Q. David Bowers
Options and Prices
Options and prices for the 1988 Olympic coins are given below (Options 3 arid 4 did not relate to silver dollars and are omitted):
(1) Proof 1988-S silver dollar, suggested retail $29; Schedule A price $25.50, Schedule 6 price $26. 88,858 coins were sold this way, (The Mint rioted in a June 7, 1990, release of sales figures that all figures are 'subject to minor corrections; the figures given here are the latest numbers available.) A coin in it plastic capsule was housed in a maroon Velvet presentation case with a hinged lid and a plaque of the Great Seal on the lid. The case and a descriptive certificate were enclosed in a maroon cardboard box imprinted on the lid with the Great Seal and "United States Mint/1988 Olympic Coins." The box was' placed within a maroon slipcover similarly imprinted.
(2) Uncirculated 1988-D silver dollar. Retail price $27, Schedule A price $24, Schedule B price not applicable. Sales: 139,084 coins. Packaged similarly to the 1988-S Proofsilver dollar.
(5) Two-coin Proof set containing the 1988-S Proof silver dollar and the 1988-W Proof $5 gold. Suggested retail price $260, Schedule A price $228, Schedule 13 price $230. Sales totaled 225,534, Cointain plastic capsules were housed in a maroon velvet presentation case with a hinged lid and a plaque of the Great Seal on the lid. The case and a descriptive certificate were enclosed in a maroon cardboard box imprinted on the lid with the Great Seal and "United States Mint/1988 Olympic Coins." The box was placed within a maroon slipcover similarly imprinted.
(6) Two-coin Uncirculated set containing the 1988-D silver dollar and the 1988-W $5 gold. Suggested retail price $250, Schedule A price $224, Schedule B price not applicable. Sales totaled 38,971 sets. Packaged similarly to No.5.
(7) Four-coin Proof and Uncirculated set containing an Uncirculated 1988-D silver dollar, a Proof 1988-S silver dollar, and Uncirculated and Proof examples of the 1988-W $5 gold, mounted in a mahogany box. Suggested retail price $550 (later cut back to $510), Schedule A price $510 (presumably later lowered), Schedule B price not applicable. Sales amounted to 13,313 sets.
(8) Prestige Proof set consisting of an Olympic 1988-S Proof silver dollar in combination with a regular five-coin Proof set of 1988. Suggested retail price $45, Schedule A price $42, Schedule B price not applicable. Sales amounted to 231,661 sets. Each set was mounted in a maroon plastic holder with hinged covers (like a book) of maroon suede with a plaque of the Great Seal mounted on the front cover; white satin interior cover with USA five-ring Olympic logotype imprinted in silver, and red, white, and blue ribbon. The holder and a descriptive card were housed in a maroon cardboard box imprinted with the Great Seal and Prestige Set designation. (Regular five-coin 1988 Proof sets, not containing Olympic coins, were listed at the suggested retail price of $11, Schedule A price $8.75, Schedule B price $9 to distributors participating in the Olympic program.)
In its direct sales campaign to collectors and others on its mailing list, the Mint established prices of $22 foran Uncirculated 1988-D Olympic silver dollar, raised after May 15, 1988, to $27, whereas a Proof 1988-S Olympic dollar was first offered at $23, raised on May 15, 1988, to $29. In addition, a two coin Uncirculated set consisting of a 1988-D silver dollar and a 1988-W gold $5 was offered at $220 per set, a price later raised to $250. The two-coin Proof set containing the 1988-S Proof silver dollar and a Proof 1988-W $5 was offered at $225, raised on May 15 to $260
Prestige Proof sets were priced at $45 each. Special four-coin sets in mahogany boxes containing an Uncirculated 1988-D Olympic dollar, Proof 1988-S Olympic dollar, and Uncirculated and Proof examples of the 1988-W $5 gold were first offered at $445, price later raised to $510.
Minting and Distribution
Grey Advertising was awarded a $22 million contract to mount a nationwide campaign to publicize and distribute the 1988 Olympic coins. Orders were filled by the Washington office of the U.S. Mint, with mailing facilities in Lanham, Maryland. A form letter was sent to those ordering, expressing appreciation for their business and noting that all Uncirculated pieces ordered during the pre-issue period would be shipped by the time of the Olympic Games in September 1988. In addition, a commitment was made to ship at least 200,000 Proof gold coins and 750,000 Proof silver coins by September.
The initial 1988-D silver dollars were struck in a special ceremony. On hand to view the procedure were several athletes from past and present United States Olympic teams including Jeff Blatnick, Rowdy Gaines, John Naber, Bill Toomey, and Connie Carpenter-Phinney.
The 1988 Annual Report of the Director of the Mint told of the sales effort:
1988 Olympic commemorative coins were marketed through direct mail, telemarketing, international marketing, bulk, consignment and over-the-counter sales. These coins were first offered for sale at a pre-issue direct mail discount from mid-February through mid-May 1988. More than 1.2 million coins were sold during the three month period of preissue discount sales. After the pre-issue period, special campaigns were conducted in the domestic market to support the sale of coins through the retail program. Major retailers such as K-Mart, Sears, Montgomery Ward, and over 900 financial institutions sold U.S. Olympic coins to their customers. This retail program made U.S. Olympic coins available to the American public in all 50 states at more than 8,500 selling locations.
Additional marketing efforts included a program to sell large quantities of coins to precious metal and coin dealers. A strong public relations program was conducted to ensure optimum press coverage.
Final sales figures released by the Mint indicate that 191,368 Uncirculated 1988-D Olympic silver dollars were distributed and 1,359,366 Proof 1988...5 dollars were sold, amounting to a total of 1,550,734 silver dollars from both mints. Eventually, the Mint stated that the sales of nearly two million coins (including the $5 gold coins) yielded a profit of about $22 million.
Collecting 1988 Olympic Dollars
Today examples of the Uncirculated 1988-D and Proof 1988-S Olympic silver dollars are readily available in condition as issued.