The results are in for our latest Coin Update poll, which asked readers to vote for their favorite modern commemorative silver dollar. Following a long neck-and-neck race with the 2001 American Buffalo Commemorative Silver Dollar, the 1999 Yellowstone National Park Silver Dollar came out ahead with 26% of the vote. In the end, the Yellowstone dollar gained just 27 more votes than the Buffalo commemorative for an overall difference of only 1%.
It’s not surprising that these visually impressive and popular issues continue to rouse the enthusiasm of commemorative collectors, but these results are interesting in that the Yellowstone victory runs contrary to the story told by the sales figures. The U.S. Mint sold 500,000 American Buffalo Proof and Uncirculated silver dollars in 2001, making it one of the most successful modern commemoratives. They continue to command a high premium years later on the secondary market — a quick glance at offerings on eBay shows that, on the low end, these issues are selling for around three times their original $30 retail cost.
The Yellowstone dollars saw above-average demand when they were released in 1999, ultimately garnering orders for 270,158 Proof and Uncirculated coins. Unlike the Buffalos, however, sales did not near the half-million-coin maximum. The comparative scarcity these issues now enjoy might drive up prices in some cases, but the Yellowstone dollar can still be purchased for its original issuing price with relative ease.
Of course, bigger sales do not necessarily equate to a better coin. Those who chose the Yellowstone commemorative may prefer its original, energetic designs and subject to the Buffalo’s homage to a classic circulation issue. The American Buffalo silver dollar is undoubtedly a great commemorative, but it is also a replica of the 1913-1938 nickel. The Yellowstone dollar is unique.
Third place in our poll went to the “Other” category, which received 16% of the votes. This make sense as there were so many great commemoratives that we were unable to include. This poll is admittedly unscientific and we appreciate those who voted despite not seeing their preferred coin among the options. We’ll be interested to see which modern commemorative silver dollars you thought should have been among the selections in the comments below.
It’s apt that the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Silver Dollar had plenty of fans as well, as the coin sold an impressive 405,985 Proof and Uncirculated coins. It also shares its design with the clad half dollar that recently took home the international Coin of the Year Award for best overall coin produced in 2014. The Hall of Fame silver dollar garnered 322 out of 3,053 total votes.
Thank you to all who participated!
Mintage figures and other historical information has been gathered with the help of Mega Red 2017: A Guide Book of United States Coins, Deluxe Edition.