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End Modern Commem Series?
May 20, 2011

Should the modern U.S. commemorative coin program be scrapped?

The two programs a year that are currently offered to collectors are realizing sorrier and sorrier results.

Is it the themes? The Lincoln silver dollar was hot in 2009 and the Boy Scout dollar was a star in 2010.

But the excitement generated was at least in part due to hobbyists anticipating a sellout at the 500,000-coin level, which compared to the 7.1 million Statue of Liberty silver dollars of 1986 is pretty anemic.

Is it the prices?

The rising cost of precious metals has taken the dollars out of the collector $30-$40 comfort zone where issue prices sat for many years.

Gold, too has soared in cost, but it is not always part of current commemorative coin programs.

The silver dollar has become the national commemorative coin standard.

Is it the huge number of other Mint products competing for collector dollars that are impacting commemorative sale results?

Could be.

I remember when each new commemorative generated a great excitement.

Now these programs are competing with a multiplicity of bullion coin programs.

Because hobbyists fought so hard for the establishment of the modern commemorative program and the limitations placed on it of two offerings a year, I would like to see commemoratives go on forever, but something has got to give.

There needs to be a cull of Mint offerings, but that is too much to hope for. We have a palladium bullion coin in store for 2012.

By the way, how did silver do this week?

1980 closes: $34.15 $33.00 $34.85 $37.75

2011 closes $34.129 $33.488 $35.094 $34.927

Next close in the 1980 sequence?


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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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