The recently issued U.S. Mint commemorative coin to honor the National Baseball Hall of Fame appears to be a home run, officials involved said Thursday.
“The response from both the coin collecting community and baseball fans has been outstanding,” Hall vice president of sponsorship and development Ken Meifert said Wednesday.
Several varieties went on sale March 27, and within 48 hours, the 50,000 gold coins in two different finishes were sold out.
The 2012 legislation authorizing the coins also called for 400,000 silver coins in the two finishes. As of Wednesday, more than 390,000 of those were sold, but a check on the mint website said that that category is also sold out and new orders are being placed on a waiting list.
Of the clad coins, more than 170,000 of the 750,000 authorized in that format were sold.
Included in the price of each coin is a surcharge added to help the operations of the Hall. Similar surcharges are added for other mint commemorates. For the gold, which was offered at $419.75 in the $5 uncirculated and $424.75 for the $5 proof, this was $35. For the silver dollar coin, which is selling for $47.95 and $51.95 in the two finishes, $10 was added.
The clad dollar coins sell at $18.95 and $19.95 in each finish and include a $5 surcharge. If all 1.2 million coins are sold, this would total $9.5 million for the Hall, Meifert said.
“It helps us to create a nest egg to fund educational programs, and museum exhibits and all the things we do on a regular basis,” Meifert said.
Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, helped get the legislation approved in the House of Representatives. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., helped get the legislation approved in the Senate.
“There is no downside to it,” Hanna said.
Because the price fluctuates with the cost of metal, it does not cost the government anything to make, and the Hall is aided by the surcharge.
“It will provide a big infusion” to the organization, he said.
“It’s a wonderful addition to the 75th anniversary celebration,” Hanna said.
He lived in Cooperstown for a number of years, so “it was nice to be able to help out the community,” he said, adding:“I think we were all surprised by how fast it has sold.”
Meifert offered several possible reasons for that.
First and foremost, “baseball has a place in the hearts of America as the national pastime,” he said.
But there are also a couple of unique features on the coin that have generated interest. Its curved design is a first for a United States Mint coin, and came from a national competition that helped spur interest.
The “heads” side depicts a glove that highlights its concave shape. The “tails” is convex and depicts a baseball.
“We felt really good about the design that depicted the simple elements of the game,” Meifert said. “It harkens back to the game of catch in the backyard.”