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Community Voice Responses (September 4, 2018)

From the August 10 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:


Are World War I Centennial Dollar and Medal sets too expensive at $99.95?

Here are some answers sent from our e-newsletter readers to Editor Dave Harper.

Yes, they are expensive. Way too much, and that is why I didn’t buy.

Robert M. Odulio
West Covina, Calif.

As a customer of the U.S. Mint since 1957, I’ve certainly seen Mint prices rise while coin design quality falls. Arguably, the biggest insult to purchasers of bronze medals has been the rise in price from $3 to $39.95. IMO, the WWI coin and medal set should be priced at $49.95 in relation to continuing low silver prices.

Dennis Navrat
Burbank, S.D.

Yes, they are. The average commemorative silver coin on the U.S. Mint website goes for about $55. That leaves about $45 for the medal. A medal is not worth $45. I try to buy a proof set every year and most of the non-gold commemoratives, all of which are reasonably priced. When they start getting unreasonable, I pass. I am not one of those people who feels that they must have one of everything.

Peter Glassman

They are definitely too expensive. I would love to have a set of the separate services but can only get each with the commemorative coin. I don’t need four of those. When is the Mint going to cater to its primary buyers, instead of the big buyers?

Don Little
Victorville, Calif.

So is the price too expensive at $99.95? A single WWI BU commemorative dollar runs $53.95, which leaves the price of the medal at $46. The cost of the upcoming Presidential Silver Medals is $39.95 each. This makes the WWI medal $6 more. However, since the program is designed to give back $10 per coin surcharge to the honored program, in theory, it’s actually less expensive than the some of the other coins that are struck for no purpose except to honor something with no (donation) dollars. I could be wrong, but the upcoming Presidential silver medals don’t have a cause tied to them, thus making them more expensive ($46 WWI less $10 surcharge vs. $ 39.95). There are the considerations of the packaging, marketing, and production costs for each one that can loosen or tighten the gap...not my expertise.

What I do know as a true collector is that where there is a surcharge, there is normally a good cause. The true collector sees this. I bought 15 Girl Scout, Boy’s Town and Lions Club coins to help out as well as collect. Here’s an idea to cure the flippers that have the return button on speed dial because it doesn’t sell out and they can’t make a buck: Any coin with a surcharge attached can be returned; however, the surcharge is not returned and instead, the party returning the surcharged coin gets a write-off for the donation.

My understanding is the programs with surcharge donations have to exceed fixed production costs before the surcharge is paid. That could make up some of the $6 difference above. There have been some programs recently that didn’t make the grade, and the program never paid the organization. Maybe this could solve that problem in part. Hey, how about we allow a tax deduction for the surcharge portion to all purchasers and maybe we have something?

After all, we are making a donation, right?

Sorry to get off point. Too much coffee! Thanks.

Tony Goncalves
Ludlow, Mass.

At $99.95 for the centennial set, not really expensive.

Gary Kess
Sherman, Texas

Yes, the price is too high. Approximately $69.95-$74.95 for the set would be a more reasonable range. U.S. Mint markup is about 40 percent too high.

Doug W. Bales
Address withheld

Too expensive.

Emmett Gleeson
Address withheld

Yes, they are too expensive to get all five sets. With silver bullion down and the recent track record of modern set values, it seems too risky. For $500, you could buy a 1916-D dime in Good or even an 1877 Indian Head Cent in Good. These will be more likely to hold their value.

Rich Vatovec
Address withheld

Unquestionably the sets are excessively highly priced. However, I overcame my disinclination to pay it and reluctantly bought two in order to remember and mark my father’s involvement in that conflict.

I do NOT normally buy commemorative coins because of their typically excessive high pricing. As such, I (ouch) still feel the pain of that expenditure.

Name withheld

Yes. What I particularly resent is the fact that the Mint only sold the medals in conjunction with the World War I Centennial dollar. As I had already purchased the commemorative dollar before the medal sets were announced, I would have had to buy a coin I did not want in order to get the medal. And I could not order all five medals without having to buy five commemorative dollars, too. So I took a pass and did not order any of them.

By the way, are the commemorative dollars sold as part of the sets included in the total mintage figures shown on the Mint Statistics page?

Name withheld

Editor’s note: No. The World War I set sale total numbers are not added to the individual dollar totals.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

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