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'I'm a numismatist and I cannot lie'

The Royal Canadian Mint hosted a reception yesterday. It was an event where all of the attendees could relax a little and have conversations with their counterparts around the world. It was pretty standard fare until a special performance was given by four of the mint's employees. Trish Santos, Manon LaPlante, Ian Graham and Jocelyn Desy wrote their own numismatic industry lyrics to an old rap song and then presented the result on stage dressed in clothing from the 'hood. The audience ate it up. It was great fun to watch them bust a few moves.

Individuals I talked to expressed optimism about the market for new coins. Of course, mints trying to sell coins to collectors always have to be optimists.

The major increases in the bullion coin market have had their effect on collector buying attitudes. Bullion coins generally have very low markups over bullion value. Buyers have every incentive to buy their precious metals in the cheapest fashion possible. This cost consciousness is apparently spilling over into collectible purchases. Mints have to watch their pricing points very closely.

For a U.S. collector, new world issues always seem expensive. The U.S. Mint pricing spoils them. Where the U.S. Mint might want a 35 percent markup for something, world mints routinely take double bullion value for their collectible offerings.

Today is officially the set-up day for the show, but so many meetings are scheduled in the conference rooms all week that it is fair to ask whether the official start isn't just icing on the cake.