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Congressman asks for proof Eagles

A Michigan congressman is trying to persuade the U.S. Mint to strike proof examples of gold and silver American Eagles in 2009.

Taking up the cause of collectors disappointed by not being able to acquire the proofs is U.S. Rep. Gary C. Peters, D-Mich., who wrote a letter to Mint Director Edmund C. Moy Nov. 12. He also wrote what is called a “Dear Colleague” letter to the other 434 members of the U.S. House of Representatives asking them to co-sign his letter to Moy.

“We understand that there has been extraordinary demand for the business-strike bullion versions and that the Mint is required to produce the bullion versions ‘in quantities sufficient to meet public demand,’” Peters wrote. “While we appreciate your efforts to comply with the aforementioned laws, we do not believe that this must preclude coining proof silver and gold American Eagles this year.”

Peters cited collector disappointment at the interruption of an annual series that has been unbroken since 1986.

He asked Moy to reconsider his decision even if it means fewer proofs this year as compared to 2007 or 2008. He also asked Moy not to destroy already prepared dies until after Jan. 1, 2010.

“The U.S. Mint could take orders for 2009 proof versions of silver and gold American Eagles, coin as many as possible before the end of the year, and devise a fair way to apportion the coins that were minted,” Peters wrote. “A lottery system limiting coins to one per individual would be equitable and ensure that as many collectors as possible could participate.”

Peters titled his letter to his House colleagues as “Help collectors and raise revenue.”

“This program also makes money for the Treasury; revenue raised from the American Eagle products was $166 million in FY08 and $220.1 million in FY07,” he wrote.

Time is of the essence. Even if the Mint reverses itself, it might simply trade the problem of collectors being upset at the gap in the American Eagle series with a bigger one of collectors angry at not being able to successfully buy one of the resulting strikes that even Peters recognizes would be in short supply.

Click here for a viewpoint article from Rep. Peters.

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