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New San Francisco commems start strong

Initial sales numbers of the newly released San Francisco Old Mint commemorative silver dollars and $5 gold pieces have started off with a bang. See the new box in the image below.

Since going on the market Aug. 15, the individually sold proof and uncirculated silver dollars had a combined total sales of 89,650.

Perhaps curiously, the gold $5 coins have proven even more popular with collectors if you figure the percentage of the maximum mintage sold in the first few days of availability. The gold $5 saw sales of 20,188 proof coins and 9,348 uncirculated coins for a total of 29,536 sold out of a maximum of 100,000. That?s 29.536 percent of all coins available were sold in the opening week. For the silver dollar, the percentage is 17.93 percent of available coins sold. If you throw in the 25,386 proof dollars in the Legacy set, the percentage improves to 23.01 percent, still trailing gold?s pace.

We call this curious because gold coins usually tend to sell in lower quantities than silver, but already more coins have sold than was the case for some other programs of the last 10 years. We hope the trend contiues because the Old San Francisco Mint restoration and museum project will be the beneficiary.

Does this mean collectors are buying these coins as a fund-raising device for the Old Mint, or is it the beautiful design of the Old Mint on the obverse paired with an old $5 gold piece eagle design from a century ago? Or, is it the ?S? mintmark once again working its magic on thousands of collectors who grew up in the circulation finds era just dying to find ?S? mint coins?

The answers to these and other exciting questions will be obtained in the coming weeks as the sales pattern develops. Who knows? Gold bullion might pop up again as the autumn collecting season gets into full swing and hobbyists might order a bunch just to get the metallic content. Farfetched? Hey, we saw it in the late 1970s with world mint issues. It could happen with U.S. issues.

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