Yesterday, just before lunch, I received a commercial solicitation by email.
I was delighted to receive it. It is the first commercial offering of the new National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins by a major coin retailer that I have seen.
Interested buyers are offered slabbed examples of the gold $5, the $1 and the clad 50-cent piece in both proof and uncirculated condition.
As collectors assess their level of interest in coins offered on the secondary market, I am viewing it as a tutorial created by professionals who know the market.
Coins offered at retail put a ceiling on the speculative profits of buyers who ordered coins from the Mint and now wish to sell, but it is a very high ceiling.
So in a way, opening such an email, is a bit like opening an envelope at an awards ceremony to see who the lucky winner is.
Someone who wants a Professional Coin Grading Service Proof-70 DCAM (Deep Cameo) First Strike $5 gold piece can obtain it for $1,350.
That is 217 percent more than a buyer would have paid the Mint for a proof coin at the $424.75 issue price.
However, not all proofs sold by the Mint would make the grade of Proof-70. Not all would be First Strikes. And the Mint does not provide coins that are professionally graded.
Just one grade point lower at Proof-69 DCAM the retail price is $875. Still at something more than double issue price, it is apparent why the exercise of getting orders in to the Mint quickly could be wonderfully rewarding.
The Mint State-70 First Strike is $1,550, which is more than the proof, but a logical price given that there are almost twice as many proofs as uncirculated pieces. The MS-69 First Strike is $825.
As nice as those profits are, it would appear from the first retail offering that it is the silver dollars where the most money might have been made.
A Proof-70 DCAM First Strike is $350, which is more than six times the $51.95 issue price rather than the three times of the gold.
This I expect reflects the retailer’s knowledge that the hearts of most collectors are in silver coins and these are more affordable than gold.
The MS-70 First Strike is an identical $350. In this case, a lower mintage has no visible impact on price.
For MS-69 First Strike, the price is $140 and the Proof-69 DCAM is also $140. These prices are nearly triple issue prices, where as gold was just double in -69 – again proving collector preference for silver.
Clad half dollars I will write about another day because it is gold and silver that get collectors' juices flowing and because I think this blog is long enough.
Congratulations to all successful buyers. Nothing feels better than to have acquired a winner. It also makes up for those 1970s proof sets that have been sitting in a drawer.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."