ATBs vs Silver Eagles
When most investors think of United States silver, the iconic American Silver Eagle usually comes to mind. However, unbeknownst to some, the U.S. Mint produces another silver bullion product: the 5 Oz America the Beautiful coin. Commonly known as “ATBs,” these coins were first introduced in 2010. Each year, five different designs are released with each featuring a different American national park. You may recognize some of the designs from looking at pocket change; they are the exact same motifs as the circulating 25c Quarter Dollar coins.
5 Oz America the Beautiful coins are struck to the exact same standards as the Silver Eagle. They boast a fineness of .999 pure silver and are fully IRA-eligible. While ATBs are similar to Silver Eagles in terms of quality and liquidity, there is one key difference. 5 Oz America the Beautiful coins are dramatically scarcer than their Silver Eagle counterparts. In recent years, annual production of Silver Eagles has been in the tens of millions. However, most ATBs have mintages between 20,000 to 130,000!
When issued, ATBs often sell for approximately the same premium as American Silver Eagles. However, premiums for ATBs have a tendency to expand over time. The series has a track record of developing a significant numismatic premium as time goes on. The wide variety of beautiful designs has made these coins extremely popular among collectors. As time passes these coins become hard to find – and appreciate considerably in value. As an example, all 2010-2014 issues are now trading for 30-200% over melt. Even the recently-issued 2015 ATBs are starting to command significant premiums.
Collectors and investors are drawn to ATBs because they potentially offer two ways to profit. Just like Silver Eagles, they appreciate in value as the spot price of silver increases. In addition, these coins have the ability to gain collector/numismatic premium. Furthermore, many silver buyers like the variety of designs that the ATB series has to offer. Whereas Silver Eagles essentially look identical from year to year, a total of five different America the Beautiful coins are released every year.
It’s also worth noting that the United States Mint produces a special “specimen” edition of each ATB issue too. These coins have a highly unusual matte-like sandblast finish. Unlike the standard bullion edition ATBs, which are sold through a network of authorized distributors, specimen ATBs are sold directly to the public by the U.S. Mint.