Last year, the United States Mint introduced the America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins. This series features the same designs as the current circulating quarter dollars, struck in 5 troy ounces of .999 silver, with a diameter of 3 inches, and incuse edge lettering. The distribution of the upcoming issues featuring Gettysburg National Military Park and Glacier National Park will be different compared to the distribution of the first five issues of the series.
The US Mint’s bullion products are distributed through a network of authorized purchasers (APs). This small group of primary distributors is able to purchase bullion coins directly from the US Mint in bulk quantities based on the price of the precious metals plus an established mark up. The APs then resell the coins to other bullion dealers, coin dealers, or the public. Traditionally, most APs have not sold directly to the public in smaller retail level transactions, but have distributed bullion in larger quantities.
Late last year, the US Mint announced extremely low mintages for the 2010 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins, at just 33,000 units per design. This eventually led the program to be halted and relaunched with special terms and conditions for the authorized purchasers. In order to participate in the distribution of the 2010 ATB silver bullion coins, the APs had to agree to limit premiums to 10% above acquisition cost, sell directly to the public, and impose an ordering limit of one coin per design per household.
This year, the US Mint will begin accepting orders from APs on April 25, 2011 for the next two issues of the series featuring Gettysburg National Military Park and Glacier National Park. An initial quantity of 126,500 units for each design will be allocated amongst participating APs. Because of the higher mintage level, the APs will not be subject to additional terms and conditions, however they must certify that all 2010-dated coins were distributed in accordance with the applicable terms.
Although the APs are not required to accept orders from the public in retail level transactions, several have indicated that they will make the coins available in similar fashion to the 2010-dated releases.
Fidelitrade will make the coins available for sale to the general public, but they will be offered “only after we have physically received them from the Mint (early May). Individuals that have an account with FideliTrade (including those that bought the 2010 coins) can place an order by phone. We expect to offer coins in either a) bulk form (i.e., no special handling/packaging) or b) in Air-Tite holders (for an additional fee). Since the overall demand is unknown, we have not yet determined prices or order limits.”
Manfra Tordella & Brookes, Inc. indicated that they plan to sell the coins to retail dealers as well as the retail public. “No specific selling details are available at this time but our plan is to eventually offer for sale these coins based on prevailing silver market prices plus an undetermined premium. This time around we don’t expect sales limits per household but we will of course be limited by US Mint production capacity and allocation limits.”
Apmex will offer the coins for sale to the public. Their website already includes product pages for the next two designs to be released, which can be found here. “It is not possible to forecast exactly when we will receive the coins or the pricing (since we don’t know our costs as yet). We will offer all that we receive. Presuming we have no restrictions from the US Mint (which we do not as of this date) the coins will be offered in the same manner as every item on our website under the same terms and conditions.”
Jack Hunt Coin Brokers indicated that they would not sell the coins retail. Other authorized purchasers did not respond or were unable to be reached for comment.
Besides purchasing the coins directly from US Mint authorized purchasers, the 2011 America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins should also be available from a variety of coin dealers and bullion dealers, as the coins work their way through the typical distribution chain.
The remaining three designs for this year will feature Olympic National Park, Vicksburg National Military Park, and Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The US Mint has indicated that their goal is to have a minimum of 126,500 units available for each of these designs. The mintage may be increased beyond this amount depending on demand and silver blank availability.