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Bullion Buyer has Pleasant Surprise
October 14, 2008



With all of the coverage of gold and silver in recent weeks, there has been very little feedback from readers. Numismatic News, our e-newsletter and this Web site have reported lengthening waiting times and growing premiums for gold and silver coins.

I now have received an e-mail from a reader in Decatur, Ga., who says that he was able to acquire some Canadian Maple Leaves in four business days and he asks if waiting times are really as long as we reported.

It is a good question. His experience could be indicative that waiting times have not been as long as has been reported to us, or that when he went out to buy his coins the suppliers were beginning to catch up, or he just happened to be lucky.

Which is it? There is no way to know for sure today. However, I can point out that Numismatic News is not the only news source that has reported the lengthy waits and growing premiums. The U.S. Mint would not be rationing supply if there wasn't a problem.

I have to assume the reader was simply fortunate, though he did not specify how large his purchase was or what premium he paid. I would expect he wasn't waving $100 bills and shouting that he would pay any price to get the coins, but such a purchaser might jump ahead of the line in some establishments.

Perhaps it is an indication that the Royal Canadian Mint is catching up with demand for its bullion coins more quickly than others. It certainly has an advantage the U.S. Mint doesn't have. It makes its own blanks, where the Mint depends on outside suppliers. These same suppliers have customers besides the Mint, so they would not be inclined to cut them off in order to fill the Mint's unusually high demand.

After all, in any business, if you treat good clients badly in unusual times, they will remember when times return to normal, so the blank fabricators will not allow the Mint simply to buy up all the current supply.

I have to thank the Georgia reader for his input and await input from others to see how the big picture on bullion coin availability is evolving. Have you bought any bullion coins lately? What was your experience? Let me know.



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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, Bank Note Reporter 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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