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Prices Can't Last for Silver 5-Ounce Set
January 07, 2011

Why them and not me?

That’s a pretty standard question being directed my way by collectors who were not able to enjoy a windfall profit on the 5-ounce silver 2010 America the Beautiful set.

Mint rules restricting the price that nine Authorized Purchasers could charge for the 33,000 sets and limiting sales to one set per household, theoretically means that 33,000 individuals out of the millions of collectors and investors out there had a gift of about $1,800 if current prices hold.

What do I mean?

Well the AP’s can/could charge only around $975 for the set.

Buyers could turn those sets around online for approximately $2,800.

Graded sets have been reported to bring over $6,000.

As angry as those numbers make those who were shut out feel, they also provide evidence that might make them calm down simply because these prices can’t last.

If all 33,000 sets were sold for $975, that means it takes $32,175,000 to buy them all.

If they all sold for $2,800 online that would bring the total dollars required to buy them to $92,400,000.

If they all could sell for what some of the graded sets are bringing, let’s use the $6,000, figure, that means it would take $198,000,000 to buy them all.

Obviously, not all sets can sell for those figures. The simple fact of 33,000 sellers eventually trying to get those prices and a hoped-for profit in the secondary market will bring the prices down.

In comparison, the recent sales by the Mint of 856,356 proof 2010 silver American Eagles generated sales of just under $40 million.

That pretty well defines the long-term limit of this market and explains why as soon as the lucky 33,000 original buyers get their sets they will try to sell them as fast as they can.

There are no collectors out there for these sets, just speculators.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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