Today, May 17, 2011 at 12:00 Noon ET, the United States Mint began sales of the second numismatic release for the America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Coins. This issue features Yellowstone National Park and depicts the famous Old Faithful geyser erupting with an American Bison pictured in the foreground.
Each coin is struck in 5 troy ounces of .999 fine silver and has a diameter of 3 inches. The mintage is limited to 27,000 coins, which were all struck prior to the end of 2010. The price is set at $279.95 each, with a limit of one coin per household for at least the first week of sales. After this time, the US Mint will evaluate sales trends to determine if the limit should be increased, removed, or kept in place.
The coins carry a special finish created by vapor blasting the surfaces after striking. The “P” mint mark appears on the obverse of each coin.
Although there were some reported delays in placing orders for coins within the opening minutes of availability, the experience was not like the stampede of orders placed for the previous release featuring Hot Springs National Park. For that release, initial ordering levels were high enough to take down the US Mint’s website for 45 minutes. By the end of the day, sales had exceeded 19,000 units. Despite the brisk start, a full sell out was not achieved for about two weeks.
Collectors may be taking a more cautious approach to the latest release, especially in light of the recent decline in the price of silver. When the Hot Springs issues went on sale, silver was trading around $48 per ounce. Today, silver is under $34 per ounce, representing a decline of about 30%. Despite the lower precious metal value of the product, the price set by the US Mint has not been decreased.