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Bullion coin sales get sleepy start in June

Falling prices on the open market were not inspiring new buyers.
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Where?s Pete? No, we aren't starting a new Web site for tracking the whereabouts of the former Mint Statistics columnist. We are simply noting for late arrivals that he has departed this position for a hoped-for better life in the log home division of the parent firm of Numismatic News. He will be trading in proof set totals and mint set totals for dream homes that Abraham Lincoln could never have imagined.

Nowadays, living in a log home is the peak of luxury, especially if you have nice panoramic views of the mountains or rushing streams to go with them.

As luxury items go, coins are more affordable and perhaps he will persuade log home owners that a well appointed log home also features a safe with some numismatic goodies inside. No? Well, more goodies for us then.

This week let's start with platinum, gold and silver bullion. Falling prices on the open market are not inspiring new buyers this week. The final May monthly sales did not change at all from last week's report, so we choose not to repeat it this week.

The new June bullion numbers feature a lot of zeroes. Stalwart silver got going with sales of 60,000 ounces. That isn't surprising. There always seems to be demand for silver even at the new higher bullion prices. The one-ounce gold American Eagles were the only other category to register any sales in the first few days of the month. At 2,000 troy ounces, there is not much for us to sink our teeth into.

But while we are mentioning slow sales, we can mention that buyers buy what they want when they want. In the past week, buyers decided they wanted precisely eight more 250-coin bags of 2006 golden dollars, but for some reason they had to have 217 of the same-size bag from Denver. Lest we read some sort of weird pattern here, let's hasten to point out that sales of the 25-coin rolls break down in more reasonable proportions. The "P" roll had sales of 605 in the past week while the "D" roll saw sales of 760.

Hobbyists still love their proof sets and sales numbers reflect this. The 10-coin silver set had sales of 74,775. This beat out the 10-coin clad set, which came in at 51,962. Not a bad week for either set, but because the silver coin set has been on the market for less time, we imagine collectors are still just becoming aware of its availability. Not surprisingly, the 10-coin clad proof set is nearing the 1 million mark, almost twice the total of the 10-coin silver proof set. Why? We assume higher prices of the silver set send some would-be buyers to the clad version.

As this is written we are just a week away from the debut in the marketplace of the Colorado state quarter. We are looking forward to seeing them up close and personal and spending them. Bags and roll sales were set to begin June 14. That means that the availability of the Nebraska quarters is about to end. There is no rush of last-minute buyers. For example, the 1,000-coin ?P? mint bag saw sales of just six in the past week. The only thing else we know about them is we were not among the last-minute buyers. What we need to do is update the overall state quarter mintage totals and take our reading of economic demand and design popularity.

How well will the Colorado coin sell? Let's watch and see. About 10 weeks after June 14 the North Dakota quarter will hit the streets and the last quarter of the year with be South Dakota.

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