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Time to Watch the Mint Statistics
September 26, 2008



The year is nearly three-quarters completed and collectors are starting to give the Mint Stats page in Numismatic News a closer look to find out what current offerings might end up with low mintages.

I have had several telephone calls in recent days inquiring about the proof and uncirculated "W" collector versions of the Buffalo gold coins. The 1,108 sales total for the gold half-ounce proof Buffalo published in the Sept. 30 issue seems particularly enticing as far as coins that are currently being sold go. Even when you add in the numbers for the four-coin set, it still has a fairly low combined total of 6,721.

The truly low numbers are for the "W" collector proof and uncirculated platinum American Eagles. The half-ounce coin there stands at 126. But coins have not been available from the Mint for many weeks.

Will any others be struck this year?

Good question.

We all would like to know the answer.

The Mint has had difficulty with these coins because the market price of platinum bullion is fluctuating so widely that it hasn't been able to keep coins on the market. The legal requirements for repricing slows the process down and the result has been no sales.

It might be logical to assume that sales of these platinum Eagles have been halted because the Mint is trying to keep up with demand for the basic bullion version of the coins. However, the bullion platinum Eagles are all still available and not on any kind of suspension or allocation arrangement.

The silver proof American Eagle is currently off sale as the Mint is diverting the blank supply to the basic bullion coin. Hobbyists are wondering if any more will be struck this year or whether the 712,207 current sales total will be it.

Some online auction buyers seem to be betting that we'll see no more from the Mint this year and the sales figure is the equivalent to the year's final mintage figure. We'll see.

Watching mintage figures as the year nears its end is a time-honored hobby practice. The unsettled conditions in the financial markets are perhaps starting this seasonal exercise early this year.



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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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