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    Modern Numismatics

    Louis Golino has been a collector of American and world coins since childhood and has written about coins since 2009. He writes about modern coins and other numismatic issues for Coin World. He is a founding member of the Modern Coin Forum.

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  • Five-Ounce Silver National Parks Bullion Coins Continue to Sell Out

    On September 29 the U.S. Mint announced that it had sold out of Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge 5-ounce silver bullion coins to its network of Authorized Purchasers.  The Mint also said final sales for this coin were 45,000 pieces, and that the final coin in this series for 2015, the Saratoga National Historic Park coin, is expected to go on sale on November 30.

    The Bombay Hook coin is being sold by dealers to retail customers on a pre-order basis, and it has only been available for purchase from the Mint by the distributors for a brief period.

    Although this is not the first time one of these coin has sold out during pre-order, and several recent coins of this type have sold out of their entire allocation very quickly, it does provide further indication that after six years, the series has definitely caught on with buyers.

    The latest sell-out’s speed was probably partly related to the fact that retail premiums on American Silver Eagles have soared to $6-7 and more per coin as a result of recent shortages of American Silver Eagle silver planchets, which led the Mint to temporarily restrict their sales on an allocation basis.

    Buyers quickly realized that the Bombay Hook coins are less expensive way to buy silver bullion coins.  In addition, the appealing design features a great blue heron in the foreground and a great egret foraging in a tidal salt marsh in the background.  This wildlife refuge is located in Delaware.

    Hardcore bullion stackers have generally shunned these coins in favor of American Silver Eagles, but perhaps that is finally changing.

    The other version of the Bombay Hook coin, the one with a “P” mintmark made specifically for collectors, will go on sale on October 8.  Mint buyers continue to be unhappy with the roughly 50% premium for this version over the bullion coins. 

    Another interesting development is that recent issues in this series, even those that do not have especially low mintages, have been priced by dealers at substantially higher prices than they were as recently as a couple of months ago.

    Buyers continue to grumble about this situation as well, and talk about price gouging and the like, but it seems like it is a case of what price the market will bear.  If there were not people willing to pay $120-30 for recent bullion issues, then prices would likely come down.   Besides, if you purchase when they are first available and shop around, you can still get them for $100 or less.

    The Saratoga release is not likely to be as quick a seller because many collectors indicated they felt the rather basic design of two swords was better suited to the quarter than the larger 5-oz. palette.

    Next year’s coins include one that depicts President Teddy Roosevelt on his horse in Roosevelt National Park.  TR is a hero to most collectors, and this one will be very popular. 

    I personally have always liked this series and am pleased it has gained more traction with collectors.