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Time to shrink gold commems?

I have been thinking that it is time for the U.S. commemorative coin program to be reformed. I don’t want to touch the current 2-program-per-year limitation, but it strikes me as time to consider alternatives to the coins regularly issued.

Back when the U.S. commemorative series was young in the early 20th century and hadn’t settled into a pattern where commemorative half dollars dominated, the United States issued a number of $1 gold commemoratives.

Is it time to go back to that denomination with gold being as expensive as it is?

Currently the $5 coin is the dominant gold piece after trying the $10 denomination in 1984 for the Olympic Games and a bimetallic $10 that combined gold and platinum in 2000 to Honor the Library of Congress.

The gold $5 commemorative coins currently cost collectors $500 to $510 each depending on whether they are uncirculated or proof. Approximately $400 is simply the cost of the gold in the coin.

Wouldn’t it be better to reduce that figure to the $80 it would cost to buy the gold for a $1 denomination?

Commemorative collector budgets would get a break.

Some might object to the small size of a gold dollar as collectors of this generation often prefer large coins, but if you look at the popularity of the 1-tenth ounce gold American Eagles, you can make the case that small isn’t necessarily bad.

The gold in a tenth-ounce coin currently costs $165.70, about double that of a gold dollar.

A gold dollar has a whiff of history on its side. On the other hand, the tenth-ounce American Eagle offers a currently relevant coin that comes in a convenient troy weight.

Perhaps the commemorative series going forward should be reformed to be based on Eagle weights and denominations rather than the pre-1934 standards. It would be much easier to explain to a public that increasingly has no personal recollection of either the gold or silver coins that used to be used in circulation.

Instead of a commemorative silver dollar containing 0.7734 ounces of silver, future commemorative dollars could use the silver Eagle blank and contain an even troy ounce of the precious metal.

Instead of the 0.2418 ounce of gold in a current $5, commemorative buyers in the future could be offered a tenth-ounce coin with the $5 denomination currently assigned to the American Eagle coin of that gold weight.

This would make sense to anyone who is looking for a logical pattern to U.S. coinage.

What alternative do you like?

And while on the topic of saving money, check out www.shopnumismaster.com. Today and tomorrow buyers get 50 percent off on their purchases.

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2 Responses to Time to shrink gold commems?

  1. hrlaser says:

    I agree, Dave.. (you forgot to mention the First Flight $10.00 Gold as one of the Moderns.. (besides the 1984 / 1985 Olympics, and the 2000-W Bi-Metallic, I can’t think of any others).. why they chose an Eagle-sized coin for the First Flight Gold, I have no idea).. I’d like to see future Gold Commemoratives in the 1/10 ounce size, like the scant few classics the US Mint issued.. even though Gold is on an insane rollercoaster gone wild, it’s still been solidly between $1600.00 and $1700.00 an ounce for months.. more people could afford 1/10 ouncers, and even though they are tiny, dime-sized coins, they can still be beautiful designs, like the 1915 Panama Pacific $1.00 Gold.. why not, indeed?.. all it would take is enough US Mint customers asking for them, and an open-minded Director of the Mint with a sense of imagination, some coin designers who can create a work of art on such a small canvas.. and some Congresscritters (who would have to draft the authorizing legislation) agreeing to the idea..

  2. JR says:

    I would agree with the standard sizing. A 1/10 oz gold coin is small but affordable. These days I have to really like a commem. gold before I commit to buying it. However, I have concerns about the quality of the smaller size. After I received my 2011 1/10 oz proof gold eagle I looked at it under a loop and was really disappointed at the finish quality when compared to earlier years. Very grainy almost a pixelated look.

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