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Building up a silver product

Demand for 5-ounce America the Beautiful silver bullion coins is only a tiny fraction of demand for the American Eagle silver bullion coin. Nevertheless, it is still significant when supplies are depleted almost as soon as they are offered on the marketplace.

The Mint released data yesterday that shows 35,000 of the Blue Ridge Parkway coins have been sold, putting the total purchased right up there with the 35,000 Homestead National Monument coins and 42,000 Kisatchie National Forest pieces.

A new baseline demand seems to be establishing itself.

The Mint, as always, faces the dilemma of offering something that is scarce enough to feed the impression of mass appeal yet not overwhelm buyers.

Had the Mint indicated that it would double or triple supplies compared to the first two designs of the year, the likelihood is buyers would have turned up their noses at it.

Instead, the Mint offers 35,000 and then says it will make more after they were sold.

If the supply of this, the third design of the year creeps ahead eventually to say, 50,000, the fourth design is given a launching pad to creep even further ahead.

Reached in increments, a supply of 70,000 or 100,000 could look like a healthy growing market not many months down the road.

The dollar value of the 5-ounce coins still leaves them in the realm of niche offerings.

At $16 silver, the value of all 35,000 of the coins is $2.8 million to which a premium is added.

In looking at the APMEX website, buyers of quantities can obtain these pieces for $2.99 an ounce over spot price.

That means it takes roughly just $3.3 million to buy out the whole supply.

This is not a large number compared to what is bought and sold by bullion dealers on a daily basis, but if it is growing, who can say how large this market can become eventually?

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."