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First Spouse Coins

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I think the Betty Ford coin is the favorite, of the ones still available, due to the design and current mintage.

The proof mintage numbers are not much higher, so I guess I'll follow the proof, due to the greater demand. On eBay, it has seen sales around $900. Here are the last two mintage reports of this coin:

First Spouse 16SC 2016 FS GOLD PROOF 1/2 OZ - FORD 2163 12/18/2016

First Spouse 16SC 2016 FS GOLD PROOF 1/2 OZ - FORD 2179 12/26/2016
That means 16 coins were sold in one week. At this rate, we will see 832 more coins in another year, or a total of 3011 coins. I wonder how that measures with the rest of the series...

Might as well look at the Unc Betty Ford as well. It has seen sales ranging from $900 to $1750, for MS70. Hmm, perhaps my theory that proof coins are better in this series was wrong, after all.

First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1410 12/18/2016

First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1437 12/26/2016
Here we see sales of 27 coins in one week, which gives us 1404 more coins in a year, for a total of 2841.

If both coins are discontinued after half a year, that gives us 2595 total coins for the proof and 2139 total coins for the unc, much better for both coins!

I think judging by recent sales on eBay, the Unc Betty Ford wins the tiebreaker, however.
 
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Actually we are looking at under $200 over for either coin. The premium over spot on the mint state coin is roughly 25%. Granted that is not small, but you do get US legal tender with spiffy packaging. Additionally you get a US coin with what will wind up being a ridiculously tiny mintage. On top of this many may feel a specific attachment to the coins subject. Just a matter of individual taste and the kind of thing that floats yer boat...
For the Uncs, we are looking at a current price of $745.00, which is $168 above the melt value of $577, or 29% premium over melt.

This is pretty reasonable, considering that some issues are selling for much higher premium on eBay when graded at 70 (which should be fairly easy to achieve).

On the other hand, there are many pitfalls in choosing the wrong coin out of many.
 

savvydon

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For the Uncs, we are looking at a current price of $745.00, which is $168 above the melt value of $577, or 29% premium over melt.

This is pretty reasonable, considering that some issues are selling for much higher premium on eBay when graded at 70 (which should be fairly easy to achieve).

On the other hand, there are many pitfalls in choosing the wrong coin out of many.
I think the best practice is to stick with coins that have meaning to you.
 

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I think the best practice is to stick with coins that have meaning to you.
Agree fully, but it would be nice to have just one coin from this series, if only as a sample. To me, there is a small window of opportunity to buy one coin from this series--I am now looking at the Unc Betty Ford coin. This coin has a simple, elegant design, and it features a first spouse who was popular in her time (even though its sales are overshadowed by the other first spouse coins).

I plan to look at tomorrow afternoon's mintage report, for the Unc Betty Ford coin (product 16SD), along with the last 6 mintage reports for the coin. If I like the numbers, I might decide to buy just one coin.

I would probably need to do the purchase tomorrow night, if I want to avoid a possible price increase at the Mint this Wednesday.
 

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Agree fully, but it would be nice to have just one coin from this series, if only as a sample. To me, there is a small window of opportunity to buy one coin from this series--I am now looking at the Unc Betty Ford coin. This coin has a simple, elegant design, and it features a first spouse who was popular in her time (even though its sales are overshadowed by the other first spouse coins).

I plan to look at tomorrow afternoon's mintage report, for the Unc Betty Ford coin (product 16SD), along with the last 6 mintage reports for the coin. If I like the numbers, I might decide to buy just one coin.

I would probably need to do the purchase tomorrow night, if I want to avoid a possible price increase at the Mint this Wednesday.

Pat Nixon looks like another good candidate.

First Spouse 16SB 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - NIXON 1477 12/26/2016
After reading up on this first spouse, the articles say she was also very popular.

And this coin also has an elegant design on the reverse.

Perhaps the obverse design will be the tiebreaker, and in this case I would say Nixon emerges the winner (despite the bad name attached to her husband).
 

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Pat Nixon looks like another good candidate.

After reading up on this first spouse, the articles say she was also very popular.

