Nobody has a crystal ball

Compare the 2016-W Standing Liberty Centennial gold quarter dollar obverse, left, with sculptor Hermon A. MacNeil's design from the original 1916 silver version on which the gold coin is based.

Image of gold coin by Steve Roach, Coin World editor-at-large; silver coin image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

While the U.S. Mint reconciles how it will dispose of more than 6,200 2016-W Winged Liberty Head Centennial gold dimes in its inventory from canceled orders and returns, some collectors, dealers and speculators are already looking ahead to the looming sale of the 2016-W Standing Liberty Centennial gold quarter dollar.

And then the 2016-W Walking Liberty Centennial gold half dollar soon after.

I believe U.S. Mint officials learned soon after the 125,000 maximum mintage of the gold dimes was gobbled up in less than an hour after its April 21 noon launch that the household ordering limit of 10 coins was much too high.

Many disgruntled collectors were shut out.

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If they want one of the coins now, they’ll either have to pay a premium on the secondary market, or hope they can acquire one when the Mint restarts sales for the coins still in inventory.

Some collectors have suggested limiting the resale to one or two sets per household and eliminating those who have already ordered and received coins from getting any more. Not necessarily a popular solution.

Inquiring minds want to know if the Mint will make the same mistake with the gold quarter dollars and half dollars that they made with the dimes.

Nobody has a magic wand or crystal ball to determine what the maximum mintage should be nor household ordering restrictions.

There has been some discussion in collector circles that the ceiling for the gold quarter dollars will be half that of the dimes, and that the household ordering limits be restricted to one or two sets.

Doing so might provide a better gauge as to actual demand for those wanting to add the gold coins to their collection and not seeking to immediately flip any excess coins for a profit.

Some are buying just the dime, because at $205, it was the least expensive of the three and affordable for many collectors.

If the spot price of gold remains in the $1,250 to $1,299.99 range, the opening price for the quarter-ounce, 24-karat gold quarter dollar and the half-ounce gold half dollar, respectively, will be, according to the U.S. Mint pricing grid, $472.50 and $890.

Those price points become tougher for some collectors who want the coins but can’t afford them.

Having the ability to buy a maximum of two coins or sets for a limited edition product allows a collector who truly wants one for their collection to sell the extra coin or set to diminish the cost for the product they retain.

The secondary market price for the issue could conceivably be driven higher with those household ordering restrictions, as dealers and speculators have to reach out to more people to obtain excess sets for their clients who have never heard of the U.S. Mint and think coins just grow on trees.

Let’s see what the future holds.