Gold commemoratives have very low initial mintages ranging from a low of 5,000 to a high of 46,019. In fact, the average gold commem mintage is only 13,893!
Survival rates are low as far as commemorative coinage goes. The survival rate for gold commems is certainly much lower than that of silver commems. It is not unusual to see gold commems that have been severely mishandled (polished, mounted in jewelry, etc.).
The eleven piece gold commemorative set, in top condition, is the most affordable U.S. gold coin set. The set isn’t cheap, but the only thing close in price is the $2.5 Indian set. So, if you want a complete set of top quality U.S. gold coins, the eleven piece gold commemorative set is the most affordable.
Because of their excellent past performance and their excellent relative value, ALL eleven gold commemoratives have both David’s and Van’s highest recommendation.
1903 Louisiana Purchase, Jefferson $1
Along with 1903 McKinley, this was our first gold commemorative issue. 17,500 1903 Jeffersons were minted. Although this is the easiest gold commem to find in top condition, it still has excellent potential.
1903 Louisianna Purchase, McKinley $1
The mintage is 17,500 identical to the 1903 Jefferson. For some reason (probably the higher, flatter devices), the McKinleys are a little tougher than the Jeffersons. Like all top quality gold commems, this is an excellent gold related, hard asset investment.
1904 Lewis and Clark $1
An original mintage of 10,015. What is the rarest gold commemorative? Well, several times during the past 15 years, I have been totally convinced that the 1904 Lewis and Clark was the toughest issue to find in top condition. But, several other times, have been just as certain that the 1905 Lewis and Clark was the rarest. These are two super rare coins!
1905 Lewis and Clark $1
An original mintage of 10,041. A rare coin in all grades and an excellent long-term value.
1915-S Panama-Pacific $1
An original mintage of 15,000 coins. The Pan-Pac $1 is quite underrated in top condition. Watch out for marks and abrasions on the canal worker’s hat.
1915-S Panama-Pacific $2.5
An original mintage of only 6,749 coins. For many years now, the Pan-Pac $2.5 has been touted as the rarest coin in the eleven piece gold commem set. However, we have handled two or three Gem Pan-Pac $2.5’s for every one Gem Lewis and Clark. But, make no mistake about it, this is an extremely rare coin in top condition. Excellent long-term potential.
1916 McKinley $1
An original mintage of only 9,977 coins. While the mintage of the 1916 and 1917 McKinley dollars is virtually identical, the 1917 is noticeably rarer.
1917 McKinley $1
An original mintage of only 10,000 coins. This issue can be surprisingly tough to locate in Gem condition.
1922 Grant $1, No Star
Two varieties of the Ulysses Grant Memorial gold dollar were issued: one variety with a star in the field above Grant’s name, and this variety without the star. Though the mintages of the Grant gold dollars are small, the coins are not that hard to locate in top condition.
1926 Sesquicentennial $2 1/2
This is the highest mintage gold commemorative with 46,019 coins originally issued. Despite its high mintage, the Sesqui is quite rare in top condition.