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Buyers prefer proof ounces

This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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A $1,585 issue price didn’t deter buyers from snapping up 13,980 one-ounce proof gold American Eagles in the first three days after they were put on sale by the U.S. Mint Oct. 7.

This represents 55.9 percent of the maximum possible supply of 25,000 pieces that will be sold individually by the Mint.

However, collectors were less enthusiastic about the other proof American Eagle sales options.

Buyers of the four-coin proof set, which includes ounce, half-ounce, quarter ounce and tenth-ounce proof gold coins, might have experienced some sticker shock at the $2,938 issue price.

Nevertheless, 7,147 sets were purchased out of a possible 39,000 that will be available. That works out to 18.3 percent of available supply.

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Similar results were registered by the other three individual proof coins.

The half-ounce registered the lowest sales number at 2,173, which works out to 14.5 percent of the 15,000-piece maximum that can be sold. Initial issue price was $806.

Somewhat higher was the 2,780 number recorded for the quarter ounce, 17.4 percent of the 16,000 that will be available. Initial issue price was $415.50.

The tenth-ounce saw sales of 6,945 pieces out of a possible 27,000 available, or 25.7 percent of the potential supply. Its price of $180.50 was the most affordable.

Because no proof gold American Eagles were sold to collectors in 2009, to make comparisons hobbyists have to dig back to 2008 sales results when gold was much cheaper.

Then 16,327 one-ounce coins were sold for the entire program. The half-ounce total was 14,792, quarter ounce 15,229 and tenth ounce, 16,083. Sales of four-coin sets totaled 13,072.

From these numbers it is easy to see that the one-ounce coin will exceed the 2008 total and the momentum take it to a sellout of the 25,000 maximum. The others very likely will also, but it will take longer to confirm the possibility.

If all 2010 proof gold coins and sets are sold, there will be 64,000 one-ounce pieces taken by collectors, 54,000 half ounces, 55,000 quarter ounces and 66,000 tenth ounces totaling 111,350 troy ounces of gold.

Interestingly, the sales pace of the one-ounce proof American Eagle is not all that different from the 12,778 pieces initially reported sold for the one-ounce gold Buffalo proof, which has a current sales figure of 36,274, well above the 25,000 individual coin total, but still below the 64,000 number when individual and set totals are combined.

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