2010-2011 Perth Mint Coins with the Lowest Sales

The Perth Mint recently updated their numismatic sales figures. I have taken a look at these figures in the past, but it is always surprising to see just how low sales can be for some offerings.

To highlight and discuss, I compiled a list of the 2011 and 2010-dated coins which have the lowest sales figures. These are shown below along with the indicated maximum mintage.

As can be seen, sales are as low as 20 pieces for some of last year’s releases, and 18 out of 20 on the two lists are below 100 pieces.

2011 Coins with Lowest Sales Figures
Sales Maximum
2011 1/2 oz Platinum Proof Dingo 20 1,000
2011 1/2 oz Platinum Proof Emu 20 1,000
2011 1/2 oz Platinum Kookaburra 21 1,000
2011 1/2 oz Platinum Tasmanian Devil 21 1,000
2011 1/2 oz Platinum Great White Shark 24 1,000
2011 2 oz Gold Proof Koala 48 250
2011 1/2 oz Gold Proof Dingo 54 1,000
2011 1/2 oz Gold Proof Emu 57 1,000
2011 1/2 oz Gold Proof Tasmanian Devil 60 1,000
2011 1/2 oz Gold Proof Great White Shark 62 1,000
2010 Coins with Lowest Sales Figures
 Sales Maximum
2010 1/2 oz Platinum Proof Platypus 29 1,000
2010 1/2 oz Platinum Proof Wombat 29 1,000
2010 1/2 oz Platinum Proof Lizard 32 1,000
2010 1/2 oz Platinum Proof Crocodile 32 1,000
2010 1/2 oz Gold Proof Platypus 72 1,000
2010 1/2 oz Gold Proof Wombat 73 1,000
2010 1/2 oz Gold Proof Lizard 78 1,000
2010 1/2 oz Gold Proof Crocodile 78 1,000
2010 1 kg Silver Diamond Eyes Tiger 300 5,000
2010 1/2 oz Platinum Proof Koala 283 1,000

All of these coins still remain available for purchase. Here are the pages for the 2010-2011 Platinum Discover Australia Coins, the 2010-2011 Gold Discover Australia Coins, and the 2010 1 kg Silver Diamond Eyes Tiger. The 2011 2 oz. Gold Proof Koala is listed as “Sold Out”, but this may have something to do with the exclusive distributor situation for the coin.

Over on the US Mint Blog, I have periodically taken a look at coin offerings with low sales levels since these can translate to low final mintages, which in some cases lead to substantial price appreciation on the secondary market. This type of informed speculation is possible since there are legislative restrictions on when the United States Mint can strike each coin. Numismatic coins are struck initially or periodically throughout the year based on demand forecasts. After the year closes, additional coins cannot be struck, but the US Mint can continue to sell coins from remaining inventory. Once this inventory is exhausted, the coins are “sold out” and the final mintage can be far below the initial authorized maximum mintage. (For US commemorative coins a firm sales ending date occurs near the end of the year. )

For Perth Mint offerings the situation is different. Based on answers I have received from their sales manager via the public relations manager, the Perth Mint does not have any limit on how long a particular coin can be offered as long as the maximum mintage is not sold. “If The Perth Mint has stock of a particular release, it will continue to sell it until the stock is depleted.” Additionally, even if the stock is depleted, the Perth Mint has the authority to strike additional coins to fulfill demand, again provided it does not exceed the maximum mintage. “The Perth Mint can back mint on any issue provided the release has not reached its mintage.”

Effectively, the Perth Mint has the ability to offer any particular collectible coin indefinitely, as long as sales have not reached the maximum mintage. This changes the perception of the low sales figures from potential low mintage to an open-ended mintage up to a very high maximum.

While this situation might be beneficial for collectors who choose to add prior year releases to their collection, it puts a damper on speculative buying activity related to potential low mintages, which can be a powerful source of demand. After the US Mint unexpectedly sold out of the Lucy Hayes Gold Coins at a level that would represent a new mintage low for the series, sales of the Lucretia Garfield Gold Coin jumped by more than 500 in a week, compared to single digit sales for most prior weeks.

Another factor to consider is that once a year has closed, sales for prior year products tend to diminish to minimal levels. Older products fall off collector’s radar, as the newer releases take focus. As a result, the incremental sales benefit of leaving coins available for an extended period of time is limited. The number of coins sold during the later years might not come close to the sales achieved in the initial weeks or months.

Finally, for collectors who did purchase the coins, the continued availability from the Perth Mint puts a cap on any potential secondary market appreciation for their holdings. As long as the coins remain available from the original source, there is no impetus to drive market prices higher. While this is not the sole motivation of most collector purchases, it is always nice to see your coins appreciate in value.

In my opinion the situation for prior year Perth Mint products with historically low sales could be handled better. By the following one of the two strategies below, I believe the Perth Mint could achieve incrementally higher sales for these type of products, as well as foster a better environment for secondary market price appreciation, which would benefit collectors as well as longer term sales trends.

