Weekly World Numismatic News for March 7, 2021

Prices are rising.

Whether you talk about the price of groceries, gas, or collectibles, prices are rising. So are the price of the collectibles markets, including numismatics.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been steadily rising for six months. While the prices are rising, unemployment has dropped from the beginning of the pandemic high of 14-percent to the 6.2-percent rate, BLS recently announced.

With all of this economic stress, why are collectibles, especially numismatics, are seeing rising prices?

An auction industry source said that there is a pent-up demand for something resembling normal. Instead of the everyday routine, those with means are buying. In the last six months, the industry reports that prices realized for all sectors have risen at rates higher than seen in many years. Estate auctions are attracting new customers looking for unique items.

Numismatics is in the middle of the trend, with collectors and investors looking for something to do. Collectors are spending more time with their collections and looking to expand. Investors see the rise in values because of the rise in precious metal prices and have driven the market higher.

One of the areas where the price changes are noticeable is in the markets for precious metals. While the spot price for gold and silver has been relatively steady, the numismatic spread for coins has climbed. Dealers are reporting that generic gold and silver for numismatic items increased over the last six months.

Price trends of coinage over the last year
(graphs courtesy of PCGS)

Several industry reports note a higher demand for physical ownership of precious metals, putting pressure on the markets. But rather than buying bullion, investors are purchasing coins. Demand for American Eagle products has outpaced many dealer’s abilities to purchase supplies. When bullion coins were not available, investors purchase coins produced for the collector market, including proof and special issues coins.

Recently, the U.S. Mint set a 99 coin limit when they released the 2021-W American Silver Eagle Proof coin with the original reverse. The coin sold quickly. When asked, the U.S. Mint claimed they did not have the statistics about the number of 99 coin purchases they fulfilled. Collectors report that they were shut out of coin purchases while dealers have been slabbing and selling the coins mostly to investors.

If the predictions are true, economists believe that there will be a roaring 2020s similar to the roaring 1920s following the Spanish Flu Pandemic. Considering the current trends, the secondary market for numismatics may make it too expensive for the average collector to participate in the market.

And now the news…

 March 1, 2021
Some artists struggle to figure out ways to make money from their art. Not Christina Hess, a Philadelphia-based artist and chair of the illustration department at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.  → Read more at lancasteronline.com

 March 2, 2021
Most people have some coins lying around in their house somewhere, some people decide to keep them in a jar, and some may have quite a lot of them.  → Read more at tweaktown.com

 March 2, 2021
At least 110 ancient gold coins were seized and a suspect was arrested in an anti-smuggling operation in southeastern Turkey, a security source said on March 1. Gendarmerie teams fighting organized crime in Şanlıurfa province raided the address of the suspect, who was learned to be smuggling historical artifacts, in Viranşehir district, said the source on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.  → Read more at hurriyetdailynews.com

 March 5, 2021
There has been strong interest in the international numismatic auction planned for Friday March 12 in Central Wellington. From a midday start, there will be more than 600 lots to auction, with participants bidding both in the room and online.  → Read more at scoop.co.nz

 March 6, 2021
Artist Gary Cooper of Belfast used a 3D sculpting computer program to create the winning design for the commemorative coin that will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. Credit: Abigail Curtis / BDN  → Read more at bangordailynews.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for February 7, 2021

If you missed the five-second commercial from Reddit after the halftime show, you missed their touting their service as a place to discuss things. Lately, Reddit has been famous for a sub-Reddit that helped promote the stocks of GameStop, AMC movie theaters, and BlackBerry. All companies whose business models have not kept up with technology or are suffering because of the pandemic.

An interesting aspect of this story is the Robinhood trading platform’s use to buy and sell these stocks. Robinhood is a no-commission trading service that many of the people participating in the sub-Reddit use to trade. Not only are they gaining free access to the markets, but they were able to cause significant losses amongst the large hedge funds. The hedge funds did not like losing money to what they considered non-professionals. The Reddit users called it the democratization of the markets.

