The United States Mint released the Christa McAuliffe Proof Silver Dollar in a socially distanced ceremony where they presented the first coin to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, honoring her lifelong dedication to teaching.
NASA selected Christa McAuliffe to be the first member of the Teacher in Space Program. The space agency would train teachers to travel to space and hold lessons from the space shuttle. Unfortunately, 73 seconds into the flight, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated, killing all seven members aboard.
Jill Biden began her education career as a substitute teacher in 1975. She went to school part-time to earn her Master of Education, completing her coursework while pregnant with her daughter Ashley. After a few years, Biden returned to the classroom teaching English in a public high school. In January 2007, at age 55, she earned a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) before hitting the campaign trail for the Obama-Biden ticket.
Dr. Biden is a champion for education and plans to teach again this fall.
During the issuing ceremony, Biden said:
There’s a saying Christa loved and it’s inscribed on the coin that we unveiled today: ‘I touch the future I teach.’ And this coin, like her life, is a tribute to all educators, as Steve [McAuliffe] said. It’s a reminder of the incredible power we hold to write our history and to shape our future. And it’s a recognition of the obligation we have to keep working toward a time when all students have all that they need to thrive. So thank you to all the educators who touch the future.
The coin’s sale price includes a $10 surcharge paid to the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program to promote leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Credits: All images are courtesy of the U.S. Mint via social media.
Before the February 11th sale of the 2021-W American Silver Eagle Proof coins, the U.S. Mint allowed dealers to buy the coins in bulk. Coin World reports that dealers were able to purchase coins three-days in advance of the public sale.
The U.S. Mint had a product limit of 327,440 coins with a household limit of 99 coins. Since learning about this, it was surprising that coins available to purchase. The coin sold out in a few moments.
Speculators purchased as much as they could afford then listed their inventory on eBay. They are profiting from the U.S. Mint’s decision to serve the dealers rather than the collector. If you want to buy the coin on eBay, the average sale price of the coin issued at $73 is $110-140. It is a 33-percent to 48-percent increase over the issue price.
Who does the U.S. Mint serve, the collectors or the dealers? If the U.S. Mint serves the collectors, then a policy change is necessary to work better with the collector community.
This eBay seller took a picture of the box the Eagles were shipped in. How do you feel about this?
For those who complain about coin designs and base-metal coinage as a threat to the hobby, what about the U.S. Mint’s action to shutout collectors from silver coins?
If the U.S. Mint serves the dealers, they do not serve the public and do not serve the hobby. If the approach is all about business, then what about the collectors?
When Rhett Jeppson started the U.S. Mint’s Numismatic Forum in 2016, the promise was to bring in different members of the numismatic industry to help guide the mint into the future for the benefit of the hobby. Jeppson was nominated to be the Mint’s Director but was never confirmed.
The U.S. Mint continued with the forms in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Reports of those meetings said that they were productive. It has not made an impact.
Since the Senate approved David Ryder as director, he has done little to make the U.S. Mint more responsive to the customer. The Numismatic Forums have ceased, and Ryder seems to favor creating collectible coins instead of getting the coins into collectors’ hands.
An example of what is wrong with Ryder’s approach is when there were ordering problems with the V75 American Silver Eagle. Instead of saying that the U.S. Mint will work on the issue, Ryder touts the collectibles he created.
What good is creating collectibles if the collector cannot purchase the coins?
The ever-changing quarter designs, privy marks, and other things people complain about will not hurt the hobby. Forcing the collector into the unregulated secondary market to buy newly issued coins will drive collectors away.
Just like that, it was over.
The knock on the door was a few moments before noon. It was a customer with an appointment to pick up an order. The door was open, the customer picked up their item and left. Before wiping down the table, I went back to the computer.
A tap on the keyboard brought up the password prompt to end the screensaver. When the screen cleared, the clock in the upper-right read 12:04. A quick click and there was the message, “This product is currently unavailable.”
Once again, a limited edition collectible out of reach of a collector. With the popularity of the American Silver Eagle Proof coins and only 327,440 to be off ered, the U.S. Mint set a “Household Order Limit” of 99. How many dealers with dedicated staff were able to purchase their 99 coin limit?
Instead of giving the collectors a chance, the U.S. Mint set the rules to favor the dealers and those whose work requirements took them away from the computer.
With all of the past problems and the tepid response from Director David Ryder, there is little hope that the U.S. Mint will fix these problems. Ryder either does not care about the collector or does not have the competence to fix the problems. Although the website worked, the policies favored the dealers and did nothing for the collectors.
