This time of year it is important for every would-be buyer of Mint products to keep an eye on the calendar. Bullion-related sales suspensions aside, the routine of the Mint is for certain dated products to reach a sales end point as inventories are run down.
The first overt indication that this is happening occurred for me yesterday. I have been asking the Mint about when the American Eagle supply for its bullion network will likely run out. The Mint issues a bulletin and gives the distributors a final chance to acquire additional supply. Some years when demand is low, supplies last right through to the close of the calendar year and even are still available early in the new year. That is what happened at the beginning of 2007.
Well, while my attention was fixed on the American Eagles, the first Mint indication of a routine conclusion to some programs arrived yesterday with an e-mail saying that it would be the two current commemorative coin programs that would come to an orderly end Dec. 14.
Buyers who want the Jamestown 400th anniversary $1 and $5 coins and the silver dollar for the Little Rock 50th anniversary of desegregation of public schools have been warned. We are in the final month of sales. This termination of sales is not because demand has pushed mintages up against the legal ceiling. Hardly more than half of the $5 gold pieces have been purchased in the Jamestown program and the silver dollar sales numbers add up to a bit more than two-thirds of the maximum possible.
There is even more room in the Little Rock numbers. The roughly 178,000 that have been sold in all the various options are little more than one-third of the possible 500,000. Interestingly also are the possibilities raised when the sales are terminated. The Little Rock Coin and Medal set is close to reaching its 25,000 sellout number, but it has been on sale for many months. The American Legacy set, which includes a silver dollar from each commemorative program, currently has seen 18,689 sets sold out of a possible 50,000. Will the 50,000-mark magic that has spurred buyers to purchase many other special Mint packaging options cease to work? Let's watch over the next four weeks and find out.
However, while you are watching the commemoratives, don't forget to keep an eye on the American Eagles. Annual sets that aren't specifically legislated by Congress will be offered either until supplies run out or the 2008 sets are available. If you are a potential buyer of the offerings that will conclude, don't wait until the last minute and happy hunting.