Word went out from the Mint at the beginning of the week that the last day it will accept orders for 2014 bullion platinum American Eagles will be Oct. 1.
That’s the news.
The question is do enough people care to make the bullion one-ounce platinum coin an ongoing product?
Buyers have taken just 13,800 of them in the roughly six months they have been available. You would think if the coin was filling an important need that the number would be greater than this because they have not been offered since 2008.
After being starved of new product for five years, pent-up demand for new coins in the marketplace amounts to just 13,800 coins? Apparently.
Mint Director Richard Peterson assured me in August that the one-ounce platinum coin is a viable product.
He ought to know.
He sees the cost numbers for manufacturing them.
But if 13,800 coins are enough to satisfy the American and international markets it doesn’t seem worth the effort to me.
In 2008 21,800 were made. That's a better number but still not large.
When the coin was introduced in 1997, the market looked ripe for exploitation by the Mint.
That first year 56,000 one-ounce coins were produced – and don’t forget there were fractional sizes then as well, which were not brought back this year.
In 1998 the mintage was 133,002.
In 1999 the figure was 56,707.
Perhaps buyers were spooked by the impending Y2K computer disaster that did not happen on New Year’s 2000.
Mintage plunged in 2000 to just 10,003.
The low point was 6,000 in 2006.
Looking at that number, I guess you could say that the 13,800 number of 2014 does include some pent-up demand.
Another way to look at the mintage plunge after the first three years is that those first 250,000 coins basically satisfied the investor market for American one-ounce platinum bullion coins and they are simply being traded back and forth on the secondary market.
I can’t speak for investors. There are some who probably think platinum coins are just what they need and are happy that the Mint is providing them.
But as a collector, it looks like this market just isn’t worth messing with.
The proof collector version might not be either, but that is a topic for another day.
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."