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Legit Coins or Simply Fads?
August 28, 2008

What a difference a year makes. Today the First Spouse gold coins for Andrew Jackson will become available to collectors.

I imagine the commencement of sales at noon Eastern time today on the Mint Web site will cause very little fuss or bother. How unlike the case when the Thomas Jefferson was offered a year ago.

Jefferson happened to be the third and last First Spouse gold coins to sellout quickly. In fact, they were the last First Spouse coins to sell out at all.

Once the novelty wears off, so does buyer interest apparently. Does this mean the Mint is offering the numismatic equivalent of the hoola hoop? Hot one minute and then forever on the margin, fondly recalled by those who remember the fad?

Could be.

Legislation for the National Parks quarter series includes provisions to make versions of the designs in five-ounce sizes three inches in diameter. Colin Bruce of the Standard Catalog of World Coins staff called these large "coins" hockey pucks many years ago.

Another piece of legislation calling for civil rights quarters has exactly the same provision for a three-inch, five-ounce silver version. How much further can the U.S. Mint take novelty in numismatics?

I am sure we will eventually find out, but we collectors may not like the answer.

Perhaps there will even be a U.S. coin for the hoola hoop. How about that?

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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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