Advance Releases: The New Designation Sweeping the Hobby

The numismatic hobby has come a long way since the introduction of grading services. For the last 35 years, the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) and the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) have had a major impact on the way coins are collected. However, it was not until the age of modern coin grading that the grading services really made a splash.

“In 2000-2001, NGC and PCGS changed everything with the certification of modern coins and more specifically, American Silver Eagles,” said Andy Abel, The Coin Vault’s television host. “New collecting avenues opened up and people were looking at a different way to enhance their coin collecting experience. The grading services really gave them a chance to do that.”

However, it was not just the collectors that got a new avenue of opportunity opened up for them.

“Businesses were also able to flourish from the certification of modern coins and American Silver Eagles,” Andy went on. “It gave people an opportunity to be a part of the business because of not only the demand, but the popularity of it.”

Why is all of this important in the grand scheme of the new designation from NGC?

“Although American Silver Eagles were being graded in the early 2000s, the introduction of First Strike or Early Release did not come around until about 2005-2006,” Andy explained, “And once again, it gave collectors and dealers alike a new avenue to play with in terms of collecting. This happened again in 2015 when the First Day of Issue designation came around and revived the collecting experience and gave it new life.”

But while all those things are true, collectors have found themselves in a state of confusion surrounding this new Advance Releases designation. Let us break it down.

The United States Mint finally released a statement about the story behind the new designation On March 19th, although they have no ties to NGC’s creation of the new collecting experience. So how did it come to be? As we already know, the existing Numismatic Bulk Purchase Program (NBPP) allows for licensed, full-time coin dealers to purchase numismatic products directly from the Mint with a discount applied to $10,000 orders or more. This includes annual sets like the Proof Set, Silver Proof Set, and Uncirculated Coin Set in addition to American Silver & Gold Eagle products.

While the Numismatic Bulk Purchase Program is a well-established program, it opened the door for the Mint to create a new program called the Authorized Bulk Purchase Program (ABBP). This system allows those qualifying bulk purchasers to order a limited number of numismatic Mint products prior to their official release date. Stipulations include being an active member of the existing Bulk Program, having a two-year consecutive revenue average of at least $500,000 a year, and compliance with the Mint’s returns policy. Not all numismatic products are offered through this new elite program and discounts and shipping do not apply. Authorized Bulk members who qualify for this program must pick up their own products at the Mint’s fulfillment center three days prior to the official release date.

So, without sounding too obvious, all of that explains the “advance” in Advance Releases. Still, with yet another new designation added to the list, collectors are finding themselves at odds with the price points and the system overall.

“When they first came out with the First Strike and Early Releases designations and then again with the First Day of Issue designation, collectors were not really impressed with those either if I can recall,” Andy said. “This just means that it’s not for everyone and that is perfectly fine. Price points are determined by mintages and availability and all sorts of other factors just like they always are with everything that is out there in numismatics, not just from the United States Mint. With that being said, I believe this new Advance Releases collecting opportunity is important for our collectors specifically because of the potential it has for longevity within the program. But then again, the Mint could change their minds after this year and decide to not continue on with the Authorized Bulk program, hence squashing the whole thing. We just never know anymore.”

And that is just it, because of the consistent unknown of where the Mint is going to land with production in the future, the few dealers out there that have decided to take advantage of the new designation could be sitting on extremely low populations once those figures start rolling in. More so than any other designation before it, this new Advance Releases designation sits in its own pocket within the industry for the time being. No matter which way it goes, The Coin Vault has and will continue to follow its lead.

“I’m not sure if these coins with this designation will eventually be for everyone,” Andy admitted. “It really depends on how it turns out in the future, and that, unfortunately, I cannot predict.”