Summer is here, and the US Mint is just now releasing 2010-dated fractional-ounce Gold Eagles, the ½-oz, the ¼-oz and the 1/10-oz sizes. We expect to have the coins ready for shipment on or about June 21. Because of subdued buying, premiums are about where they have been during normal times in years past, meaning that wholesalers are not tacking on additional premiums because they fear running out of the coins.
A big however is that the wholesalers could change their pricing if the Mint releases small quantities. The Mint has not allocated coins so there is still the possibility that there could be a short mintage. I think a short mintage is an outside possibility.
The Mint received huge criticism in 2008 and 2009 for not being able to meet demand. I felt that the criticism was unjustified. The financial crisis of 2008 came out of nowhere (at least to the Establishment), and the Mint didn’t see it coming any more than Wall Street, the banking industry and certainly the government. (Although you have to admit that John Paulson had his hand on the pulse of the financial markets.)
Therefore, I believe that the Mint will have a huge supply of fractional-ounce Gold Eagles on hand when they are released.
This belated release of fractional-ounce Gold Eagles should not be construed as flaw on the part of the Mint but a sign of the tremendous success of the its bullion coins programs. In my opinion, the Mint appropriately dedicated its production to the more popular 1-oz coins: the 1-oz Gold Eagles, the 1-oz Silver Eagles and the 1-oz Gold Buffalos.
Had the Mint considered only “profitability,” it would have been producing the fractional-ounces Gold Eagles all along because the Mint has a bigger margin in the small coins. However, the mint chose to produce the lower-margin coins (1-oz Gold Eagles, primarily) in efforts to satisfy demand.