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Proof gold Eagle numbers too high?
January 15, 2009

Proof 2008 gold American Eagle numbers took additional large jumps in this week's Mint Statistics that I assemble for Numismatic News from data supplied by the U.S. Mint.

Particularly noteworthy was the increase in the half-ounce coin. It advanced by 3,905 pieces to 14,792. That is a 36 percent increase in supply available to collectors and the secondary market. I mention the secondary market because so many coins these days are bought less by collectors and more by individuals who are trying to profit on perceived low mintages.

Another large increase was recorded by the four-coin set, which includes one of each size. It went from 9,569 sets to 13,072, an increase of 3,503, or almost 37 percent.

Other numbers changed less. The ounce sale total stands at 16,327. The quarter ounce is 15,229 and the tenth ounce is 11,669.

Are these totals low? If we are talking about Lincoln cents or Kennedy half dollars, yes. But these are expensive gold coins.

Remember, too, that you must add the four-coin set number to the individual number to get the total of each size, so for the ounce, the total stands at 29,399.

All of the combined numbers are well over 20,000. I pick that threshold because the First Spouse half ounce gold coins could not sustain premium prices on the secondary market with these numbers. Can the proof gold American Eagles do so?

That is the key market question. I would not be willing to bet on it. Would you?

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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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