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Could Apollo program be failure already?

Two things are certain this morning regarding the Apollo 11 commemorative coin program sales, which began yesterday.

1. Coin collectors did not spend more than $87 million to buy out all of the coins.

2. Conventional wisdom that the 5-ounce proof silver dollar would garner the most attention was correct.

But it has not yet sold out. It simply quickly went on back order.

That change of status could fuel speculation online, but it does not seem to have done so yet.

The $224.95 issue price was within reach of most collectors, especially when they believe they can flip the coins for a profit.

That possibility is already coming into question.

I did not see any offers of Proof70 slabbed coins online.

All I saw were coins that are just as they come from the Mint.

Looking at these eBay listings, I see that a Buy It Now price for two coins is $570.

That works out to $285 each.

This is $60.05 above issue price for each.

Put in percentage terms, an average collector looking to sell the five coins he ordered to a dealer just to break even would be asking for approximately 79 percent of this particular retail price.

Dealers don’t generally pay such a high percentage of retail value.

Another listing showed a price of $1,616 for five coins, or $323.20 each.

To sell these at break even to this retail seller, the collector would be asking 70 percent of retail.

These numbers will change. No question.

However, they do show a lack of early enthusiasm already.

Perhaps in this case we should consider the experience of the 2017 Enhanced Uncirculated coin set.

It nearly sold out on opening day. But it did not.

As soon as the big buyers realized this, order cancellations began.

Tens of thousands of sets suddenly went unwanted.

Will the same thing happen to the Apollo 11 5-ounce proof silver dollar? It could.

Had I placed an order for five of these coins yesterday hoping for a large profit, it would be on my mind.

None of the other Apollo 11 coin sales options went to back order.

My favorite, the two-coin clad half dollar set, is still available to one and all from the Mint for $53.95.

If you want to buy on eBay, the price of a Mint-packaged, unslabbed set is $89.95.

This online price will act as a cap, once again precluding the idea of flipping by ordinary collectors.

However, I noticed online that there are slabbed versions available, too.

A presale of a Numismatic Guaranty Corporation Proof70 two-coin set that is expected to be shipped Feb. 25 is priced at $189.95.

This is three and a half times issue price.

There is space to work here between issue price, slabbing costs, and retail price. Is it enough to encourage flipping? We will see.

Average collectors who actually want to collect rather than speculate can push both the 5-ounce silver dollar proof and the clad half dollar set to sellout status despite what online sellers are doing.

Both options have maximums of 100,000.

Are collectors willing to do this?

If they aren’t, it might just be that when all the orders are counted, not a single Apollo 11 sales option will sell out.

Such a result would be quite a failure.

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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3 Responses to Could Apollo program be failure already?

  1. sneauman3@gmail.com says:

    Greetings Mr. Harper, There have been PF-70’s for the Apollo 5 Oz. Coin for the last 4 Days. Mine supposedly is on it’s way at $ 475.00…I spied both NGC and PCGS and ordered the PCGS. The Seller says I should receive it by the 31st of this month. He explained that he has an expedited shipment agreement, claims to have sold 4 units thus far. I say supposedly about the shipment because eBay sends an email saying item is on it’s way when the seller generates a shipping label. A label can be generated at any time, but doesn’t mean the item is really shipped. Yes, the price is high, but I like FIRSTS of coins and this coin will be my only 5 Oz. Coin for the Apollo Series. Also, I am a big NASA fan, my cousin Jill is married to Astronaut Scott Altman, and I’m going to have him sign my Coin. Scott piloted the Shuttle twice to the Hubble Space Telescope. Best Regards, Steve McGowan, Algonac, Mich.

  2. Bob says:

    Wow…I am really surprised, I thought for sure the half dollar set would sell out pretty quickly. I was “in line” right at noon to get a set and a proof $1. Took me nearly 10 minutes to get through the process, the whole time worrying I might miss out! Clearly I had nothing to worry about. Personally, I would have thought there would have been a lot of interest just due to the subject…but apparently spaceflight doesn’t excite folks like it once did…of course this is coming from someone who was born nearly 10 years after Apollo 11 made its historic landing.

    Sounds like just maybe the big-time flippers have been burned enough times to stop the foolishness. Good riddance. It’s nice that the average collector can actually have a shot at buying what they want. And sounds like there’s even the possibility of the mintage being lower than the max if they don’t sell out…

  3. robertgregory says:

    Let’s fuel the speculation even more…

    How about when the mint shorts you product, claiming it sent you coins, but they were NOT in the box.

    I ordered 5 silver dollar proofs from the Apollo 11 offering, and in the box, only received one.

    For starters – The U.S. Mint has the “worst” customer service I have ever seen!

    They make you fill out some form, with the claim they will investigate and refund your money 4 to 6 weeks later. What is up with that? They cannot even resend you the missing items. They say the ONLY way to get the items, are to re-buy them, with NO guarantee that the repurchased coins will get sent. That IS from two U.S. Mint representatives (including a manager).

    And, with the threat to reverse the charge on the credit card, comes the promise from the U.S. Mint to have you banned from buying from them.

    Let alone, they could not keep up with the orders, so much, that the overnight shipment request took 5+ weekdays to get to my location, just two states away.

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