Although these stocks have returned to more reasonable levels as compared to their earnings, people in the sub-Reddits are looking to make statements in other markets. One of the markets they are trying to work on is silver.

Precious metals continue to be a safe haven for uncertain markets. With the uncertainty of the markets and the Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) in the metals market and changes in some rules, investors demand access to physical metals.

Rather than buying bullion, investors are buying legal tender coins. Even with the high numismatic premiums on precious metals coins, they are reporting limited supply. The highest demand is for the American Silver Eagle and the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf. Both mints are reporting record production of these coins.

When an ETF creates its market basket of stocks, the exchanges require that each of the stocks have specific minimum holdings of physical metals to back the prices. ETFs are finding they have to rebalance their portfolios since the funds holding the metals are not increasing their holdings as much as the general public. Their lack of buying is keeping the price of metals stable.

Dealers are reporting that individual and smaller institutional investors are buying silver. Although these buyers do not impact the broader market, they are impacting the numismatic premium. People are paying upwards of 35 percent over the spot price.

The rules will prevent the Reddit mob from manipulating the metals markets. However, until there is more certainty in the market, there will continue to be a high numismatic premium for bullion coins.

And now the news…

 February 4, 2021
• Silver keeps corrective pullback from $25.90 trapped in a $0.10 range off-late. • Premiums on American Eagle silver coins jump on Thursday, Apmex urges customers to expect delay in order processing.  → Read more at fxstreet.com

 February 4, 2021
The Edge of the Cedars State Park Museum needs help identifying some BLM collections and a mystery coin.  → Read more at abc4.com

 February 4, 2021
* More than 1.1 million troy ounces of silver sold in Jan * Selling everything that can be currently made in silver- Mint * Short-squeeze story boosted demand for physical silver-analyst  → Read more at kitco.com

 February 5, 2021
A COIN collection has gone under the hammer for £2.3m with the latest sale bringing a world record price for one 450 year old Oliver Cromwell gold coin.  → Read more at gazetteherald.co.uk
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Weekly World Numismatic News for January 10, 2021

2020 American Gold EagleThe Weekly World Numismatic News return finds that although 2020 was a stressful year and 2021 has not started with a promise for improvement, the rare coin and paper money market appears healthy.

Based on a survey of auction houses conducted by the Professional Numismatists Guild, they reported the total sales at auction to be over $419 million. With COVID-19 causing the cancellation of every major show, the auction moved online with success.

A consistent comment is that the auctions provided a means for collectors to liquidate all or parts of their collections to raise money during the pandemic. But for this type of sale to be effective, there have to be bidders to buy the coins. The buyers came.

HiBid, an online auction platform that supports many auction houses, has consistently reported weekly sales on the tens-of-millions of dollars. This year, HiBid reports that traffic to coins.hibid.com was their fastest growing platform.

Finally, with the stock markets soaring with the economic uncertainty growing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Mint saw the sale of American Eagle gold and silver coins increase dramatically. In 2020, the U.S. Mint sold 884,000 ounces of American Gold Eagle coins, increasing 455% from the 152,000 ounces sold in 2019.

The sale of American Silver Eagle coins doubled from last year by selling 30.01 million ounces of silver.

Since the U.S. Mint reports bullion coins more regularly than collector coin sales, those coins’ impact is not reflected in these numbers.

There are collectors out there. Unfortunately, they are not members of the American Numismatic Association or other numismatic organizations. Maybe the numismatic community should use this as a lesson to try to grow the hobby.

