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Puzzled by San Francisco quarter?

Is demand for the new S-mintmarked clad El Yunque National Forest quarter high or low?

It might seem like either, depending on how you choose to present the figures.

The total number of the coins taken by collectors in the first 11 days of their availability was 815,680.

That’s a figure that looks like it is well on its way toward the Mint’s initial production target of 1.4 million pieces.

However, if you look at the number of rolls sold, which is 7,907, or the number of bags, which is 4,994, those figures give the impression that this particular program is not attracting all that many collectors.

It is important that collectors make up their minds about this new quarter and the four designs that are yet to come in 2012. They are not being released through the banking system, nor in any of this year’s annual sets. Anybody who wants them will have to go to the Mint and its roll and bag offers.

Collectors also are trying to assess their desirability as well as rarity. Historically, clad coins and/or uncirculated quality have taken a backseat to silver coins and/or proof quality.

So what will the verdict of history be?

High or low?

Desirable or undesirable?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper “Numismatic News.”

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