our coverage of what we knew would be a popular series with collectors. Among our plans were special features on the three original series (we covered the dime in the February monthly issue, the quarter dollar in the May issue, and Gerald Tebben’s take on the half dollar will anchor our October issue). We also planned for senior editor Paul Gilkes to visit the West Point Mint to witness one of the coins being struck; you will find his videos and news coverage of his visit at our website and Facebook page. And we started thinking about how we would list the coins in our print and online price guide.

The three gold coins make their price guide debut this week, in a special section along with the Mint’s other special gold coins of the past few years. They appear just after listings for the 2009 Ultra High Relief gold $20 double eagle and the American Liberty, High Relief gold $10 series, which debuted in 2015.

We placed the three coins there after debating several options, including listing them with the original series. For example, that is the approach we took for the 1964–2014-W Kennedy gold half dollar. So why did we not take the same approach for the centennial gold coins?

The Kennedy half dollar is an ongoing series and even though it has not been struck for circulation since 2001, it is produced every year in multiple versions (circulation, Proof and Uncirculated Mint set strikes, and in copper-nickel clad and 90 percent silver versions). Furthermore, the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy half dollar’s release was celebrated not only by a gold version, but also by other versions with special finishes and unique Mint marks.

However, the gold centennial editions mark series that have not been struck since 1930 (for the quarter dollar) and the 1940s (for the dime and half dollar). And while it would not have been “wrong” to list the gold coins with their silver counterparts, it made more sense to us to list them in the same section as the other special gold coins.

The Mint has identified a market for these special gold pieces and their innovation is likely to continue. The American Liberty series should resume in 2017, and other special pieces may be in the early planning stages (a 2021 Peace dollar in gold?). For us, listing the 2016 coins in this section seems to be a reasonable decision.