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Lots of cash spent but no gold Walker sellout

Almost four full days after the gold Walking Liberty half dollar went on sale at the United States Mint website, it is still available. There was no sellout.

It had a good first day of sales with 43,728 being taken by collectors.

The maximum mintage is 70,000.

The half-ounce gold coin household order limit is three. Price is $865.

Since election day, the plummeting price of gold cut buyers a break on cost.

The $100 fall meant that collectors paid $50 less for each gold Walker.

What struck me the most about the gold Walking Liberty sales figure is how similar it is to the first day of sales for its companion gold Standing Liberty quarter.

That number was 47,884.

However, the gold Standing Liberty had a more generous order limit of 10 pieces per household, so a small number of big orders could have run up the total.

When this limit was lifted, the number of the gold quarter-ounce pieces sold jumped past 80,000 in about 10 weeks’ time.

In April, the gold tenth-ounce Mercury dime sold out in minutes.

The maximum mintage was 125,000, but there was no household order limit.

The virtually final sales number stands at 116,096 when all the canceled orders, returns and other problematic issues were worked through.

First-day buyers of the gold Walker had to shell out 63 percent more of their hobby dollars to get the 43,728 coins taken.

They spent $37.8 million compared to $23.2 million for the gold Standing Liberty on Sept. 8.

The gold dime’s first day of sales (the sellout) April 21 was roughly $25.6 million.

If you add in the additional gold Standing Liberty quarters sold after the first day, you find that dollars taken from collectors and numismatic marketers for all three offers nows stands at over $100 million.

That is a handsome sum.

Most buyers will consider this to be money well spent.

However, it is also money that cannot be spent on other Mint programs, or with the nation’s coin dealers.

On Thanksgiving Day, the leadership of the Mint should be grateful that there is such an ongoing willingness to buy new issues.

The Mint's competitors will have to think of ways to take away a piece of that $100 million numismatic revenue.

But will they?

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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