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This Week's Letters (5/23/08)

Should Congress authorize a palladium bullion coin using the Saint-Gaudens design?
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From the May 23 Numismatic News E-Newsletter:

Q. Should Congress authorize a palladium bullion coin using the Saint-Gaudens design?

I would not buy one from the Mint, nor would I look for one on the secondary market.
The above answers your question, the below highlights my views/opinions that result in the above answer to your question:
? Not an investor in bullion items.
? Current bullion value plus or minus some percentage drives the current price of most of the U.S. and world mints bullion products, especially on the secondary market.
? The palladium will not highlight the beauty of the design as well as gold. (Am looking with interest at the possible high relief gold coin that is being discussed.)
? When I acquire items driven by the current and somewhat hectic/crazy bullion market, I prefer that they have some numismatic potential.

George Watson
Springfield, Va.

Probably not a buyer of this proposed coin for two reasons: It?s essentially a commemorative of the original Saint-Gaudens and I doubt I want to put out the money for palladium. Better to stick with the traditional silver or gold.

Charles K. Miller
Havertown, Pa.

I don?t think that the palladium coin will do much for the collectors. Over the years the number of palladium coins issued did no as a rule fare well. With the number of coins the U.S. Mint is producing, this may the orphan of the coins.

Edward J. Moschetti
Pittsburgh, Pa.

My response is no, I would not. The only reason palladium is gaining popularity is that like the entire metals commodity group, the price is going up. What the Mint should do is focus on producing enough American Silver Eagle bullion coins for investors to purchase instead of just enough to allocate to dealers.
As inflation and the cost of living has shot up tremendously in the past 12 months, I have planned to restrict all investing to just accumulation of gold and silver bullion. After 2009 I will not even buy the U.S. Mint annual sets. For 2008 I plan to just purchase one set for me and my father.

Tom Howze
Anaheim, Calif.

The question was immediately interesting. Since I don?t think I have ever come in contact with the metal, it would be a neat way to own it. But the next thought that struck me was cost. At close today it was $445 per ounce. So even if you make it like the current gold series, the 1/10 ounce at base price is $45.
I?ve always liked the way our money sounds. Kind of like the Glenn Miller story. His wife knew when he had a hot song because she would get goose bumps on her neck. Silver coinage had that sound. That makes me ask, what does palladium sound like? Aren?t you tired of money that sounds like nuts, bolts and screws that fall out of that jar in your garage?
However, as fast as that thought came, along came another. Why not redo the silver coinage (to exact old specs) including the silver dollar? I can think of only one negative; the government getting upset because they will see us supporting the silver bullion folks. One should remember we busted our chops trying to figure out what to do with silver originally.
At current silver pricing, the government could charge double for the coin (based on silver content), and the buyers would be many more due to affordability. At $18 per ounce, a one ounce silver dollar today would be $13.92 wholesale times two equals $27.84. So we round up to $30 and we have two winners, the government and us.
I thank for asking a dynamic question, a forum to give a response to and your findings at the end of this process.

Ed Conway
Duncanville, Texas

To answer your question about should the Congress authorize a palladium coin replicating the Saint-Gaudens design?
From what I understand the size will be considerably smaller, about the size of a 10 dollar gold piece, yet much thicker to compensate for the bas relief effect. Is palladium the same color as gold or would they try to replicate a gold color with an alloy? The price would not be too bad, considering the cost of that metal..
It just seems that the alterations are defeating the purpose of a rebirth of that famous design and coin... Even though the popular vote was largely in favor of having that palladium coin... I?ve changed my mind..and am deciding against it..

The next few years are going to be tough on the average collector,, plus the additional 5 coins coming out for the extension of the quarters, the annual proof and mint sets, clad and silver, the various SAEs, the presidents? issues, the presidents? spouses, the continuation of the Sacagawea Dollar and new commemoratives on the horizon..
My vote is no ; the timing is not appropriate in my opinion.
Thank you for the poll,

Kenyon Miers, Esperance, NY

Regarding palladium Saint Gaudens - No. Since I consider my self a collector only, I would not be willing to spend a large amount of dollars on a coin for its bullion value. This philosophy has also kept me away for platinum coins. Even the fractional versions of say a tenth of an ounce are not interesting to me. I can?t come to grips with them actually being considered coins in the traditional sense like gold and silver. My occassional thousand dollar coin purchases are limited to old, historically interesting real coins such as a 1794 cent, and 1805 half dollar that I?ve purchased over the last several months.

Robert H. Ball, Jr.
Detroit, Michigan