Each December, Coin World editorial staff members look back at the last 12 months and select the year ’ s top 10 stories. As with all such lists, our choices are strictly immanent ; your choices will undoubtedly differ in wholly or part. In deciding the stories to make the tilt, we consider such factors as the amount of coverage given a specific report, historical meaning, reader matter to ( as witnessed through Letters to the Editor, comments at our web site and Facebook page, emails, and earphone calls ), and much more, all judged through our unite experiences of about 100 years in covering numismatic events .
first of two parts
The 2019 list is dominated by the United States Mint — its products and the populace ’ second reaction to them led the news all class.
Three of the articles involved Mint products whose handout was a road paved with good intentions — producing something limited for collectors — that made some people happy and many others angry .
other Mint-related articles involved a transfer closely 200 years in the make, another change that will make some 2020 coins the last of their kind, and a 2019 coin that was the first of its kind, a hybrid of two early advances in Mint engineering and new products .
last, several articles made the list that do not fit into neat categories .
First up, the stories that left collectors excited and frustrated, depending on individual fortune .
A special American Eagle
The american Eagle silver dollar — a 1-ounce .999 fine argent coin offered in bullion and numismatic versions since 1986 — is one of the most popularly gather coins in the global. When first issued, it was available in barely two versions — the bullion coin and a Proof version. Since 2011, when an Uncirculated numismatic coin was introduced, Mint officials have offered an increasingly big number of special versions with classifiable finishes and an array of Mint marks .
In 2019, the Mint offered two different Enhanced Reverse Proof American Eagle silver dollars — a 2019-W mint included with a canadian Maple Leaf 1-ounce $ 5 silver coin in a joint U.S.-Canadian merchandise, and a 2019-S coin offered individually .
The two Enhanced Reverse Proof American Eagles, despite their similar finishes, had one huge deviation besides the Mint mark. The 2019-W mint offered in the Pride of Two Nations set has a compound product maximum of 110,000 pieces, 100,000 in a determined offered by the United States Mint and 10,000 included in a set sold by the Royal Canadian Mint. The 2019-S coin had a mintage maximal of 30,000 pieces, a number that promptly drew attention from hopeful buyers and led to predictions that the mint would sell out promptly .
It did, and the hue and cry was immediate and far-flung .
The Enhanced Reverse Proof 2019-S American Eagle silver dollar sold out in about 20 minutes, with numerous customers able to add one of the coins to their online denounce handcart, merely to be told to remove it when the mint sold out before a transaction could be completed. The Mint web site and earphone lines were overwhelmed with customers — 99,000 people online and 4,700 callers at the moment of launching Nov. 14 — and many customers reported getting erroneousness pages as they attempted to complete their orders online .
At the decision of the sale, wrath whipped up swiftly, with collectors decrying the Mint ’ s limits — its web site capacity, its inability to laser-focus sales to collectors only, and the mintage itself. Anger increased when dealers began offering multiples of the coins ( sales were limited to one per family ) at prices well above the $ 65.95 publish monetary value .
The coins were offered over the antagonistic at the Mint booth at the Whitman Baltimore Expo starting Nov. 14, with customers experiencing long lines. several dealers at the show hired individuals to stand in line to buy the coins for a profit .
Prices for the coins rose to the $ 900 and higher range very promptly, and one coin graded Proof 70 and accompanied by a low serial issue certificate of authenticity signed by the Mint film director sold to a group of dealers for an amaze $ 14,001 .
much of the anger expressed by collectors is directed at the Mint for deciding on a low mintage for the coin. however, a lot of anger has been directed at the dealer community for acquiring multiples of the coins, though it appears that dealers with large numbers of the coins paid premiums to the original buyers of the coins .
mint officials did report that certain entities programed “ bots ” in an attempt to circumvent the family restrict for the coin. Although Mint officials said that orders from identified bots were not fulfilled, the collector community believed that some bot farms were successful in ordering multiples of the coin .
Although it is excessively soon to know for surely, it is probably that the Enhanced Reverse Proof 2019-S American Eagle silver dollar will join the Proof 1995-W American Eagle eloquent dollar ( mintage of 30,125 pieces ) in becoming one of the keys to the entire series .
West Point Mint quarters
The U.S. Mint ’ s West Point facility has been striking coins since the 1970s, starting with coins for circulation ( without Mint sign, making them indistinguishable from the products of the Philadelphia Mint and alike coins struck without Mint crisscross at the San Francisco Mint ). collector products, these bearing the W Mint mark, began appearing from the facility starting in the 1980s .
however, no circulating mint of any denomination smitten at the West Point Mint bore a W Mint check — until 2019, when all five of the class ’ second America the Beautiful quarter dollars were struck in small ( relatively speaking ) numbers and placed into circulation .
In an April 1 announcement that was no April Fool ’ s Day joke, Mint officials revealed that 2019-W versions of the class ’ s first two America the Beautiful quarter dollars had been struck and were scheduled to be placed into circulation in the weeks ahead. furthermore, the Mint said it planned to strike 2019-W versions of the three remaining coins and place those into circulation a well .
