This week’s poll question asks, “Is the Mint’s adding a new enhanced uncirculated finish to its Eagle product lineup a good idea?”
The cynical response from some is that the only reason the Mint is adding to its offer of silver American Eagles is to pad its profits.
That is stating an obvious point, but the hobbyists who write this seem to feel that this is somehow a betrayal.
Are collector coins a new entitlement that the Mint is to provide without regard to its bottom line?
Or, are Mint products supposed to never change? What year’s product lineup would you pick and then leave unchanged forever?
When I began to read hobby periodicals, proof and mint sets were returning after a three-year hiatus in 1968. I missed the proof set offer but I did order the 1968 mint set directly from the Mint.
For many hobbyists, myself included, it was like finding water in a desert. I liked filling my Whiman albums, but these government sets were like adding spice to a meal.
What if the Mint had truly gone to an extreme in 1965 and frozen dates for years on end and let the collector sets lapse into history permanently?
The Mint should be commended for trying something new.
That doesn’t mean the enhanced uncirculated silver American Eagle will prove to be a good idea. Only sales of the set in which it appears will provide the final evaluation.
Will the enhanced uncirculated appeal to collectors? That remains to be seen. We will see when sales begin in May or June.
Collectors can dislike it on the basis that the cost is too high. They can dislike it on the basis of its look. It simply might be too different from standard proof and uncirculated finishes. They can even dislike it on the basis of initial mintage.
The reverse proof caught on, so why not give an enhanced uncirculated silver American Eagle a try?
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."