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A Modern Gold “Sleeper” Hiding in Plain Sight!


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Contributing Author: Mitchell Spivack

The 2017-W Gold Boys Town (MS) is the Lowest Mintage Modern $5 Gold Commemorative Coin by a Long Shot – Nearly Half the Mintage of the Key Date 1997-W Jackie Robinson Gold!

The Mint State Modern Commemorative Gold series has been gaining momentum with collectors since its inception in 1984. Celebrated for its interesting designs and low mintages, this series is accessible while also offering a challenge on some of the lower mintage pieces. While there are some very low mintage coins showcased in this series, two low mintage "kings" stand out – the 1997 Gold Jackie Robinson (Mintage: 5,167) and the 2016 Gold National Park Service (Mintage: 5,150).

But, in 2017, the U.S. Mint released a coin whose mintage dethroned these two, all but blowing them out of the water. This new low mintage "king" was the Boys Town Centennial 2017 Uncirculated $5 Gold Coin ("Mint State Boys Town Gold"), with the staggeringly low (preliminary) final mintage of just 2,947 pieces!

These Coins Were Minted for an Excellent Cause

The Boys Town Centennial Commemorative Coin Program Act (Public Law 114-30) was signed into law on July 6, 2015 ("The Boys Town Coin Program"). The Act honored the 100-year anniversary of "Boys Town", one of the largest non-profit organizations in the country, dedicated to serving at-risk children and families of all backgrounds and religions. Each year, Boys Town programs impact the lives of more than two million children and families nationwide.

Under the Boys Town Coin Program, Congress directed the Mint to issue the following coins in both Mint State and Proof: 50,000 $5 Gold Coins, 350,000 Silver Dollar Coins, and 300,000 Clad Half Dollar Coins. Prices for the coins included surcharges of $35 for each gold coin, $10 for each silver coin and $5 for each clad coin, which the law authorized to be paid to Boys Town to carry out its mission.

This Super Low Mintage Stems from a Highly Unusual Sales History

The Boys Town MS (struck in 90% gold) went on sale from the United States Mint on March 9, 2017 at an opening day price of $395.45. The Mint sold 854 coins on the first day. Prices on the coin were then adjusted based upon the fluctuating price of spot gold. Unfortunately, the coin proved unpopular with the general collecting public and the U.S. Mint announced that sales of this coin would be terminated on December 31, 2017. On November 5, 2017, a full eight months after its release, the U.S. Mint reported sales on this coin at a paltry 2,232 units! The following week, ending November 12th, saw the sale of just 20 additional coins, bringing total sales to just 2,252 units.

Cumulative Sales Figures for 2017-W $5 Gold Boys Town Commemorative (Mint State)
Reporting Date Cumulative Sales Figure Additional Coins Sold Additional Information
3/12/2017 1,054 1,054 First Week of Release
11/5/2017 2,232 1,178* *Sold Across 34 weeks (238 days)
11/12/2017 2,252 20  
11/19/2017 2,362 110  
11/26/2018 2,480 118  
12/3/2017 2,669 189  
12/10/2017 2,999 330 Backorder/Sellout this Week
12/17/2017 2,995 -4  
12/25/2017 2,994 -1  
1/1/2018 2,947 -47  
2/5/2018 2,947 0 Final Confirmed Sales Figure

By this time, the U.S. Mint, seeing the dismal week-to-week sales of the coin likely expected that their remaining inventory on hand (later determined to be around 3,000 units) would have been sufficient to get them through the year’s end ordering deadline. But, speculators, investors, dealers and collectors smelling a new low mintage "king of the series" started to buy up significant quantities of the coin.

The November 19th report showed sales at 2,362 units, the November 26th report showed sales at 2,480 units and the December 3rd report showed sales at 2,669 units (all at a price of $412.60 per coin). The coin sold additional units over the weekend, and by December 6th the coin was on "backorder" at the Mint. Roughly two days later, the coin surprisingly "sold out" well ahead of the previously announced December 31, 2017 deadline. The December 10th weekly U.S. Mint report showed 2,999 coins sold.

