Mexico: Libertad Mintages Break Numerous Records in 2016

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1-oz. Reverse Proof silver Libertad.

As the calendar year of 2016 comes to an end, Libertad collectors far and wide huddle together for that day of celebration: Libertad mintage release day!  The last year has seen a number of positive trends for Libertad collectors, including the rise of graded bullion Mint State Libertads, the astronomical value (and scarcity) of Proof 70 coins, and the continued rise of Libertad prices across the board.  The 2016 numbers are out, and here are the Mint State and Proof figures.

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5-oz. silver bullion Libertad.

Among MS silver bullion Libertads1,437,500 one-ounce coins were minted this year, representing the highest number since 1992, incidentally also an election year.  Demand for silver in the face of a presidential change remained constant all year; but what changed this year? Libertads are always very popular and undersold.  Early information suggests that the Mexican Mint has prepared and streamlined their silver production in anticipation of demand better than in past years. In other bullion figures, the fractional bullion coins reached their highest mintages since 2002 in the half-ounce size (30,900), while the quarter-ounce mintage was nearly the same as last year (17,700 versus 17,900), and the 1/10-ounce (24,400) and 1/20-ounce (22,900) mintages were at their 2000–2004 levels. One thing to keep an eye on is the recent trend, really just in the last year, of people scooping up fractional bullion Libertads and getting them graded. Highly graded Libertads trade many times over their already significant premiums. There are so few out there to begin with, and the prestige of having the highest-graded coin ever minted is not lost on collectors.

1/2-oz. silver Proof Libertad.

1/2-oz. silver Proof Libertad.

The silver Proof Libertad, popular among collectors who feel that it is the most beautiful silver coin in the world, has a growing base.  This helps explain the number of Proof coins minted this year:  The 1/20-ounce Proof had a mintage of 12,550—the highest in history. It would be deflating to some collectors if the number weren’t 12,550, or roughly a quarter the population of a college football game. The 1/10-ounce silver proof (12,650) is also the highest, as is the 1/4-ounce (9550) and the 1/2-ounce (13,150). The 1-ounce silver Proof is also at its highest mintage in history: 13,250.  The 5-ounce Proof (11,400) and 2 -ounce Proof (17,600) are not at their highest mintages, but are in the high-middle end of those offerings, and the aftermarket reflects that.

These mintage levels call to mind the 2008–2011 years of around 10,000 mintages, so it’s likely best to view 2016 from within that lens. What happened from the mini-bubble was the release of the 2012 (4,200) mintage with no fractionals. Older Libertad silver Proofs remain robust, ranging from hundred to thousands of dollars over issue price.  There have been some eBay listings in the tens of thousands for rare Proof 70 silver coins in the 1-ounce, 2-ounce, and 5-ounce varieties. The market is just so rare, that you can name your price.  As the major price guides struggle to capture this skyrocketing market, collectors are perfectly content to keep these beauties in their portfolios. It is nearly impossible to find a complete set of bullion Libertads anywhere, and when you do, they trend around $3,000 and up. Proof complete sets are unheard of.

1-oz. Proof and Reverse Proof silver set, exclusive to APMEX.

1-oz. Proof and Reverse Proof silver set, exclusive to APMEX.

The other major release of the year was the Reverse Proof Libertad, produced in conjunction with APMEX for a limited two-coin release mintage of 1,000.  The total listed numbers for Reverse Proof silver Libertad 1-ounce coins is 1,500 for the year, so it seems that the Mexican Mint will match last year’s mintage of 500 three-coin silver Proof, silver bullion, and Reverse Proof coins that they issued to bank workers only. The total mintage of 1,500 makes the Reverse Proof a special coin, and although slightly less popular than last year’s initial offering, it joins the 7 Coin Magnificent Seven set and the wooden boxed silver Proof mintage 1,000 sets as the jewels in the 2016 Libertad offerings.

1/20-oz. gold Proof Libertad.

1/20-oz. gold Proof Libertad.

Gold Libertad markets are difficult to predict, but the big news in the gold Proof offerings is that the mintages were 2,100 across the board. While still minuscule, the figure trounces the tiny 2013 and 2014 offerings (300-600 and 250-350) and jumps last year’s 500 mintage significantly.  Gold Proof collectors can celebrate the possibility that the 2013-2014-2015 years will be the “Holy Trinity” of gold, as 1998-1999-2000 are for silver Proof collectors.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! May all of your turkeys be stuffed with Libertads.  ❑

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Comments

  1. Eric says

    Great article Gabe
    Knowledgeable as usual
    I really rely on your
    Mintage numbers as
    They are all over the map
    Sometimes

  2. Shawn Richards says

    “The total listed numbers for Reverse Proof silver Libertad 1-ounce coins is 1,500 for the year, so it seems that the Mexican Mint will match last year’s mintage of 500 three-coin silver Proof, silver bullion, and Reverse Proof coins that they issued to bank workers only.”

    There were only 500 2015 APMEX reverse proof sets, and 1,000 banker sets. So the Apmex 2-coin version doubled from last year, and the non-Apmex version reduced by half (if the 1,500 total 2016 reverse proofs mintage is accurate).

  3. Louis Golino says

    Ola Gabe,
    Thanks for the article written with your usual flair.
    Do you think the market will easily absorb the higher mintages?
    I do.

  4. says

    The trend is upwards with more Libertad collectors than ever however. You did not mention that the highlight of the 2016 Libertads is the BU 1/4oz with 1000 minted. This is not low with reference to the holy trinity as you call them but is the best choice for this years Libertads being a popular size and tiny mintage.

    I was sad to see the larger mintage this year on the gold proofs. This type of rise happened in 2011 and the consequence is that few people want the 2011 in a collection as there is little rarity value for this year. Perhaps the same will be the case for 2016.

    The good news is that my gold sets from 2013, 2014 and now 2015 will become great investments. A PF 70 set of 2014 gold proofs sold recently for $10,000 and this puts an ungraded set of 2014 at $6,500 to $7,500 which is double the issue price. If mintages continue to climb this premium will also climb further.

    In closing – if 2016 proofs or BU are available at a low margin to spot – buy them quickly as they are a much better choice than most other bullion coins this year.

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