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Give National Parks a boost

The National Park Foundation wants coin collectors to buy more commemorative coins.

As the end of the year approaches, time is running out for the purchase of the 2016 gold, silver and copper-nickel coins celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

Surcharge income goes to the foundation.

The money will be used to build new trails, restore historic buildings and protect wildlife.

These are laudable goals.

But laudable goals alone do not inspire collectors to buy coins.

Take a look at the designs.

Here is the link.

Does the gold $5 with the portrait of Theodore Roosevelt appeal to you?

How about Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser on the silver dollar?

Perhaps it is the hiker theme on the clad half dollar that will appeal to you.

Low mintages might also look attractive.

But they won’t stay low if there is an end-of-the-year rush to make purchases.

Right now, the National Park Service $5 proof has outsold the Mark Twain $5, but it has taken a three-coin proof set to really make a difference.

Of the 17,157 park gold proofs sold so far, 12,901 are in the three-coin proof set.

Without such a set, the Mark Twain proof $5 sales total stands at 12,325.

However, it is the mintage of the uncirculated park $5 that looks truly low at 3,146 compared to 5,314 for Mark Twain.

The Mark Twain silver dollar proof is more popular than the National Park silver proof dollar. Twain sales stand at 71,757 proof dollars compared to 66,186 National Park proof dollars (including the proof set number).

Twain is also ahead for the uncirculated silver dollar, 24,345 compared to 18,205.

Since there are no Twain clad halves, the park coins win by default. So far, 47,259 clad proof halves have been sold and 16,689 clad uncirculated halves.

Current prices for the National Park Coins are $429.75 and $424.75 for the gold $5 proof and uncirculated coins respectively.

The silver dollar proof and uncirculated pieces are $50.95 and $49.95, respectively.

For clad half dollars the prices are $25.95 and $24.95 for the proof and the uncirculated, respectively.

If the three-coin proof set appeals to you, there are 2,099 of them left priced at $490.75.

Still on the fence? The final sales cut-off will come in December.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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