It is time for Ryder to descend from his ivory tower to understand how the collectors are treated. If he refuses to do something about it, he should hand in his resignation to allow the president to appoint someone who knows what they are doing.
The president has signed the last numismatic-related bill this past week. On January 13, 2021, the president signed the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020 (Public Law No. 116-330). It was the last possible day to sign the bill. If he did not sign it, the bill would be subjected to a pocket veto.
- H.R. 1923: Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020
Sponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
LAST ACTION: Signed by the President and became Public Law No: 116-330. — Jan 13, 2021
The law will require the U.S. Mint to redesign the quarters’ reverse through 2030, starting in 2022.
Prominent American Women Quarters
For the quarters issued between 2022 and 2025, “The design on the reverse side of each quarter dollar issued under this subsection shall be emblematic of the accomplishments and contributions of one prominent woman of the United States.” The U.S. Mint will issue “up to” five quarters per year and confer with several groups to determine who receives the honor.
United States Semiquincentennial Coins
The United States will celebrate its seniquincentennial (250th Anniversary) on July 4, 2026. In celebration of the event, the law states that the U.S. Mint will issue the following coins:
- QUARTERS: 2026 quarters “with up to five different designs emblematic of the United States semiquincentennial.” One quarter must be design to be emblematic of the contribution of a woman or women.
- DOLLARS: orders the Mint to issue “$1 dollar coins with designs emblematic of the United States semiquincentennial.” These dollar coins will be issued in addition to the Native American and Innovation dollars.
Youth Sports Program
The law requires the U.S. Mint to celebrate youth sports with changes to the quarter and half-dollars to correspond to the Summer Olympic games of 2028 and the Winter games of 2030. This program will run from 2027 through 2030.
- QUARTERS: Up to five coins issued each year “shall be emblematic of one sport played by American youth.”
- HALF-DOLLARS: Up to five coins issued each year “emblematic of one Paralympic sport.”
- MEDALS: The law authorizes the U.S. Mint to create “medals with designs emblematic of the sport honored with the issuance of the coin.”
Medals for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles
The law authorizes the U.S. Mint “to design and manufacture medals for awarding at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California.” The law makes it the first time in the modern Olympics history that the U.S. Mint will create the games’ medals. Previously, the Olympic committees had a private vendor create the medals. According to the International Olympic Committee website, medals for the games played in the United States were created by the following:
||Minter of the Medals
||Diege & Clust
||The Whitehead & Hoag Co.
||Medallic Art Co.
||Reed and Barton
||Salt Lake City
Silver Bullion Coins
The new law allows the U.S. Mint to continue to make the five-ounce silver bullion coins that correspond to each of the quarter and half-dollar programs. Interestingly, the silver hockey-puck-sized coins appear to be popular and will continue to be available to collectors and investors.
Also added to the law is the ability to strike factional silver bullion coins with the same designs. It is uncertain if a half-ounce or quarter-ounce silver coin will sell, but we will find out.
Obverse of the Coins
George Washington will continue to appear on the obverse but “be designed in a manner, such as with incused inscriptions, so as to distinguish it from the obverse design used during the previous quarters program.”
The bill includes similar language for the image of John F. Kennedy on the 2026 Semiquincentennial half-dollar.
And now the news…
January 8, 2021
Coin collecting is viewed by many enthusiasts to be a form of modern day treasure hunting, as shops in South Beloit and Beloit continue to do well as collectors come seeking rare finds, or simply to make an investment in precious metals.
→ Read more at beloitdailynews.com
January 11, 2021
The world’s finest Brasher Doubloon, the most legendary U.S gold coin ever produced, is heading for auction at Heritage this month. The 18th century coin is described as “arguably the world’s most famous numismatic rarity”, and is one of only seven examples known to exist.
→ Read more at news.justcollecting.com
January 13, 2021
Ongoing excavations at a rural spot near the village of Újlengyel in central Hungary recently struck gold, both figuratively and literally. Archaeologists armed with powerful metal detectors found a buried treasure of approximately seven thousand silver and four medieval gold coins in Hungary, hidden centuries ago by unknown individuals.
→ Read more at ancient-origins.net
January 14, 2021
Egypt: Archaeologists find coins with Cleopatra’s face on Thousands of objects including ancient coins, pottery and sculpture thousands of years old have been secured, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has confirmed.