And now the news…

 December 29, 2020
One face of the coin features a typical Cyberpunk 2077 scene with towering skyscrapers and hulking mega-structures looming over a souped-up motor vehicle. The coin’s flip side depicts a bust of Queen Elizabeth II, Press materials  → Read more at thefirstnews.com

 January 4, 2021
Queen Elizabeth is just months away from a milestone birthday — and the U.K.'s Royal Mint is already celebrating. The Royal Mint unveiled five new commemorative coins for 2021, including a £5 coin to mark the monarch's 95th birthday in April.  → Read more at people.com

 January 4, 2021
Kitco News has launched its 2021 Outlook, which offers the most comprehensive coverage of precious metals markets in the new year. Trillions of dollars were pumped into financial markets in 2020 and that won't come without consequences.  → Read more at kitco.com

 January 4, 2021
A coin collection in a backroom of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum could one day reveal Outer Banks history  → Read more at pilotonline.com

 January 8, 2021
With an alarming level of uncertainties across-the-board courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a return to high market volatility and unprecedented global economic stimulus, investors are increasingly seeking alternative investment strategies.  → Read more at thearmchairtrader.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for November 1, 2020

Here we are with the election on Tuesday. The numismatic-related news has some stories but nothing of significance. For bullion buyers, the metals market has been active. One analyst called the market schizophrenic while trying to figure out what economic conditions will be.

Another analyst that follows the silver market noted the decline of silver prices since September. Among the reasons is that early buyers of silver are looking to cash in on their holdings. Those who bought last year when the average price was around $18 per ozt have been looking to profit from the spot being over $22. When asked if the price of silver will decline, the response was to ask after the election.

Gold prices have been steadier but have shown a gradual decline since August. A gold analyst reminded me that gold is a safe haven for investors when markets are uncertain. This analyst did not think the markets will see certainty after the election. Their firm is telling clients that regardless of the outcome of the election, the lame-duck Congress will create a lot of infighting that will spill over into the markets.

The value of many modern collector coins is dependent on the value of the metals. Those coins will see their values fluctuate with the market. Unfortunately, none of the analysts consulted predicted stability in the market. They suggested that unless you had to sell that you might wait. One recommended setting a high and low price for buying and selling but would not recommend the spread.

Regardless of what you choose to do with your investment coin, be prepared for a bumpy ride because none of the analysts would predict any stability for the next six months.

And now the news…

 October 24, 2020
For almost three thousand years, humans have been using coins as payment. As that winds down in an increasingly cashless world, let’s take a look at how the Vikings dealt with money.  → Read more at lifeinnorway.net

 October 25, 2020
A man with a metal detector has found a long-hidden, 222-year-old coin under a few inches of soil outside a church in Maine. Shane Houston, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was on a metal-detecting trip with a friend from New Hampshire when he found the coin earlier this month, the Bangor Daily News reported.  → Read more at wbtv.com

 October 27, 2020
A rare King Harold II coin dating from 1066 that was found by a metal detecting teenager has made £4,000 at auction.  → Read more at bbc.com

 October 27, 2020
The Bank of Lithuania minted the first euro piece of currency containing Hebrew letters. The 10-euro coin was minted on Tuesday and is a limited-edition commemorative collector’s item celebrating the 300th anniversary of the birth of the Vilna Gaon, the 18th-century rabbinical luminary Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, who lived and died in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.  → Read more at jpost.com

 October 29, 2020
Heartbreaking message behind new $2 Aussie coin. Source: Royal Australian Mint  → Read more at au.finance.yahoo.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for October 11, 2020

If you do not follow the U.S. Mint on Facebook or Twitter, they announced that there would be a price increase for silver coins as of October 13, 2020. Their statement read:

The United States Mint recently adopted a new strategy for pricing products in its silver numismatic products portfolio. As a result, prices for products containing silver will change EFFECTIVE October 13, 2020, with release of the 2020 American Eagle Silver Proof Coin with “S” mint mark (20EM). The new pricing will affect prices for silver products already on sale (including prior year) and those remaining to be released in 2020.

In order for the United States Mint to cover rising costs, meet its fiduciary responsibility to operate at no net cost to taxpayers, and return money to the Treasury General Fund, re-setting silver prices is necessary.

