Frequently Asked Questions
The United States Mint works on a cost-recovery basis. We cannot use any tax dollars to fund our numismatic operations. Our goal is to provide the best quality numismatic products while keeping prices as low as practicable.
Our prices must be self-sufficient and cover all of the associated costs of our numismatic portfolio, plus enough margin to cushion against volatility. To achieve self-sufficiency, we determine the estimated cost to produce and sell the product. That price is used as our baseline. To calculate margin, we ask ourselves questions like:
- Are the proposed prices of this product consistent with similar products we offer of this type?
- Will the customer perceive this as a good value?
- Are we reaching as many customers as we can should we sell at this price?
- If we do not sell all of a specific product, is there enough budgeted for proper disposition (e.g., recovery, melting, recycling)?
Pricing for precious metal numismatic products (e.g., platinum, 24-k gold, 22-k gold) varies by the average cost of the underlying metal. We use our pricing range table the week prior to sale in order to determine the product's price. If the average weekly price of the precious metal moves up or down into another cost range, the price of the product will also go up or down, respectively, by a fixed amount.
The United States Mint’s numismatic programs are self-sustaining and operate at no cost to the taxpayer. Any excess funds are returned to the Treasury General Fund to reduce the annual budget deficit of the federal government.