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Twain silver mystery

The Mint is delaying the release of the Mark Twain silver dollar commemoratives that were supposed to go on sale with the gold $5 on Jan. 14.

Collectors have been commenting about this online in the last few days.

The delay in offering dollars is a mystery.

A spokesman said the Mint needs time to build inventory.

What does that mean?

What does that mean especially when just days ago it was reported that both would be offered simultaneously?

Waiting for me in my mailbox when I returned from the Florida United Numismatists show was a Mint brochure announcing the availability of both the gold and silver coins on Jan. 14.

There is a long lead time at the Mint to put such a snazzy sales brochure together.

What could have cropped up so suddenly?

Was it a production problem?

The Mint should have known about it quite a while ago.

Is the Mint expecting a surge in collector demand for commemorative dollars?

Twain is a popular American figure. Collectors might be more enthusiastic buyers of the dollar than they have been for other recent offers.

But other recent offers have fallen far short of sellouts.

The Mint managed to move hardly more than 30 percent of the silver dollars authorized for 2015.

Will we ever know the facts behind the Twain dollar mystery? I am sure the 19th century's master American story teller and comedian would have made a great joke of this.

Naturally, in the absence of information, collector imagination can run wild – and it is.

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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