We collectors often write that we are disappointed in something that the United States Mint has done.
Is the reverse true?
Is the U.S. Mint disappointed in the behavior of collectors?
If it is, perhaps yesterday was one of those days.
It was the last day that the World War I Centennial Coin and Medal sets were being sold for $99.95 each.
In each set was a proof World War I commemorative dollar paired with a medal honoring a specific branch of the service.
Medals for the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Service and Coast Guard were offered.
Up to 100,000 such sets could have been sold if collectors had wanted them.
As of the Mint’s weekly sales figures of Feb. 18, collectors had purchased 60,994 such sets.
In the final two days, there could have been a rush to buy the remaining 39,006.
Or maybe not.
I would bet on not, though we won’t know for sure until next week.
Medals are a tough sell among coin collectors.
Generally, they are treated as some sort of second class object.
Another way to look at this, though, is that collectors spent over $6 million to acquire the two-piece sets.
That is not a record sum for a numismatic offer, but unless we become totally jaded, it is still a lot of money being spent.
Perhaps that means that collector tastes are changing.
We are being treated to a regular series of Liberty Head medals struck in silver.
This combines two things that collectors consider to be among their favorite things, the head of Liberty rather than a past President, and silver.
But since tastes change slowly, let’s focus on something else to conclude with.
If you had to guess which branch of the service would be the most frequently bought, what would you guess?
I expect you would guess Army, and you would be right.
The Mint sold 15,161 of these.
If you wanted to guess which medal was the least popular, you probably would say Coast Guard, and you would be right again at 9,565.
Would you get the rest of the sales order right?
Here we go: Marines, 12,307;
Air Service, 12,164,
They have bunched so closely together that next week we might have a rearrangement.
Let’s check in on this topic again then.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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