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Why the 'P' mint Harrison dollar sellout?
March 18, 2009

There is something of a paradox going on with William Henry Harrison Presidential dollars.

For the first time in the Presidential dollar series, the total mintage has dropped below 100 million coins when you add the Philadelphia and Denver mintages together.

This continues a downward trend that with one minor interruption with the Andrew Jackson coins has been relentless since the series began with over 340 million George Washington coins.

What's the paradox you ask?

Well, I had an e-mail from the U.S. Mint to tell me that the "P" mint rolls of the coins, which contain 25 pieces, are already sold out.

How can this be with dollar coins backing up all over the place?

Is there some hidden source of demand that I am not thinking of? Have William Henry Harrison coin clubs sprouted across America secretly?

I wish I knew.

Last week's Mint Statistics column reported some 29,000 rolls of "P" mint coins sold, but that number is 8,000 less than for the previous Martin Van Buren coin, which in turn was lower than previous issues.

One thing that does make sense is that the "P" mint rolls disappeared first. According to mintage figures, Philadelphia struck 43,260,000 dollar coins while Denver made 55,160,000.

Both mintages seem ample, especially when considered in the light of the huge declines in mintages for coins that actually do circulate, the cents through quarters.

So why the early sellout?

It is a mystery to me.

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Recent Comments
On March 18, 2009 Brad said
They were probably pulled off-sale early, in an attempt to generate some excitement in the hobby.  There's always something magical about those little red letters that read "Product is Not Available" on a U.S. Mint product page that tends to make people rush for an item that no one seemed to want while it was still available.

A few months from now, the Mint will undoubtedly "find" more inventory of those rolls, and they will once again be available for sale on their website, thus burning anyone who bought them for a premium on the secondary market!
On March 30, 2009 Brad said
Woe to all those who paid $200+ for one of those Harrison P rolls on eBay!  They're back on sale at the U.S. Mint website, just like I said they would be.  It just didn't take as long as I thought it would.

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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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