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Philadelphia Winning Dollar Race
May 15, 2012

Demand for the Chester Arthur Presidential dollar surprised the Mint on the upside this year. Additional coins had to be struck to fulfill buyers’ wishes that might be spurred in part by the knowledge that none will be struck for circulation this year.

Nothing seems to incite collectors more than being told that they cannot have something.

However, when you look at the Mint’s sales numbers, it is hard to call the additional dollar coin demand collector inspired.

Why do I say that?

Well, I am looking at sales totals for the 25-coin rolls. The Mint last week said sales of the Philadelphia uncirculated Arthur roll was 42,884 and sales of the Denver roll totaled 39,070 so far this year.

That looks like a pretty typical collector buying pattern. They are buying basically an equal number of each.

The collector mission of completeness is fulfilled.

For boxes of 500 coins, the “P” total is 923 and the “D” total is 954. This again looks pretty typical for collector buyers.

However, demand for the 250-coin “P” boxes is strongly skewed in favor of Philadelphia where 10,784 boxes have been purchased so far compared to 5,425 boxes of “D” coins.

Who is buying the Philadelphia coins?

Are there promotion houses that don’t care what mintmark is on the dollar coins they sell? Are hoarders on the East Coast putting 250-coin dollar boxes in their basements?

Only time will give us the answer, but in the meantime, where the 250-coin boxes are concerned, the difference is 1,339,750 coins in favor of Philadelphia.

That explains why in April the Mint struck another 1,120,000 dollars in Philadelphia, bringing the total at that facility to 4,060,000 compared to 2,800,000 coins at Denver.

Will that skew in favor of Philadelphia hold, or will Philadelphia dollar coin buyers be told, “You’ve bought the Philadelphia dollar, now you need the Denver?”

The collector in me demands this equality of sales results, but will it actually work out that way?

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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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