New coin designs are coming next year.
First, we are likely to see new versions of the Morgan and Peace dollars in 2021, thanks to H.R. 6192 passing, to mark the centennial year of the final Morgan dollar and first Peace dollar in 1921.
In mid-2021, we will also see a change in the reverse design of the gold and silver American Eagle bullion coins. These will engender new interest in both the old and new designs and generate new interest in coin collecting, resulting in numerous new ads posted in various media, which generates new customers.
Experience has shown us over the years that about one out of six of these new buyers of bullion coins later turns into buyers of numismatic coins, strengthening the market for years.
After 2021, we will see another series of circulating coins to be implemented between 2022 and 2030:
- Circulating quarter dollars honoring women to be issued from 2022 through 2025
- Circulating coins in multiple denominations in 2026, celebrating America’s 250th birthday
- Award medals for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles
- Silver bullion coins with the same designs as all of the quarter dollars and half dollars authorized from 2022 through 2030, in the now standard 5-ounce size and in fractional sizes.
In addition, we will likely see new alloys used in forthcoming coin mintages. This will also create new interest in the collector and investor communities, since first-year issues are especially popular, and their mintage totals are sometimes limited. The primary reason for these new alloys is to reduce production costs and limit future shortages. Coins under consideration for change are the copper-plated zinc Lincoln cent, copper-nickel Jefferson 5-cent coin, copper-nickel clad Roosevelt dime and copper-nickel clad quarters. The cost savings will be greatest for the lower-denomination coins.
The U.S. Mint has come up with potential compositional alternatives that offer cost savings for most small coins, except the cent. None of the currently known possibilities would bring the cent’s cost below face value. Possibilities determined by the Mint for the 5-cent, dime and quarter dollar denominations would incorporate manganese with some copper and nickel in the alloy. Other alternative alloys include steel.
Silver American Eagle Sales Soar Ten-Fold in November 2020
During November 2020, the U.S. Mint sold 4,805,000 one-ounce Silver American Eagle coins, more than 10 times the 463,000 coins sold in November 2019, bringing the year-to-date totals to almost a 100% gain (29.3 million ounces vs. 14.8 million last year). Gold American Eagle sales were up 673% in November, with 85,000 Troy ounces sold vs. 11,000 in November 2019 that brought the 2020 11-month total up to over 5-fold from 2019 (794,500 Troy ounces in the first 11 months of 2020 vs. 150,000 ounces in 2019). The Buffalo Gold coin sales were also up strongly, +370% for November and +286% for the year-to-date.
This powerful sales surge came despite the occasional work stoppages at the U.S. Mint, due to COVID-19 work restrictions and occasional stoppages due to the risks of workers placed in close proximity. There is no telling how many more ounces could have been sold if the Mint were able to operate at 100% capacity. Increases in sales of U.S. Mint bullion products often increase the number of future rare coin buyers.
Coronavirus Will Not Mean ‘the End of Coins’
The coronavirus has caused the temporary end of handshakes, big Thanksgiving dinners, open school rooms, large corporate meetings, big football crowds, concerts, night clubs, conventions, and much air travel. Now some newspaper headlines tell us that coronavirus could spell the end of coins and the cash economy. Every financial transaction will take place online or with credit cards, PayPal, crypto-currencies or some new program they claim.
Don’t count on it. Every time I shop and offer cash, a smile comes to the eyes of the vendor, who often saves 2-3% with a cash purchase, since credit card companies often charge up to 3% for the “convenience” of a credit card. There’s no such thing as a “free lunch,” and vendors pay for that plastic transfer of funds.
More importantly, this pandemic will be mostly over, probably, within a year. I have written about all the new coins being planned for 2021 and the rest of the Roaring 20s to come. I have not seen as much interest in new coins since the State Quarter series. Once we see some new designs on circulating coins, we will see new interest in the general population. Circulating coins will always remain pieces of American history you can hold in your hand, and they will continue to generate interest in older gold and silver coins, too.
Mike Fuljenz taught classes on grading and counterfeit coin detection for over 20 years. He has also assisted the Texas Attorney General with drafting consumer alerts on coins and on counterfeits. He has lectured and conducted training for law enforcement with the Numismatic Crime Information Center. He has been a member of the National Anti-Counterfeiting Task Force, as well as assisting the Federal Trade Commission with their consumer alerts on coins.
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