6th National Silver Dollar Convention
St. Louis, Missouri
November 11 -17, 1985
Olympic Dollars; Let’s Get Excited!
By Mike Fuljenz
A few months ago I was scanning the microfilm of back issues of leading numismatic publications. It was a truly enlightening experience recalling the treasury release of silver dollars in the early 1960’s, the silver certificate hysteria of the late 1960’s and the Carson City dollar sale of the early 1970’s, complete with a personalized insert from then-president Richard Nixon.
As I scanned all the comments of this era pertaining to silver dollars, it was interesting to note the varying beliefs held by numerous numismatic luminaries regarding the future of silver dollar collecting and investing. As in any field, there were optimists and pessimists, especially regarding the effects of the aforementioned silver dollar releases on the dollar market in general. The leading coin publications ran lengthy questionnaires regarding how dealers and the public viewed the release of government-held dollars and opinion polls as to how this release should be handled.
If you are a beginning or advanced dollar enthusiast, some of the most interesting reading about dollars can be found in microfilms of leading numismatic publications from 1963-1973. For example, did you know we probably would have had an official 1964 silver dollar if President Kennedy had not been assassinated as he was a strong proponent of its issue? In fact, one of his last acts before he left Washington for that fateful day in Dallas was to urge Congress to agree to authorize a new silver dollar. Whether any were later struck, the rumored 1964 Peace Dollars, is another story.
Use of microfilm pertaining to numismatic publications is available through the American Numismatic Association Library. By studying the past, one is often aided in understanding the future. A word to the wise, if you plan on scanning 10 years of microfilm in a day, like I did, Dramamine is a must. “It isn’t just for boat trips anymore.”
The new Olympic dollars bring to mind much of the same controversies and excitement that surrounded earlier dollar releases. We had arguments over how the coins should be distributed. How many varieties and types should be allowed? Who should distribute the coins? And even the modernistic designs brought mixed reviews.
Finally, the coins were a reality and the government marketed them to an extent that they had never done before. National advertising was used to spread the gospel of Olympic coinage and even that drew pointed criticism about sales tactics mentioning them as investments, similar to the outlines about use of the word “investment” in government advertising of the CC dollars.
To the government’s credit, all mediums of advertising were covered from television to the billboard at my little neighborhood grocery store.
Packaging of the Olympic coinage came under scrutiny by commemorative buffs as numerous sets options in numerous original holders were offered. Those of us who collect original holders were in a quandary, as besides the original U.S. holders, there was the official packaging used for foreign release to be obtained.
From an investment standpoint, the performance of the low-mintage 1984 PDS proof Olympic gold coins, doubling in value in one year, leads me to believe there is considerable potential in the low-mintage Olympic dollar issues such as the uncirculated 1983P, D and S and uncirculated 1984P, D and S issues.
After all, there are more lovers of dollars out there than any other series and the dollars are affordable to a larger customer base. The precedent of a modern U.S. issue, Olympic eagles, showing excellent appreciation, contrary to the beliefs of leading proponents of more traditional areas, points out the necessity of evaluating any issue on its merits alone whether they be modern or otherwise.
A note about Olympic coinage distributed overseas is in order. Foreign governments, particularly South Korea, bought moderate supplies of our Olympic coinage for distribution at future Olympic games. Research on quantities being held is currently ongoing by myself and others. Rumors have it that a number of 1984-W uncirculated $10 gold pieces are being held there.
The last official tally of mintage figures released by the government was for coins delivered through March 31, 1985. In talking with mint officials, I was assured that although these totals are not yet final, there are very few coins left to be delivered.
Delivered through March 31, 1985
Interestingly enough, unlike past issues of commemoratives where coins were shipped to commissions unprotected in bags or even the 1982 George Washington commemorative .50 where uncirculateds are plagued by bagmarks, the Olympic uncirculated commemoratives are virtually devoid of bagmarks due to extra care taken in handling. Thanks, guys!
Mike Fuljenz is 30 years old and a “cum laude” graduate in chemistry from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He is four times president of the Southwest Louisiana Coin Club. Mike is a former authenticator and grader for the American Numismatic Association, and writes the market analysis column for their monthly magazine, “The Numismatist.” In addition, Mr. Fuljenz is a columnist for “Numismatic News,” and has contributed his expertise to the “Redbook,” “Bluebook,” “Coin Dealer Newsletter,” “The New York Times,” “The Silver and Gold Report,” “Wealth” magazine, and numerous investment publications.
Mr. Fuljenz is a regular speaker at national conventions, having appeared on expert panels at conventions held by the American Numismatic Association, the Florida United Numismatists, the Middle Atlantic Numismatic Association, the National Committee for Monetary Reform and Howard Ruff.
Mike has contributed to many leading texts, including recent works on Franklin halves, proof coinage, Walking Liberty halves and U.S. commemoratives.
Mr. Fuljenz is currently Director of Numismatic Services for James U. Blanchard & Co., Inc.