The United States Mint’s online product pages no longer offer or display 2008 American Eagle platinum coins. All platinum coins to include individual and sets within the uncirculated and proof categories are gone. No message is currently in place to indicate why or whether they will return.
The hope is that the Mint has pulled the products in order to downward adjust prices to make them more inline with current platinum prices.
In recent weeks, the price of platinum has plunged dramatically in the wake of concerns and data regarding car production and sales figures. Platinum is used in vehicle catalytic converters and that purpose accounts for some 50% of the world’s demand for the metal.
At its worst on Monday, Aug. 4, U.S. Mint American Eagle platinum proof coins had premiums between 59%-79%. Premiums around the 30% range have been more the norm for such coins, and reflective of what they were when the Mint first released this year’s proof batch in May of 2008.
Ironically, platinum has climbed since Monday. New York platinum closed today to $1,610 an ounce. But to highlight the price disparity at even this price, the American Eagle platinum proof coin (one ounce) was priced at $2,509.95.
Such high premiums do not make U.S. Mint customers happy. Especially when the Mint has been so quick to suspend bullion coin sales when precious metal prices increase.
As examples, in the most recent CoinNews article asking whether the United States Mint was justified in selling coins with these mark-ups, two CoinNews readers responded:
AJP says: August 6th, 2008 at 12:48 am
No, but do you really expect fairness and fiscal responsibility from any branch of the U.S. government? People who buy these coins either don’t care about money or are really, really stupid.
I’ll sound like a broken record here but there is a lot of truth in AJP’s comment. Platinum goes up $50 maybe $75/ounce and suddenly the proof platinum coins have to be repriced. Platinum drops $500 and no action needs to be taken. They’re just refusing to take a loss on the platinum that they bought and it really angers me.
Let’s hope the Mint resumes platinum coin sales again, but at prices collectors are willing to pay or can at least understand.