Between the sub-3,000 Mint State gold coins sold and the sub-9,000 Proof gold coins sold, the U.S. Mint sold less than 1/4 of the authorized 50,000-coin mintage limit. Despite this, they elected to produce no additional coins to have available for those collectors, dealers and investors planning last minute ordering on the previously announced December 31st sales deadline. This premature sellout also hurt Boys Town who lost out on their cut of all the additional sales of these coins.

The January 1, 2018 U.S. Mint report showed sales of the Mint State Boys Town Gold at just 2,947 units, 47 coins lower than the previous week and (52) coins lower than the December 10, 2017 Report. The 2,947-unit sales figure was reaffirmed in the February 5, 2018 U.S. Mint report. The result was a coin that decimated the mintages of all other coins in the series, firmly crowning itself as the new low mintage "king".

This is still a "Sleeper" Coin (For Now)

The Mint State $5 Modern Commemorative Gold series has a number of low mintage coins, but none currently come close to the Boys Town Gold. It is even in an entirely different league than the key date 1997 Jackie Robinson Gold. Absolute rarity aside, a quick pricing comparison between the 2017 Boys Town Gold and the 1997 Jackie Robinson Gold shows how undervalued the former is in the current market.

Lowest Mintage Coins in the Mint State $5 Modern Commemorative Gold Series
Ranking Coin Description Estimated Final Mintage
1 2017-W Boys Town $5 Gold (MS) 2,947
2 2016-W National Parks Service $5 Gold (MS) 5,150
3 1997-W Jackie Robinson $5 Gold (MS) 5,167
4 2013-P 5-Star Generals $5 Gold (MS) 5,667
5 2016-W Mark Twain $5 Gold (MS) 5,699
6 2015-W U.S. Marshals $5 Gold (MS) 6,743
7 2001-W Capitol Visitor Center $5 Gold (MS) 6,761
8 2012-W Star Spangled Banner $5 Gold (MS) 7,006
9 2011-P United States Army $5 Gold (MS) 8,052
10 2011-P Medal of Honor $5 Gold (MS) 8,233

First, I will share a little history. About ten or so years ago, when the Mint State $5 Modern Commemorative Gold series became a very popular series to collect (including Registry Set collecting), the Jackie Robinson Gold coins (then the lowest mintage ever for the $5 Gold Commemorative series) skyrocketed in value. In June of 2008, a couple examples in PCGS MS69 sold for more than $4,250 each at major auction! And, in early 2010, a PCGS MS70 example traded at $6,325! It essentially took the Jackie Robinson Gold about 5-10 years to mature from a $300-$400 coin into a $3,000-$4,000+ coin – enjoying a roughly 10x upward movement in price.

For a number of reasons, including mintages as low as around 2,000 or so on the $10 Spouse Gold series, by October of 2016, the Jackie euphoria slowed greatly and prices for the PCGS MS69 coins fell to roughly $825 at major auction. But, even with the near 80% drop in price off the high set eight years earlier, the Jackie coin still commanded a very nice premium to spot gold. With just under 1/4 oz. of gold in the $5 Gold Commemoratives, spot was about $325 for the coins. So, even at $825, there was a healthy $500 premium on the MS69 Jackies’ with their mintage of 5,167. For the past two years, the Jackie Gold appears to have set a base price around the $800 level even with the Boys Town out there with its sub-3,000 mintage.

By contrast, at the time of this writing, the respected Grey Sheet on the Mint State Boys Town Gold shows a price on a raw coin of just "$350" as compared to "$900" on the Jackie Robinson Gold! That $350 price is $62/coin below the U.S. Mint sales price for the final couple of months of sales when the coins were gobbled up at $412.60/coin and $45 below the Mint’s initial offering price on the coin! I personally know at least three serious collectors and dealers of this series who would buy 50-100 fresh coins right now at $450/coin (and even higher if push came to shove), so it appears the “$350” dealer to dealer price is undervalued. The PCGS Price Guide looks to have the retail pricing about right on the Boys Town and Jackie Gold coins. The MS69 Boys Town is priced at $900, while the Jackie is priced at $1,175.

How long might it take for the Boys Town Gold (mintage 2,947) to be worth more than the Jackie Robinson Gold (mintage 5,167)? Time will tell. This is the nature of a "sleeper", you never know for sure. But rest assured, I will be personally buying up virtually every coin I can get my hands on at the current sheet price of $350!

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Modern Commemoratives