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Shed a tear for Louis Braille

No, not the person. The commemorative coin program.

Here we are at the beginning of July. The prime sales season is pretty much over for the Louis Braille commemorative silver dollar program. The calendar doesn’t say that. My experience watching commemorative programs since 1982 does.

Sure, the coins will be offered for the next six months. A few more will be sold. But I would bet it will be relatively few.

It is amazing in a way. Collector behavior in 2009 is very similar to collector behavior before the Internet and before the Mint kept coins on the market for months or even years on end.

Demand is front-end loaded. Collectors who want the new coins act quickly. For a start, they want what we used to call the pre-issue discount.

Saving money is always a good reason to do something, but I think collectors just like to get on with life.

If they like something, they will buy it. They won’t dance a jig and then put the decision on the shelf for six months as a rule. If the toes start tapping when they see the coin, they are going to buy it fast.

Sure, come December in the final days of the program a few collectors will scan the sales numbers and decide whether they are low enough to risk some money making a purchase for a quick turnover on the secondary market.

But with 111,311 proofs already sold, the numbers aren’t going to look too appealing to speculators.

The current 42,020 uncirculated pieces sold so far is low, but not tantalizingly low. By December the number will be somewhat higher.

But what of the easy-open capsule? Will this new kind of holder inspire speculation? Some 18,016 have been sold so far.

Nah, I don’t think so.

Time to shed that tear.