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Platinum gets its second chance

The one-ounce platinum American Eagle bullion coin returned to the U.S. Mint’s lineup on Monday.

The initial sales number stands at 8,700.

If that number turns into a weekly sales rate, that would be huge.

In 2008, the last year these were issued for sale to the nation’s investors through the Authorized Purchaser network, only 21,800 were sold.

If we assume that the first sales figure reflects a level of buyer enthusiasm that will fade as the year goes on, it still looks safe to write that 2014 sales will exceed those of 2008.

But just what is the place of a platinum bullion coin in the bullion coin pantheon?

We have had silly season platinum where it was suggested that the Mint produce $1 trillion platinum coins to pay for government operations when the debt ceiling extension was in doubt.

We have exotic platinum where collectors learn the story of the metal used in fake gold coins in the 19th century because it was similarly heavy.

Russia was a pioneer in the issuance of actual platinum coins.

The American Eagle series has been around since 1997. There is the bullion version with the unchanging Statue of Liberty/Soaring Eagle designs and the collector proof versions with design changes every year.

Certainly it is fair to say that there is a small band of platinum coin collectors. To most it is still an exotic metal even if we do know it is used in catalytic converters for automobiles.

So I will wait and watch and see how this second chance for the platinum bullion coin develops.

However, it goes, it will not  challenge the primacy of gold and silver.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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