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Twain leads Mint product parade

Bullion buyers know that the Mint will begin taking orders for one-ounce silver American Eagle coins Jan. 11, 2016.

Collectors of the proof version do not yet have the certainty of knowing when it will be released. Dates are to be announced for both the proof and the uncirculated collector versions of the coins.

If anyone is upset by this, blame Congress.

It was not until the beginning of December that the Mint was given a mandate to put 30th anniversary lettering on the edges of these two collector coins rather than the standard reeding.

Will this slight change make the coins worth the wait?

I wouldn’t think so, but maybe somewhere in organized numismatics someone cares about the 30th anniversary of the program and is happy that it can be observed in this way.

Bullion buyers don’t have to wait for coins because the standard reeding stays on these coins.

I may be wrong about anniversary fatigue, but we will see.

The order numbers will tell the tale whenever the Mint begins accepting them.

Collector interest in the proof Eagle coins is already waning.

Sales of the 2015 proof silver Eagle are 23 percent lower than in 2014.

Will a 30th anniversary edge stanch the bleeding? Make your best guess.

Hobbyists who are looking for certainty can turn their attention to the Mark Twain commemorative gold $5 and silver dollar.

These become available for purchase Jan. 14.

Gold Eagle proofs will go on sale March 17.

On March 24 the second commemorative program of the year commences. Honoring the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, there will be a gold $5, a silver dollar and a clad half dollar.

The proof gold Buffalo is scheduled for March 31.

Obviously, March will be expensive for collectors who have an interest in these precious metal issues.

However, for 2016 the big precious metal focus for collectors will be the centennial issues of the Mercury dime, Standing Liberty quarter and Walking Liberty half dollar in gold.

Issue date is not yet known.

Will collector priorities make them reluctant spenders on all of the other issues of the year to have the money for the centennial issues? Probably.

More affordable will be the Ronald Reagan Coin and Chronicles set when it goes on sale.

That date is yet to be determined.

The Nancy Reagan First Spouse coin is slated for some time in July as are rolls and bags of standard Reagan dollars.

July would seem to be a likely month for the special set as well.

Will time between the LBJ issue and the Reagan issue build excitement, or will collectors have moved on by then?

That probably depends on the mintage number to be chosen by the Mint.

No matter how sales go in 2016, the fact remains that the U.S. Mint will be the center of the hobby universe for many collectors.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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