How we price our products
The goal of the United States Mint is to provide the best quality numismatic products while keeping their sales prices as low as practicable. We have numismatic products covering the entire spectrum of the coin collecting community—from the young collector just starting out, to the life-long, experienced collector. Our commitment to excellent quality, along with the lowest pricing practicable, not only is intended to meet our charter as our Nation's mint, but also is aimed at assuring the satisfaction of the coin collecting hobby and our customers.
The first and foremost rule in establishing pricing is that our numismatic portfolio (all product lines together) must be self-sufficient and cover all of its associated costs. We cannot use any tax dollars to fund our numismatic operations.
To achieve self-sufficiency, we determine the estimated cost to produce and sell the product. That becomes the base or the beginning point from which we determine the selling price. We then analyze the marketing conditions and different price points. We ask ourselves several questions: 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 this product, is there enough budgeted for proper disposition (e.g., recovery, melting, recycling)? The answers to these questions help us determine the margin we add to the price of the product. In addition to making adjustments to the final price based on these considerations, the margin also ensures that the overall numismatic program portfolio does not lose money because of unanticipated expenses. There may be rare cases in which a product breaks even or is sold at a slight loss because of its overall value added to the numismatic portfolio.
Pricing for precious metal numismatic products (platinum, 24-k and 22-k gold) varies by the average cost of the underlying metal. For these products, the United States Mint establishes tables that determine the price using ranges that are based on the average cost of the metal for the week prior to sale. 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.
Generally, all numismatic products are priced so the entire portfolio recovers its costs, plus a margin of 15%. Net income generated during the fiscal year (monies remaining after all costs are recovered) is then returned to the Treasury General Fund as an on-budget miscellaneous receipt, which may be used as current operating revenue or to reduce the annual budget deficit of the federal government.