Like the Dia De Los Muertos, the Mexican Libertad mintage number release days are cryptic, unnerving, and lead to profound thoughts like “I need to look into becoming the Indiana Jones of Mexican banking laws a little more closely- there’s got to be a way to find more of these.”
Libertads are as elusive as stock market manipulations by high frequency traders. But unlike the Nasdaq, Libertads feature beautiful nude women and eagles tearing apart snakes with their talons (okay maybe that’s the same). Basically, in terms of how easy they are to pick up, they are the opposite of a brooding 1000 page Russian novel. They also fit in your pocket much easier. On that note, here are 7 Year End Liberated Mintage Notes, in honor of this, the Year of Our 7 Inaugural Seven Coin Libertad Silver Proof Set (The Magnificent Seven). As we have already covered the Magnificent Seven and secured its place in history somewhere between Sam Peckinpah, Clint Eastwood, and Quentin Tarantino, we will leave it out of this article.
(Okay fine, one comment: is the 7 Coin Proof Libertad Set some kind of numismatic nirvana? Is this what is metaphorically in the briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Would a feature movie where all of the speaking parts are played by shiny beautiful proof libertads be the best movie of all time or just the year?)
In all seriousness, here are the numbers, which in all caps will be the 7 NOTE MINTAGE ROUND UP
- The 5 ounce silver proof came in at 800 total, which puts it somewhere between the holy trinity years (1998-2000) and the second tear of 2001, 2006, and 2007 (600, 700, and equal to 2004. The key years of the 1998 (400), the 1999 (100), the 2000 (500), and the 2001 (600) can range from $400 up to $6000, so this has to be considered a big winner, especially for those that picked it up at issue, when the price of silver was low as well. Remember 250 of that 800 are in that set.
- The 2 ounce silver proof came in at a surprisingly low 750. This puts it behind the holy trinity again (1998-2000), which range from $280 for the 1999 key to $500 for the 2000. The 2001, 2007, and 2005 make up the second tier, and this year is right behind. The 1999 tends to go for between $4000 and $6000, and the second tiers are hard to find also, so this is a huge winner. Unlike the 5 oz, there are a good amount of 2 ounce collectors and when you consider that 250 of these were in the 7 coin box set, that leaves only 500 laying around for everybody else. The 2 ounce proof most often seen for sale (2009) has a mintage of 6200. So, 2014 has a mintage of 12% of that coin, and that ’09 still holds its value at somewhere around 4-5x spot price. So basically, the 2014 is a home run.
- The one ounce silver proof comes in at 4700. This is a shade over the 4200 2012 issues, and in the third tier of modern issues. The holy trinity 1 ounce proofs (with the 1998 500 issue key) are the hardest to find and have the broadest collector base. This jumps into the 2012 realm, a shade below most of the 2001-2006 issues (the second tier). A third tier coin is a great place to be for a 1 ounce proof, and likely puts it in a place of 4-5 times melt value already. The spot price was much lower in 2014, and those who got in early are no doubt going to celebrate this holiday season as the issue mintage was about half of the 2013 numbers and may inject some more life into the 2012 issue. Following auction websites shows the high volume of trading in libertad proofs and the most active proofs are the one ouncers. From 2008-2011, the mintages were about double this year, so this is a surprise and a welcome return after last year’s bump upward.
- The silver proof fractionals are a wild card this year- a really good wildcard. After being discontinued in 2012, and then reintroduced last year, we have ourselves a nice reentry point. The 1/2 ounce proof is at 1750, the 1/4 is at 1700, the 1/10 is 1950, and the 1/20 is at 1850. Essentially, when you take the 250 7 coin sets, and add the 1000 box sets, there were effectively no fractional silver proofs left. This has been an upward trending area of libertads, with the low cost entry point, maybe serving to broaden the collector base. Recent years have seen the fractionals show up more often graded and usually disappearing quite quickly in online auction sites. These fractional proofs regularly fetch in the 100’s and even 1000’s of dollars as the libertad curse infects those who mistakenly believe just picking up one coin will be enough or try to tempt fate by holding one of these delicate shiny treasures in their hands for long enough to catch the only good kind of fever known to come out of Mexico. If you lost focus during this paragraph, here’s a recap: the silver fractional proofs this year are in a second tier, only behind the holy trinity. Huge, huge drop in numbers, only trailing the golden 1996-2001 years. Additionally, the collector interest in fractionals is exploding. If you happen upon a time machine, you might want to go back and buy as many liberatads as possible while selling all of your baseball cards. One thing to look for in 2015 is if the Mexican Mint will release fractionals again or just have them in sets, making them desirable to set collectors and keeping supply well below demand.
- A note on the Bullion issues: What is going on with this mintage? It’s really low! 429,200 bullion 1 ounce silver liberates. That’s third tier- behind the holy trinity, and the just trailing the 2005-2007 (what’s a word that’s not golden- silver?) years. It’s nearly half of last year’s 774,000, and the lowest 1 ounce BU coin since 2007’s 200,000. If you know what those are going for, and you see the price of silver, you can pretty easily imagine a 500% profit on those BU coins. Then again, you can pretty easily imagine a unicorn with eyes made out of licorice also, but that doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. Still, this year’s issue could spin some modern bullion collectors circular Rumplestiltskin gold/silver.
- Speaking of gold: wow on the proof sets as well. Only 250 of the gold proof sets were released. That’s the 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/10, and 1/20 ounce proofs. Key date alert! That’s the lowest mintage of any gold proof coin ever. Repeat. Ever. Sure, it’s only 50 less than last year, but another way to look at it is this year’s gold proof libertad is the key by 20% less than the next closest. In any case, it’s such a surprise that none other than Pat at Don Bailey confirms that the Mexican Mint just confirmed that they were planning on printing 500 sets but had their inventory slashed. They sent out what they had (250) but there are sets out there that have higher COA numbers than 250. So it may seem like the mintage is higher than 2013- it’s a printing error. We have a modern gold proof key. And for those who get a COA higher than 250 but want to prove to their wives that they really did spend that vacation money wisely, Pat will be happy to facilitate a swap of your COA through the Bank of Mexico- just email him. Look him up in this amazing library of alexandria that we carry in our pockets now that goes by the name of ‘Google’.
- Gold BU thoughts: Higher than average mintage of 4,050 BU libertad gold 1 oz coins this year. The key of 2003 has a tiny fraction of that with 500. Even last year had only 2350. All of the gold fractional BU’s outpaced last year as well. What does this mean? Well- spot prices were lower and people were looking to buy and the Mexican Mint was their huckleberry, is one theory. People are buying more gold and the Mexican Ming is making more.
Another theory is that libertads are much like the naked creatures they depict. You can wait for them, fall in love with them, even worship them. You can rearrange your collection and make plans and orders all year for your binders and folders, but in the end, they will do whatever they want and if you want them in your life, you will say “yes, dear” and break out a credit card. It will make your life easier if you just accept it now. Decide on the BU silver, silver proof, or gold proof or uncirculated. Just make sure to keep up with your collection, because those who have dared to go back and try to complete their collections on the secondary market years later know just how jealous a mistress the Winged Beauty can be.
Here’s to a healthy year of numismatic collecting in 2015. May your mintages be low and your luster bright. May you tone well and, if you must be melted down, may you find your way into the die cast of a 1933 St. Gaudens Double Eagle, and leave behind no no bag marks. It’s a great hobby. Enjoy.
Stay safe and to a healthy year of collecting to you and your family!