Remember the U.S. palladium bullion American Eagle coin introduced in September?
You know, the one-ounce piece with a mintage of 20,000 that looks like a Mercury dime on the obverse and a Walking Liberty half on the reverse?
You are probably not alone.
I thought I would check on the coin this morning by looking at the offers on the APMEX website.
What offers? There aren’t any.
The bullion-selling firm is completely out of this new bullion coin.
If you happen to own one. APMEX is offering a hefty 21.75 percent premium to buy it from you.
Palladium is at $1,011.90 an ounce.
With the markup, APMEX is paying $1,231.90 each.
Early buyers have some profits (about $150 a coin) since palladium was lower in September.
This scarcity contradicts the term bullion coin.
Such a piece is supposed to be a convenient way of trading a specified quantity of bullion at minimal markup.
Well, it isn’t convenient if you cannot buy any.
Its markup is way beyond minimal.
The Wall Street Journal earlier this week was criticizing the Mint’s markup for proof collector gold coins.
The palladium secondary market markup is not all that far away from the standard proof gold markup.
This sets up a situation where collectors might not be the only ones interested in the proof palladium coin when it is offered to buyers in 2018.
Speculators might figure that any palladium coin is better than no palladium coin, even if it is a proof.
Bullion sellers can make money only if they can regularly buy and sell their products.
So keep a watchful eye on APMEX to see if this shortage of palladium coins continues.
Then watch for the Mint’s offer of the proof.
What we can surmise from current conditions is that there will not be enough proofs to go around.
An instant sellout is assured, unless the Mint has been able to round up a huge supply of palladium.
I doubt it.
So I nominate the 2018 proof palladium American Eagle as the speculative darling of the New Year.
If you are unfamiliar with it, you still have time to look it up.
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."
• Like this blog? Read more by subscribing to Numismatic News.