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Which comes first, my column or my blog?

Which comes first, ?Class of ?63,? or my blog, which is called ?Buzz?? Some days I wonder. My superiors will be pleased to note that I am treating both print media and online media actively.

You have probably noticed the ?Best of Buzz? column that has recently appeared on the letters page that is designated for e-mailed responses to our online polls. It pulls one of the five weekly online columns into this paper so you can get a feel for it if you have never read it online. It appears in this issue on Page 18.

?Buzz? is a useful vehicle for last-minute stuff that cannot be mentioned in the newspaper because of the two-week lead time for each issue of Numismatic News.

To illustrate this utility, I might mention that we did an article in the June 26 issue of Numismatic News about the postponement of sales of the platinum American Eagle proof coins and ?W? mintmarked uncirculated versions to July 17. Prices for the coins were provided in that story.

Presumably readers saw it and planned accordingly.

Then, just 25 hours before the actual beginning of platinum American Eagle sales, I received the formal notice of the go ahead. Well, I cannot do anything with a 25-hour lead in the newspaper, but it is a full day?s notice for the online blog, so I posted a quick item there saying that sales were to begin at noon Eastern Daylight Time the next day and repeated the prices that were reconfirmed from the June 26 story and I added the maximum mintage totals. I was delighted that the sales were not postponed again and that the prices stayed the same.

I use the word reconfirmed here when I refer to these prices. In this day and age of rapidly shifting metals prices, it does not pay to assume that numbers once given won?t change. I hope they won?t change. Most collectors do, too. They let me know how they feel when they don?t stay the same. I know the Mint tries to minimize price shifts, but had platinum prices gotten too frisky between the June 26 story and the opening of sales July 17, there is always the possibility of price adjustments.

Were you among the early buyers of the platinum American Eagles when they went on sale or are they too rich for your blood? The one-ounce coins are $1,599.95 for the proof and $1,489.95 for the ?W? uncirculated pieces. Both prices represent a hefty piece of change for the average Numismatic News reader.

Is the $110 difference significant enough to make collectors grab one or the other? In other words, would you pay the extra $110 to get the proof quality, or would you take a chance and pay $110 less on the possibility that the production total of the ?W? uncirculated one-ounce coin will be lower than the 16,000 maximum proof mintage? That?s the choice or the gamble that every would-be buyer faces. Of course, you could always buy both.

I won?t be one of those big buyers, though. I wrote a column some while ago about the single tenth-ounce platinum American Eagle coin in my collection. I do not think there is any danger of my expanding my holdings to two coins this year. It is simply a matter of making choices. The four-coin Presidential proof set is more my speed financially and more reflective of my own historical interests.

My interests aside, there might be a little sales momentum generated by people who bought the ?W? coins last year. They didn?t do too badly on the secondary market.

There is a committed group of followers of platinum American Eagles, so perhaps they will e-mail me their current views on the matter and I can then share them with other readers.

That leads me back to the original question. Mint buyers have two platinum Eagle choices to make and readers have two ways to read what I have to say.

So which comes first, ?Class of ?63? or ?Buzz?? That choice now is completely up to you.

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