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Panama Releases Coin for Breast Cancer Awareness
panama 2008 breast cancer awareness coinBy Tom Michael, Market Update
December 08, 2008
panama 2008 breast cancer awareness coin and bookmark

In October Panama released their 2008 Breast Cancer Awareness coins at a reception hosted by the First Lady. The three issues are very similar to the Canadian types struck two years ago. In fact, the Royal Canadian Mint struck these coins for Panama and used some of the same special packaging they used on their own coins.

The standard circulation coin is a quarter Balboa struck in copper-nickel clad copper and was available at the banks in Panama. Just this month, I noticed that new issues dealer Lauren Benson, Inc. offered this same coin on their list for $1.65, so acquiring an example here in the U.S. should be easy. By way of comparison, the Canadian circulating Breast Cancer Awareness coin from 2006 is currently available on eBay from many sellers for $1 or less, making it an even simpler acquisition, but one not likely to increase in value at any point in the near future.

On the other hand, Panama's two special issue packages may be much more difficult for most collectors to obtain. One offers the copper-nickel clad copper strike enclosed in a laminate bookmark. This is very similar to the special packaging used by Canada for their 2006 Breast Cancer Awareness coin. It's a great marketing piece, allowing coins to be distributed through bookstore venues to increase sales and raise awareness. I thought it was a wonderful way to open up coin collecting to a new audience.

The third type for Panama's Breast Cancer Awareness coins is a beautiful copper-nickel clad proof strike, with pink enamel on the ribbon. This type is limited to a mintage of 2500, comes with a numbered specification card and is housed in a capsule in a red plush case. With it's limited mintage, the proof should sell out very quickly. In fact, at the reception the cased proof coin was offered for $50, with excellent sales, while afterwards, the Central Bank took over distribution of the remaining pieces, offering them at $100 each. As of this week, I am told there are very few left to sell!

Again, to compare, the 2006 Canadian proof silver $5 Breast Cancer Awareness coin, sells at or around $50, very near its issue price. One difference is in the mintage, which was just above 11,000 for the Canadian $5 piece, over four times the limit of the Panama quarter. The other differences are in the collector market demand and the number of commemorative types issued.

Also new for Breast Cancer issues is the newly released 2008 Canadian Silver Maple Leaf Breast Cancer Awareness coin. This is a lovely, very low mintage coin, with good eye appeal and nice intrinsic value. The Maple leaf on this coin is green and the pink ribbon wraps it up nicely. If you want one, better act fast, as the distributor, Universal Coins, states that the mintage is limited to 500 pieces. Universal offers this SML at $64.95 on their website, but they also have a few on eBay at a lower opening bid.

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