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Platinum proof on sale Dec. 3

No one-ounce 2015 platinum bullion coins will be produced by the U.S. Mint and the collector 2015-W Torches of Freedom proof one-ounce platinum issue will have a reduced mintage of just 4,000.

The Mint said this is due to a shortage of blanks this year.

The proof will go on sale Dec. 3 on the Mint website.

The limited supply of blanks that the Mint did have was earmarked for the collector proof program.

In 2014 the Mint struck and sold 4,629 2014-W proof platinum Eagles, so the 2015 total is not all that much lower.

Proof mintages have been trending lower year by year since a 2011 high of 14,835.

The highest sales year for proof platinum one-ounce coins was the first year they were offered, 1997, when 20,851 were snapped up by collectors.

Demand for bullion platinum Eagles was not all that high in 2014 either considering that the bullion coin had not been made since 2008.

Buyers took 16,900 of the one-ounce platinum bullion coins in 2014.

This compares to 21,800 in 2008.

The first three years of the platinum bullion program saw the production highs of the one-ounce coin.

In 1997 the Mint cranked out 56,000 and in 1998 the quantity was 133,002. The year 1999 came in at 56,707. At that point production levels plunged.

The Mint expects to offer 2016 one-ounce platinum bullion coins.

It said steps were completed in October to assure an ongoing supply of blanks. “The Mint began the process of expanding its supply base for platinum, completing trial strike testing and full production validation with two new suppliers.”

The year 2008 was the last year for production of fractional ounce sizes of platinum bullion coins. The Mint has no plans to revive them.

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