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Time to pounce on profits?

Are you a fence sitter or procrastinator?

No, I am not trying to make you feel bad.

It’s that time of year again when this trait comes to the fore in the numismatic field, and for some, it is a darn good thing. They profit from it.

Every year, commemoratives and other coins sold for many months finally go off sale. Some collectors wait for this time of year to make a last-minute evaluation of potential rarities among these new issues and decide whether they might profit by buying them just before they go off sale.

For example, these fence sitters will look carefully at the two commemorative coin programs and ask themselves whether the 5,716 proof Star-Spangled Banner $5 gold pieces that have been sold so far is a low enough number to take a gamble on them, or whether the uncirculated specimen at 5,126 pieces might be a better gamble.

Those two numbers right away seem odd to me because proofs usually outnumber uncirculated pieces by 2-1 or 3-1. The proof just might be the desirable coin this year.

The more usual ratio already prevails for the 2012 silver coins.

For example, the Star-Spangled Banner silver dollar has sold 108,489 proofs compared to 39,101. That works out to 2.77 to 1.

The Infantry silver dollar at 104,242 proofs and 42,518 uncirculated coins works out to 2.45 to 1.

You get the idea. Are either sets of the silver dollar numbers enough to tempt a true fence sitter? We’ll see.

Numerous numismatic products will go off sale during the month of December at the U.S. Mint and that spells opportunity for these fence sitters to swoop in.

Both 2012 commemorative coin programs will cease on Dec. 17.

On Dec. 31, the 2011-P uncirculated collector versions of the 5-ounce silver America the Beautiful coins will go off sale.

Various other sets and coins dated 2011 also will go off sale on Dec. 31. These include 2011 silver and clad proof sets, 2011 uncirculated coin set, the 2011 four-coin gold American Eagle proof set, the 2011 proof gold Buffalo and the Lucy Hayes proof and Lucretia Garfield proof First Spouse coins.

Check out the Mint Statistics pages for current sales numbers. There might be some hidden jewels.

Then visit the U.S. Mint’s website at if you want to take the plunge.

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