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Sell as fast as you can?

The cupped baseball silver dollar is sold out now, joining the cupped gold $5 at that status.

Only the cupped clad half dollar now remains.

The Mint’s website shows that the silver dollars will be shipped April 24 while clad half dollars ordered now have a shipping date of June 21.

Speculators in gold and silver coins are warily watching for when the deliveries will expand the available supply as it will have a major impact on secondary market prices.

Online prices already seem to be buckling. The only question is how fast.

While it is nice for buyers who have placed orders but have not had delivery to daydream about vast profits, the sheer number of coins minted will eventually squeeze prices far lower than might be expected.

It is simply a matter of how much money coin buyers have at any one time.

To acquire 50,000 gold pieces, the initial buyers had to put up $21,147,500 plus whatever the handling fees were.

That is a  lot of money for a commemorative program.

Online prices show an NGC Proof-70 Ultra Cameo Opening Day release at a little over $3,000, down from earlier prices.

If every coin were of such value, the 50,000 coins would have a notional value of $150 million, which of course is impossible.

If every coin simply traded for roughly double issue price without even being in a slab, the notional value of the entire supply would be over $42 million, which is something that collectors can cough up when they are excited, but not on a sustained basis.

For comparison, a 2013 clad proof set has taken just $25 million or so from collectors and it is one of the most popular Mint offerings.

With sales limits of 50 coins on the gold, this implies that just a few buyers could have purchased massive numbers of coins.

The only reason to do this is to dump them on the market when they get them.

If this is the case, they might find the prices get squeezed even harder. Later buyers might be able to get them for very near issue price, something every annual buyer of proof sets knows happens easily most years.

For silver dollars, the potential audience is higher because of greater interest in silver versus gold and the far lower issue price. This opens the door to many more initial buyers.

But here too the sales limits of 100 per coin have created the possibility of huge supply coming at the secondary market as soon as deliveries commence in earnest.

Initial buyers had to put up something over $20.2 million to clear out the Mint’s 400,000 pieces.

A Professional Coin Grading Service MS-69 First Pitch from Baltimore has an online price of $385.

If every dollar had such a value the entire supply would be worth $154 million, clearly an absurd figure, but it does give us a high end price marker.

If the 400,000 coins could maintain themselves at double issue price, that would value supply at something more than $40 million – which is not absurd considering the popularity of silver coins.

However the mintage figure, 400,000, is on the very high side. Coins with such high mintages in recent years have basically traded for little more than bullion value, let alone issue price.

Just look to buy a 2002 West Point dollar to see what such a mintage number can do to prices over time.

Anyone who has purchased the cupped coins and can make a profit selling them as soon as they get them, will probably be very happy with their actions when they look back on them just a few months from now.

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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