And this coin also has an elegant design on the reverse.

Perhaps the obverse design will be the tiebreaker, and in this case I would say Nixon emerges the winner (despite the bad name attached to her husband).
Forgot to check eBay prices, where it is clear that Betty Ford is the stronger coin on the market.

So Unc Betty Ford it is. That is, as long as tomorrow's mintage numbers look good...
 

savvydon

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Forgot to check eBay prices, where it is clear that Betty Ford is the stronger coin on the market.

So Unc Betty Ford it is. That is, as long as tomorrow's mintage numbers look good...
I think you will do well with that coin.
 

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The mintage report is in now...

First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1437 12/26/2016
First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1501 01/02/2017

First Spouse 16SB 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - NIXON 1477 12/26/2016
First Spouse 16SB 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - NIXON 1531 01/02/2017

So that's 64 Ford coins sold and 54 Nixon coins sold. I still think Ford has the edge, out of the 2 coins.

Now, looking at the report from 6 weeks ago...

First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1320 11/20/2016
First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1501 01/02/2017

There were 181 coins sold in the last 6 weeks, with an average of 30 coins sold per week. This rate may go up as the weeks go by, but the coin can be removed from sale by the Mint any day.

I'll think about it tonight...
 

MrLucky

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FS coins are a slippery slope. Just when you think you have "the" key, the next issue sells less. It's like deflation. Too bad HS doesn't post anymore.
 

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Looking at the NGC grading results, it seems that the Betty Ford coins scored well, but not great.

The NGC site lists 139 coins at MS70 and 26 coins at MS69--a reasonable proportion, but far from assured to be MS70.

Pat Nixon has a somewhat better proportion, with 105 coins at MS70 and 6 coins at MS69.

These numbers don't look quite as solid as the $5 Gold Unc coins that I have been collecting the past year. Perhaps the way the First Spouse coins are struck makes them prone to more defects compared to the $5 Gold Unc coins.
 

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The First Spouse proofs do even worse at NGC.

The proof Betty Ford lists 149 coins at PF70 and 105 coins at PF69, in addition to 2 coins at PF68.

Something must be wrong with the minting process, especially for the proofs.
 

savvydon

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FS coins are a slippery slope. Just when you think you have "the" key, the next issue sells less. It's like deflation. Too bad HS doesn't post anymore.
I'm not HS, to be sure, but I can't help but think that at some point in the future people are going to wake up and realize that Unites States legal tender coins with mintages under 2000 are ridiculously scarce. The good news is that the series is done with, so mintages cannot continue to drop with successive issues. When the 2015/2016 issues go black, there is no going back.
 

savvydon

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The First Spouse proofs do even worse at NGC.

The proof Betty Ford lists 149 coins at PF70 and 105 coins at PF69, in addition to 2 coins at PF68.

Something must be wrong with the minting process, especially for the proofs.
The proof coins show defects more easily than the uncs. The polish that creates the mirrors on the proof coins is so fine that any little disruption draws the eye toward the imperfection. Quality definitely varies from issue to issue, but overall, especially given the low mintages and the number of different dies and amount of time available to prepare them, I think they do a decent job.
 

hernancortes

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I was trying to think what it would have to take for the future mint to go lower in production than uncs Eleanor, Hoover, Harding, Coolidge, etc.
You'd need a 1) High material value planchet. (Half-oz. gold/plat. or heavier). 2) Even uglier designs. 3) Even stupider series subject. 4) A long multi-year series with several coins released per year. 5) A high gold/plat price during availability. 6) A severe recession or depression
 

MrLucky

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No zombie apocalypse?

Very good article.

http://www.coinweek.com/opinion/the-coin-analyst-the-first-spouse-gold-series-2007-2016-a-requiem/

"The base of true collectors of this series is very small; this is reflected in the dwindling sales levels and low mintages. Based on the number of uncirculated coins with mintages in the 2,000 range and proofs in the 3,000 range, and the fact that many buyers purchase multiple examples, there must be well under 2,000 collectors of the series."
 
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savvydon

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No zombie apocalypse?

