With news coverage that covered almost every media outlet because of its unique curved design, the U.S. Mint invited Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson to their booth at the Baltimore Convention Center on Thursday, March 27. Nothing gets the attention of the local Baltimore market more than bringing in a popular former Orioles player. Only Cal Ripkin, Jr. would have given them more attention and probably an even bigger draw.
By early Friday afternoon, when I was able to arrive to the show, the U.S. Mint was sold out of all options, including the uncirculated coins. With the plant manager of the Philadelphia mint present, he was able to order more coins to be delivered to the convention center for Saturday. But you had to be there early in order to purchase one of these coins. If you had to work and was not able to arrive to the convention center until later in the afternoon, like I did, you were out of luck.On the bourse floor at Baltimore, there were a few dealers with an inventory graded versions of the coins. While I have no problems with dealers participating in the market and capitalizing on the coin’s apparent success, the U.S. Mint has to find a better balance between sales to the public and sales to the secondary market, especially for popular items. In other words, they did not learn from the 2013 Gold Buffalo reverse proof fiasco—or they do not want to learn since they have no competition.
Resigned to the fact that the U.S. Mint once again failed to meet market demand, I ordered a proof dollar and half-dollar online. I also made sure my order was for more than $75 so that I can get one of the U.S. Mint reusable bags. I can use the bag to transport items to and from my coin club meetings.
The fact of the matter is that after last year’s failure of the Girl Scout commemorative coin to sell the minimum necessary for the Girl Scouts to benefit, it looks like the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative may be a home run. What would be a grand slam is that there were rumors on the bourse floor that the U.S. Mint was going to ask congress to update the law so that they can produce more coins. In the current law (Public Law 112–152 [PDF]), the U.S. Mint is limited to producing 50,000 $5 gold coins, 400,000 $1 silver coins, and 750,000 half-dollar clad coins.
If congress raises the mintage limits for the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative, it may be the first time they do so for any commemorative coin. Based on a search of online records with the Government Printing Office, there is no record of a modern commemorative coin (since 1982) having its mintage limits increase.
A sellout of these commemoratives would be good for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. According to the law, the National Baseball Hall of Fame would receive $35 for each gold coin sold, $10 for each silver dollar, and $5 for each half-dollar. If there is a sellout, the Hall of Fame stands to make $9.5 million. That would buy them over 63,000 dozen baseballs, 950,000 Louisville Sluggers made from ash, or more than 12,000 baseball fields using FieldTurf with some money left over for maintenance. Now that’s a lot of baseball!