Not long ago, I wrote that the Mint should be offering 2018 silver American Eagle bullion coins to buyers as soon as the calendar page turns to January.
Well, demand for the coin is becoming a one-month wonder, and the Mint needs to squeeze as much out of it as possible.
Nearly 30 percent of 2017 sales were in January.
The precise figure at the moment is 29.39 percent.
I write "at the moment" because 2017 coins are still being sold.
The 5,127,500 pieces sold in January is the only outstanding result in a year where silver Eagle sales have plunged by 20 million coins.
The January 2017 outcome was achieved despite the fact that coins did not hit the market until Jan. 9.
I do not know when the silver Eagle bullion coins will be first released in 2018.
The Mint has not yet revealed the schedule.
However, one early sign is not particularly promising.
I received a promotional email from Scottsdale Mint offering 2018 silver Eagle bullion coins on a pre-sale basis..
The caveat is that buyers must wait for delivery.
Scottsdate’s notice says this
“Please note that this is a Pre-Sale offer. 1 oz American Silver and Gold Eagles (2018) are expected to begin shipping from Scottsdale Mint’s facilities toward the third / fourth week of January, 2018."
Scottsdale’s schedule is determined by when it can get the coins, which is in turn determined by when the U.S. Mint first makes them available.
Obviously, buyers will not be holding an example in their hands when the champagne corks are being cleaned up on the first business day of the New Year.
That’s a missed opportunity for silver Eagle sellers.
The Scottsdale email also says that 2018 Canadian silver and gold Maple Leaves are available immediately.
If you want a 2018 bullion coin in your hands for the Florida United Numismatists convention the first weekend in January, it looks like Maple Leaves can meet your needs.
What’s getting a jump on sales in the new year worth?
If the Royal Canadian Mint is doing it, you can be sure there is value to it.
As a bonus, the Maple Leaves are also cheaper.
The mark-up on bulk lots is $1.85 a coin compared to $2.40 for the silver Eagle.
For small quantities, the mark-ups are $2.05 for the Maple Leaves and $2.60 for the silver Eagles.
Good luck to all bullion buyers in 2018, but especially those who are waiting for American Eagles.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
• Like this blog? Read more by subscribing to Numismatic News.