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US Commemorative Coin Series: Quick Bits #43 - To The Melting Pot

 
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 Posted 01/07/2022  4:41 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
One of the "charms" of the classic-era of US commemorative coins was the fact that coin sponsors typically had the authority to determine how many coins they wanted to order from the Mint (within the guidelines established by their coin's enabling legislation) and handled the marketing and distribution of the coins. Today, the Mint manages production, marketing and distribution of modern commemorative coins and simply sends a check (or checks) for the amount of earned surcharges to the sponsor once its sales figures are finalized and audited.

Many of the coins from the classic era did not sell out their entire mintage - their sponsor's were often overly optimistic. Often, the coin's sponsor returned thousands of unsold coins to the Mint to be melted. In many cases, the number of coins melted exceeded 50% of the number of coins struck!

Here are two "Top 5" Lists - one by total coins and one by percentage - of the "leading" melted classic-era commemorative coins:

Classic Era Commemorative Coins Melted: Top 5 By Total Count

#   Year     Coin                                                     Authorized    Struck        Melted      Percentage
5.  1926     American Independence Sesquicentennial - Silver $0.50    1,000,000     1,000,000     859,408     85.94%
4.  1925     Stone Mountain Memorial                                  5,000,000     2,314,000     1,000,000   43.22%
3.  1951     George Washington Carver-Booker T. Washington            3,418,369     2,422,000     1,093,198   45.14%
2.  1946-51  Booker T. Washington Birthplace Memorial                 5,000,000     3,166,000     1,581,631   49.96%
1.  1892-93  World's Columbian Exposition - Silver $0.50              5,000,000     4,050,000     2,501,700   61.77% 


Classic Era Commemorative Coins Melted: Top 5 By Percentage

#   Year     Coin                                                     Authorized    Struck        Melted      Percentage
5.  1926     American Independence Sesquicentennial - Gold $2.50      200,000       200,000       154,267     77.13%
4.  1921     Pilgrim Tercentenary (Total Authorization of 300K)       300,000       100,000       80,000      80.00%
3.  1926     American Independence Sesquicentennial - Silver $0.50    1,000,000     1,000,000     859,408     85.94%
2.  1903     Louisiana Purchase Exposition - Gold Dollar              250,000       250,000       215,250     86.10%
1.  1928     Oregon Trail Memorial (Total Authorization of 6.0M)      6,000,000     50,000        44,000      88.00%



Note: US Mint Reports and Hearings of Congress were used as sources for the above.


Collecting history one coin or medal at a time! (c) commems. All rights reserved.
Edited by commems
01/07/2022 4:44 pm
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 Posted 01/07/2022  4:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jbuck to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very interesting and somewhat depressing. The thought of melting coins...
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 Posted 01/07/2022  6:21 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That 1928 Oregon Trail number really stands out to me.
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 Posted 01/07/2022  7:01 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
That 1928 Oregon Trail number really stands out to me.

The 1928 Oregon has a unique story among the program's issues. I'll pull a few thoughts together and post something about it over the weekend.


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 Posted 01/08/2022  06:47 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add nickelsearcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very informative commems - thanks as always for sharing your research.

I'm looking forward to reading your background on the 1928 Oregon Trail. If you do the math as # of coins survived as a ratio of total # authorized this issue is 1 in 1000 (0.1%). Thats absolutely amazing.

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 Posted 01/08/2022  09:32 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add commems to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If you do the math as # of coins survived as a ratio of total # authorized this issue is 1 in 1000 (0.1%). That's absolutely amazing.

Looking at the Oregon Trail Memorial program as a whole:

Authorized: 6,000,000
Struck: 264,310
Percent of Authorization Struck: 4.41%
Melted: 61,242
Percent of Struck Melted: 23.17%
Net Mintage: 203,068
Percentage Net Mintage of Struck: 76.83%
Percentage Net Mintage of Authorization: 3.38%

Definitely not a "trail blazing" performance!



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 Posted 01/09/2022  08:36 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add CollegeBarbers to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fascinating history! Thanks for sharing, @commems! I think the Sesquicentennial coins surprise me the most, given the subject matter.

Quote:
Today, the Mint manages production, marketing and distribution of modern commemorative coins and simply sends a check (or checks) for the amount of earned surcharges to the sponsor once its sales figures are finalized and audited.

Do we know if recent sponsors have received any surcharges? The most recent information I heard concerned the 2017 programs.
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 Posted 01/13/2022  10:31 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add carlp007 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow, great and surprising information
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 Posted 01/15/2022  9:10 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hokiefan_82 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, commems. Nice to see the different tabulations of the numbers melted as you've done. What about the issues where the unsold coins were simply released into circulation? I may be mistaken, and haven't looked into it, but I believe there were some silver classic commemorative issues where that happened. It's possible I ran across that on one of your discussions before (my memory isn't like it used to be )...
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