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Up in the sky, is it the price?

Superman coins went on sale at the Royal Canadian Mint yesterday.

I expect if any comic book hero can tug on collector heartstrings, it will be Superman.

But just how much of a tug will it be?

Will it be enough to justify all of the contracts and royalties required to put such a copyrighted character on coins?

Those are the questions.

When I was a kid, comic books were a part of my life, but I have to admit they were not a big part simply because the funds required to buy them I felt would be better used on things that I desired more strongly: namely coins, albums, guide books and subscriptions.

It is not that comics were particularly expensive. As I recall, they were 12 cents each at the time I had any interest in them.

That was cheap.

I could have purchased 25 comic books for the cost of the $3 annual subscription to Coins Magazine, but I opted for the numismatic publication.

With these memories coming back to mind, I looked at the Canadian Superman coins.

There are seven of them. One is gold. Its price is $750. There is quite a difference between 12-cent memories and $750 gold coin price tags. Sure, we have had inflation, but nothing like that.

With a weight of 12 grams of 14-karat gold, the coins contain less than a quarter ounce of pure gold in them, at roughly 0.225 ounce.

The one-ounce silver coins have an interesting pricing structure. The three have different prices. They are $109.75, $119.75 and $129.75 each in Canadian funds.

A half-ounce silver is $69.75 and a quarter ounce is $44.75.

The cheapest piece is $29.75. It is a lenticular copper-nickel coin. The image changes depending on the angle at which is viewed.

Mintages are 2,000 for the gold, 10,000 for the one-ounce silvers and 15,000 for the fractional silvers.

With prices like that, who will find these coins most appealing?

Is it the coin-buying audience moved to nostalgia and perhaps low mintages as I and many collectors are, or is the appeal more to a younger crowd whose memories of the super hero extend only to the most recent movie?

Visit the website at www.mint.ca/store and see what you think.

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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