This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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New sales rules to suppress alleged price gouging and ensure the widest possible distribution of the new America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver bullion coins were put in place Dec. 10 by the U.S. Mint.
These were created by the Mint after a public outcry over high prices forced it to cancel the Dec. 6 program opening date.
The Mint’s 11 authorized purchasers were given a week to decide whether they could abide by them and take up their allotments.
Only 33,000 examples of each of five 2010-dated designs were struck, or 165,000 coins in all. Each authorized purchaser was given rights to 3,000 if they promised to sell to the public at no more than a 10 percent mark-up over cost plus shipping and handling and limit purchasers to no more than one set of five coins per household.
Since most of the authorized purchasers are wholesale businesses rather than retailers, these new rules could be difficult for them to enforce.
As a consequence, less than half, or 75,000 coins of the 165,000 total available, were spoken for as of press time. The authorized purchasers were given until Dec. 17 to make up their minds. If any of them were to give up their allotments, the coins were to be reapportioned Dec. 20 among the purchasers that did choose to participate in the program.
The high level of interest by the public assures that all 165,000 coins will be purchased from the Mint.
Prices to authorized purchasers are based on the London morning silver price plus $9.75 a coin. Orders confirmed by the Mint Dec. 10, for example, were priced based on London’s a.m. price of $29.33 an ounce on Dec. 13, or $146.65 plus $9.75. This equals $156.40 a coin, or $782 for a five-coin set. With a 10 percent mark-up, the total comes to $860.20 a set plus the allowable shipping and handling charge.