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Dollar series ends with whimper

The last hurrah for the Presidential coin series will come when the Mint chooses to offer the Ronald Reagan Coin and Chronicles set.

Will this send the series out with a bang or a whimper?

It has been difficult for collectors to maintain interest in the Presidential dollar series, which began in 2007 and featured four designs each year.

This, the final year, features just three designs.

Congress did not amend the law, so Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama will not be honored.

Their absence while understandable forever makes the set incomplete.

As we have gotten to the final three Presidents, interest has fallen for the annual Presidential coin set, the clad and silver proof sets and the uncirculated coin set. All of these sets include the Presidential dollar coins.

Only demand for dollar bags and rolls seems to be holding up, which are the Presidential products with the least markup. Should that be telling us something?

Falling interest in a lengthy series is not surprising. It has happened before. It is currently happening with the First Spouse gold coins, which are companion issues for the Presidential coins. Sales numbers of these have gone from 40,000 of each design to 4,000.

Collector fatigue is clearly shown by these First Spouse numbers.

With the Presidential coins, the general public was lost shortly after the Internet rumor mill gave up on the topic of the supposedly missing “In God We Trust” motto, which appeared on the edge in the first few issues.

Striking Presidential dollar coins for circulation was suspended in late 2011 when supplies at the Federal Reserve had backed up to over 1 billion coins and storage charges became an issue.

Besides confirming that dollar coins hold no appeal for the public, we also seem to have proven that collector attention will not hold up for such a prolonged period anymore.

Our outlook as collectors has changed since the heady days of 1999 when state quarters seemed to guarantee that we would have many new designs to collect. Opportunity has turned into a sense of burden.

They say you should go grocery shopping after you have eaten so you don’t buy unnecessary food.

Perhaps the future of collector coin issues should be brought sharply into focus as the Presidential dollar series and the First Spouse series come to a close. Clearly, collectors have had enough.

What will capture the imagination of collectors in the next decade?

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