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Will You Win the Mint Lottery?
September 04, 2009

Though specific release date and price are not yet known, the pending sale of the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles set in the middle of October looks like a certain sellout.

The set is limited to just 50,000 because that is the number of proof Lincoln commemorative silver dollars that were set aside for inclusion. The commemorative dollar sold out rapidly early this year.

A proof set comprised of just the four Lincoln cents sold more than 66,000 in the first five days of sales. That seems to indicate a huge and ready reservoir of collector demand for the Lincoln Coin and Chronicles proof set.

The key difference will be price.

The four-cent proof set is just $7.95. The set with the silver commemorative will be priced somewhere in the neighborhood of $50.

Will the much higher price deter many buyers?

Ordinarily it might, but offsetting that is the likelihood that many buyers will view the set as a sure winner on the secondary market. The proof dollar is currently trading on the secondary wholesale market over $50.

Of course, the Mint could slow things down a bit by putting a shockingly high price on the set. I would expect this not to be the case, though.

A sellout will bring excitement to the hobby. It will also bring complaints. Some collectors, even those who know the situation ahead of time, will gripe about not being able to buy a set if there is a crush of demand that outnumbers the 50,000 maximum sales number.

It makes me wonder why there aren't more complaints from the public every time someone buys a lottery ticket that fails to win.

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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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