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Palladium bullion coin hard to peg

Is the 2017 one-ounce palladium American Eagle a bullion coin that some collectors will happen to collect?

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Or, is the new coin, with a mintage of just 15,000, destined to be solely a collector coin?

Right now, I don’t think the new coin has yet had an impact on the thoughts of many collectors. Officially, it is a bullion coin. The collector proof version does not arrive until 2018.

To state the obvious, palladium is new to us. It might have the familiar Mercury dime design on it, paired with an A.A. Weinman eagle on the reverse, but it is still different.

I have never held a palladium coin in all the years I’ve been a collector. Have you?

So, in the days immediately after the coins were sold to the Mint’s authorized purchasers, I saw MS-70 collector versions offered at very high prices. But checking on eBay as I write this showed the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation MS-70 Early Releases at just $1,348.74 as “Buy It Now” items.

That struck me as reasonable. But I came to this conclusion after checking the bullion aspect.

To do this, I looked up the APMEX website to see what the coins were selling for. On this site, the coins were priced as bullion coins.

If you want to buy 100, the individual coin price was $1,037.19 each when the price of an ounce of palladium was $917.20.

If you only wanted one unslabbed coin, it would cost $1,057.19.

The markup on a 100-coin lot was $119.99 each, or approximately 13.1 percent over melt value. For the individual coin, the markup was $139.99, or 15.3 percent over melt.

Neither percentage seemed particularly high. That should put the palladium Eagle firmly in the bullion coin camp. The fact you can buy it in bulk is also indicative of its bullion coin standing.

But bulk is a relative term for something that has a mintage of just 15,000. Once this initial supply is dispersed, will prices rise? Just over $17 million could take all 15,000 if you could get them from a single supplier like APMEX.

Certainly once collectors start focusing on the palladium Eagle, the usual factors will come into play. Do they like the design? Can they come up with the cash to buy one?

The 2017 will always be the first one issued. Usually, the first of any series is saved in greater quantity.

The lack of a 2017 proof is unprecedented in the Mint’s modern bullion coin history. The first year of gold and silver Eagles in 1986 had proofs. The first platinum in 1997 included proofs as well. For palladium, the 2017 Eagle will always stand alone.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

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