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Beautiful coins strain hobby budget

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Has the existence of the 5-ounce America the Beautiful silver bullion coins changed your collecting behavior?

I am not just referring to the difficulty in obtaining them. I am thinking more along the lines of your personal hobby budget.

My coin buying budget is not unlimited. I know most readers also face limitations on the funds they can use to buy coins.

Let’s presume you were successful in getting one of the 33,000 five-coin 2010 ATB bullion coin sets early this year. If you kept it, you had to pay almost $1,000, let’s say $975.

2012 U.S. Coin Digest
2012 U.S. Coin Digest

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The first of the 2010 collector versions, the Hot Springs coin, was to become available as this issue went to press. If you were lucky enough to get one of the 27,000 coins by the time you received this issue, you paid $279.95 plus $4.95 shipping, or $284.90 for it and you face the prospect of paying that much or more for the next four pieces for a total of five coins at $1,424.50 or more.

Now I know that many if not most lucky ATB bullion coin buyers quickly sold the coins on the secondary market at a profit. If you did that, what did you do with the profit? Did you plunge it back into more coins?

If you kept the set and plan to buy the five collector versions, you will spend nearly $2,500 for all 10 coins before the year is out. Did you decide not to buy other collectible coins as a consequence?

What did you choose to skip? I have been closely watching the sales of this year’s two commemorative programs.

Last year we basically had a sold-out Boy Scout dollar program by this time where collectors had snapped up 500,000 coins.

This year between the Army and the Medal of Honor programs, collectors have purchased less than half that number at 237,507 silver dollars as this is written.

Is this an example of collectors redirecting their purchases to the numismatic blue plate special of the day, the ATB coins, as opposed to supporting the older program, which gave us the first modern commemorative dollar coin in 1983? Or are we talking about entirely different sets of people?

The good old meat and potatoes staple proof sets and mint sets seem to be selling right along at a rate that could equal last year’s numbers even with these two popular sets priced at $31.95 each.

Is the money for the ATB coins coming from another source, not previously tapped for coin purchases – long-term savings, vacation money, or money for new furniture?

So what is it? Are you spending more on coins of all descriptions, using profits on some to buy others, or changing the kind of coins you are buying?

Changed behavior can be temporary or permanent. After contemplating buying all of the 2010 ATB coins, you still face the prospect of spending another $2,500 or more for the 2011 coins, then the 2012 and all the annual issues right to the 2021 end date. Scary, isn’t it?

More Coin Collecting Resources:

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Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

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