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Is $100 the Tripwire?
October 11, 2007

Shoes just keep dropping. It wasn't my intention to write about the U.S. Mint so much this week, but, hey, as they say, stuff happens.

The latest stuff was the Mint suspending sales yesterday afternoon of the "W" uncirculated platinum American Eagle coins and the bulk sales of the proof platinum American Eagle four-coin set.

The reason is the usual one. Bullion prices are rising. The Mint wants to reprice, but the repricing mechanism is so cumbersome that the Mint must go through a lengthy internal process to come up with new pricing.

We don't know how long that process is, because the "W" uncirculated gold American Eagles, which went on the unavailable list Sept. 13, are still unavailable. Perhaps soon we will know the answer.

However there is one interesting tidbit I want to put out there. It would seem that for the Mint, a $100 difference is the tripwire that sets their suspensions in motion.

The one-ounce platinum "W" unc coin was priced at $1,489.95 each. Platinum trading started yesterday with an ounce of bullion at more than $100 below the sales price, but it closed at $1,398, up roughly $18, and taking it to a level of less than a $100 difference from the coin's price.

The same can be said of the proof Buffalo gold that went off sale the day before. It got within the $100 range of the $825.95 issue price and stayed there.

The $100 figure for one ounce of gold or platinum may not be precise, but it is certainly something to file away for future reference.

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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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