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Who will buy silver dollar tomorrow?

When the 2012 Infantry Soldier silver dollar commemorative goes on sale tomorrow at the U.S. Mint’s website, the price of both the proof and the uncirculated pieces will be below $50.

The proof has an introductory price of $49.95 and the uncirculated is $44.95.

Are those prices low enough to begin a revival in demand for American commemorative coins?

Every collector is going to make the same bullion calculation that I make and consider the fact that each coin contains $26 in silver at the present price of bullion, leaving a mark-up of $$23.95 for the proof and $18.95 for the uncirculated.

I don’t see that generating much enthusiasm.

How about the mintage?

The ceiling set for this program is just 350,000 coins, down from the 500,000 level from last year.

That seems like a significant cut until we look at the actual sales numbers of the two 2011 silver dollar coins, which did not reach 200,000 pieces.

The Army dollar’s proof and uncirculated sales numbers combined for a total of 163,346 and the Medal of Honor equivalent number is 157,619.

That means this year’s ceiling will likely have little impact on collector ordering behavior.

How about the theme?

The infantry soldier.

I don’t think anybody will knock the theme, but on the other hand, it takes something of a mental fizz in the minds of collectors to want to add something to their collections. Boy Scouts and Lincoln are examples of recent issues that did generate such a fizz.

I don’t see much prospect for that here.

What this all boils down to is demand for this commemorative dollar will come from the hardy collectors who year in and year out want to add the new commemorative issues to their growing sets of silver dollar commemoratives.

The Mint and the organizations that benefit from the $10 surcharge placed on each coin will owe these collectors a big thank-you.

Perhaps a future commemorative silver dollar should take as its theme the average collector.