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Will there be a rush for fractional gold Eagles?

The news that fractional gold American Eagles will be sold starting June 10 has both good and bad elements in it.

On the whole the good news is very good and outweighs the bad news.

The beginning sales date is almost six months earlier than last year’s Dec. 3 commencement. That’s the good news.

It is a strong testimony to the Mint’s confidence level for meeting market demand.

Last year buyers snapped up 110,000 half-ounce, 110,000 quarter-ounce and 270,000 tenth-ounce American Eagle gold coins before the month was over.

Presumably, the Mint expects to be able to fulfill at least a similar demand level and probably more.

That’s where the bad news comes in. The Mint has said that it will use its standard allocation process to its authorized purchasers. That is another word for rationing.

This decision might simply be the result of extreme caution by the U.S. Mint. They simply don’t know what might happen to demand when sales begin. This gives the Mint an ability to get the program started and then make adjustments later.

Unlike last year, the one-ounce gold American Eagle now is available in quantity where supplies of the one-ounce coin were being interrupted when the 2009 fractional coins were being sold.

What all of these factors will add up to in terms of results will be most interesting to watch.