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Three Sets, No Sellouts
February 15, 2008

Where will the first sellout lightning strike in 2008? I received some statistics from the Mint yesterday. They showed that a number of previously popular items are just not moving like they used to.

Take the Dolley Madison First Spouse gold coin. It has been for sale since Nov. 19. It likely will still be for sale when Elizabeth Monroe becomes available Feb. 28. The rising price of gold caused the Madison coin to be priced higher than the first three that sold out. The Monroe coin's price has not yet been revealed. If it is much higher, that could further impede sales.

In any event, the Madison First Spouse proof has seen sales of 14,692. The Madison uncirculated coin has sold 9,772. Sales will continue until the combined mintage reaches 40,000.

Then there is the 10th anniversary platinum set. Some 30,000 are available. But in two months' time since the set went on sale Dec. 13, collectors have purchased only slightly more than half at 17,753. Sales are further complicated by the fact that the Mint has suspended them to reprice, due to the soaring price of platinum, which has hit $2,000 a troy ounce.

Bald Eagle commemoratives have been on sale since Jan. 15. A three-coin proof set is approaching its limit of 25,000. As of Feb. 13, some 23,991 sets were sold. This doesn't mean that the coins are scarce, only the package. The coins themselves can easily be ordered individually.

What new issues will catch the fancy of collectors in 2008? We are still waiting to find out. Perhaps it will be the new fractional Buffalo gold coins later this year. Stay tuned.

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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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