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Hard to love what you don't know

Collectors have emotional attachment to coins.

Copper collectors love copper.

Silver coin collectors love silver.

Gold coin collectors love gold.

Some collectors have the budget to love all three simultaneously.

What happens when you drop a coin of a new metal into the mix?

A one-ounce palladium bullion coin will be introduced in September by the U.S. Mint.

Anything the Mint offers is taken seriously by collectors.

That means investors take it seriously as well.

It is also taken seriously by me.

This is why I asked a poll question on Friday about it.

“Will the new U.S. one-ounce palladium bullion coin be a big seller?”

The level of response so far is not encouraging for those who hope for a big market.

Few collector comments about it have found their way to my email inbox.

If collectors don’t care enough to express an opinion, which is free, they might not put up the cash to buy the coin when it is offered.

What about investors?

History is instructive.

Platinum bullion coinage was dropped into the U.S. mix in 1997.

It is not a metal that U.S. collectors have a long history with.

Unless they collected czarist Russia, Canadian Maple Leaves or even modern Tonga, they were not likely to be familiar with the metal at all 20 years ago.

In 1997, the bullion market took 56,000 of the one-ounce platinum American Eagle coins.

They next year that soared to 133,002.

These are not bad numbers, especially when we remember that there also were fractional sizes.

Come September, there will be only one coin for investors and collectors to consider.

Since those first two years, platinum bullion coins sales numbers have fallen off.

So far this year, the market has taken 20,000 one-ounce platinum bullion coins from the Mint.

Collectors have taken about half that number in proof form.

Fractional platinum sizes were abolished in 2008.

This history indicates that any coin from the U.S. Mint gets a warm reception because it is from the Mint.

The one-ounce palladium coin will be the beneficiary of this phenomenon.

What happens in the second year or 10 years from now, we can consider later.

I think the poll response might be due more to lack of collector familiarity with the metal rather than an unwillingness to write a check.

Collectors will have a few more weeks to consider the idea of a palladium bullion coin.

Investors will be the first off the mark.

Will collectors follow?

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."

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