Hold a “Last Chance” Sale – Within an established format, periodically announce the last chance to buy certain products. For example, it can be announced that all 2010-dated products will only remain available for sale until December 31, 2012. After this date, remaining inventory would be melted and final mintages announced. During the sale, collectors would have some renewed focus on these largely forgotten products, likely with particular interest in some the coins with the lowest reported sales. After the conclusion of the last chance sale, secondary market prices may rise for the coins with the lowest final mintages, benefiting collectors. The Perth Mint would benefit from a final burst of sales and may also see a positive impact for subsequent issues.

Establish Minimal Mintage Levels – If sales for a particular product type have historically been very low, establish the maximum mintage for future issues just above the base level of demand. For example, if a mintage limit of 50 or 100 coins had been established for the 2011 1/2 oz Platinum Proof Coins, this exceptionally low number would likely entice more collectors and potentially lead to a sell out. From the Perth Mint’s perspective, total sales could be 2X to 4X greater than if the higher maximum mintage was set. From collector perspective, a sell out and a low mintage might set up for secondary market appreciation.

I believe that the Perth Mint does an excellent job creating and offering their silver products at reasonably established maximum mintage levels. Many of these experience an exciting release, relatively quick sell out, and secondary market price appreciation. On the other hand, some of the Perth Mint’s higher end gold and platinum products tend to have maximum mintages that are too high, which combined with open ended production, serves to impede sales. I think the two strategies discussed above could improve the situation for both the Perth Mint and collectors.

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Comments

  1. Samuel says

    they should make their plat and gold coins more “classic”. these coins look like cheap silver coins.

  2. says

    Michael,

    Thanks for raising this topic. The handling of old coins by Perth is an issue which has puzzled me for some time. I think I’ve commented here in the past that one of the problems with the Lunar gemstone kilo coins is that Perth produces too many of them. The mintage number needs to be reduced to 1,000 or maybe even lower, perhaps to 500 like the Lunar proof kilo coins. I didn’t realize this was also going on with older Perth issues, but I guess I should not be surprised.

    Your “last chance” suggestion is a pretty good idea too. Sudden, surprise price cuts announced front and center on their website and via promotional emails might also cause a sales spurt. Though I can hardly speak for anyone else, I know I would give certain products listed above a second look (especially the platinum coins) in the face of a price cut.

    Hopefully someone at Perth will read this post and take your suggestions to heart. Great post!

  3. Louis says

    Excellent post and great suggestions. I also discussed this a while back with respect to Kookabura coins and Lunar coins that have been struck years after the date on the coin.
    One thing to keep in mind is that Peth has stated that Lunar Series I coins will not be re-issued, which is probably why most of them have solid secondary market values like the 2000 dragons, 2001 snakes, etc.
    But it’s interesting that a coin like the 2012 dragon silver bullion coin, which did sell out of its max quickly, as seen values decline quite a bit from peak levels. I noticed APMEX has them on sale today for $60, which is about half peak prices.

  4. Jeremy says

    @Louis, I had noticed that the 1 oz silver bullion dragon coins were on sale at Apmex. I was wondering if it might be a good opportunity because perhaps the price had dropped down so much due to lack of interest? Regardless of how many have been sold, continue to remain on sale or would/could be minted in the future the maximum amount would still be 300,000 for this issue, correct?

    Thanks

  5. G says

    The dragon bullion coins are a good deal- the ones from 2000 still fetch at least 150$, but then again, they didn’t have 50 different types of dragons being offered at the time so it’s anybody’s guess what will happen with these. The snake typeset is coming out soon- you guys gonna pull the trigger?

  6. says

    G,

    My plan for the snakes is to focus on the core numismatic products. For me, that means the three-coin proof set, the typeset, and the high relief proof. One ounce standalone proof and the one ounce bullion coin could also be counted as core products, though I’m passing on them since the typeset will include a bullion coin and a proof, and the three coin proof set contains a one ounce proof.

    Anything outside of that is “If I feel like it and can afford it.”

  7. G says

    Cap- That’s a good plan. I love the typeset- it’s actually my favorite of my dragon products, even though I know the 3 coin proof set is more rare. I want to get the snake also, but I already ponied up extra $$ to buy the 3 coin proof and the 1 oz proof snakes, so… hmmm…
    Samuel- wow that’s a good price on apmex- they have 8 in stock.

  8. Louis says

    @Jeremy- Yes, my understanding is the 2012 bullion dragons can not be reminted because they sold out of the 300K max. APMEX price is back to $70, which is less than I paid last year.
    I think Perth should be announcing a sell-out of the bullion snakes soon. I felt they were a good deal at $40, so I got a bunch of those. The sell out plus rising silver should keep prices at higher levels.
    I saw the pic of the colored snake and really like the way they did that. Last year’s red colored dragon did not do that great so far, but the snake might do better just based on appearance. There may also be a half-ounce colored snake, like they did last year with the dragons.

