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American Buffalo proof sales tag 100,000

Gold is on the minds of the "Numismatic News" staff this week. Is it on yours, too?

Gold is on the minds of the Numismatic News staff this week. Is it on yours, too?

We are all anxious to see how sales are going for the new American Buffalo one-ounce gold bullion coin. Let?s start with the proof collector version. It has jumped up almost another 25,000 pieces in the past week, bringing total sales to approximately 100,000. We use the word approximately because the Mint did. It is apparently not sure what the exact number is. Perhaps that was due to the July 4 holiday weekend making this past week kind of a rush punctuated by fireworks.

That means one-third of the available proof Buffalo gold coins have been sold in the the first 10 days or so.

Interestingly, the uncirculated bullion Buffalo gold piece sold to the Mint?s authorized purchasers has sold an almost identical amount. By the end of June, its sales number stood at 99,500 pieces. That is not all that many coins considering that the purpose of the coin is to appeal to East Asian gold buyers who prefer .9999 fineness to anything less, like the American Eagle?s .9167 fine coins.

As July began, the Mint shipped another 5,000 Buffalo coins to authorized purchasers and another 5,000 one-ounce American Eagles to the same network. It is not likely that the two numbers are tied together in any way, but because they identical, you cannot help but wonder.

The news this week that the sale of proof American Eagle gold coins was suspended as the Mint tried to determine what they should be repriced at probably prevented some sales during this period, but it is hard to see it in the numbers. They rose a bit as they have in recent weeks. Perhaps next week will see the set of figures where the sales stoppage is reflected in the numbers. The announcement was dated July 3 and the sales halt was expected to last until July 10.

The price of gold got frisky again just prior to the holiday weekend. Traders seem to think that the Federal Reserve board?s decision to raise interest rates by one-quarter of a percentage point is the signal to start buying commodities again. Shades of 1979! Then commodity traders used to laugh at the Fed as being behind the curve. Eventually, high interest rates bit hard and helped bring the buying binge to a halt, but it took double digits to do it. When will interest rates bite this time? We will stay watchful.

Silver American Eagles began the month of July with a shipment of 100,000 uncirculated coins to the Mint?s dealer network, so that precious metal continues to attract ready buyers.

Colorado quarters are still finding ready buyers, but the initial burst of sales is ending. More than 5,000 additional two-roll sets were sold this week.

Clad 10-coin proof set sales were fairly strong, up 73,496 to 1,318,522. Sales of 10-coin silver proof sets rose by 25,515, taking the total to just over 600,000, a nice round number and less than half the clad total. Return to Monticello saw sales of the two-roll sets rise by 8,241 to 338,947. At least some collectors are getting on with nongold-related business.