The big surprise for the 2017 Libertad mintages was hinted at in the last Libertad article: the minuscule gold bullion mintages. The 1/10-ounce gold Brilliant Uncirculated coin came with the key number of 300 (tied with 2003 for low mintage). Recent auctions on eBay have the 1/10th selling above $800, so the question of whether or not gold bullion will eventually find its way to Libertad collectors seems to have been answered. We warned you!
The silver Libertad mintages were way down in 2017 for the bullion coin. Given the recent earthquake in Mexico City and the low mintage marks of the bullion, there also exists a giant debate in Mexico. The question facing the Mexican Congress is whether to monetize the silver Libertad.
Exactly. The proposal is that the Central Bank of Mexico will determine a face value for the Libertad coin. This will operate essentially like the $50 gold eagle in the U.S., but with an actual value close to the spot price that protects against the coins being melted down for silver value, as the price of silver goes up. The bank would set the actual value of the Libertad at a different value each day. One imagines they could even increase the value above spot (maybe even make older Libertads worth 10 times spot value). More news to come on this, but it would cut out the middleman and allow Libertad owners to exchange their coins at the bank. It marks an important currency development and one which would likely only increase the demand for these gorgeous, thinly sliced silver and gold pancakes of perfection.
Last year 1,437,500 silver bullion 1-ounce coins were minted, and this year it’s 636,000 — the lowest in three years. The fractional Brilliant Uncirculated coins are all in the 8,000-9,000 mintage range — the lowest since 2008.
Proof silver coins came in at 8,650, less than last year’s 13,250, but still on the higher end of silver Proof 1-ounce coins. The 1/2-ounce Proof is second only to last year with 12,750. The 1/4-ounce is the lowest mintage Proof of 2017 silver, at 4,850 (about half of last year’s 9,550), but still toward the higher end overall. For example, before 2010, there had never been more than 3,000 quarter-ounce silver Proofs — and recent eBay prices are showing the 1/4-ounce Proofs skyrocketing.
The kilo has a mintage of 500 for the Prooflike and 200 for the Brilliant Uncirculated.
The gold Proof returns from last year’s 2,100 high to 600 for the 1-ounce Proof, 700 for the half, 1,500 for the 1/4 and 1/10, and 600 for the 1/20. This should make collectors who were worrying about the gold mintage inflation happy again. The gold Proof sets from 2013 and 2014 have jumped and are now hard to find anywhere. Most of these coins (particularly the fractionals) go for at least twice the spot price. The gold Proofs have the same issue as gold eagles — the price is high enough that the upside seems to be a little baked in.
Onward and upward!
Third-party graders have started adding “first strike” and “early release” to the Libertad Brilliant Uncirculated coins; so far this early designation hasn’t added much extra value (but that will likely change). However, the graded Brilliant Uncirculated market has taken off, and it bears noticing. Coins graded MS-67 and above in low-mintage bullion dates are routinely selling for over $400, and the ungraded set in the Libertad binder represents a tremendous upside if the coins grade well. It’s no surprise that these sets are nearly impossible to find (it’s been that way for years), with values fetching between $2,000 and $4,000 for a complete Brilliant Uncirculated set. You were warned!