The Mint’s goal, as a fiscally responsible self-funded Federal agency, is to always provide the best quality numismatic products while maintaining fair prices. The first objective is to ensure that the numismatic portfolio (all product lines together) be self-sufficient and cover all associated costs. The new silver prices reflect a sound business decision aimed at meeting these obligations. (No tax dollars are used to fund numismatic operations.)

The United States Mint will continue to look for operations optimization and cost reduction efforts to deliver superior quality numismatic products at a fair price.

Kitco Silver Price as of 10/9/2020

Kitco YTD Silver Price as of 10/9/2020 (does not update, trendline added)

Although social media did not like the announcement, collectors should have expected the price increase. When the U.S. Mint set the price for silver coins at the beginning of 2020, the price of silver hovered around $18.00 per ounce. On March 19, the price closed as low as $12.005 per ounce. What followed was a steady rise until August 6 when the markets closed at $28.33.

From the $17.925 at the close of the markets on January 2 through August 6, silver rose 58-percent. If the U.S. Mint had to purchase silver in August to meet market demands, it was the most expensive silver they purchased.

U.S. Mint Price Update
Product Old Retail Price New Retail price Percent Increase
Presidential Silver Medals $46.00 $65.00 41.304%
America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set $42.50 $60.00 29.167%
American Eagle One Ounce Silver Proof Coin $64.50 $73.00 13.178%
American Eagle One Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin $54.00 $67.00 24.074%
American Eagle One Ounce Silver Proof Coins—Bulk Pack $2,920.00
American Eagle One Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin—Bulk Pack $2,680.00
Limited Edition Silver Proof Set $120.00‡ $201.00 67.500%
Silver Proof Set $63.25 $105.00 66.008%
America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin $178.25 $229.00 30.670%
End of World War II 75th Anniversary American Eagle Silver Proof Coin * $83.00
End of World War II 75th Anniversary One Ounce Silver Medal * $75.00
2019 America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof Set $36.95 $60.00 62.514%
2019 American Liberty High Relief Silver Medal $99.95¶ $175.00 75.088%
2019 Congratulations Set $56.95 $75.00 31.694%
2019 Silver Proof Set $54.95¶ $105.00 91.083%
† These products are sold directly to distributors who sell them to dealers. Prices are not on the U.S. Mint’s website.
‡ The only items for sale at the U.S. Mint that comes close to this is the Women’s Suffrage Centennial 2020 Proof Silver Dollar and Medal Set
* Item was not for sale prior to the price hike
¶ Listed as “Currently Unavailable” on the U.S. Mint’s website.

You cannot blame the U.S. Mint’s metals buyers. First, they are mandated to buy precious metals from U.S. sources at the market value. If they need additional inventory, then they buy it on the market like everyone else. Like any investor, the U.S. Mint can try to predict the market, but the results are variable like any investor.

Since August 6, the price of silver dropped to $24.315, a 14.17-percent decrease. However, the price of silver is up 35.65-percent for the year. If the price of materials rise, how long could the U.S. Mint maintain their prices?

Aside from the rising cost of silver, the U.S. Mint did not report how much other costs have risen. Aside from the dies and facilities costs, they must account for labor, design, and production costs. The U.S. Mint has not reported what additional costs they have incurred because of the pandemic.

The U.S. Mint is unlikely to report about these issues until the release of the annual report.

And now the news…

 October 6, 2020
The Ministry of Culture and Sports on Monday announced that five rare silver coins dating to the 5th and 4th centuries BC were returned to Greece, before being auctioned off in Munich and Zurich.  → Read more at greekcitytimes.com

 October 5, 2020
The executive officer said construction workers found the coins and rings in a brass box.  → Read more at newindianexpress.com

 October 9, 2020
Surprising as it may sound, there once was a time that our coinage system, backed by gold and silver, was mostly supplied by Spain and countries under Spanish rule, such as Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Guatemala.  → Read more at yarmouth.wickedlocal.com

 October 10, 2020
An extremely rare Roman coin commemorating the assassination of Julius Caesar has surfaced and may be worth millions of dollars, according to coin experts.  → Read more at foxnews.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for May 24, 2020

2020 South Africa Platinum ElephantWhen talking about markets, the central theme is that investors hate instability. Whether the conversation is with the professional market maker or the individual investor, there is much uncertainty in the current marketplace.

