I should write PROFIT in capital letters when referring to First Spouse coins.
First Spouse gold coin sellers on eBay seem to be attempting to get about double issue price for the Martha Washington and Abigail Adams proof and uncirculated pieces that went on sale June 19 and sold out the same day.
I see “Buy it now” prices of $2,999.95 and $3,200 when the initial cost for a proof and an uncirculated was $1,681.80.
The U.S. Mint is concerned about the perception collectors who were shut out of the sales process might have about what happened. I speculated in my blog last week that a theoretical 4,000 buyers could clean out the entire 40,000 pieces of each design.
In the event, the Mint tells me that there were 25,000 orders received between the two designs and the average sale was roughly three coins per household.
It was conceded that about 8 percent of the orders received were trying to get around the 5-coin per household limit for proofs and for uncirculateds, meaning 10 coins per household total for each design. These will not be honored.
I was told that demand far exceeded the Mint’s most optimistic forecasts and that those forecasts were based on market research.
A consequence of the initial sellout is the Mint says it raises the possibility of an increase in the number of coins offered for the four designs to be sold in 2008. The Mint is ever adjusting sales numbers trying to walk the tightrope between sellouts and having an excess supply at the end of a program. It doesn’t want to melt coins it has already struck.
While profit is important, I have not heard much from collectors who were pursuing the “shocking” idea of actually buying the new coins to hold in their collections. I know they are out there somewhere. I hope I will hear from them.