U.S. Coin Price Guide

Coin Collecting

Buy Coin Supplies

Fewer choices in 2008
By Mark Ferguson

In recent years, coin shops and mail-order merchants have come to count on strong sales in December. That wasn't always the case, but coins and related items have become much more popular options for gift giving as public awareness has grown.

Proof and Mint sets are a natural and traditional choice. Whether it's the current year's set or a group of coins from the past that may be tied to a birthday or anniversary, silver or clad sets are generally affordable and different than the usual mix.

While December is the month for selling large quantities of modern coinage, one key element in the mix is in much shorter supply for the 2008 shopping season. The U.S. Mint suspended production of Proof 2008-W American Eagle silver dollars earlier this year to focus on meeting consistently high demand for the Uncirculated version of the bullion piece.

Proof American Eagle silver dollar bullion coins were offered for $31.95 apiece plus shipping during the brief time they were available from the Mint. For once early buyers did well, as prices are somewhat higher today.

A check of four major mail-order firms showed prices of $79.95, $79.95 and $85 for this year's Proof American Eagle silver dollar, and one of the merchants had none in stock. With common-date Proof American Eagle silver dollars from past years priced at $35 to $40, the 2008 version might be a tough sell to gift buyers who are in a cautious mood due to the current state of the U.S. economy.

So what are the alternatives? For those who insist on giving silver, Uncirculated 2008 silver American Eagles and 1-ounce Christmas rounds are a somewhat less expensive choice. The 2008-S five-piece 50 State Quarters Silver Proof set can be purchased for $25.95 and from shops at a comparable price.

Fractional gold American Eagles – specifically the tenth- and quarter-ounce versions with face values of $5 and $10 – are sometimes given as gifts. Spotty supplies of 2008 pieces may mean fewer modern gold coins in stockings this year.

Holiday shoppers are adaptable, so it's likely that sales of Proof and Mint sets will rise due to the higher prices for limited supplies of Proof American Eagle silver dollars. The coin business should fare better than mainstream retailers.

© 1992-2018 DC2NET™, Inc. All Rights Reserved