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High five for silver

Have you taken a close look at the five-ounce silver America the Beautiful quarter yet?

I expect you probably have not.

With the Mint claiming tens of millions of coin collectors, it currently struggles to sell a couple tens of thousands of these five-ounce pieces.

So far this year, buyers have taken 18,532 of the Shawnee National Forest design.

For the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park the number is 17,495.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park sits currently at 15,884.

With numbers like these, it is no wonder few collectors have had a close encounter with them.

These pieces have an uncirculated finish and a “P” mintmark to distinguish them from the bullion coin versions.

Bullion version mintages are higher, but compared to the 30 million and 40 million silver American Eagles sold each year, they still pale by comparison.

The first time I saw one of these five-ouncers close up, a co-worker had brought one back to the office in a slab.

It had heft. It impressed me.

Another one I purchased with the intention of giving it as a gift. Even among collectors, a gift of a five-ounce coin is a bit startling.

Why not startle yourself and buy one?

Current price is $149.95.

You might be surprised how it will grow on you.

It is easy to get over the absolutely crazy denomination of 25 cents.

But when you look at the detail of the designs you realize how much better they look struck on five ounces of silver rather than on a circulating quarter.

The large size is how these designs were truly meant to be seen.

If you don’t like the one you buy, you can always use it as a door stop.

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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