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Will collectors pay up for medal set?

At what price do coin collectors cry uncle over the price of a Mint offer?

Certainly it varies according to what the item is made of, from base metal to silver to gold.

It probably varies according to whether the offer is of coins or medals as well.

Now that you have your mind focused on this question, how does $ 199.95 hit you for a set of four silver medals?

You have until Oct. 19 to think about it

That is when the Mint 225th anniversary set goes on sale.

The .999 fine one-ounce silver medals feature the head of Miss Liberty on obverse depicted as an African-American.

Reverse is another new design of an eagle in flight.

But the designs are actually not quite new.

They were first offered June 14.

A proof example made in Philadelphia with a “P” mintmark was sold to collectors on that date.

Since then, buyers have purchased nearly 45,000 of them.

That’s not bad for a medal.

Coin collectors are notoriously picky when the choice is between spending their hard-earned money on coins or on medals.

Medals are usually the losers.

The June offer had no mintage limit.

Now consider the upcoming four-medal set.

The designs are identical to the June offer.

But four times the $ 59.95 June price is $ 239.80.

That means there is nearly a $ 40 price discount when buying in quantity.

What makes this set unique is each medal will have its own finish – four medals, four special finishes.

None of the four will be a “P” mint proof as the June medal is.

There will be a regular proof version, but it will have an “S” mintmark.

The “P” mint will have a reverse proof finish, where the high points are mirror-like and the field is frosted.

There will be an enhanced uncirculated finish with a “W” mintmark from West Point.

The Denver “D” will appear on a medal with a regular uncirculated finish.

These are not American Eagle legal-tender coins.

The Mint has taken that into account by setting a maximum mintage of 50,000.

Also, perhaps as a result of collector appeals after the Enhanced Uncirculated Set offer in August, there will be an order limit.

For this four-medal silver set, the Mint says households will be limited to two sets.

Because the four medals of the set are different from the June offer, collectors who want a complete set will need all five medals.

Sure, the buyer of the single medal and the four-medal set will end up with two regular proofs, but the two carry different mintmarks, “P” and “S.”

Back to my original question: Will the Mint’s customers order the new four-medal set in similar numbers to the June medal offer?

Or will the $ 199.95 price be too much to bite off at once?

We will see.

What do you plan to do?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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Look over shoulder before you buy?

Will American coin collectors have to jump when some outside power says jump?

No, I am not talking about the U.S. Mint, though that is probably what many think after reading the first sentence.

What I am referring to is changing trends that are not beneficial to American coin collectors.

When the American Numismatic Association wants to hold a national convention, years ago it could go just about anywhere and be welcomed.

Now the event is considered too small for many locations.

Others have tax problems for participants.

We are like orphans huddled in a storm.

Then we complain: Rosemont again?

That’s what happens when we can no longer turn out the numbers to a national show.

Many collectors have followed gold and silver for years.

They think they know it.

In recent years, Wall Street money has poured in as Exchange Traded Funds were created for the metals.

But yesterday, Wall Street decided that as investments in an economy with rising interest rates, gold and silver don’t cut it.

Gold fell below $ 1,300.

It was $ 1,289.70 when I checked Kitco’s website this morning.

Silver was below $ 17, at $ 16.86.

For most of my career, collectors who lived in the United States constituted the first or second most powerful forces in the marketplace for coins from most nations of the world.

Now we have Chinese money bidding certain coins into the stratosphere.

Russian money is lofting that nation’s historical rarities.

Great Britain seems to be in the process of becoming turbocharged as a new active scene of soaring prices.

Germany has always been strong, but it is a growing focus for outside buyers.

Coin Market price guide editor Richard Giedroyc reports that premiums on slabbed gold coins have shrunk so much that there isn’t much difference between the price of a circulated piece or one that is MS-63 or -64.

It is the time to buy the MS pieces, for sure, but tell that to any buyers of the graded gold when the financial crisis of 2008 sent premiums soaring because of the shortage of American Eagle bullion coins.

How do they get their high premiums back?

Naturally, when we benefit from outside forces, we smile.

If we were selling graded gold in 2008 and converting the high premiums into more ounces of bullion, wonderful.

Not everyone was working it that way.

The present generation of hobbyists has been used to saying that American collectors like this or that.

It was so.

It had to be reckoned with.

No more.

Now we have to reckon with outside players.

If you are collecting today, you might want to consider what Chinese, Russian and Wall Street money might be buying when you will want to sell.

And for all its size, the U.S. Mint is being buffeted by the same outside forces tossing American collectors around.

It is a new world out there.

Will American collectors get used to it?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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