Very good article.

http://www.coinweek.com/opinion/the-coin-analyst-the-first-spouse-gold-series-2007-2016-a-requiem/

"The base of true collectors of this series is very small; this is reflected in the dwindling sales levels and low mintages. Based on the number of uncirculated coins with mintages in the 2,000 range and proofs in the 3,000 range, and the fact that many buyers purchase multiple examples, there must be well under 2,000 collectors of the series."
No doubt - but If and When the pendulum swings and the series gains popularity, even just a little, demand will outstrip supply.
 

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I think the Mint may do well if they start minting more variations of the half-ounce gold eagles.

This size looks ideal, which may be what they had in mind with the First Spouse coins, but the concept was wrong.
 

macrohedge

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The case for Bird Johnson unc. As the key.

1. Mint pulls 2015 spouse in next few weeks. Johnson sales around 1750.
2. Mint does not pull 2016 spouse coins until year end.
3. Nixon and ford unc. sales reach 1800 by year end.
4. If 1, 2, 3, you won't find any bird Johnson unc. Below $2500 for sale in 2018.
 

macrohedge

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Bess Truman unc. Also has a shot for the key.

The case for Bird Johnson unc. As the key.

1. Mint pulls 2015 spouse in next few weeks. Johnson sales around 1750.
2. Mint does not pull 2016 spouse coins until year end.
3. Nixon and ford unc. sales reach 1800 by year end.
4. If 1, 2, 3, you won't find any bird Johnson unc. Below $2500 for sale in 2018.
 

macrohedge

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Others say that NGC slabs are less prone to admit spots and toning onto the coins surface.
Yes, I have given pcgs the benefit of the doubt many times. But I gave up after seeing numerous cases of toning and spotting on 24k gold coins a couple of years after encapsulation. How about their new air-tight slabs? Time will tell.
 

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I was close to buying my first First Spouse coin a few days ago, but I balked when I looked at the NGC populations of some of the issues.

The one First Spouse coin I will buy (if I do decide to buy one) will be based on 3 factors, in no particular order:

* Design

* Mintage

* Quality

To me, the designs on these coins range from bad to elegant. The ones with bad design, in my opinion, tend to be those with silly messages on the reverse, such as the "I like Mamie" on the Eisenhower coin or "Just Say No" on the Reagan coin. The best designs, out of the ones still available, are the Betty Ford coin (spiral staircase) and the Bess Truman coin (whistle stop campaign).

The mintage of the remaining available coins are all pretty low, except for the Kennedy coin. The high sales of the Kennedy coin are probably due to the name recognition of the spouse, but I believe name recognition becomes relatively less important in the secondary market, while coin design becomes relatively more important.

Finally, the quality of the coins can be estimated by looking at the graded populations of each issue (I am focusing on the NGC populations). Because of quality, the Unc coins look like a much better buy than the Proofs, based on the proportion of coins grading at 70. The Nixon coin looks like a safe bet for quality, with MS70 to MS69 of 105:6, while the Ford coin seems to have a mediocre ratio of 139:26 (the reason I decided not to buy one the other day).

Looking at the 3 factors I mentioned above, I would rule out all Proof coins from consideration (due to quality), and also the Kennedy (mintage) and Eisenhower (design) Unc coins immediately. After these, I would probably rule out the Reagan Unc coin (design) and the Ford Unc coin (quality).

That leaves the Truman, Johnson, and Nixon coins still being considered by me for purchase. Of these 3 coins, the Johnson coin looks the weakest, due to a mediocre showing in design and quality. So the choice is now down to the Truman and Nixon coins, which both have a good combination of design, mintage, and quality. Probably the Nixon coin is the safer bet, it now seems to me.
 

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I was close to buying my first First Spouse coin a few days ago, but I balked when I looked at the NGC populations of some of the issues.

The one First Spouse coin I will buy (if I do decide to buy one) will be based on 3 factors, in no particular order:

* Design

* Mintage

* Quality

To me, the designs on these coins range from bad to elegant. The ones with bad design, in my opinion, tend to be those with silly messages on the reverse, such as the "I like Mamie" on the Eisenhower coin or "Just Say No" on the Reagan coin. The best designs, out of the ones still available, are the Betty Ford coin (spiral staircase) and the Bess Truman coin (whistle stop campaign).

