The first 2010 America the Beautiful 5-ounce .999 fine silver bullion coins have entered the marketplace and collectors have responded by paying huge prices for the five-coin set on eBay.
While the Dec. 20 Market Analysis column anticipated that the surprisingly low mintage would cause speculation, the results of the first week of completed transactions on eBay are just short of shocking.
The 3-inch-diameter bullion quarter dollars are in hot demand as their mintage was strictly limited to not more than 33,000 of each design.
The authorized purchasers who elected to take part in distributing the coins are being held to tight restrictions on the amount that they charge for the coins and can only sell to the public.
The original selling price for the five-coin sets coins so far has averaged $900 to $1,000.
For the lucky few collectors who have been able to get their hands on these coins, a quick windfall seems guaranteed for those who choose to sell them.
Certified or "slabbed" coins are bringing the highest prices.
On Dec. 31, a five-coin set certified Mint State 69 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. realized $6,470. On Jan. 2, another NGC certified five-coin set sold for $5,100.
Uncertified coins provide a greater number of transactions to look at, led by a five-coin set advertised on eBay as "in hand for immediate shipment, kinda hard to find." It sold for $3,101 with 35 competing bids on Dec. 28.
Prices have been declining a bit each day since and appear to be stabilizing as of Jan. 4.
On Dec. 31, 19 bidders competed for a five-coin set that sold for $2,728, and on Jan. 3, 14 bids brought another five-coin set to $2,705.
On Jan. 4, the lowest eBay "Buy it Now" price for a set of five coins was $2,395, with free shipping.
One major wholesale market maker advertised two five-coin sets for sale to fellow dealers on Jan. 1 for $2,650, lowering the price two days later to $2,550 and then again lowering the price to $2,300 the same day.
Single coins, as opposed to five-coin sets, are also becoming available on eBay, with single uncertified coins selling for around $450 to $500 each.
Will this robust market continue, or will collectors lose interest? We can only wait and see!