Libertad collectors: it is time to shed some of the mystery and intrigue surrounding the 2015 mintages and releases. We’ve had years with special sets (2012 and 2013), and years of no sets (2011), so how about we have a year of status quo? Not exciting enough? Well, it is always the quiet ones that you have to worry about. Did anybody see 2014 ending up as a semi-key date, especially in the 2 ounce and fractional proofs? Have you noticed what the 2014 silver and gold proofs have been selling for? 2014 started out innocently enough- the standard silver and gold sets were slated, with only one exception: a seven coin set (“The Magnificent Seven”) that was being released for the first time. It didn’t seem particularly noteworthy early in 2014, as it was merely a boxed consolidation of all the yearly silver proof issues. Of course, that’s like saying a 1937 buffalo nickel is only seemingly missing a leg or a coin is only missing edge lettering.
Collectors took one look at the seven coin set and its beauty caused tears of numismatic joy to flow from collectors like candy from a piñata. It might not have had any new coins, but something about it stuck. Even non-spanish speakers were muttering: El Corazon Quiere Lo Que Quiere. (‘The heart wants what it wants.)
Like the Hula-Hoop, Slinky, and Jell-o, nobody predicted the popularity of the compilation set. Sources at the Banco de Mexico say that the Bank was ecstatic at the set’s popularity. It captured the balance of old and new so difficult to straddle, and 2015 will welcome the second issue in the ‘Magnificent Seven’ Series. Mintages will remain at a microscopic 250 sets, and will again includes a wooden box and COA. One way to look at: there’s no need to worry about getting them. They’ve already sold out.
The premiums are sky high on these treasures, and the individual coins can be had for much less. Still, discerning collectors seem to really want the actual sets for their collections. Last year, the seven coin set sold out in 4-5 days. This year, all of the 2015 were sold in less than two days. One major distributor, which carried almost half of the sets, reported being sold out in three hours.
Libertads have gained popularity overall in recent years, and the seven coin set can serve as an introductory piece. Secondary premiums have increased across the board, but the sets have jumped much higher than normal libertad jumps. Perhaps libertad collectors were tired of watching all of the other world and US commemorative coin jumps and wanted one for themselves, but whatever the case, the normally slow moving and steady growing premiums really popped last year. 2014 seven coin sets have settled around $1300-$1500.
For those who missed last year’s issue, 2015 is a good year to start collecting this series. Early indication from Mexican Mint higher ups is that plans are to ramp up mintages for this series starting in 2016. The high demand has the Mint looking to increase the mintage enough so that a few more collectors can get a hold of them. If this holds true, than we will be looking at a two year key date of 2014 and 2015 for the seven coin series. If you were not a believer in the viability of the seven coin set already, it might be time to hop in.
Other libertad notes: A major piece of news is that this year, for the first time in the history of the libertad series, premiums will go up. The Bank of Mexico is waiting for authorization to increase premiums on the coins, which haven’t been increased in the 30 years that the series has been in existence. This is holding up the release of the coins. Once this authorization is signed, the price of coins will be higher across the board. Costs have gone up since the series debuted in the 1980’s (and pastel colors and hairspray have gone down).
What does this mean for libertad collectors? Probably not as much as it might seem, since the proof issues have sold out for years at issue price, and most purchasers already pay a mark up from the distributors. Part of the increased cost will surely be passed on to early adopters, but without much complaint. Anybody who gets libertads at close to issue price knows that they appreciate rapidly. For 2015, the releases will be the silver proofs, the five piece set, the seven coin set, kilo, and all the BU and Proof coins will be available this year. The gold coins will also likely be similar to last year, proofs and BUs.
The most visible result of the price increase is that only a small amount of the 2015 libertads will be available when they first go on sale- likely at the end of this month. The remainder will be staggered throughout the year, which hasn’t happened with non-BU libertads before. With so much demand, the effect of this likely will benefit some collectors who miss out on certain issues. There won’t be any new sets issued for 2015, but meet the new boss (the same as the old boss: the seven coin set).
Stay tuned for big news coming down the pipeline: advance word is that there are new issues in the works for 2016 and 2017. We will know more exact numbers later on, and we will work hard for you here at the Mint blog get you the information first. On a personal note, thanks so much to everybody for all the kind words- we are grateful we have our health and our friends!