Gold and Silver Mine

In last week's column I discussed this year's mintage figures from the United States Mint, specifically for the coins that I feel represent a promising investment because the mintage figures are so low.

An example is the First Spouse series. For the last several years only about 2,000 coins of these coins were struck in both proof and uncirculated condition. Because they currently trade at only a slight premium over their gold value (they contain a half ounce of gold), they make both a good bullion and numismatic investment.

While looking over the other mintage figures for this year's coinage, a few other issues seem to have potential if their numbers remain low. One example is the coins commemorating the centennial of the establishment of Boys Town. This series contains proof and uncirculated $5 gold coins, proof and uncirculated silver dollars, and proof and uncirculated nickel-clad half dollars as well as a three-piece proof set.

So far only 2,000 uncirculated $5 gold coins have been minted, and the combined amount of $5 proof gold coins both singly struck and those included in the three-piece proof set come to around 7,100 coins.

It is typical for the proof coins to outsell the uncirculated examples because of their enhanced detail. If this trend continues, this will be the lowest minted $5 gold coin since the beginning of the commemorative coin series.

The previous lowest mintage coin was the Jackie Robinson uncirculated $5 coin at 5,174 struck, which sells in the range of $1,000 today, whereas common $5 gold pieces from the commemorate series are traded for their bullion value, around $300. Granted, some of the value for the Jackie Robinson coin is its tie to baseball and its appeal to sports collectors.

Another interesting low-mintage coin is the basic uncirculated silver eagle, the coin minted for individuals who wished to invest in silver, as the premium these coins sell for is only a slight amount over their silver value. In years past these coins were minted in the millions; at one time the mint actually ran out of silver and had to stop production until more silver could be bought.

To date fewer than 500,000 coins have been minted. While too large an amount to be considered investment grade, it is nonetheless an interesting phenomenon.

Last week I mentioned the half-ounce proof gold eagle as an example of an extremely low-mintage coin, but the full proof set of gold eagles (1 ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce) is showing a mintage figure of a little over 8,000 sets, less the half of last year's production.

These are a few items I note as having lower than average mintage figures, however low mintage is not a guarantee of increased value. Supply and demand control price, and even with a small supply, if there is no demand, the price will stay low. Therefore, if you think some of my observations merit taking a chance and investing, if you buy them at as close to their gold or silver value as possible, you will at least maintain that value with the possibility of a better profit because of their rarity.

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins Inc. He and his wife, Linda, operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles, formerly in the Shore Mall and now at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old Wawa building just beyond the former Cardiff Circle in Egg Harbor Township. They have satellite offices in Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have more than 70 years of experience in the coin and precious-metals business. They are members of the American Numismatic Association, the Industry Council of Tangible Assets, the Numismatic Guarantee Corp., the Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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