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Mint pricing sometimes looks crazy

Mint pricing is baffling to collectors.

If you want a 2017 Lions commemorative silver dollar, the price is $47.95 for a proof.

The uncirculated is $46.95.

The difference is $1.

Collectors have long believed proof coins ago be superior pieces that cost more to make.

Therefore, the price of the proof should be higher than the uncirculated.

But just $1 higher?

In 1968, the uncirculated coin set was $2.50.

The proof set was $5.

The proof cost double.

There were five coins in the proof set with a face value of 91 cents.

The uncirculated set had 10 coins in it with a face value of $1.33.

The Eisenhower dollar silver proof was $10 in 1971.

The uncirculated silver piece was $3.

The proof price was 3.3 times the uncirculated price.

Currently, the 2016 proof silver American Eagle is $53.95 and the uncirculated is $44.95.

This price spread of $9 certainly jibes with traditional collector sensibilities.

The Eagle pricing might circle back and raise new questions for the Lions dollar.

The one-ounce silver coin is $2 cheaper than the .7734 ounce Lions dollar.

Why a cheaper price for more silver?

It might be argued that the cost of Mint production is spread over fewer coins in the Lions design, therefore the individual price would be higher.

If this is true, then the Lions proof at $47.95 should not be cheaper than the Eagle proof 's $53.95 price because it too would have production costs to amortize over fewer coins.

Looking for logic drives collectors crazy.

Perhaps this is most tellingly true for things like the 2016 Limited Edition silver proof set.

It is a combination of the proof silver Eagle and the silver coins from the silver proof set.

No base metal coins allowed.

Price is $139.95.

Yet if you buy the proof Eagle separately, the cost is $53.95.

A silver proof set, which also includes the base metal nickel and cent as well as the $1 coins, is $52.95.

The combined cost is $106.90.

That is $33.05 cheaper and you have purchased more coins to boot.

Is the unifying holder worth that additional price?

Buyers of the 36,183 sets must think so.

I am sure sharp-eyed collectors will be able to point out more pricing anomalies to add to this list.

Collectors do consider price when buying.

As attached as they are to certain issues, when they perceive the asking price to be excessive, they walk away.

After all, looking for good value is at the basis of how collectors evaluate every coin that they consider buying.

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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