The first-year-of-issue phenomenon is a familiar one to collectors. Look at many coin series and the very first ones are often cheaper than the rest of the set.
This springs from the souvenir hunting instinct many people have. Something that is new and interesting is immediately tucked away. It also stems oftentimes from higher mintages that help assure a smooth introduction of a new coin.
The First Spouse series may be taking on the contours of the first year of issue. One month into its sales period, the Dolley Madison First Spouse gold coin is still on the market with only half the maximum supply sold. This is the fourth coin in the set. The first three sold out in the first few hours they were offered.
We are now a week into the sales period of the 10th anniversary platinum American Eagle two-coin set that offers a proof and a reverse proof of the half-ounce coin. Maximum mintage is 30,000. Roughly half have been sold so far while a one-per-household order limit was in effect.
At the end of the initial seven days, the Mint says it will remove the order limits. What will then happen? Will buyers snap up quantities? Certainly some will driven on by that first-year-of issue impulse to get something first that is brand new to the market. There seem to be many willing buyers online who don’t seem fast enough to go directly to the Mint to get them.
Quantities, though, are a double-edged sword. They can depress market prices. If there is mass availability on the secondary market, that tends to dampen buyer enthusiasm.
We will see how these factors play out with the platinum set. With the facts we have, quantity buyers have a shot at acquiring roughly half the supply. That could keep secondary market prices lower. Their willingness to do so is what we don’t know this morning.