The mintage of the remaining available coins are all pretty low, except for the Kennedy coin. The high sales of the Kennedy coin are probably due to the name recognition of the spouse, but I believe name recognition becomes relatively less important in the secondary market, while coin design becomes relatively more important.

Finally, the quality of the coins can be estimated by looking at the graded populations of each issue (I am focusing on the NGC populations). Because of quality, the Unc coins look like a much better buy than the Proofs, based on the proportion of coins grading at 70. The Nixon coin looks like a safe bet for quality, with MS70 to MS69 of 105:6, while the Ford coin seems to have a mediocre ratio of 139:26 (the reason I decided not to buy one the other day).

Looking at the 3 factors I mentioned above, I would rule out all Proof coins from consideration (due to quality), and also the Kennedy (mintage) and Eisenhower (design) Unc coins immediately. After these, I would probably rule out the Reagan Unc coin (design) and the Ford Unc coin (quality).

That leaves the Truman, Johnson, and Nixon coins still being considered by me for purchase. Of these 3 coins, the Johnson coin looks the weakest, due to a mediocre showing in design and quality. So the choice is now down to the Truman and Nixon coins, which both have a good combination of design, mintage, and quality. Probably the Nixon coin is the safer bet, it now seems to me.

I now just realized that I should have also looked at the PCGS populations, when estimating the quality of the coins, as the NGC sample size might not be large enough to get an accurate estimate of the quality.

The PCGS population numbers paint a different picture from the NGC. There seem to be more 69s for PCGS, and the Nixon coin no longer has the advantage in quality, while the Ford coin looks good in comparison to the other issues. This makes the Ford coin look relatively better and the Nixon coin relatively worse.

Perhaps the Ford coin is still the best choice for me.
 

macrohedge

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Here is what I plan to buy from mint after my tax refund arrives next month.
4 bird Johnson unc.
3 Bess Truman unc.
1 patricia Nixon unc
2 Betty Ford unc.

Diversification
 

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Here is what I plan to buy from mint after my tax refund arrives next month.
4 bird Johnson unc.
3 Bess Truman unc.
1 patricia Nixon unc
2 Betty Ford unc.

Diversification
I am rather alarmed at the high proportion of 69s to 70s in the PCGS population numbers, which is worse than the NGC, and this is one of the reasons I will not buy more than 1 First Spouse coin. Nevertheless, my hesitation to buy the Ford coin earlier this week (when the price was lower) was probably unjustified.

I most likely won't be getting a tax refund this year, but I will be getting a payoff for unused PTO after switching jobs, in a few weeks.

I agree, though, that the Unc coins are the way to go, with the current situation.
 

macrohedge

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hernancortes

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I think we all started posting less when PM's cratered a few years back and moderns went with it.
Anyway, I like Macrohedge's analysis about the 2015 spouses as the true possible sleepers. Maybe someone with more time & inclination could let us know how long in weeks the 2012's, 2013's and 2014s were available from the mint. I think the '14's all eventually sold out but I recall some of the '12 and '13's were pulled from the catalog eventually. With the '14's we were looking for clues as to how many were struck and with the '15's and maybe '16's the question will be when they will be pulled.
 

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With all the remaining FS coins (the 15's AND the 16's) noted as "Limited", everyone could get pulled at once. Now that would be a dramatic ending for the series, wouldn't it?
 

hernancortes

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Yes it would, and the market would react strongly to a surprise ending, unlike an anticlimactic ending such as what's happening with the $5 unc Parks gold, where the premium will rise but perhaps not much as some expect.
 

macrohedge

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It is very unlikely for mint to pull any 2016 coins at this point. For example, Nancy Reagan coins have been around for just about 7 months. Too early to pull. Bess Truman and bird Johnson different story, could be gone any moment.
 

hernancortes

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Quick check: 2012's were pulled after 12-15 months; 2013's pulled after 19-22 months; 2014's (minus Roosevelt) left on sale for 24-26 months until sellout.
From my recollection the mint struck too many 2012's, overestimating demand in the wake of the late 2011 Hayes and Garfield surprise sellouts.
 
