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    Modern Numismatics

    Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. He writes about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum.

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  • 2016 Commemorative Coin Mintages and Premiums

    As William T. Gibbs reported in the Jan. 23 issue of Coin World, the 2016-W National Park Service $5 gold uncirculated coin’s total sales as of the Jan. 1 report from the Mint put the coin at the second-lowest commemorative gold coin of the series. 

    The NPS coin came in at 5,201 compared to 5,174 for the 1997 Jackie Robinson uncirculated gold coin.

    However, it would only take a small number of returns (28) to bring the NPS coin under the Robinson total. 

    The most recent eBay sales for the NPS coin were for three raw coins for $500 (two at that price) and $536.82 on Jan. 5 and 6, which is a nice premium over the Mint’s price of about $380.  However, I doubt these premiums will hold over time.

    The totals would still be so close to each other, and the Robinson coin has had two decades to establish itself as the king of this series and for demand for it to build up.

    Today’s buyers have much more current information than was available back in 1997, and they are well-aware of the potential for coins to come in as low-mintage pieces.

    But they are also skeptical that it will matter, and for good reasons besides the points above.  In particular, they feel that there will likely be plenty of future coins with even lower mintages such as the 2017-W Boys Town $5 gold coin.  That is largely because the Boys Town program does not appear to be very popular with collectors, nor are the designs, though it remains to be seen what happens.

    At the same time, as I suggested in my previous article, the 2016-D NPS clad uncirculated half dollar did come in as the new low for that series with current total sales of 21, 335 compared to the previous low of 30,231 for the 2015-D Marshalls Service coin. 

    eBay sales since the coin went off sale have ranged between $25 and $40 for raw coins, and as much as $300 for a PCGS MS70 first strike.  It appears too soon to have a very good sense of the value for this coin.

    Also, clad halves rarely grade at 70, so the high price for the PCGS coin partly reflects that as well as the low population of 89 coins as the seller noted.

    Finally, it is odd that so many people (including myself) were so focused on the NPS gold uncirculated coin that they failed to notice that the 2016-W Mark Twain $5 proof gold coin came in as the new low among the proof coins of the $5 commemorative series.  Total sales are 13,271 compared to the previous low, the 2013-W Five Star Generals coin at 15,843.

    Recent eBay prices for coins that sold at auction, as opposed to Buy It Now prices which are always higher and are closer to retail dealer prices, are about the best indicator one has of current value other than other auctions prices such as Heritage. 

    And so far the proof Twain coins are not garnering much of a premium with the latest raw coin selling for $380, which is the same as the Mint’s price, and $415 for a Proof 70.

    I think the reason here is that while the Twain proof is the lowest for that subset of the $5 commemorative series, it is still more than twice the mintage of the lowest uncirculated $5 coins, so buyers don’t seem to care.

    It is always useful to see what is happening with mintages and whether they are translating into premiums when the mintages are low.  The fact that they mostly are not is also probably a sign of the overall current weakness of the modern coin market.