Word from the Whitman show in Baltimore is dealers were paying people $300 to wait in line at the U.S. Mint booth March 27 to purchase the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemoratives.
Photos released by the Mint show happy buyers and a line of people at the booth.
What a nice public start to the program.
A reader emailed me yesterday that it took him an hour and a half to successfully place his order on the U.S. Mint website.
I expect by now the wait time has been greatly reduced.
The great game is now under way.
For Russia and Great Britain in the 19th century, the great game was rivalry in south Asia and jockeying for Afghanistan.
For collectors, the great game is getting the first coins to be delivered so they can have them certified by third-party grading services with their coveted first release designation and hoped-for Proof-70 and Mint State-70 grades.
There should be a cable TV program called “Flip this Coin.”
Getting coins and selling them quickly is the goal.
Holding coins in a collection has become so old school in cases like this.
Long-term holders might be puzzled by the interest because they will first look at the possible mintages.
The 50,000 maximum mintage for the $5 gold piece compares to the 5,950 $5 proofs sold in last year’s 5-Star General program. The Mint State total was 5,674.
Ask any collector what the most desirable mintage total is and I don’t think he or she would pick 50,000.
Likewise the silver dollar in last year’s program came in at 59,156 proofs and 23,630 Mint State.
Maximum mintage for the baseball dollar is 400,000.
But whether you are a short-term flipper or a long-term holder, we should all enjoy the obvious public enthusiasm and the look of successful people having a good time.
This is the kind of thing that makes numismatics look like the place to be.
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."