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Eagle Mintages Scoured for Scarcity
February 08, 2008

Yesterday I received mintage figures for 2007-dated American Eagle bullion coins. Hobbyists will pore over them to determine whether any of the coins is truly scarce.

Scarce is a relative term. Everybody agrees that the five 1913 Liberty Head nickels make it a scarce issue that we would call rare. The 15 1804 dollars make them headline rarities when they appear at public auctions. As you increase mintage numbers, it becomes increasingly important to consider how many collectors want them in an evaluation of scarcity.

So what is scarce for coins sold by the Mint to its distribution network as a convenient way of acquiring precious metals?

Let's look at the numbers. The largest total is for the one-ounce silver Eagle. There were 9,028,036 struck.

The numbers are lower for gold. The gold American Eagle one-ounce coin at 140,016 barely exceeded the 136,503 total for the Buffalo one-ounce coin.

The half-ounce gold Eagle came in at 47,002, the quarter ounce at 34,004 and the tenth ounce at 190,010.

Platinum numbers were the lowest. The one-ounce Eagle is 7,202, the half ounce is 7,001, the quarter ounce is 8,402 and the tenth ounce is 13,003.

Do any of these qualify as scarce? Probably not. Will you find 7,001 people to pay over $900 for a half-ounce platinum? Perhaps. If that total were for a silver Eagle, it would be a no-brainer to put such a coin in the scarce column.

What do you think of the numbers?

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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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