Mail Bag – Is The Mint Producing Too Many Products

Today’s Mail Bag question is likely going to generate a fair amount of debate. Is the United States Mint producing too many products? That’s the question Jeff posed and it is certainly a valid question to ask given the number of items the Mint releases each year. But is that a bad thing?


I have a question that I think is an important one to ask. Is the Mint making to many things to sell? It seems like there is always a special or something that they are pushing that I think devalues the other things. Do we need a privy mark American Eagle? I don’t think so. I think the proof and uncirculated ones are all we need and adding a third one just muddy’s the water.

Also, do we need a three coin set for every new ATB (America the Beautiful) quarter that comes out? No, I don’t think so.

Change my mind!

Thanks for the site and for responding.


First Jeff, thank you for taking the time to write and to read the site. Without you and other readers, doesn’t exist!

The debate of if the Mint is producing too many products has come up more and more over the past few years with a seemingly endless flow of special packages, new product offerings, and one-offs. From a Numismatic perspective, I’m hardly going to disagree with you. I do think the Mint is making too many products and it is watering things down a bit. I think your point about a privy mark on the American Eagle 1-ounce coins is a great example. Do we need it? No, not really. I get why (commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II) but would that be better to do as a proper commemorative (which, I know, is another product)? But equally, I think there are some products that are new that make sense. I think the 3-coin ATB sets are great because it gives people an opportunity, at a reasonably low cost, to add these coins to their collections each year. Truthfully, I’d rather see these continue and the annual Birth Set and Congratulations Set be eliminated.

On the other hand, the United States Mint is a business. It needs products, which it can make a profit on, to keep things going. Yes the Mint is government funded but these products help balance out the costs of producing the circulating coinage we get each year. These profits help with jobs as well as (Clinton ducks) provide a way for yet more new products!

Ideally, I think a smaller subset of what the Mint offers would be better as a collector but as one who sees the why behind all these products (profitability), I get it as well. But equally, it wasn’t all that many years ago where the Mint really didn’t like or support collectors so maybe we embrace what the Mint produces each year, say it is what it is, and focus only on those things that really interest us.

What are your thoughts everyone? Is the Mint over producing products these days? Leave a comment (be nice!) and give me your thoughts.

If you have a Mail Bag question, you can send it in through the About page here on the site.

2 thoughts on “Mail Bag – Is The Mint Producing Too Many Products”

  1. Far, far too many products. I’m biased as when I started collecting there were just two: proof and mint sets, which worked fine. Some expansion is good–the silver Eagles have done well and there are occasional other things that fit in a purely numismatic fashion (a reasonable number of commemoratives, perhaps coin & currency sets, and so on), But now there are so many things coming out that nobody can keep up and the total effect is to water down everything. Given that the vast majority of these are never going to be worth much it almost seems like the TV infomercials selling “great deals.”

    And it’s not even that creative–is the state quarters worked once then a sequel makes sense (not). And putting the 75th anniversary privy marks on all coins and currency with some real publicity would have been a nice touch that might have raised some real interest in collecting. Anyway, if this business wants to save money then two things it could do would be to cut losing products; ask Congress to stop penny production, put the half to sleep, and get rid of those pointless Innovation dollars.

    The sad thing is we’ve been here before. In the mid-1930s the commemorative coin craze led to some ridiculous issues and series that went on and on. Congress and the public finally had enough and the whole thing collapsed. Maybe we’re asking for the same story again.


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