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New U.S. bullion coins; who cares?

When next year’s quarter program honoring national parks and other sites in 50 states and six other territorial jurisdictions of the United States begins, a parallel issue will also kick in. It is a series of coins you won’t be able to acquire at the local bank.

As each new quarter is released, the program also authorizes the striking of another version of the design on .999 fine silver blanks with diameters double the size of the old Morgan silver dollar.

The even troy weight of the new issue will be five ounces. At the present $16.28 price, the bullion value alone will be $81.40.

When issued by the U.S. Mint, even as a bullion coin there will be a mark-up. That will bring the cost up, but to what? $90, $100, $110?

I think the whole thing makes a joke of American coinage, but then the solons in Congress thought otherwise and tucked the provision into the quarter bill.

Will bullion investors flock to it?

Why would they do so? The American Eagle is so much more widely traded and recognizable.

There is a value to being familiar. Five new five-ounce coins a year runs roughshod over the concept.

It seems to me that the design changes are intended to try to make collectors think they need to buy them.

How many will be willing to spend $500 a year or more on such an item that can only be described as little better than a novelty?

It also pays to remember that silver could rise in price between now and the conclusion of the program in 2021.

On the other hand, if high cost daunts enough collectors, the next generation of hobbyists might have a very low mintage series to look at when the program concludes more than 11 years from now.