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In the Blink of an Eye
March 05, 2008

I received an e-mail yesterday about the Dolley Madison First Spouse coins. The writer told me that the Madison uncirculated coin was unavailable from the Mint.

That is the first word that I had that the Mint had taken the coin down. It was available Monday when I checked. He is right. It was down when he e-mailed me.

I had posted a blog Feb. 26 that noted what I thought was somewhat peculiar. The Madison coins were being offered at prices $90 less than the new Monroe coins when they went on sale Feb. 28. I also wrote a story for last week's print edition of Numismatic News.

For at least four days, the two uncirculated First Spouse designs, Madison and Monroe, were offered. The two proofs have been simultaneously offered at different price levels now for six days.

I appreciate reader input. I was initially somewhat baffled by the writer's line: "Contrary to your online info." Then I checked. I saw that last week's print version of the story had magically appeared on the Numismatic News Web site dated March 4. That does raise certain issues when markets are moving fast.

Stories are true when they are written for the print edition and when they are posted online. Conditions change. Sometimes they change rapidly.

Stories and postings pass into history. There they stand. Some just become obsolete quicker than others. This is the record so far.

How long the proof Dolley Madison First Spouse coin will remain on sale more cheaply than the Elizabeth Madison remains an active question.

If you are thinking about buying, you might want to make your decision quickly.

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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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