Scarce is a relative term. Everybody agrees that the five 1913 Liberty Head nickels make it a scarce issue that we would call rare. The 15 1804 dollars make them headline rarities when they appear at public auctions. As you increase mintage numbers, it becomes increasingly important to consider how many collectors want them in an evaluation of scarcity.
So what is scarce for coins sold by the Mint to its distribution network as a convenient way of acquiring precious metals?
Let’s look at the numbers. The largest total is for the one-ounce silver Eagle. There were 9,028,036 struck.
The numbers are lower for gold. The gold American Eagle one-ounce coin at 140,016 barely exceeded the 136,503 total for the Buffalo one-ounce coin.
The half-ounce gold Eagle came in at 47,002, the quarter ounce at 34,004 and the tenth ounce at 190,010.
Platinum numbers were the lowest. The one-ounce Eagle is 7,202, the half ounce is 7,001, the quarter ounce is 8,402 and the tenth ounce is 13,003.
Do any of these qualify as scarce? Probably not. Will you find 7,001 people to pay over $900 for a half-ounce platinum? Perhaps. If that total were for a silver Eagle, it would be a no-brainer to put such a coin in the scarce column.
What do you think of the numbers?