Proof set, mint set or just a duck?

It looks like a proof set.

It has “S” mintmarks on the coins in it like a proof set.

But it’s not a proof set.

It is the 225th anniversary Enhanced Uncirculated Coin Set

It will be released Aug. 1 and be available at the U.S. Mint booth at the American Numismatic Association convention in Denver as well as the website.

Mintage will be no more than 225,000.

Get it?

225th anniversary.

225,000 mintage.

Clever.

But how will collectors react to this hybrid set where the coins are better than standard uncirculated pieces but are not quite proofs?

They will have a enhanced uncirculated finish, which is achieved “using a combination of laser frosted areas and an unpolished field that accentuates design details.”

Issue price is not yet known.

The set has 10 base metal coins in it with “S” mintmarks in plastic holders similar to those used in proof sets.

The 2017 proof set is priced at $ 26.95.

An uncirculated set has twice as many coins because it represents two mints.

They are in polyester film holders in envelopes.

Price of the 2017 uncirculated set is $ 20.95.

Does that make the 225th anniversary set a $ 23.95 item? $ 24.95?

Or will the limited mintage make the Mint think it can charge a price similar to the proof set?

About the mintage.

So far in 2017, collectors have purchased 161,856 uncirculated sets and 299,810 proof sets.

The 225,000 falls right in the middle of these two bounds.

Will that mean a Goldilocks outcome of a number just right?

In 2016, mintages for sets were much higher.

They were 286,029 and 595,184, for uncirculated and proof, respectively.

So it could be when all is said and done, the 225,000 mintage if sold out will be well below the uncirculated set total.

But what if it is not?

What if the standard uncirculated set for 2017 stays below 225,000?

What happens on the secondary market?

All of these thoughts will go through the heads of potential buyers.

The Mint hopes for a buyers’ rush on opening day and perhaps a sellout.

It wants collectors to desire an entirely new product.

Will collectors comply?

They just might.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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