Late night TV pitchmen offering food preparation gear proclaim it slices and it dices.
Coin dealers slice and dice also.
I have an email promotion from L&C Coins this morning.
There is an array of 2018-S silver reverse proof America the Beautiful quarters being offered for sale individually.
The only way the firm can do this is to break up the 199,052 2018-S silver reverse proof sets that were sold for $54.95 each starting July 23.
Slicing and dicing proof sets is a time-honored way of feeding a market for collectors of individual coins.
These collectors simply do not want the whole set.
It is interesting what can be learned in this process.
There is a surprising rarity in the set.
In the current offering, I can buy some PR69 First Strike ATB quarters as graded by the Professional Coin Grading Service.
Price is as low as $10 each for PR69 First Strike. For all five designs, the cost obviously would be $50.
If I want the top grade, PR70 First Strike, the price is $30 each, or $150 for the five quarters.
Not so fast.
The numbers don’t add up this way because of a big surprise.
Apparently the Block Island quarter in PR70 First Strike is very difficult to find.
Perhaps it permanently will be a key date in this grade.
In any case, if you want one, you will have to pay $700.
Yes, that’s right, $700.
That’s quite a price considering the Apostle Islands, Cumberland Island, and Pictured Rocks quarters are $30 each and Voyageurs is $35 for PR70 First Strike examples.
Rarity does not go down the grading scale.
A PR69 First Strike Block Island quarter is just $15.
So we have a one-point grading price jump of $685.
If you have purchased a 2018-S silver reverse proof set for $54.95, that $700 retail price for a PR70 First Strike Block Island quarter seems to be a major incentive to have coins in an unopened early set professionally graded.
Naturally, more -70s might be found as time passes, but they might not be First Strikes.
Other denominations in -70 are cheaper than $700 in top grade.
The cent and half dollars are $125 each, but this is a reflection of the high demand for those two denominations.
The nickel is $35 in PR70 First Strike, and the dime is $30.
No dollar coins were offered in this top grade yet.
Is the dollar the next PR70 First Strike rarity?
Stay tuned. And now for a commercial ... It slices. It dices ...
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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