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Don't ignore silver issues when prices cheaper

What’s a better deal, a 5-ounce America the Beautiful coin whose issue price is $279.95 or one that is $154.95?

I would choose the latter.

In fact, I can go to the U.S. Mint website and buy the first two issues of 2018 for $154.95 each.

There are even three designs from last year going for $149.95 each.

However, if measured by levels of collector excitement, the $279.95 that applied to the 2010 issues is the better price.

These prices apply to the “P” mintmarked collector versions of this 5-ounce bullion coin.

Remember when the first five designs in the series were offered?

Mintage was fixed at 27,000.

Back then, it was a new series.

There was excitement.

The price of silver bullion was much higher. It almost reached $50.

Collectors show an affinity for the first offers of anything.

But fast forward to 2018 and the series might be called boring.

But that is a good thing for builders of the set.

Sales numbers have settled into a fairly consistent level around 17,000.

The 2017 Effigy Mounds, Frederick Douglass, Ozark Riverways, Ellis Island and George Rogers Clark totals are 16,753, 17,289, 17,137, 17,616 and 14,731, respectively.

The totals so far for 2018 are Pictured Rocks, 16,076, and Apostle Islands 15,125.

This series will continue to be issued until the last coin dated 2021 arrives.

Five coins per year for $154.95 is an affordable-sounding $774.75.

By contrast, five coins at $279.95 are a much more expensive $1,399.75.

Yet more coins were sold at the higher price.

Such is the crazy nature of modern numismatic issues.

Greater value for the money spent might seem to be just the opposite when the coins in question don’t make the headlines.

However, the reward will come when the collection is complete, mintages are final and true rarity can be assessed.

It will be at that point that those who stuck to the task of acquiring all 56 pieces will be able to determine if buying them was the smart thing to do.

I think they will be rewarded.

Certainly they should be for spending 11 years working at it.

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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