When equity markets become unstable, investors run to cash or cash equivalents. Cash equivalents include investments like bonds, especially those issued by stable governments. The other investment they run to is precious metals.

Gold is the primary safe-haven for investors. As a society, we have given this mineral an intrinsic value and trade it for a premium. With the panic of the U.S. Mint closing the West Point Mint for a short time, investors started buying platinum. The most popular form to purchase these metals is in coins where we saw the South African Platinum Elephant coins sell out its 2,000 coin production.

With the markets scrambling, it has opened up the door to scammers trying to cash in on the panic buying. Scammers use tactics like selling overpriced and overhyped coins, counterfeits, and not delivering coins after purchasing.

These scams are not new. Last year, the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer (APMD) program warned against scammers as the prices jumped. Unfortunately, the problem has only become worse.

Please do not fall for these scams. If you have any questions, contact a reputable dealer from the APMD, Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG), Industry Council for Tangible Assets (ICTA), or the American Numismatic Association dealer directories. You will be glad you did!

And now the news…

 May 18, 2020
Nervous investors have been pouring into the gold and silver markets over the past two months. Money Metals Exchange is proud to have helped almost 20,000 new customers with a precious metals purchase in recent weeks, many of whom came over from other dealers struggling with inventory shortages and ridiculous delivery delays.  → Read more at fxstreet.com

 May 19, 2020
While the covid-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on the platinum market — including price, demand and supply — results for Q1 2020 show the net effect is less than feared, and the outlook for 2020 is better than expected, according the latest quarterly report by the World Platinum Investment Council (WPIC).  → Read more at mining.com

 May 21, 2020
Investors seeking a haven from the economic turmoil created by the coronavirus pandemic are snapping up platinum coins engraved with African wildlife.  → Read more at ca.finance.yahoo.com

 May 22, 2020
Kakinada: Cyclonic storm Amphan may have caused heavy damage in parts of Odisha and West Bengal, but the rains it brought in its wake helped unearth a treasure trove of silver coins of British India era in a village in north coastal Andhra.  → Read more at timesofindia.indiatimes.com
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A Look at the American Eagles: The American Silver Eagles (UPDATED)

Coin Collectors Handbook: American Eagle Coins

Want more information about American Eagle Coins? The Coin Collectors Handbook: American Eagle Coins has more information and is fully illustrated. Read more → here;
This is first article of a 4 part series:

NOTE: This is an updated article that was first published on September 18, 2018.

After the Coinage Act of 1965 removed silver from United States coinage, the federal government held the silver in the national stockpile. By the 1980s, the supply that far exceeded the needs of the national stockpile. Following several years of discussion that almost led to the bulk auction and sale of the silver, congress decided to use the silver to create a silver investment coin, the American Silver Eagle.

The American Silver Eagle program was so successful that following the depletion of the Defense National Stockpile in 2002, the original law was changed to continue the program by purchasing silver from U.S.-based mines at market prices to be used for future production.

American Silver Eagle Design

The obverse of the coin is the much-beloved design that was used on the Walking Liberty Half-Dollar coin from 1916 to 1947, designed by Adolph A. Weinman, a former student of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. The reverse features a heraldic eagle using a design by John Mercanti. Mercanti engraved both sides of the coin that including copying Weinman’s original design. Mercanti would later become the 12th Chief Engraver of the U.S. Mint.

