U.S. Mint initiates process for major U.S. coinage overhaul
The U.S. Mint has begun the process of research and evaluation, eventually setting the stage for new coin compositions, as well as potentially changing bullion coin allocations.
Posted: Tuesday , 08 Mar 2011
RENO, NV -
The U.S. Mint Monday announced it is seeking public input on factors to be considered in research and evaluation for alternative metallic coinage materials to be considered in the production of all circulating coins.
The announcement, which is a result of The Coin Modernization, Oversight and Continuity Act of 2010, is setting the stage for a major overhaul of the metals composition of coins and how the Mint is going to manufacture them.
Basically, the Treasury Secretary and the U.S. Mint are conducting a major re-examination of minting and coinage laws.
For instance, the Mint now has the authority to research and test less expensive alloy alternatives for coins. Currently the Lincoln Penny and the Jefferson nickel cost more to produce than their corresponding face values. The Treasury Secretary is expected to address this situation under the auspices of the new act.
Other changes under the Coin Modernization Act give the U.S. Mint greater flexibility in meeting the demand for gold and silver numismatic items, as well as bullion coins. The Treasury Secretary now has the authority to determine the qualities and quantities of American Eagles, which comprise the bulk of gold and silver bullion coins.
Previously, the qualities and quantities of U.S. bullion coins were closely regulated by Congress.
The act also enables the U.S. Mint to produce proof and/or uncirculated American Eagles coins, even if the Mint is not meeting bullion coin demand. For example, the American Platinum Eagle Coin has not been available in bullion format for more than two years.
In the news release Monday the Mint said it is not "soliciting suggestions or recommendations on specific metallic coinage materials." The Mint is seeking public comment only on the factors to be considered in the research and evaluation of potential new metallic coinage materials.
Comment must be submitted to the U.S. Mint on or before April 4, 2011.
Meanwhile, the Mint has reported total February 2011 gold bullion sales of 72,500 ounces with 6,000 gold bullion ounces sold so far this month. Gold bullion sales dropped from 84,000 coins reported during February 2010.
Silver bullion sales totals for February 2011 were reported at 3,240,000 silver ounces, up from the 2,050,000 silver ounces sold during February 2010.