    BY the way, Samuel and others, the Canada 5 oz penny sold out and is now going for over $600! I did not think they would move that fast, but people can;t get enough of these penny tributes.

  9. Jeremy says

    @Louis, you seem to be good at locating deals, have you considered creating or are you aware of any blogs that list or inform readers of bullion sales? I often see sales but it seems difficult, at least for me, to determine what is a good price on some or most products. One time I had seen the RCM porcelain ladybug coin on sale at Apmex for $250 at the time, I believe they only had 2 or 4, who would have known what an incredible purchase that would have been! 🙂

  10. Frankie says

    Re the dragon bullion – APMEX still have more than 4500+ in stock. They will offer that coin for less soon again as they haven’t sold many due to the snake bullion coins being available now. I’d be patient as you may get it for $55 or less during their 24h specials one day. As far as I remember they sold the gilded coin for $60 lately which has a much lower mintage and is a bit prettier.
    The colored snake is nice but as that seller has sold only 3 for a rather low price so far I’d stay away from it and wait. The colored dragon proofs can be bought below issue price now on fleabay…
    I also think the penny farewell won’t do that well later on. The sets have peaked at $300 and prices are going down now. Once all orders have been shipped by the RCM, they may settle for around $200 me thinks. Common sense will prevail one day – $150 for 1/2 oz of silver is just ridiculous. The only one making money of these is the RCM. Just think about it – it probably costs them approx. $40 (or less) to make the set, and they sell it for $150 to the public: $100 profit a set for 5000 sets makes 0.5M$ net profit with one issue…
    The same applies to the 5oz coin. The mark-up is just too big to make any money of it. If you buy one for your collection – fine, but don’t expect to make money flipping it! 🙂

  11. Jeremy says

    @Frankie, Love the insight! Thank you. I attended a coin show yesterday and the mark ups there too are pretty incredible. One dealer was selling the 2012 silver dragons for $80. I told him that Apmex had them on sale for $60 and he seemed quite surprised, of course, so many of them seem to be so uninformed about SO much. This same dealer also was selling a flower shaped 2012 Chinese silver dragon for $285. There are completed listing for this particular coin on Ebay for $220 and one on sale for a “buy it now” price of $220. Nothing makes coin purchasing more disappointing, at least for me, than realizing you’ve paid too MUCH!

    I think there should be a blog that posts sales and deals for all sorts of coins like some of these coupon sites. Nothing exist so far as I am aware of at the moment. There are plenty of blogs posting current and future releases though! I do like how the “coinupdate” blog posts articles of a variety of current coin related news stories and then at the end includes a section of “notable auctions”.

  12. Samuel says

    Louis, i also noticed the 5oz penny is sold out. i actually cancelled my order for the 5oz and the bullion set, because i checked the ebay history for other 5oz coins, not very good. even though people ask for $600, i think it wont last long.

    regarding the 1oz dragon, they have 4000+ in stock. like i said before, i bought it at $117. i would wait a little bit longer to buy more. i learned some lessons from apmex. for example, i bought the 2010 atb 69dmpl for $1695 early this yr, they have been on sale for at least 4 times for the past half yr, as low as $1500. now it is on sale again. and, they only sold i think less than 50 of them for almost half a yr. so. for some tough to sell items i would wait.

  13. Louis says

    As far as the colored snake is concerned, the coin has not been released yet by Perth, and I would not draw conclusions from the sales levels of one e-Bay seller at this this point. We need more info.
    Jeremy, thanks. I have only so much time for this stuff. I write for CoinWeek.com, and my articles periodically discuss coins I think have good potential for price appreciations.
    On the colored dagons, remember there are two distinct types as CO has explained- one is a bullion coin in specimen finish, the other is a proof coin sold and packaged with its own boc and COA and not part of the type set. The same thing will be done this year, which means type set buyers will not be getting the same colored proof that will be sold individually.
    Finally, I would no suggest going nuts with these issues almost irrespective of the deal you can find. You never know where values will go. I prefer to get one of most things I like, and once in a while will get an extra one if I think it is good potential, or is priced close to bullion like this year’s bullion snakes.

  14. Silverback says

    Thanks Michael for the post. One question I have is: what happened to the 2009 dated coins? Were they all sold out or at one point the PerthMint just stopped offering 2009 dated coins. If it is the latter, then they may also stop offering 2010, and 2011 dated coins at one point, even before they are sold out?

  15. Richard Quan says

    I think Michael has done his research well and has come up with good suggestions for the Perth Mint people. Whether they have the business acumen to adopt his ideas…I have my doubts. Having some of the Series one coins, I would like to see them increase in value rather than be worth only above the Perth Mint buy back silver bullion rate.

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