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No cooperation from bullion

The good news this morning is more people are going back to work.

The bad news is gold and silver investors think this is bad news.

Gold has plunged $22, according to the Kitco website to $1,176.

That puts the precious yellow metal down on the calendar year.

Silver is down 41 cents to $15.79, leaving it barely positive for the year.

What I really want to write about this morning is my receipt in the mail yesterday of a sales solicitation from the U.S. Mint.

To be sure it is an old-fashioned outreach to collectors, but mail is still effective, which is why the Mint is doing it.

Offered are proof and uncirculated March of Dimes silver dollars.

The pre-issue discount price, which the Mint now calls the introductory price, is $46.95 for the proof and $43.95 for the uncirculated.

Sales begin March 13.

After April 13, the prices pop up by $5 each.

At this morning's silver price, each of the coins contain $12.21 worth of silver.

Add the $10 surcharge and we arrive at a figure of $22.21.

That means the Mint is taking $24.29 at present prices for the proof and $21.29 for the uncirculated.

I think collectors are not going to rush right out and buy these dollars, though the opening couple of days will see a surge of orders of some size from collectors who do not care how costly relative to silver these coins are.

To a degree, with Proof-70 and Mint State-70 early release designations, they are behaving rationally as the sales price for these coins could still leave some room for profit.

However, the overall mintages for the rest of the year do not look like they have good prospects.

This weakness may or may not affect the demand for the March of Dimes Special Silver Set, which is slated to go on sale May 4 for $61.95.

This set contains a silver proof West Point dime and a reverse silver proof Philadelphia dime along with the proof silver dollar.

The added cost over the basic $43.95 for the proof dollar alone is $18.

Will collectors view that figure as reasonable?

It does not strike me as high, but if collectors witness a miserable start to commemorative silver dollar sales, they might not be persuaded to buy a special set with a mintage of 75,000.

Of course, by the time sales begin on March 13, silver might have soared $2 for any number of unexpected reasons and all of this reasoning would be knocking into a cocked hat.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."