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More gold for the bold

Collectors proved to be wild for cupped gold baseball commemorative coins last week. Will they be equally wild for a more traditional gold coin product that goes on sale April 4?

On that date, the proof American Eagle gold coins will be offered to collectors.

Prices are not yet available, but the Mint tweaked the mintage a bit.

This year just 15,000 four-coin sets will be available as compared to a ceiling of 20,000 in 2013.

The reduction is likely a reflection of the fact that only 7,877 of the four-coin sets were sold last year. Even the new lower number is nearly double what was actually bought by collectors.

Other mintage ceilings will remain the same.

The one-ounce coin stands at 20,000 as it was last year. While it did not sell out in 2013, 16,833 were sold, which means even a mild uptick in demand might produce a sellout this year.

For the half-ounce proof, the maximum mintage will be 10,000. Only 4,841 were sold in 2013.

Ditto with the quarter ounce. The maximum mintage will remain at 10,000 and the 2013 sales figure was 4,913.

The tenth-ounce proof mintage ceiling is 20,000. In 2013 buyers took 13,865 home.

With so many collectors having piled into the baseball commemoratives, they might find their wallets to be just a little light when the proof American Eagle gold coins become available.

They are not cheap, but with the baseball coins buyer preference was clearly focused on the high-end gold, which sold out, rather than the low-end copper-nickel clad, which will likely languish.

What will potential buyers be thinking? Buy while the price of gold is experiencing a correction, or wait a while and hope the coins become cheaper still?

This morning, gold’s price was $1,293.50 when I checked the Kitco website, hardly moving from Friday’s close.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2013 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."