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I looked but didn't buy

The Mint booth at the Central States Numismatic Society convention in Schaumburg, Ill., was worth a visit this past weekend.

While I did not see masses of people attempting to purchase Mint products, I took advantage of the quiet to take a look at two gold coins on display.

As you might guess, one was the gold Mercury dime Centennial coin that the Mint sold for $205 each and was virtually sold out in 40 minutes on April 21.

I had to look at it through the display case. It is a beautiful coin. It brought back memories of my circulation finds days when I was plugging holes in a Mercury Whitman album.

The second coin was a surprise. It was the quarter-ounce Standing Liberty gold quarter. I did not expect to see it yet. It was gorgeous. Being larger than the dime, it was also more impressive.

Neither coin was for sale at the booth and there was no information yet as to when the Standing Liberty design will go on sale.

Naturally, with two of these gold coins present, I asked if the third, the Walking Liberty half dollar, was on hand. It was not.

As the song says, two out of three ain’t bad.

Examples of the gold Mercury dime were available for sale on the bourse floor.

Raw examples, that is unslabbed, were priced at $250, a $45 increase from issue price. However, if you add in the Mint’s $4.95 shipping charge and the tension of waiting for a coin you can’t wait to receive, perhaps the extra money was well worth spending. Though in my case, I resisted just as I resisted the initial issue.

If the retail market is $250 now just after the gold Mercury coins basically sold out, then buyers who have not yet gotten delivery from the Mint are probably going to be lucky to break even if the purchase was simply a speculation.

Those coins that earn an MS-70 designation will probably do OK. But even this isn’t certain.

Because the gold dime is a small coin and therefore much easier both to strike and more resistant to stray marks (also because it is small), there might be quite a few that make this top grade. That too will keep a lid on secondary market prices.

If buyers do not make a ton of money on the gold Mercury, will they pull back from the Standing Liberty when it is offered? That is human nature, but from the standpoint of beauty, that would be a shame. It is an impressive coin.