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Fractionals get full attention

Today is the day the Mint has scheduled to sell fractional American Eagle gold coins. Will there be any left by evening?

Buyers who might have been inclined to ignore the issue as a bullion investment, might simply look at them as a port in the storm because they are having trouble buying one-ounce pieces.

Collectors might jump in to buy them from their friendly neighborhood coin dealer on the expectation that mintages will probably not be all that high.

That will ignore the fact that fractional mintages are not all that high in other years where they were available for much, if not most of the year.

Last year’s 50,000 half-ounce sales matched the level of 2007. The 58,000 quarter-ounce coin sales were up from 32,000 in 2007. The tenth-ounce total of 270,000 was up from 180,000 in 2007.

But whatever numbers of 2009 coins the Mint will be able to sell, they will seem so very low in light of a sense that there might not be enough to go around.

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