American Silver Eagle Specifications
 Composition .999 Fine Silver
 Weight One Troy Ounce (31.103 grams)
 Diameter 40.6 mm (1.598 inches)
 Thickness 2.98 mm (0.1173 inches)
 Edge Reeded
 Face Value $1.00
 Designers Adolph A. Weinman (obverse), John Mercanti (reverse)
 Engraver John Mercanti

Bullion American Silver Eagle Coins

The American Silver Eagle program produces bullion coins for the investment market and collectible versions of these coins. As bullion coins, the U.S. Mint tries to eliminate the factors that drive the price of collectible coins (mintage, rarity, and condition) by making each coin the same. The U.S. Mint strikes American Silver Eagle to meet the market demand and can be stuck at any branch mint. Bullion coins do not have a mintmark.

The U.S. Mint does not sell bullion coins directly to the public. They sell the coins to “Authorized Purchasers,” who then resell the coins to the market. Although the American Silver Eagle bullion coins are produced for the investment market, some people collect these coins.

As with other investments, American Silver Eagle bullion coins are subject to taxes when sold. Please consult with a financial advisor or tax professional for any tax implications.

Mint of Origin for Bullion Coins

The U.S. Mint branch facility in West Point, New York, has been the primary manufacturer of American Silver Eagle bullion coins. Over the years, the mint facilities in San Francisco and Philadelphia have supplemented production.

Following an investigation, researchers learned that the U.S. Mint struck American Silver Eagle bullion coins at San Francisco and Philadelphia from 2011-2017. Some have tried to use shipping records from the U.S. Mint, shipping labels, packaging materials, and other means to try to investigate the origin of the coins.

In 2015, the industry thought they understand how to tell which Mint struck the coins. According to a statement issued by the U.S. Mint in 2018, the Philadelphia Mint produced 79,640 bullion coins. However, 140 coins were “condemned” and not issued. They shipped 79,500 coins to West Point for distribution to authorized purchasers. Although the boxes contain labels and serial numbers, there was no attempt made to separate the coins by Mint. Further, the U.S. Mint acknowledges that they identified cases of duplicate labels and tracking numbers written on the box. The information creates a reasonable doubt as to determine the manufacturer of the coins.

The third-party grading services believe they identified strike characteristics of the 2015 bullion coins that occurred at the Philadelphia Mint. They have encased American Silver Eagle bullion coins with labels noting their Philadelphia pedigree with no additional evidence.

In 2020, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused the U.S. Mint branch at West Point to close temporarily. In order to keep up with production, the U.S. Mint struck 240,000 bullion coins in Philadelphia.

The third-party grading services asked the U.S. Mint about the production of these coins. Rather than leave the industry guessing, the U.S. Mint identified which boxes contained American Silver Eagle bullion coins struck in Philadelphia. The grading services are noting the origin of the bullion coin on the label of their slab.

Unlike the 2015(-P) coins, the 2020(-P) coins have an identifiable trail that leaves little doubt to the origin of the coins.

Collector American Silver Eagle Coins

The U.S. Mint produces collector versions of the American Silver Eagle are sold directly to the public in specialty packaging. The U.S. Mint sells American Silver Eagle proof coins in a specially made capsule stored in a blue velvet-covered case in a blue box with a Certificate of Authenticity.

Beginning in 2006, the U.S. Mint has produced an uncirculated business strike coin for the collector market. Most uncirculated American Silver Eagle collector coins are struck in West Point and bear the “W” mintmark. Uncirculated coins are burnished, a process by treating the surface with fine particles to give the surface a smooth, satin finish. The U.S. Mint sells these coins in a capsule with packaging that varies from year to year.

The U.S. Mint has produced coins with reverse proof and enhanced uncirculated finishes. A reverse proof coin is when the elements show a mirror-like appearance and the fields have a matte finish.

In 2009, the U.S. Mint was unprepared for the financial collapse that increased the demand for silver bullion coins. So that the U.S. Mint could produce the coins to meet the investor demand, the U.S. Mint did not produce collector American Silver Eagle coins. Although the American Silver Eagle proof coin returned to the market in 2010, the U.S. Mint did not produce uncirculated burnished coins.

