What comes first, a Lincoln commemorative silver dollar sellout or this issue of Numismatic News going to press?
It was a race.
Only 2,132 coins remained in Mint hands of the 450,000 pieces that were being offered to collectors individually as this paper was being deadlined.
A further supply of 50,000 proofs is being held for use in a special set that will be offered later this year. That would bring total mintage to 500,000, a figure not reached for a commemorative silver dollar in many years.
As of March 26, the Mint Web site was still selling the proofs and the uncirculateds were being sold only provisionally.
Earlier in the week it had reported that 312,075 proofs had been sold since sales began Feb. 12. For uncirculateds, sales totaled 135,793 coins. This brought total sales to 447,868. (See the Mint Statistics on Page 20.)
Perhaps remarkable is that this near sellout was achieved over the course of about six weeks without the near panic buying online that characterized the initial offering of the first three First Spouse gold coins, or the somewhat less rapid sales of the 20th Anniversary Sets of American Eagles. It was just good, steady collector demand.
With the Braille commemorative silver dollar going on sale March 26, the Mint could not have planned a better outcome.