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Change but no real change

Latest figures from the Mint showing sales of the various options that were available in the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin program show some usual accounting jiggles.

For the $5 gold piece, the proof sales number now stands at 32,026 while the uncirculated number is 17,974.

The silver dollar proof sales number is 262,091 and the uncirculated total is 137,909.

These numbers are not materially different from previous sellout indications, and they could change again as returns and failed orders are taken into account.

Clad half dollar numbers are 111,017 proofs and 69,445 uncirculated pieces. The combined total is 180,462. That is still a long way from the maximum number that can be struck of 750,000.

Even though clad half dollars are still being offered, the pace of new orders has slowed dramatically. In the week ending April 13, just 18,189 were purchased.

This works out to 11,996 proofs and 6,193 uncirculated coins.

Issue price is $19.95 for the clad half dollar proofs and $18.95 for the uncirculated pieces.

If you want to purchase a Proof-69 Deep Cameo First Strike example as graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service, you can get one on the secondary market for $65 from a major coin retailer.

I mentioned the gold and silver in yesterday’s blog.

An MS-69 First Strike graded by PCGS is $60.

At the present time, this particular retailer, who had sent out an email sales solicitation earlier in the week, is not offering coins with -70 grades.

At roughly three times issue price, the -69 clad half dollars are in line with the silver dollars but are relatively more expensive than the gold -69s, which are basically double issue price.

Prices no doubt will change as more coins are delivered by the Mint and more coins make it through third-party grading.

What also will change is the urge to be the first collector on the block to have these. After a time, that enthusiasm is either satisfied or disappears.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."