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Perhaps the dream of every numismatist and precious metals investor is the opportunity to purchase something at face value or a bullion-related price that can later be sold at a collector premium.

Such instances occur more often than most people realize. In some instances, once information about low mintages becomes known, there tends to be a surge in buying interest.

For example, when the U.S. Mint released tentative mintage figures in early 1986 for the 1980-1984 one-ounce and half-ounce American Arts Gold Medallions, they revealed that the 1983 half ounce (featuring Alexander Calder) and the 1984 half ounce (John Steinbeck) and one ounce (Helen Hayes) had quite low mintages.

When you adjust the Calder mintage for the fact that distributor J. Aron & Company melted probably more than 75 percent of it (our research indicates that more than 80 percent were likely recycled), collector interest soared. With the spot price of gold at the time in the mid-$300s, soon the Calders and Steinbecks retailed for as much as $625 and the Hayes for more than $1,000.

Some of the early China gold and silver Pandas now trade at several multiples of their original bullion-related prices.