Trends to Watch: U.S. Coinage Programs Show Huge Success
Hearings were held on March 28 to discuss the future of coinage and money show. The discussions reveal impressive increases in demand for U.S. Modern numismatic coins. The House coinage subcommittee’s witnesses included representatives from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the Mint and the Federal Reserve.
After a number of speakers shared their view of the future, John Mitchell, speaking for the Mint, spoke about three notable achievements by the Mint while under the watch of Mint Director Phillip Diehl. “The first was to revamp the mint’s financial management and accounting systems the second was to stem the proliferation of commemorative coin programs that threatened the viability of that entire endeavor and vital source of funds for worthy purposes authorized by Congress. The third was to increase efficiency.”
Mr. Mitchell revealed a number of impressive details of how the Mint has enjoyed much success and growth in the efficiency of how it is run. But the success that interests me the most is how successful the numismatic program has become since the Mint revamped how they market and promote their product. Mr. Mitchell’s address to the subcommittee revealed that “1994 was the first year our numismatic business operated with a public enterprise fund. Its revenues that year were $314 million, and profits were $9.4 million.”
Although these figures seem impressive, they are not nearly as impressive as the growth in the sales achieved last year which he said, “Last year, sales of numismatic, commemorative and bullion coins and products rocketed to $967 million, and net income rose to $38.8 million.”
Why are the sales of modern commemorative and numismatic coins significant to the rare coin market? Well, I believe this is a significant trend to watch and it is not at all news to me. I have witnessed it in almost every level of the coin market. This trend of increased awareness of collectable coins is having a significant impact on coins that are older and more interesting historically. Another significant trend is that of the membership growth of the American Numismatic Association.
Considering the fact that the pool of collectors and investors continues to grow, and the availability of truly rare coins in finite, it doesn’t take a genius to project the impact these factors should have on prices long-term.