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Over $10 million goes for beauty

Is it the beautiful design, or are buyers simply well trained?

Sales of the 2018-W proof platinum one-ounce $100 coin opened strong Jan. 25.

As of the Mint’s tally dated Jan. 28, the number sold is already equal to 84.7 percent of the 2017-W sales.

Buyers took 7,530 in the opening few days compared to 8,892 sold for the 2017-W offer.

If you think both numbers sound low, remember the issue price is $1,420.

Buyers sent the Mint $10.7 million to order them.

To make a $1,420 purchase, I expect some thought is given. It is not likely an impulse buy.

Or is it? The artwork is gorgeous.

The theme this year is the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

“Life” is represented by what looks like a mother and child in a landscape of abundance.

The woman is actually Lady Liberty, and she is showing the child how to sow seeds.

We are all the children of Liberty. Perhaps that is why buyers are attracted to the design.

The Mint description says “the furrowed earth represents the forethought and labor required to sustain life. The tree and stream represent nature, suggesting the need to be good stewards of an environment that sustains life.”

I don’t think there is a farmer around Iola, Wis., who would disagree with those words.

There is a beautiful eagle on the reverse. It is captured in flight. It holds the olive branch of peace in its talons.

The designs of both sides are classical in nature.

Both sides appeal to coin collector preferences for designs showing Liberty and bald eagles.

The Mint has a limit of 20,000 set for this coin. That’s a pretty high number.

Collectors will have to part with over $28 million to reach it. Will they?

Call me skeptical.

Last year’s mintage limit was 10,000. As the sales figure went over 9,000 then and it looked like a sellout was imminent, the numbers headed backwards.

Mint buyers are well trained.

Every offer begins with a big bulge in the first day or two.

Then, in following weeks, the numbers slide.

If the results of the opening few days are strong enough and get close enough to the limit, a sellout is likely despite smaller follow-up sales.

However, if the distance between the first sales figure and the mintage ceiling is too great, the declining sales numbers are sometimes reinforced by order cancellations.

What’s it to be with this offer?

Whatever it is will not detract from the beauty of the coin, nor the fact that the 2018-W platinum proof $100 sales started strong.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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