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Will platinum buyers go wild?

One-ounce platinum American Eagle bullion coins will become available from the U.S. Mint on July 25.

It is only the second year since 2008 that platinum Eagles have been sold. In 2014, the Mint vended 16,900 coins.

A platinum blank shortage prevented the Mint from offering bullion platinum in 2015. But with this problem ironed out, the Mint is ready to try again.

Do bullion investors truly want an American platinum bullion coin?

Are collectors as interested in the coins as they are in the bullion silver American Eagle coins?

Recent history is almost bereft of clues.

Platinum is still an exotic metal unfamiliar to most. It is used in catalytic converters. This is probably why there is any knowledge about platinum at all in the general population.

Perhaps the surprise sellout of the 2016-W proof platinum collector American Eagle June 30 will provide a hopeful precedent for the upcoming bullion coin release.

Previous sales of the proofs offered little in the way of encouragement to think that the 10,000 2016-W coins made available would sell out in 56 minutes. But they did sell out.

The 2015-W proof platinum coin sales number was just 3,886. In 2014 the proof sales number was 4,629.

Neither figure puts the proof collector coin in the wildly popular category.

Is there a rising level of interest in platinum coins, or was the platinum sellout in June just another example of hobbyists with money making another roll of the dice on a new Mint offer?

We’ll see.

The price of platinum is on the upswing along with gold and silver. Today’s price is $1,068 a troy ounce, according to the Kitco website.

This figure is up substantially from its low of $816 late last year.

The present price is nearly 31 percent higher. If we look at the most recent high of $1,101, the precentage gain was nearly 35 percent.

Those kinds of percentages have excited buyers of gold and silver bullion Eagles. Why not platinum?

Let’s see how many platinum American Eagle bullion coins the Authorized Purchasers take on July 25.

But if you have no idea how sales might go, join the club. Neither do I.

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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