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5 oz reaches public

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America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver bullion coins are getting into the hands of the public, just as silver heads past $30 an ounce.

Already they’re showing up on the secondary market, where prices for the five-coin set hovered around $2,800 on eBay in late December.

A collector from Waverly, Iowa, received a set from American Precious Metals Exchange ATB Jump on Dec. 24.

“I was one of the lucky ones that put in my order within the first few hours of their going on sale online on Dec. 3,” he wrote to Numismatic News.

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Although he had ordered three sets, sales rules subsequently imposed by the U.S. Mint capped orders at one per household.

“The coins are both larger and thicker than I had imagined they would be and are quite hefty,” the Iowa collector reported.

The APMEX website on Dec. 28 listed the coins as out of stock, while the Dillon Gage website said the coins would be available for sale Jan. 3. Each company is one of nine purchasers authorized by the U.S. Mint to sell the coins, which were limited to a mintage of 33,000 sets.

APMEX CEO Michael Haynes said the company put a temporary stop to sales until questions it put to the Mint about the new rules could be answered and analyzed.

“We are hopeful that within the next days, maybe a week, we would be able to fully understand the rules so we could be able to offer the coins and comply,” Haynes said on Dec. 28.

The Iowa collector said the 5-ounce coin designs are beautiful in full format.

“Even the Hot Springs issue, which I had found to be quite ugly in regular quarter size,” he said. “It displays extreme detail and it is quite obvious that the wall in the background is actually a wall.

“A second bonus is that the Mount Hood coin came with proof-like surfaces. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful of these five coins.”

The set is already on its way to a grading service for “Early Releases” designation, the collector reported.

“My intention is to build the entire set, but time will tell,” he said.

Tom Miller, manager at Jack H. Beymer in Santa Rosa, Calif., said there have been some calls from customers seeking the coin sets, but the company doesn’t have any in stock.

“We’re waiting for when they’re offered over the counter,” he said.

At a purchase limit of one per household, that may be all a dealer can do.

“We do want to sell it,” Haynes said. “We’re not in the collecting business, although all of us like it, our business is selling.”

So what is the chance of being able to buy a set of the 5-ounce coins?

“I don’t know what anyone’s chances are,” Haynes said. “It’s almost like a lottery.”

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