America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Coins
In late 2010, the United States Mint released a new series of coins with some unique characteristics. The America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Coins contain 5 troy ounces of .999 fine silver and have a diameter of 3.0 inches. The weight, fineness, and purity of each coin are indicated on incuse edge lettering. Designs for each coin are taken from the circulating quarter dollars issued through the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.
The series experienced an unusually turbulent launch with the release of the first five designs of the series at the end of 2010. The coins were released following a long delay due to production challenges. The total mintage of coins released was small compared to the initial demand, resulting in special rules for the distribution of coins.
The following year went more smoothly, with the second five designs released in larger quantities, which fulfilled demand from the market. However, by 2012 demand had decline leading the US Mint to significantly curtail production levels. The mintages for the five 2012 designs came in at the lowest levels of the series, which drove secondary market premiums higher.
In addition to the bullion versions produced for precious metals investors, the US Mint has also offered a collectible version of the coin. These have a special uncirculated finish created through a vapor blasting technique and carry the "P" mint mark on the obverse. The coins sold out of their established maximum production levels for 2010, but sold fewer units in 2011. For 2012, the US Mint curtailed production, leading to early sell outs and high secondary market premiums.
So far, the series has certainly kept collectors on their toes. The low mintages experienced for the 2012-dated releases have rewarded dedicated collectors of the series with higher values. Demand for subsequent issues been higher signaling increased collector interest and solidifying the status of the earlier keys.