The Baseball Hall of Fame cupped coins go on sale on Thursday.
I received a reminder of this in my personal mail on Saturday. The Mint has sent out a mailing to collectors on its list.
It has a nice brochure with the gold, silver and clad coins arranged across home plate. Of course, home plate has been shrunk in size so as not to overwhelm the coins.
The new cupped shape aside, I am also not used to the baseball glove obverse. This is not a criticism of the design, it is simply a mental quirk, I guess, because I want to call the reverse baseball side the obverse.
Anybody else have that problem?
I expect once I am able to hold the coin in my hand and examine it, all such trouble will disappear.
The brochure notes that the $5 gold piece is struck at West Point in both qualities. The silver dollar is being produced in Philadelphia. Denver is responsible for just the uncirculated clad half dollar while San Francisco tackles the proof half dollars.
If you still trust my impressions after I admit my ongoing confusion over the obverse, I will offer that the silver dollar introductory prices of $51.95 for the proof and $47.95 for the uncirculated seem reasonable considering the present price of silver is hovering around $20 a troy ounce and some additional costs are incurred to create the new shape.
On the other hand, is the old collector prejudice against clad composition causing me to think the $18.95 uncirculated half dollar and $19.95 proof is a little high?
The Mint did keep both prices below $20. That is something.
But to the few advocates of clad commemorative half dollars that I know of, their chief argument for it is to give kids an inexpensive commemorative to buy.
I know $20 isn’t what it once was, but I find the idea of children under 18 spending $18.95 plus $4.95 handling fee for a clad half dollar a bit of a stretch even if they don’t remember when silver coins were in circulation as I do.
Gold prices were not revealed in the brochure as its ongoing fluctuations keeps the Mint and the rest of us on our toes.
Perhaps the greater attention paid to this particular commemorative set by the non-numismatic news media will help boost sales.
I hope so.
However, with a sales track record stretching over more then 30 years, buyers of modern commemoratives continue to be collectors. I don’t expect the arrival of cupped coins to change that pattern.
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."