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Change Eagle Prices Daily
September 14, 2007

When uncirculated "W" mintmarked gold American Eagle sales were stopped yesterday afternoon, a story was posted on by the Numismatic News staff.

Sales are suspended for up to two weeks as the Mint reviews its options. A government agency can do this. A business would not. Getting something back up and available as quickly as possible would be the goal of business. Navigating the bureaucracy and getting everybody to sign off on the new prices is the government's goal.

Even the government does not want to sell something at less than market value. That is laudable and it is the essence of my point here.

Because the "W" coins are supposedly bullion coins sold directly to collectors by the Mint and because the prices of ordinary bullion coins sold through the national dealer network fluctuate daily, the Mint should consider setting daily or weekly prices for the "W" gold bullion coins and the "W" platinum and silver bullion Eagles, too, while the staff is at it.

In volatile market times, what is the alternative? What if the Mint reprices the gold American Eagles at new and higher prices and gold takes a tumble? What if gold shoots up to $1,000 as some are forecasting?

Would the result be two-week sales suspensions at $800 an ounce, $900 an ounce and $1,000? That would add up to eight weeks of suspended sales, including this one, if such a scenario unfolds.

Call bullion bullion and price it like bullion. That means the prices fluctuate. Collectors understand. They might grouse about not getting a bargain, but they understand.

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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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