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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Will 2008 Platinum Eagles Return?


Update: 2008-W Platinum Eagles are back on sale.

This post will take a look at the time line of 2008 Platinum Eagle sales and provide some possible answers to the question everyone wants to know: Will 2008 Platinum Eagles Return?

You can also see my previous post on the most recent 2008 Platinum Eagle sales figures.

2008 Proof Platinum Eagles went on sale May 5, 2008. Ordering options included the 1 ounce coin; 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, and 1/10 ounce fractional coins; and a 4 coin set. On May 17, sales of the 4 coin set was suspended. On July 1, the individual ordering options were suspended. For the brief period between July 24 and August 7, all ordering options went back on sale at bafflingly higher prices. In total, coins were available for sale for a combined time period of 70 days.

2008-W Uncirculated Platinum Eagles went on sale July 1, 2008. Ordering options included the 1 ounce coin; 1/2 ounce, 1/4 ounce, and 1/10 ounce fractional coins; and a 4 coin set. All ordering options were suspended on August 7. In total, coins were available for sale for a period of 38 days.

The most recent suspensions came amidst a sharp and continuing decline in the price of platinum. The price of platinum has now declined nearly 50% from its all time high price of $2,290 reached earlier this year. The spot price of platinum as of the writing of this post is $1,191.

Will the 2008 Platinum Eagles ever go back on sale at the Mint?

I have not been able to attain any definite answer, but here are several possibilities (rumors) that have been floating around the internet. I can't vouch for any of these. I've listed the possible answers in descending order of probability:
  • The Mint is in the process of re-pricing the 2008 Platinum Eagles in line with the current market price of platinum. Since the Mint must go through a process of determining, approving, and publishing prices in a Federal Register, it takes a certain amount of time for coins to go on sale at the newly established prices.
  • The Mint is waiting for platinum prices to stabilize. Since there is a lag between the time the Mint determines prices and coins go on sale, the continuing steep decline in platinum has made accurate pricing impossible. The Mint needs some period of stability so their prices will reflect the market price of platinum.
  • The Mint cannot take a loss on the 2008 Platinum Eagles. This may be either legally or by choice. The platinum the Mint used to produce the coins was purchased at a much higher price than the current market price. They are waiting for previously high prices to return before putting the coins back on sale.
  • The Mint is done with 2008 Platinum Eagles. They are either fed up with the price movements of platinum or phasing out the products. The Mint may or may not sell the remaining inventory from the last production run before the end of the year.
Does anyone out there have any definite answers or any more theories? Please feel free to post them in the comments.

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5 Comments:

At September 10, 2008 at 7:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a purely business perspective the mint will not loose on the price of Pt blanks. They deal with the precious metals and coins in bulk, so any losses in one variety are spread over the remaining varieties. They must also keep their purchase and minting processes tightly synchronized to minimize losses. Just look are how overpriced the Au and Ag items are, and customers are flocking.

 
At September 11, 2008 at 5:34 PM , Anonymous larry cullen said...

From a different perspective, I do not see the 2008 Platinums coming back this year barring an almost doubling of the bullion from today's price. They can't slash prices by 40%-50% without upsetting the earlier buyers; they really are not equipped to set up and handle an exchange or rebate program and set an undesired precedent;
The mint won't lose a penny (no pun intended) on what they have; they will more than make up for any carrying costs by allowing this year's issue of both proof and burnished platinums to become a rarity. Collector interest and future sales of other products will be more than sufficiently piqued by the chance of catching a brass ring somewhere in their collecting careers; after all, isn't that the stuff of dreams and don't we all dream of getting the "rare one"?
I hope I'm right on this one; I have a four coin set of each!
- The Judge in NY

 
At September 13, 2008 at 8:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you call the mint, they will tell you the answer... they are repricing. I've called twice, they said to check back regularly to find out when they will be available again. As of right now, they do not have a set date, but I was told by 2 US Mint employees that they will be back this year.

 
At October 14, 2008 at 7:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people being asked are employees and do what they are told by management. Thus it is a go until someone else says "NO." They are doing what they are told. Repricing doesn't take 60+ days as is what the present situation is. The answer is much deeper then just repricing, but until told otherwise, it's a "go" at some point. It is called the company party line. Realistically, at this point in time, I'm sure they are waiting out the spot market for better pricing, but time is running out for them. The one thing that really nags at me is that they are still selling gold and haven't stopped even when the premium was off the charts. They haven't dropped either. The Mint doesn't have any shame with selling at a high premium to market, but why they haven't even offered the platinum back at the original prices and see what the market will bear surprises me considering their actions with burnished and proof gold.

 
At October 22, 2008 at 9:25 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Platinum Eagles are now again on sale at the mint. If you want a 2008 I suggest you hurry as any day they may vanish again.

 

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