Pay more. Get less.
That doesn’t sound like a formula for success with U.S. coin collectors, does it?
But how else do you explain the initials sales results for the United States Mint Limited Edition 2018 Silver Proof Set?
It went on sale Oct. 18.
The Mint sales numbers from Oct. 21 show buyers took 24,990.
The Mint says the maximum number it will produce is 50,000.
While that might sound low, there is no coin in the set that can be found only in this set.
All of the coins can be purchased more cheaply through other sales options.
The limited edition set costs $144.95.
It includes a 2018-S proof silver American Eagle, all five silver America the Beautiful proof quarters, a silver proof Kennedy half, and Roosevelt dime.
That makes eight San Francisco silver proof coins in all.
On the other hand, a buyer interested in these coins can grab a 2018-S proof silver Eagle for $55.95.
This buyer can also purchase a 2018-S silver proof set for $49.95.
Combined cost is $105.90.
That is a savings of $39.05 compared to the limited edition set.
Further, taking the cheaper route earns you three more coins.
Instead of eight coins, you end up with 11.
The additional coins are a proof cent, nickel and Native American dollar coin.
Why would anyone buy the limited edition set?
These buyers appear to be paying extra money essentially for the box.
Is a box worth an extra $39.05?
Only individual collectors can make that call.
Perhaps they are making a stand on completeness.
There have been limited edition sets issued in prior years.
Why not keep current?
That could be a motivation.
There have been occasional surprises lurking in Mint-produced sets in prior years.
Could this type of lightning strike again?
There is no chance of that to be found in the Mint description of the limited edition proof set.
A final potential explanation for interest in the set is that times have gotten so good that many collectors have money to burn. They won’t miss that $144.95.
This is the least believable possibility of all.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017. He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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