US Mint Coins For Sale FAQ

US Mint Coins For Sale FAQ

Steven Cochran
Published: October 11, 2021
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Every year, the US Mint offers new collectible and commemorative coins to the public. Here are answers to the top questions people have about buying coins from the US Mint.

Can I Buy Bullion Coins From the US Mint?

The US Mint does not sell bullion coins directly to the public. They do, however, offer a limited number of the same precious metal designs in proof and uncirculated finishes.The US Mint sells precious metal bullion coins to a select list of Authorized Purchasers, who in turn sell to wholesalers, who sell to the public. The US Mint provides a list on their website of bullion dealers where you can purchase US legal tender bullion coins.

Gold and Silver Eagle Comparison

Comparison of US Gold Eagle and Silver Eagle coins.

Can I Buy Gold and Silver Directly From the Mint?

Given that you can't buy uncirculated bullion coins from the mint, investors have two options for buying precious metals directly from the US Mint.

First, you can buy the proof or collectible versions of American Silver Eagle and American Gold Eagle coins from the mint. Second, you can buy any commemorative or collectible gold and silver coins the US Mint has on offer. With either of the two options, the coins will be more expensive than their bullion coin counterparts.

Can I Buy Gold Bars From the US Mint?

No, the United States Mint does not produce gold bars for sale. However, other government mints do, such as Perth Mint (Australia) and the Royal Canadian Mint.

Why Are the Numbers of Some Coins Limited?

Many commemorative coins, proof coins, and coins with the special "uncirculated" finish have mintage limits. In the case for commemorative coins and medals, the mintage limit is set by Congress in the law authorizing the coin. Other collectible coins and medals may have mintage limits set by the Mint itself.

Mintage limits add to the perceived collector value of the coin. Numismatists are usually uninterested in coins that are produced in unlimited numbers. This is true of numismatic coins from any mint, not only the US Mint.

history of the us mint

US Mint logo.

What Are Order Limits and Household Limits?

Many limited mintage items will have a demand greater than the supply. The US Mint will place order limits or household limits on purchases of these items. This is to give customers a better chance of purchasing the item, compared to situations where a company could buy them all up for resale at higher prices.

  • Order Limit: Order limits restrict the number of a particular item that can be purchased by a single person or business.
  • Household Limit: Household limits apply to shipping addresses. If two people live at the same address, and there is a household limit of 1 for the coin, only one person can buy one. If the household limit is 3, then up to three people at the same address could buy one. If only one person was interested in the coin, they could buy the household limit by themselves, in this case being 3 coins

Why Does the US Mint Change Their Prices On Some Coins?

The US Mint does not get taxpayer money. In fact, the US Mint is expected to make a profit every year, and send the proceeds to the Treasury Department to be applied toward the National Debt.

Prices on precious metal coins and medals are set with this in mind. However, a jump in precious metal prices could end up costing the Mint more than they are charging. Conversely, a big drop in precious metal prices should be passed on to the buyer.

That's why the US Mint uses a pricing range table each week, to set the price of currently available precious metal coins and medals. If the average weekly price of gold, platinum, or palladium changes enough, it may land in a different zone than the prior week. In this case, the Mint will adjust the affected coins by a fixed amount. Price changes go into effect the following week.

Example 1:
If the average weekly price of gold moved from $1,842/oz to $1,863/oz, the price of the limited edition proof American Gold Eagle 1/4 oz coin would go from $715 to $727.50 the next week. The 1 oz proof American Gold Eagle would sell for $2,750 the next week, up from $2,700.

Example 2:
The price of platinum falls nineteen dollars, from $917 to $898. The following week, the price of the 1oz proof Platinum American Eagle would drop by fifty dollars, from $1,495 to $1,445.

fort knox U.S. bullion depository

The US bullion depository located at Fort Knox.

Why Does the US Mint Sell Circulation Coins For More Than Face Value?

When you first look at circulation strike coins on the US Mint website, you would probably be surprised by how much they cost. For example, a roll of 25 Native American $1 coins costs $34.50 + $4.95 shipping.

I can hear you thinking to yourself, "What the heck?" Each of those Native American $1 coins will only buy a dollar's worth of stuff, not $1.38 of stuff. The US Mint used to sell circulation coins for face value plus shipping, but some people took advantage of it to make a lot of money.

People were gaming their credit card cash back rewards by buying millions of dollars worth of dollar coins and circulation coins, then dumping them at the bank. This forced the Mint to strike more coins than needed, only to have them sit unused in Treasury Department vaults.

DID YOU KNOW?
The Treasury Department has more than 1.1 BILLION $1 coins in storage, partly because of the schemes people were playing with their credit card rewards programs. This, despite the fact that no $1 coins have been minted for circulation since 2011.

Why Is US Mint Silver More Expensive?

The cost of minting a government-issued silver coin is more than just its metal content. The price is higher due to labor and fabrication costs, as US coins must be made to precise specifications by law.

Investors will also pay more for US Mint silver coins because they are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government. This means they are in higher demand than more generic forms of silver. Due to the combination of all of these factors, there is a premium associated with US silver coins.

Does the US Mint Make a Profit?

Yes, the mint sustains its own commercial activities and turns a profit. This revenue goes directly to the United States Treasury.

In another sense, the Treasury Department makes a profit from the mint, as well, due to seigniorage. Seigniorage is the profit derived from minting coins and printing money at a cost below the face value of the currency being made.

Are There Going to Be 2021-W Quarters?

No, the mint has no plans to release any 2021 quarters with the "W" mintmark from the West Point Mint. The last time this happened was the 2019-W quarter, which immediately caused a stir among coin collectors.

2019 ATB with W Mint Mark

2019 America The Beautiful quarter with W mint mark.

Find Sold Out US Mint Products at Dealers and Coin Shops

When the US Mint has leftover stock from a previous year's release, they will continue to list them on their website until they sell out. Once an item is sold out, the only way to obtain one is to buy it from someone who has it.

Previous-date US Mint coins are found in several different places: online marketplaces and classified ads, auction websites, local coin shops, and online coin companies. The safest options are coin shops and large online bullion and coin companies.

Unlike some anonymous internet sellers, coin shops and bullion companies take care to verify and authenticate every item they offer, to protect buyers from fakes. Their goal is to build a relationship with buyers, and make them repeat customers. Most coin shops and bullion dealers should be listed with the Better Business Bureau. Check their ratings on BBB.org.

Whether buying directly from the US Mint, or from your local coin shop or bullion business, purchasing US legal tender coins can be a fulfilling and patriotic experience.


More information about government mints and links to mint products from Gainesville Coins:

Major Coin Mints: Overview & Their Bullion Products

Gold Stolen From the Royal Canadian Mint?

Shop for US Mint Silver

Shop for US Mint Gold

Shop for Silver From World Mints

Shop for Gold From World Mints

Posted In: blog
Steven Cochran

Steven Cochran

Precious Metals Market Analyst | BS University of South Florida (2002)

A published writer, Steven's coverage of precious metals goes beyond the daily news to explain how ancillary factors affect the market.

Steven specializes in market analysis with an emphasis on stocks, corporate bonds, and government debt.

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