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Mint sets Walking Liberty gold release date

Release date of the Walking Liberty Centennial gold half dollar has been set for Nov. 17 by the U.S. Mint.

Many collectors have been eagerly awaiting it.

Will some of these special coins find their way under Christmas trees during the holidays?

Perhaps, but it will depend on how quickly the coins sell out.

Speculative darlings tend not to find their way to others as gifts during a buying frenzy.

No mintage figure or household order limit has yet been announced for the gold Walkers.

The gold coin will feature one of three designs introduced in 1916 on circulating dimes, quarters and half dollars. They are the Winged Liberty Head dime by A.A. Weinman, the Standing Liberty quarter by Hermon A. MacNeil and Weinman's Walking Liberty.

This year's gold versions have been created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the coins.

Collectors have long admired the designs of the original coins and have demonstrated their positive attachment to them by purchasing the gold versions.

Many collectors have been working on assembling a set of all three this year.

The Mint has spaced out the issuance of the coins throughout the year, perhaps to ease the burden on collector budgets.

The gold Mercury dime was offered to buyers for $205 each April 21. It sold out in minutes. Maximum mintage was 125,000, but sales adjustments have brought the figure down to 116,095.

The gold Standing Liberty quarter went on sale Sept. 8. It is still being sold. Sales stand at 79,367 out of a possible mintage of 100,000. We will have an update of that number late Tuesday afternoon when the Mint posts its weekly sales numbers.

Issue price is $485 but will likely come down on Wednesday after gold bullion’s recent declines.

For the gold half dollar, issue price would be $890 if gold stays in its current price range of $1,250 to $1,299.99. Builders of three-coin gold sets will have spent $1,580 plus shipping fees when all is said and done if they ordered directly from the Mint.

Coming up with roughly $1,600 in one year is not easy for many collectors.

Some did not buy these gold coins at all. Others stopped with the gold dime. Still others probably tightened their hobby spending in other areas to make room for these very special coins.

In any case, the money represents a significant financial and emotional investment in some of the greatest designs in numismatic history.

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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