The first sales numbers for the Mint’s new proof set that contains a 2012-W silver American Eagle and 2012-S examples of the five silver quarters, dime and half dollar ordinarily sold in the annual silver proof set.
Called the 2012 United States Mint Limited Edition Silver Proof Set™ and priced at $149.95, it has sold to the tune of 19,290 sets in the opening few days of sales.
The Mint has capped the number of this set that it will sell at 50,000.
I at first thought that perhaps I would comment on whether the set will actually sell out, but looking at the numbers I can argue the point either way.
My back of the envelope calculations indicate that sales could stall at around 40,000 sets by the time it goes off sale, but then I remember it is the holiday season and collectors just might want a big beautiful proof set under their Christmas trees. This demand could push sales to 50,000.
So why bother to speculate about it?
Instead, I want to issue an appeal to the Mint’s marketing department:
If you are going to sell this kind of set in the future, can’t you at least come up with a memorable name for it?
The average collector is already taxed by names that are too long and too similar.
Let me repeat the name for you and then make a comparison.
The new set is called the 2012 United States Mint Limited Edition Silver Proof Set™.
Now compare this to our usual annual silver proof set that contains cent, nickel and dollar coins as well (but no silver Eagle) and is priced currently at $67.95:
2012 United States Mint Silver Proof Set®
Who will keep these very similar names straight for very long?
Pity the poor price guide editors who will list them and try to keep track of them. It will be worse for dealers in their shops.
When current Mint customers go to sell the new set on the secondary market, they will certainly want the would-be buyers to know precisely what it is they are considering buying.
But will they?
With names like these, the Mint is expecting an awful lot from us.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."