American Silver Eagle collector coins returned in 2011.

OGP vs. GRADED

2018-W American Silver Eagle Proof in Original Government Package

Collector American Silver Eagle coins can be purchased either in their original government package or graded. When searching for coins that are in their original government packaging on most online auction sites, it is recommended that you add “OGP” as part of the search.

Dealers and collectors will remove the collector American Silver Eagle coins from their original government package in order to submit them to a third-party grading service for grading. Collectors who prefer the encapsulated coins are not concerned with the package. Some dealers will sell the package without the coin for a few dollars, but for collectors of graded coins, this is not a priority.

2007 Reverse Variety

In 2008, the U.S. Mint updated the reverse dies of the American Silver Eagle, giving it a slightly different appearance. The reverse die was only supposed to be used on collector American Silver Eagle coins in 2008 before being used for bullion coins in 2009.

As a result of the human factor required with operating the minting equipment at the West Point Mint, the reverse dies used for the 2007 American Silver Eagle coins were mated with 2008 collector coins creating a new variety for collectors. These coins are known as a 2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 Variety.

2008-W Silver Eagle Reverse of 2007 Variety
(Image courtesy of the Silver Eagle Guide)

The 1995-W

Tenth Anniversary American Eagle Set

In 1995, the U.S. Mint created the 10th Anniversary American Eagle set to celebrate the program’s decade. The set contained a 1995-W American Silver Eagle proof coin that was made available only to collectors buying the set. Collectors wanting to add the 1995-W American Silver Eagle proof coin to their collection had to purchase the entire five-coin set that included four American Gold Eagle proof coins ($5, $10, $25, and $50 gold American Eagles). The $999 price for the set helped limit the number of coins sold.

As gold prices have risen, collectors sold the gold coins separately. However, the limited availability has caused the 1995-W American Silver Eagle to rise significantly on the secondary market. Cost to purchase this coin averages about $5,000-6, depending on the grade and finding the entire set with the American Gold Eagle coins in their original government package averages over $8,000.

Special Sets

The Philadelphia SetIn 1993, the U.S. Mint offered The Philadelphia Set, which was issued to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the striking of the first official U.S. coins at the Philadelphia Mint. This set included each of the Proof American Gold and Silver Eagles struck at the Philadelphia Mint and containing the “P” mintmark. The set included a 1993-P Proof Silver Eagle along with the one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce 1993-P Proof Gold Eagles. Also included was a silver Philadelphia Bicentennial Medal, which specially produced for this numismatic product.

To mark the launch of the new American Platinum Eagle bullion and collector coin series, the U.S. Mint offered the 1997 Impressions of Liberty Set. This set contained the one ounce 1997-W Proof Platinum Eagle, one ounce 1997-W Proof Gold Eagle, and one ounce 1997-P Proof Silver Eagle. Production was limited to 5,000 individually numbered units. The serial number for each set was engraved on a brass plate affixed to the wooden display case.

In 2004, the U.S. Mint worked with the United Kingdom’s Royal Mint to create a numismatic product containing the silver bullion coins from each country. The Legacies of Freedom Set contained one 2003 American Silver Eagle bullion coin and one 2002 British Silver Britannia bullion coin. The special packaging highlighted the importance of the two national icons.

To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the 220th Anniversary of the United States Mint, the two bureaus joined together to release the 2012 Making American History Coin and Currency Set. The set contained a 2012-S American Silver Eagle Proof coin and a $5 note with a serial number beginning in “150.”

As part of the 2016 Ronald Reagan Coin and Chronicles Set the U.S. Mint included a 2016 Proof American Silver Eagle along with a 2016 Ronald Reagan Presidential reverse proof dollar, and a Nancy Reagan Bronze Medal. To complete the set, it included a presidential portrait produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and an informational booklet about President Reagan.

