Like most collectors on a budget, I watch as the annual proof gold American Eagle sets come and go. I wached the gold First Spouse series. In neither case am I a buyer.
That does not mean the Mint should not offer them. They are legitimate collectibles for a subset of active collectors.
The subset is people who like gold coins and can afford them.
A good marketing firm like the Mint needs to offer a variety of products at a variety of price points.
At the top end, the Mint could in 2017 create a grand proof set consisting of the proof one-ounce American Eagle platinum coin, all four of the proof gold Eagles, the one-ounce proof gold Buffalo and the proof silver Eagle along with the coins from the silver proof set. Such a grand assemblage would cost $5,744.40 if assembled piecemeal from all of this year’s offers. Put the coins in a very large and sumptuous case and call it an even $6,000.
Such a thing would pass me by, but I wouldn’t mind taking a look at it much as I assume people marveled at the diplomatic sets assembled in the 1830s with the 1804 dollar in them.
However, more importantly, I wish the Mint would review, reduce and standardize its offering of products on the lower end of the price scale. I have written in my blog that the old clad proof set should be scrapped and the silver set made the only option. The $52.95 spent on the silver set is a much better long-term investment than the $31.95 spent for the clad set. Over time, buyers of silver sets are likely to see some appreciation. Nowadays loyal buyers of the clad proof sets are stuck with many that have fallen drastically in value.
The Mint cannot guarantee price appreciation of its products on the secondary market. It also cannot only consider marketing products that it believes will appreciate.
However, it should be aware of the sorry histories of some of its current products and prune its offerings accordingly.
Because banks offer less service than they used to, the Mint should consider offering rolls of every single circulation strike that it produces from the cent through the half dollar. I am sure there are collectors of cents, nickels and dimes that would appreciate the options offered collectors of quarters and half dollars.
These coins don’t need fancy packages. Something that simply works would be much appreciated by collectors.
Design the annual collector product offers to fit into a concept of a reasonable annual package. Consider what is popular, proof set, uncirculated set, the silver Eagles, and make them available in a way that fits collector budgets and gives them a renewed sense of completeness.
Then collectors can be free to pass by the expensive coins yet not feel they are missing something, or worse, being ignored. That is the worst feeling of all.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today
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