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Golden Opportunity Might be in Mintages
September 19, 2007

With gold bullion knocking on a door not opened to it since January 1980 in terms of prices, smart collectors should be thinking about the opportunities that might open up in the gold coin market.

This has nothing to do with gold speculation and everything to do with being a true collector.

If we learned any lesson at all in 1980 it is that mintage figures and condition meant less and less as gold hit higher and higher highs. For a time, everything but the true jewels of the various gold series saw their values simply boiled down to a formula of actual gold weight times the day's price of gold. It seemed like cultural vandalism. The only decision collectors had was "are you selling, or not?" There were plenty of people in line to dump whatever they could at the record prices.

In such a market, distortions develop. A coin that is relatively scarce that can be bought for metallic value might just be a good deal long term. When gold prices stabilize, relative scarcities reassert themselves.

One of those relative scarcities to consider is in the new First Spouse series. Mintages have been 20,000 apiece, proof versus uncirculated in the sellouts. That is historically unusual. Collectors prefer proofs over time by a factor of 3:1 or 4:1. The numbers would seem to indicate that the proofs might just be undervalued relative to the uncirculated pieces.

Of course, all bets are off it gold goes to $100 an ounce, but that doesn't seem likely.

Every collector should keep at least one eye on long-term values and scarcity relationships when considering the purchase of coins with high bullion values. It could pay off in the long run.

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Recent Comments
On June 11, 2008 Paul said
I believe that you made a mistake when you stated  - "Of course, all bets are off it gold goes to $100 an ounce, but that doesn't seem likely."

First, I think you wanted to say $1,000 and not $100.00.
Second, gold indeed hit the $1,000 mark this year.

Something to add? Notice an error? Comment on this blog.

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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