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Why the 'P mint Harrison dollar sellout?

There is something of a paradox going on with William Henry Harrison Presidential dollars.

For the first time in the Presidential dollar series, the total mintage has dropped below 100 million coins when you add the Philadelphia and Denver mintages together.

This continues a downward trend that with one minor interruption with the Andrew Jackson coins has been relentless since the series began with over 340 million George Washington coins.

What’s the paradox you ask?

Well, I had an e-mail from the U.S. Mint to tell me that the “P” mint rolls of the coins, which contain 25 pieces, are already sold out.

How can this be with dollar coins backing up all over the place?

Is there some hidden source of demand that I am not thinking of? Have William Henry Harrison coin clubs sprouted across America secretly?

I wish I knew.

Last week’s Mint Statistics column reported some 29,000 rolls of “P” mint coins sold, but that number is 8,000 less than for the previous Martin Van Buren coin, which in turn was lower than previous issues.

One thing that does make sense is that the “P” mint rolls disappeared first. According to mintage figures, Philadelphia struck 43,260,000 dollar coins while Denver made 55,160,000.

Both mintages seem ample, especially when considered in the light of the huge declines in mintages for coins that actually do circulate, the cents through quarters.

So why the early sellout?

It is a mystery to me.