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This Can't be the Reason, Can it?
November 28, 2011



I published a letter last week in the Numismatic News that went to press the day before Thanksgiving.

In it, the writer said he would not be buying the 5-ounce America the Beautiful collector coins because he said he considered “these to be bullion rather than a coin.”

His letter came in response to my previous observation that interest in the 5-ounce “P” mintmarked uncirculated collector coin series was declining, judging from the inability of the Gettysburg and Glacier coins to get anywhere near the 27,000 number achieved by the 2010 issues let alone the 35,000 ceiling set for the 2011 issues.

Every collector has an absolute right to his own tastes. He or she also has an absolute right to buy or not buy any coin that comes down the pike. Certainly, I haven’t purchased one of the 5-ounce coins. If silver were $5 an ounce, or at a level much closer to that figure, I might think differently, but at $279.95 and $229.95 each prices are just too high for me.

That’s how I think.

As for being bullion, that is precisely what the 5-ounce coin is even when the Mint produces a collector version. That’s why Congress mandated its production. That’s also how we got the American Eagle series of silver, gold and platinum coins. They all are designed as convenient bits of bullion.

If we want to go further back into history, that’s what all coins were, convenient bits of bullion or (copper) pieces that when accumulated added up to a convenient bit of bullion. I do not know if the writer means something else when he uses the term bullion, but certainly in this context, it offers no insight that can be applied generally as an explanation as to why collector interest that was once at fever pitch has now fallen so dramatically.

What do you think, or are you so busy shopping that you don’t have time to think today? If the latter, take a look at www.shopnumismaster.com. Today’s deal is 40 percent off and, if you order $25 or more in products, shipping is free. The promotional code is NUCM11.





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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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