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macrohedge

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Quick check: 2012's were pulled after 12-15 months; 2013's pulled after 19-22 months; 2014's (minus Roosevelt) left on sale for 24-26 months until sellout.
From my recollection the mint struck too many 2012's, overestimating demand in the wake of the late 2011 Hayes and Garfield surprise sellouts.
Bess Truman debut April 2015, 21 months
 

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I may decide to buy one FS coin within the next few days, especially after looking at tomorrow's sales report.

I really believe that coin design will be a significant factor in valuation of the coins in the secondary market. Of the coins still available, I have found some faults with the design of most of the coins:

Eisenhower - The "I like Mamie" looks like a joke.

Johnson - The message "Beautify our Cities, Parks and Highways" is over-elaborated, and the flowers are poorly positioned.

Nixon - The paper doll design looks crude.

Reagan - The "Just Say No" looks silly.

I like the designs of the Kennedy, Truman, and Ford coins. But I am not considering buying the Kennedy coin due to the much higher mintage.

If I buy one FS coin, it would cost about one-third the funds I spent on the NPS Gold Unc coin--that is just about where I want to be with my budget, though buying two coins is not out of the question.
 
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hernancortes

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The recent mint sales reports are strongly suggesting they struck more 2015 and 2016 coins than they did the 2014s. So if you want to speculate on spouses from the mint you are banking on their early removal from the catalog.
 

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The mintage report is in now...

First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1437 12/26/2016
First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1501 01/02/2017

First Spouse 16SB 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - NIXON 1477 12/26/2016
First Spouse 16SB 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - NIXON 1531 01/02/2017

So that's 64 Ford coins sold and 54 Nixon coins sold. I still think Ford has the edge, out of the 2 coins.

Now, looking at the report from 6 weeks ago...

First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1320 11/20/2016
First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1501 01/02/2017

There were 181 coins sold in the last 6 weeks, with an average of 30 coins sold per week. This rate may go up as the weeks go by, but the coin can be removed from sale by the Mint any day.

I'll think about it tonight...
Here are the FS Gold Unc sales numbers and those from the last 2 weeks...

First Spouse JQ2 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - TRUMAN 1806 12/26/2016
First Spouse JQ4 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - EISENHWR 1906 12/26/2016
First Spouse JQ6 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - KENNEDY 6424 12/26/2016
First Spouse JQ8 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - JOHNSON 1717 12/26/2016
First Spouse 16SB 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - NIXON 1477 12/26/2016
First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1437 12/26/2016
First Spouse 16SF 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - REAGAN 1721 12/26/2016

First Spouse JQ2 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - TRUMAN 1809 01/02/2017
First Spouse JQ4 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - EISENHWR 1913 01/02/2017
First Spouse JQ6 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - KENNEDY 6439 01/02/2017
First Spouse JQ8 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - JOHNSON 1724 01/02/2017
First Spouse 16SB 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - NIXON 1531 01/02/2017
First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1501 01/02/2017
First Spouse 16SF 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - REAGAN 1744 01/02/2017

First Spouse JQ2 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - TRUMAN 1814 01/08/2017
First Spouse JQ4 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - EISENHWR 1916 01/08/2017
First Spouse JQ6 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - KENNEDY 6462 01/08/2017
First Spouse JQ8 2015 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - JOHNSON 1729 01/08/2017
First Spouse 16SB 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - NIXON 1555 01/08/2017
First Spouse 16SD 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - FORD 1522 01/08/2017
First Spouse 16SF 2016 FS GOLD UNC 1/2 OZ - REAGAN 1771 01/08/2017


Sales of Nixon and Ford slowed down after seeing the big surge the previous week. Maybe collectors were alarmed by the large jump for both coins.

I still am focusing on the Truman and Ford coins, by virtue of their designs. After seeing today's numbers, Ford has the slight edge.