The Mint struck 2 million of each design — a modest number compared to the numbers of 2019-P and 2019-D quarter dollars struck for circulation ( for exercise, in compound total, 348 million Lowell National Historical Park quarter dollars were struck at the Philadelphia and Denver Mints ).
Read more: 2019: The Year in Coins – ModernCoinMart
The distribution process was intended to spread the wealth around, in a way, by mixing in humble numbers of the 2019-W coins with both the 2019-P and 2019-D coins before the giant ballistic bags were shipped from the Philadelphia and Denver Mints to the Federal Reserve. In theory, the summons was intended to ensure wider, more random distribution of the 2019-W coins than would have occurred had all 2 million pieces of each blueprint been shipped to the Fed en masse .
To a academic degree, that process has worked, for some collectors. A total of collectors have reported find examples of the 2019-W coins in circulation. however, many collectors have found none of the coins, leading to some collector dissatisfaction and criticism of the Mint ’ s distribution decisions .
furthermore, some dealers have managed to acquire multiples of the coins, selling them at multiples of their font value, which, as with the Enhanced Reverse Proof American Eagle, has led some collectors to blame dealers for their difficulty in finding the coins at front value .
Some collectors proposed that the Mint sell the 2019-W coins in the lapp manner as the circulation-quality 2019-P, 2019-D and 2019-S quarter dollars — in bankroll and base quantities and in assorted sets .
The 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars are bringing healthy premiums. Individual uncertified examples presently are selling in a range from $ 10 to $ 20, with certify examples bringing more ( prices differ by grade ) .
The Mint ’ sulfur production of 2019-W quarter dollars for circulation was intended to give collectors something interesting to look for in circulation, and in that sense, it has been successful. however, the distribution of the coins has frustrated many collectors who have sought the coins without luck .
2019-W Lincoln cents
The 2019-W America the Beautiful quarter dollars were not the entirely extra 2019-W coins struck and issued. Mint officials besides issued three different 2019-W Lincoln cents, each included with the buy of one of three annual sets for 2019 .
The collector premium 2019-W Lincoln cents were the first Lincoln cents struck at the West Point facility in more than 40 years and the beginning to bear the facility ’ s W Mint score .
A standard Proof 2019-W penny was included individually with the standard 2019 Proof jell. The Silver Proof set was accompanied by a Reverse Proof 2019-W Lincoln penny. The Uncirculated Mint put featured a 2019-W Lincoln penny with Uncirculated finish .
Each extra penny was packaged individually, break from the independent set ’ s standard packaging, but mailed together .
In general, the agio cents were well received by collectors, although some problems were encountered. Some of the cents were damaged ; some sets were shipped without the premium cents, which were supposed to be placed individually in the ship box along with the annual sets .
besides, in an obstruct erroneousness, 91 U.S. Mint customers on March 3 and 4 were able to successfully decree 921 individual Proof 2019-W Lincoln cents at front measure, which were then shipped to them, before officials realized that an internal system used for tracking Mint products had been errantly made public as a live catalogue order page .
Another 270 orders for 41,509 cents were canceled, according to the Mint. The mint customers had reportedly found in the Mint online catalogue a connect for the penny on the rate page for the Uncirculated 2018-W America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver mint for the Voyageurs National Park. The cents were assigned an individual legal profession code as a act inventory tracking device, as was the envelope for the cent. But, on March 4, the connect took customers to a page where they were able to place orders for the cents at 1 penny each. Word dispersed online and Mint customers promptly took advantage of the mistake, until the link was eliminated .
The three 2019-W Lincoln cents are selling individually for between $ 13 and round $ 100 each, with certify pieces in high grades and certain marking service labels bringing the prices in the upper berth range .
Apollo II coins
The year 2019 was the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most important technical achievements in human history — the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission .
The event was an obvious choice for a commemorative mint program, and legislation approving four different coins passed Congress with relief. Three of the coins were of the standard denominations found in most commemorative mint programs, while a fourth represented a inaugural — an amalgamation of two limited coins from earlier programs .
The standard coins were a maximum of 50,000 gold $ 5 half eagles, 400,000 eloquent dollars and 750,000 copper-nickel clothe half dollars. The course of study besides offered up to 100,000 3-inch 5-ounce silver dollars in a Proof-only interpretation .
All four coins have concave obverses and convex reverses. Each shares a coarse obverse showing the foremost footprint on the moonlight and a common reverse design of astronaut Buzz Aldrin ’ mho helmet and visor reflecting the lunar come on .
The extra large silver dollars feature two elements seen individually in anterior programs : the concave/convex form, first gear seen on the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins, and the 5-ounce ash grey coin size, first seen in the America the Beautiful quarter dollars program .
none of the coins sold out, though the gold half eagle came fairly close, with sales totaling more than 43,000 pieces of the maximum mintage of 50,000 coins.
The 5-ounce coin registered sales topping 66,000 pieces .
Sales for the Apollo 11 coins vastly outstripped sales of the year ’ s other commemorative coin program, commemorating the centennial of the american Legion .
In the next installment of this serial, we look at the remaining stories that made our top 10 list for 2019 .