→ Read more at express.co.uk
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Even though it has been a tough year, numismatics appears to be as strong as ever. But as the year winds down, it is the last chance to buy certain products from the U.S. Mint.
Colorized Basketball Hall of Fame Half Dollar Clad Coin (Image courtesy of the U.S. Mint)
Collectors of commemorative coins have until December 31 to purchase Women’s Suffrage Centennial Silver Dollars. They are available in proof and uncirculated finishes. Similarly, the Basketball Hall of Fame coins will also end next week. This program features a curved $5 gold coin, silver dollar, and clad half-dollar. It also means that the first colorized coins will also end.
Although I am not a collector of commemorative coins, I am a sports fan and enticed by the curved basketball coins. I ordered the Silver Dollar and the colorized clad half-dollar. I think the full-color half-dollar is better looking than just the colorized rim.
Following the 2018 American Innovation $1 Coin, the U.S. Mint began producing the coins as a reverse proof. The reverse proofs are enclosed in an individual folder with information about the coins and the innovation it honors. So that I can catch-up, I ordered the entire 2019 set. They have not released the South Carolina reverse proof coin honoring Septima Clark. When they do, I will order the complete 2020 set.
If you did not get what you wanted for the holidays or received gift cards, why not add something cool to your collection before the price doubles on the secondary market.
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Following the debacle that became of the online ordering process for the End of World War II 75th Anniversary American Eagle Coins, the U.S. Mint issued a statement on social media. On Twitter, the U.S. Mint posted in a series of tweets that read:
When people complained, whoever is posting on their social media platforms commented:
The problem is that there have been problems for many years. Every time the U.S. Mint offers a limited edition coin, their website has problems meeting the demand, leading to an apology and a promise that they will resolve the system issues.
Searching this blog, you can find problems with the ordering process for:
What you will not find is a story where the ordering process went smoothly. You will not find a story where the U.S. Mint claims that they have fixed their ordering problems. And you will be able to find a story where the U.S. Mint explains how they plan to fix the problems.
From 2016 through 2019, the U.S. Mint has held a collecting forum in Philadelphia. Each year, the U.S. Mint has invited people from all areas of the industry to meet with them and discuss the future of the U.S. Mint’s products. The coronavirus pandemic prevented them from holding this year’s forum. After every forum, the U.S. Mint thanks the participants and promises to do better.
Unfortunately, politics have hurt the U.S. Mint. Since the resignation of Ed Moy in December 2010, they had been without a director until the appointment of David J. Ryder in April 2018. During the time between appointments, the Senate refused to confirm three nominations made by President Barack Obama to fill the position. Instead, there was an endless line of acting directors, which the law limits the term to 210 days.
David J. Ryder at the hearing regarding his nomination to be the 39th Director of the U.S. Mint
Ryder is not a stranger to the U.S. Mint or the federal government. Besides working at the Commerce Department, he served in the Office of the Vice President for George H.W. Bush. Bush appointed Ryder as the 34th Mint Director during a Senate recess in 1992.
Before joining the U.S. Mint, Ryder worked for the Secure Products division of the Sarnoff Corporation. After purchased by Honeywell in 2007, he was Director of Currency for Honeywell Authentication Technologies. Ryder can lead an organization looking in the critical security of currency handling with worldwide influence, but he cannot manage the U.S. Mint out a technological paper bag.
As a former federal contractor, I understand that the contracting process is slow. The federal government acquisition process is fraught with checks, rechecks, oversight, and investigations that drive up a hammer’s price to thousands of dollars. But it is the same process to purchase a tool as it is to make a change to a fighter jet costing tens of millions of dollars.
The U.S. Mint has done some work on the website. Aside from changing the look, they replaced the content management system which manages the site. For the technologically savvy, they migrated from the original Drupal implementation to WordPress. The Coin Collectors Blog uses WordPress.
Although the transition to WordPress may provide the flexibility the U.S. Mint needs to manage the website, they have not met the critical need for customer engagement. Fixing customer engagement in a government agency requires the head of the agency to initiate that change. What has Ryder been doing?
Although the pandemic caused significant interruptions in everything, developers do not have to be on-site to develop software. A program can write programs from just about anywhere. Why were these processes not managed in the subsequent months?
I am asking Ryder to step up to his role and better manage the situation. I am not calling for the removal of Ryder. (POLITICAL ANALYSIS ALERT: Don’t read the rest of the paragraph if you do not like a frank discussion of politics as it affects the U.S. Mint). If Ryder leaves his position, President-elect Biden will likely never have an appointment voted on by the Republican-controlled Senate. We will be back to the nearly eight years of Acting Directors who do not have the authority to make necessary changes as the appointed director could.
