by Charles Salemi
Your Class of ‘63 article in the May 29th Numismatic News suggests putting mintmarks on bullion coins to help the Mint use the enhanced capacity it now finds itself having more of than needed.
At first glance, this sounds like a good idea. However, doing some research on the Mint’s site, the Mint itself differentiates between bullion coins and all other coins meant for collectors and circulation (https://catalog.usmint.gov/faqs-faqcategory-products-programs/products-programs-coin-design.html?fdid=customer-service). Besides this subtle distinction, it also creates another “cash cow” for the Mint. By that I mean the markup the Mint charges for commemorative and collector coins independent of surcharges.
Add to that the fact that bullion coins cannot be purchased directly from the Mint but only through authorized dealers and it will be another opportunity for collectors to get burned. I collect both the bullion and burnished versions of the silver Eagle but none of the mintmarked versions with the parentheses because, as the Mint defined them, they are bullion coins meant for investors, not collectors, which is why the Mint places a mintmark on the burnished versions meant for collectors that are available directly from the Mint.
Even so, the markup for the burnished bullion coins is outrageous. Collectors don’t need to support the Mint and should not be expected to. If investors are not buying silver American Eagle bullion coins as before, so be it. That is the marketplace. Why put the burden on collectors to pick up the slack?
This “Viewpoint” was written by reader Charles Salemi.
To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 5225 Joerns Drive, Suite 2, Stevens Point WI, 54481. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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