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Kisses from the Mint?
December 05, 2007

Every Halloween I get a lesson in what is called line extension. I get to see what new forms familiar candies take.

The Mint is practicing line extension. The question is will coin buyers bite. If I have a big Hershey bar, little Kisses or bags of the little bars, it is all chocolate to me. It tastes great.

What about dollar coins? The Mint has a slew of new ways to buy dollar coins. A new set that went on sale Monday offers a West Point uncirculated silver American Eagle, four uncirculated Presidential dollar coins from Philadelphia and an uncirculated Sacagawea dollar from Denver. The price is $31.95. You might call it a dollar coin type set.

Then there are four-coin Presidential uncirculated sets for $8.95 from either Philadelphia or Denver. There is an eight-coin uncirculated set that includes the issues of both mints. Its price is $15.95.

Individual Presidential proofs are offered for $5.95 each.

Is there a market for these offerings? Are there people who don't want a full proof set who decide that they really would like just a proof Madison dollar? It is certainly possible, but I have my doubts of it being an economically viable product line extension.

We have had packaging errors in the past when there were just proof sets and mint sets to keep track of. With all of these line extensions, the possibilities for packaging mishaps explode geometrically.

Already Ken Potter in recent years has noted that quality control for proof sets just isn't what it used to be. The evidence comes in the many reports to him of proof coins with errors from minor die cracks to spiked heads.

Then there is the secondary market. For sure the many packaging options will drive price guide publishers crazy.

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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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