Please, Director Ryder, fix the problem. Maybe you can listen to the collecting community. We have good ideas, and we are willing to help.
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DEAR U.S. MINT:
FIX YOUR WEB-BASED ORDERING PROCESS!
YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO MANAGE TRAFFIC. THIS IS NOT A GOOD LOOK FOR YOU!!
Very upset collectors
How many times do I have to prove I am human?
How is a human rate limited? Cloudflare, why are you not managing traffic?
What is this?
Get all the way to enter the credit card and then…
After making a work-related call, I decided to try one more time before going to complete my work for today and was able to order! Just a mear one-hour and 15 minutes after the coin went on sale!
End of World War II 75th Anniversary American Eagle Silver Proof Coin
If you do not follow the U.S. Mint on Facebook or Twitter, they announced that there would be a price increase for silver coins as of October 13, 2020. Their statement read:
The United States Mint recently adopted a new strategy for pricing products in its silver numismatic products portfolio. As a result, prices for products containing silver will change EFFECTIVE October 13, 2020, with release of the 2020 American Eagle Silver Proof Coin with “S” mint mark (20EM). The new pricing will affect prices for silver products already on sale (including prior year) and those remaining to be released in 2020.
In order for the United States Mint to cover rising costs, meet its fiduciary responsibility to operate at no net cost to taxpayers, and return money to the Treasury General Fund, re-setting silver prices is necessary.
The Mint’s goal, as a fiscally responsible self-funded Federal agency, is to always provide the best quality numismatic products while maintaining fair prices. The first objective is to ensure that the numismatic portfolio (all product lines together) be self-sufficient and cover all associated costs. The new silver prices reflect a sound business decision aimed at meeting these obligations. (No tax dollars are used to fund numismatic operations.)
The United States Mint will continue to look for operations optimization and cost reduction efforts to deliver superior quality numismatic products at a fair price.
Although social media did not like the announcement, collectors should have expected the price increase. When the U.S. Mint set the price for silver coins at the beginning of 2020, the price of silver hovered around $18.00 per ounce. On March 19, the price closed as low as $12.005 per ounce. What followed was a steady rise until August 6 when the markets closed at $28.33.
Kitco YTD Silver Price as of 10/9/2020 (does not update, trendline added)
From the $17.925 at the close of the markets on January 2 through August 6, silver rose 58-percent. If the U.S. Mint had to purchase silver in August to meet market demands, it was the most expensive silver they purchased.
U.S. Mint Price Update
||Old Retail Price
||New Retail price
|Presidential Silver Medals
|America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set
|American Eagle One Ounce Silver Proof Coin
|American Eagle One Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin
|American Eagle One Ounce Silver Proof Coins—Bulk Pack
|American Eagle One Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin—Bulk Pack
|Limited Edition Silver Proof Set
|Silver Proof Set
|America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin
|End of World War II 75th Anniversary American Eagle Silver Proof Coin
|End of World War II 75th Anniversary One Ounce Silver Medal
|2019 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set
|2019 American Liberty High Relief Silver Medal
|2019 Congratulations Set
|2019 Silver Proof Set
† These products are sold directly to distributors who sell them to dealers. Prices are not on the U.S. Mint’s website.
‡ The only items for sale at the U.S. Mint that comes close to this is the Women’s Suffrage Centennial 2020 Proof Silver Dollar and Medal Set
* Item was not for sale prior to the price hike
¶ Listed as “Currently Unavailable” on the U.S. Mint’s website.
You cannot blame the U.S. Mint’s metals buyers. First, they are mandated to buy precious metals from U.S. sources at the market value. If they need additional inventory, then they buy it on the market like everyone else. Like any investor, the U.S. Mint can try to predict the market, but the results are variable like any investor.
Since August 6, the price of silver dropped to $24.315, a 14.17-percent decrease. However, the price of silver is up 35.65-percent for the year. If the price of materials rise, how long could the U.S. Mint maintain their prices?
Aside from the rising cost of silver, the U.S. Mint did not report how much other costs have risen. Aside from the dies and facilities costs, they must account for labor, design, and production costs. The U.S. Mint has not reported what additional costs they have incurred because of the pandemic.
The U.S. Mint is unlikely to report about these issues until the release of the annual report.
