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Gold coins priced too high or just right?

Collectors like to grouse about the U.S. Mint. But the most important thing to remember is watch what they do, not what they say.

The latest illustration of this for me occurred this week.

A reader emailed a response to our poll question asking whether he or she would be buying the gold 2016 Mercury dime when it goes on sale April 21.

After saying no to buying the coin, the writer then complained about the Mint’s general pricing of all its gold coins.

In a nutshell, he considers gold coin prices to be too high over the cost of the metal in them.

Interestingly, at about the same time as I received this email, I wrote a story about sales of the 2016 proof gold American Eagle coins.

These gold coins were first offered March 17.

By the Mint’s March 20 sales report, the numbers proved that collectors are interested and demand is high. Price did not seem to be a deterrent.

Interestingly, the most expensive sales option, the four-coin set, which contains 1.85 ounces of gold and is priced at $2,890, was selling the best.

Sales numbers for the set have already reached two-thirds the number sold for the entire 2015 program. Buyers have taken 6,738 already. This compares to final a final 2015 sales number of 9,918 sets.

The coins selling individually registered sales ranging from 29 percent of the 2015 total to 48 percent, with the lowest percentage being the one-ounce coin and the highest the tenth ounce.

There are no mintage limits, so other than habit, or a belief gold is going to rise in price quickly, there is no need to rush in orders like this absent a genuine collector interest.

If there was a belief during the first three days that gold would rise, then we will see canceled orders showing up in the numbers next week. In which case, the orders placed were more speculative than collector oriented.

If this happens, the poll question respondent that I cited earlier in this blog would be more representative of the collector mood than I am giving him credit for today.

What will it turn out to be?

Come back next week to see if I have to eat my words.

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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