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Golden moment for silver Liberty medal

Collectors like the silver one-ounce proof American Liberty medal that went on sale June 14.

Or don’t they?

The answer depends on what you believe is a similar Mint product.

As of June 18, the Mint said 33,075 were sold.

If you want to make that figure look bad, you will zero in on the one-ounce silver American Eagle proof coin results.

Buyers have taken 271,606 of the 2017 pieces and 560,648 of the 2016 coins.

Now don’t those numbers make the medal result look pathetic?

Don’t jump to a conclusion yet.

Remember last year’s Liberty medal was given an artificially low mintage of just 25,000, divided in half between an “S” mintmark proof and a “W” mintmark proof.

Measured against a mintage of about 12,500 each, we can jump to the conclusion that the 2017 medal is three times as popular as last year’s offers.

Let's not make that jump.

I think the best numbers for comparison are to the proof commemorative silver dollars that are being sold.

True, the silver dollar is not a one-ounce coin, but they are silver proofs with special themes that change from year to year.

The restrictions placed on commemorative coin mintages are too high to have any impact on results.

So far this year, the Mint has sold 63,238 of the proof Lions Club silver dollar.

Proof Boys Town silver dollars come in at 21,320 individual pieces and 4,858 more in a three-coin proof set for a total of 26,188.

As you can see, the proof American Liberty medal figure of 33,075 falls squarely between these two figures.

We can expect the medal sales number to rise fairly rapidly to perhaps 40,000, further cementing its position.

Looking at the Liberty medal this way leads me to believe that the members of the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee were right to have asked for such a series of silver medals.

The Mint is right in making them and offering them to collectors.

And the old coin collector prejudice against medals as compared to coins, while not gone, seems to be fading away.

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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