And now the news…
October 6, 2020
The Ministry of Culture and Sports on Monday announced that five rare silver coins dating to the 5th and 4th centuries BC were returned to Greece, before being auctioned off in Munich and Zurich.
→ Read more at greekcitytimes.com
October 5, 2020
The executive officer said construction workers found the coins and rings in a brass box.
→ Read more at newindianexpress.com
October 9, 2020
Surprising as it may sound, there once was a time that our coinage system, backed by gold and silver, was mostly supplied by Spain and countries under Spanish rule, such as Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Guatemala.
→ Read more at yarmouth.wickedlocal.com
October 10, 2020
An extremely rare Roman coin commemorating the assassination of Julius Caesar has surfaced and may be worth millions of dollars, according to coin experts.
→ Read more at foxnews.com
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Even with the numismatic-related news picking up this week, the number of people that have written about buying counterfeit Silver Eagle coins has increased.
The Royal Mint adds new security features for the 2021 Britannia
As much as I have written, tried to manipulate the search engine optimization (SEO) to get the word out, and dropped messages on social media, people continue to purchase counterfeit coins from China.
You cannot even trust the slabs sent by Chinese companies. A dealer who saw my post about purchasing coins that I suspected were counterfeit saw the picture of the slabs that were shipped. On closer examination, the slabs are the same as they use to counterfeit NGC slabs.
Last week PCGS announced they are adding a tag to their slabs that can help identify them electronically. The technology is called Near Field Communications (NFC). The technology creates contactless communications between a passive and an active device. In this case, the tag in the slab or currency holder is passive. There is no power in the passive tag but will respond to a special signal to transmit its data.
The active device sends the signal that causes the passive tag to respond. In this case, your smartphone can send the signal to and process what the passive tag sends. It is called Near Field Communications because the passive tag does not generate a strong signal, and the active device has to be close enough to hear what the tag has to say.
Using NFC is an interesting idea and, if implemented correctly, can add to the security of a slab. In the future, I will contact PCGS to discuss the security of the system they developed. Maybe I will dust off my old hacker’s hat and reverse engineer one of these tags. Very few electronic devices are unhackable. The idea is to make it as difficult as possible.
In the future, the technology that will help collectors protect themselves must be made publicly available. The current state of image processing and artificial intelligence can be used to examine a coin’s surface. Aside from its ability to grade the coin, it could tell the difference between a legitimate coin and a counterfeit that uses an aluminum alloy.
In addition to adding technology, the U.S. Mint should follow the leads of the Royal Canadian Mint and the Royal Mint to add security features to bullion coins. After all, David Ryder spoke about security during his confirmation hearing. Where is the progress on that?
And now the news…
September 28, 2020
The European Commission is considering proposing a law to start phasing out the small 1 and 2 Eurocent coins, and round prices off to the nearest 5 cents. On Monday, the Commission opened a 15-week public consultation on the use of the small coins, during which both regular citizens and interested institutions are invited to share their opinions and suggestions on the issue.
→ Read more at brusselstimes.com
September 28, 2020
Doha: Since ancient times, coinage has played a significant role not only in the socio-economic aspect of civilisations as an instrument of business and trade but also in reflecting pivotal moments in a nation’s history.
→ Read more at thepeninsulaqatar.com
September 29, 2020
The Royal Mint has unveiled new gold bullion coins which can be authenticated as genuine by moving them in the light.
→ Read more at belfasttelegraph.co.uk
October 1, 2020
A Norwich jeweller has got people across the nation scratching their heads over his riddles which reveal where 49 special coins are hidden.
→ Read more at edp24.co.uk
October 2, 2020
Over time, people and markets the world over have been able to establish that investing in precious metals is a great way to diversify your investment portfolio. Whether you’re talking about gold, silver, or platinum, there are a handful of ways to get started in owning precious metals.
→ Read more at thecostaricanews.com
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The subject line of the email contained the entire note. My correspondent asked, “Did you try to buy the 2019 Reverse Proof?”
Reports said that the remainder of the products sold out in 10 seconds. That was probably the same 10 seconds the U.S. Mint’s website seemed to freeze.
I admit that I tried cheating. As a retired programmer, I tried to script the purchase. The script watched the clock, and right at noon, the script tried to place the coin in my bag then transfer the payment page to the browser. But for the seconds after high-noon, the site did not respond. Frozen!
The best solution offered for these situations is a lottery system. Reports suggested that the suggestion was made to Director David Ryder. Ryder, like the last appointed director, is tone-deaf to the collectors. Some day, the U.S. Mint will have a competent director.