A few months back I wrote about one of the Royal Canadian Mint’s Farewell to the Penny Rolls with serial number 20,000/20,000 which sold on eBay for an astonishing $6,600.00. At the time the rolls were typically realizing prices of $30 to $35 per roll, making for an enormous premium for a serial number.
Since I have collected United States Mint coins for much longer than I have collected world mint coins, the concept of serial numbers is somewhat new and intriguing for me. By including a unique number on each certificate, it makes each product have its own unique identity. Although (to my knowledge) the numbers do not have any direct correlation to the production of the coins included, clearly some people attach importance to the numbers.
Certain serial numbers do have a “coolness” factor that most collectors would acknowledge. These types of numbers would be the first number (or a very low number), the last number (or a very high number), or perhaps repeating or sequential numbers such as #8888 or #1234.
In terms of the premiums paid for such numbers, the actual product seems to play an important role. I would think that very popular products with special serial numbers would carry generally higher premiums. Also, products with larger production runs may also carry generally higher premiums. For example, 1/10,000 would seem more important than 1/100.
The 20,000/20,000 Farewell to the Penny Roll brought together a key serial number, a broadly popular product, and a high production run, creating a kind of perfect storm which drove the premium to dizzying heights. But how much premium do special serial numbers bring under other circumstances?
Over the weekend, an eBay auction concluded for the Royal Canadian Mint’s Purple Coneflower with Venetian Glass Blue Butterfly Coin with serial number 00001/10,000. The listing reached a closing price of $534 compared to typical prices of around $180 to $210. The premium attached to the serial number actually seems quite modest when compared to the Farewell to the Penny Roll.
For those interested, two other serial number related auctions are currently running that might be worth watching. Here is an auction for the 2012 Farewell to the Penny 5 oz Silver Coin with the last serial number 1500/1500. Also running is another auction for the Farewell to the Penny 5 Coin Set with low serial number 0012/5000.