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Silver Eagle still flying high

I arrived at my desk this morning knowing that I would have to write something about the end of the sales for the two-coin West Point silver American Eagle set.

The Mint closed the order period at 5 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time yesterday.

However, we will not know the preliminary final order tally, according the Mint, until 3 p.m. today.

Yesterday’s update showed the order total standing at 251,695, which is almost eerily similar to what was the preliminary final order tally for the two-coin San Francisco silver American Eagle set in July 2012.

Last year’s order total was reduced by order cancellations. Today’s number is likely to rise as some fence sitters finally jump in.

How large will that rise be? 15,000 to 20,000 would be my guess. That would put the final number at 266,000 to 271,000.

What will that mean for the secondary market?

It probably means it will be fairly dull, unless we are sent some sort of surprise minting variety or error to spice up our summertime.

Major coin dealers have probably ordered as large a supply of sets as they believe they can sell to their retail clients over the next three to six months.

I was asked by one reader if the Mint was selling these sets to dealers at some sort of discounted wholesale price.

The answer to that is no, the Mint did not sell these sets to dealers at discounted prices.

Everybody will begin with their cost basis at $139.95 plus shipping.

From the Mint’s point of view, this program is a rip-roaring success. It has conducted an Eagle program that was infinitely fair to all collectors. There were four weeks for us to make up our minds and all orders are to be filled.

Better yet, the higher demand compared to last year indicates that the Mint has not yet saturated the market for multi-coin silver Eagle sets.

That fairly beckons the Mint to come up with another special offering in 2014.

What will it be?

I am open to suggestions.

Perhaps they could ship some blanks to the Nevada State Museum in Carson City to revive the old CC mintmark.

Demand for such a coin would probably be over half a million and it wouldn’t require a proof surface, reverse proof surface or enhanced uncirculated surface to attract buyers.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."