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It's All About Gold
May 27, 2008

How would you like to be in charge of pricing the First Spouse half-ounce gold coins? Here we are just two days prior to the opening of sales for the Louisa Adams coin and prices have not yet been revealed.

Perhaps they will show up later today. I will keep looking.

If the price is set too high, sales will stall even more so than they have for the Elizabeth Monroe coins, which hold the record in this young series for the slowest sales pace.

Only 3,910 uncirculated pieces have been sold and 6,666 proofs. Add them up and they total 10,576, which is hardly more than a quarter of the number that could be sold.

Prices of the Monroe coins are $619.95 for the proof and $599.95 for the uncirculated. That works out to a premium of about 35 percent for the proof and 31 percent for the uncirculated coin.

It is likely that the Louisa Adams prices will be in the same neighborhood if not identical to these unless bullion takes a dramatic leap higher or a fantastic spill lower in the next few hours.

The Dolley Madison coins can still be purchased for $529.95 for the proofs and $509.95 for the uncirculated. Even these relatively low mark-ups from the current price of bullion of 15 percent and 11 percent, respectively, have not sent sales soaring.

I almost wrote "set sales on fire" but that just didn't seem quite right for the woman who was burned out of the White House in 1814.

It is a shame that the reputations of the First Ladies have been completely overshadowed by the price of gold. It is going to be a long and tedious 10 years.

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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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