US Commemorative Coin Investment Analysis

The era of modern US commemorative coinage began in 1982 and continues to the present. Commemoratives were also issued by the Mint from 1892-1954 and are often called the Early Commemoratives.

What motivates people to buy commemoratives from the Mint? No doubt some buyers are moved by the subject matter. After all, many of us got a few goose bumps on the 100th anniversary of mankind's first powered flight. Some collectors, however, may order commemoratives from the Mint in the hope they are making a smart investment for the future.

Should modern US commemoratives be viewed as wise investments? I did some research to find out what type of Return on Investment (ROI) they generate. I started out with the 32 clad coinage commemoratives issued during the modern era. All of them happen to be half dollars. Since clads contain no precious metals content, the ROI was fairly easy to compute because the rise and fall of gold and silver prices have no direct influence on their value.

Mostly, the results were much what I expected: Modern commemoratives are a poor choice for an investment vehicle. Of the 32 dates studied, only eight had calculated annual ROI's above 5.0%. A total of ten dates displayed negative return rates.

The average ROI of the entire population of clad commems came to 4.0%. That's really not all THAT bad, but still lags far behind what a collector might expect to enjoy with the purchase of truly rare, collectible United States coins. [To get started on that subject, visit our Rare Coin Values Index].

If you look closer at the table, you'll notice what really helped the average ROI was the spectacular performance of a small handful of dates. Now this I did not expect to see. The 2011 United States Army commemoratives really jump out. Perhaps they'll recede in value as time goes on, but at the moment, their ROI's would make any portfolio manager jealous.

If any readers would like to take a stab at explaining why those few clad commem dates have done so well, please contact me. I may publish your thoughts later.

And what of the gold and silver based commemoratives? Are they poor numismatic investments as well. I did a spot check of eight such coins. After negating the bullion influence, I found they too exhibit poor returns. However, as with their clad cousins, a small few of them did really well. Time permitting, I will post a full analysis of the precious metal commemoratives.





US Commemorative Clad Coinage Rate of Return
Commemorative Type Face Value Unc. Or Proof? Issue Price Value 2014 MS-65 Value 2014 PF-65 Yearly ROI Since  Issued
1986-D Statue of Liberty -- Ellis Island .50 Unc. $5.00 $2.00 -- -3.2%
1986-S Statue of Libery -- Ellis Island .50 Proof $6.50 -- $3.00 -2.7%
1989-D Bicentennial of Congress .50 Unc. $5.00 $6.00 -- 0.7%
1989-S Bicentennial of Congress .50 Proof $7.00 -- $5.00 -1.3%
1991-D Mount Rushmore 50th Anniv .50 Unc. $6.00 $12.00 -- 3.1%
1991-S Mount Rushmore 50th Anniv .50 Proof $8.50 -- $9.00 0.2%
1992-P Games of XXV Olympiad 0.50 .50 Unc. $6.00 $5.00 -- -0.8%
1992-S Games of XXV Olympiad 0.50 .50 Proof $8.50 -- $5.00 -2.4%
1992-D Columbus Discovery Quincentennial .50 Unc. $6.50 $9.00 -- 1.5%
1992-S Columbus Discovery Quincentennial .50 Proof $8.50 -- $8.00 -0.3%
1993-P WWII 50th Anniversary .50 Unc. $8.00 $13.00 -- 2.3%
1993-P WWII 50th Anniversary .50 Proof $9.00 -- $13.00 1.8%
1994-D World Cup Soccer .50 Unc. $8.75 $7.00 -- -1.1%
1994-P World Cup Soccer .50 Proof $9.75 -- $7.00 -1.6%
1995-S Civil War Battlefields .50 Unc. $9.50 $32.00 -- 6.6%
1995-S Civil War Battlefields .50 Proof $10.75 -- $27.00 5.0%
1995-S Basketball XXVI Olympiad .50 Unc. $10.50 $14.00 -- 1.5%
1995-S Basketball XXVI Olympiad .50 Proof $11.50 -- $13.00 0.6%
1995-S Baseball XXVI Olympiad .50 Unc. $10.50 $17.00 -- 2.6%
1995-S Baseball XXVI Olympiad .50 Proof $11.50 -- $25.00 4.2%
1996-S Swimming XXVI Olympiad .50 Unc. $10.50 $125.00 -- 14.8%
1996-S Swimming XXVI Olympiad .50 Proof $11.50 -- $27.00 4.9%
1996-S Soccer XXVI Olympiad .50 Unc. $10.50 $115.00 -- 14.2%
1996-S Soccer XXVI Olympiad .50 Proof $11.50 -- $75.00 11.0%
2003-P First Flight Centennial .50 Unc. $9.75 $13.00 -- 2.6%
2003-P First Flight Centennial .50 Proof $12.50 -- $14.00 1.0%
2008-S Bald Eagle .50 Unc. $7.95 $12.00 -- 7.1%
2008-S Bald Eagle .50 Proof $9.95 -- $14.00 5.9%
2011-D United States Army .50 Unc. $15.95 $55.00 -- 51.1%
2011-S United States Army .50 Proof $17.95 -- $32.00 21.3%
2013-D 5-Star Generals .50 Unc. $16.95 $15.00 -- -11.5%
2013-S 5-Star Generals .50 Proof $17.95 -- $16.00 -10.9%
Average Annual ROI




4.0%


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