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Mintage Totals

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Hi,

Why does it take many coin books ten years to show mintage totals for given coins? Can they do a better job in getting these figures out or are they hard to get from the mint?

 

Coolcoin

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The Mint is not very good about giving out accurate totals, that's why you see a lag with modern coins. You can get estimates from reported production runs, but it takes forever for the Mint to report final totals.

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coolcoin,

 

For collector items, like Mint Sets, the Mint also has to factor in return records, and the coins minted for these sets are counted as part of the total mintage for coins for the year.

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Proofs being only produced for collectors, are going to have a sale period, then a return period, then if any are left over, a destruction. Each step in the process has to be accounted for.

 

Remember that recently the Mint announced additional 1999-2001 proof sets available as a set, then retracted and said the sets would be destroyed. Each of those were included in the initial mintage, but must now be removed.

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Also, the mint has not been as forthcoming with the same level of details as in the past. You'd think the government would be more open. Guess the GAO uses Arthur Anderson for their accounting and the secret secretary of the treasury must be Ken Lay...

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As longtime news editor of Coin World, principal author of the annual Coin World Price Guide, and project editor of the last Coin World Almanac, I have certain insights into mintage/sales information from the Mint.

It can take several years before the Mint releases final, audited sales figures for commemorative coin and collector set programs. If you look at sales figures (for closed programs) published in successive editions of the Coin World Price Guide, you'll find some figures change from year to year as Mint officials adjust them. Adjustments include returns from customers. The 2003 edition's changes include those resulting from the reopening of older Proof set sales.

Also, the Mint releases sales figures for all collector programs, not mintage figures. The Mint will not release the actual numbers of coins struck, only the numbers of coins sold. While that might seem unimportant, knowing the number of coins struck could give insights into the rejection rate for the various collector programs.

This focus on sales figures rather than mintages can cause confusion. American Eagle sales in particular cause collector confusion. The figures posted at the Mint's Web site represent sales figures. When, earlier this year, Coin World reported mintage figures for the previous year's American Eagles, we had numerous readers claim we were wrong, based on the sales figures reported at the Mint Web site. Those 2001 sales figures actually included coins dated from three years: leftover 2000 coins, 2001-dated coins and 2002-dated coins sold in late December 2001 for delivery in early January 2002.

I hope this explains some of the problems in reporting sales/mintage figures in a timely manner.

 

William T. Gibbs

News Editor

Coin World

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William,

Thanks for the time and effort as well as the others on this topic. It seems as though the government makes it as difficult as your tax returns. All the government needs is a computer to count these coins as they are struck. At the end of each 24 hr. period the government should have a new total. It is that simple with todays technology.

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