Perhaps it is time to recognize the unsung collector.
Who might that be?
I was analyzing this week’s figures for the Mint Statistics pages of Numismatic News. What I noticed is that collectors of America the Beautiful quarters are supporting Mint products in a greater way than average collectors who do not specialize in these quarters.
It has been commonplace wisdom that the ATB quarters will never generate the excitement of the state quarter program. That is a given.
However, if you look at Mint sales figures, quarter buyers are more likely to stick with the Mint than buyers of other standard annual issues.
I came to this conclusion when I first noticed that buyers had purchased more of the 2012 uncirculated ATB sets than the 2011 and 2010 issues.
Don’t they know the pattern is usually for the third year number to be lower?
So I looked at the 5-quarter proof sets versus the standard proof sets.
While buyers of standard clad proof sets have so far bought 28.46 percent fewer 2012 sets compared to 2011 sets (784,814 vs. 1,097,150), the apparently more committed buyers of 2012 5-quarter clad proof sets have purchased only 12.04 percent fewer sets (133,774 vs. 152,081).
Quarter buyer loyalty is even more pronounced in the silver proofs.
Buyers of the 2012 5-quarter silver proof set have taken 5.26 percent fewer sets compared to 2011 (139,766 vs. 147,526) while buyers of the full 2012 silver proof set have lost enough interest to bring their purchases down by 31.94 percent from 2011 numbers (390,259 vs. 573,392).
Quarter buyers are apparently more loyal than buyers of the full proof sets. Their unsung support should be lauded and perhaps proves there is still appeal to collectors of assembling sets of quarters with changing reverse designs.
And speaking of unsung support, I would like to thank Mike White at the U.S. Mint for interrupting his holiday relaxation to get me some new numbers to send to my readers. It is much appreciated.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."