In 2019, the U.S. Mint partnered with the Royal Canadian Mint to issue the Pride of Two Nations silver coin set. The set contained a reverse proof American Silver Eagle struck at West Point and a reverse proof Silver Maple Leaf struck at the Royal Canadian Mint’s facility in Ottawa, Ontario. Production was limited to 100,000 sets in the United States and 10,000 sets in Canada.

Later in 2019, the U.S. Mint released an Enhanced Reverse Proof coin struck at the San Francisco Mint. Its mintage limit of 30,000 coins is less than the number of 1995-W coins issued.

Annual Sets

To extend the product line, the U.S. Mint began to create special annual issue sets to entice people to collect U.S. Mint products. The first annual set containing an American Silver Eagle coin was the Annual Uncirculated Dollar Coin Set. First offered in 2007, the set includes the issued uncirculated Presidential dollar coins, an uncirculated Native American dollar coin, and an uncirculated American Silver Eagle. Since the Presidential Dollar Program ended in 2016, it is unclear whether the U.S. Mint will issue the set in 2017.

Since 2012, the U.S. Mint has been producing the Limited Edition Silver Proof Set that contains 90% silver versions of the year’s five America the Beautiful Quarters, Kennedy Half Dollar, and Roosevelt Dime, along with the standard annual Proof American Silver Eagle. Sets are limited to 50,000 units annually.

Starting in 2013, the U.S. Mint has been producing the Congratulations Set as part of a new line of products targeted towards gift-giving occasions. The set includes the standard annual Proof Silver Eagle within specially designed packaging that allows the gift giver to add a personalized message.

Anniversary Sets

2011 American Silver Eagle 25th Anniversary Set

Since the American Eagle Program has been one of the most successful programs in the history of the U.S. Mint, they have used its popularity to extend the product line. Aside from celebrating the anniversary of the program, the U.S. Mint has produced anniversary sets to celebrate Mint facilities.

The Anniversary sets issued are as follows:

  • 1995 American Eagle 10th Anniversary Set included a 1995-W American Silver Eagle Proof coin and four American Gold Eagle coins.
  • 2006 20th Anniversary American Silver Eagle Set was a special three-coin box set included a 2006-W American Silver Eagle with a burnished (satin) finish, a 2006-W American Silver Eagle Proof coin, and a 2006-P American Silver Eagle Reverse Proof coin.
  • 2011 25th Anniversary American Silver Eagle Set was a five-coin box set that contained five different coins. The U.S. Mint produced only 100,000 sets that sold out within the first 10 minutes they were offered online. This extremely popular set is averaging $800 on the secondary market in the original government package. The set includes the following coins:
    • 2011-W (West Point) American Silver Eagle Uncirculated coin
    • 2011-S (San Francisco) American Silver Eagle Uncirculated coin
    • 2011-W (West Point) American Silver Eagle Proof coin
    • 2011-P (Philadelphia) American Silver Eagle Reverse Proof coin
    • 2011 (no mintmark) American Silver Eagle Bullion coin
  • 2012 American Eagle San Francisco Two Coin Silver Proof Set was issued to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the current San Francisco Mint. The set included a 2012-S American Silver Eagle Proof coin and a 2012-S American Silver Eagle Reverse Proof Coin.
  • 2013 West Point American Silver Eagle Set was issued to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the facility in West Point, New York. The set included a 2013-W American Silver Eagle Reverse Proof coin and a 2013-W American Silver Eagle Enhanced Uncirculated coin. The set was instantly popular with collectors since it was the first appearance of the Enhanced Uncirculated finishing process.

Although the U.S. Mint did not issue a set to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the American Silver Eagle in 2016, West Point struck proof and burnished uncirculated collector coins with edge lettering that read “30TH ANNIVERSARY.”

Rolls and the Green Monster Box

Bullion coins are packaged in 20-coin hard plastic rolls with 25 rolls packed in a specially designed green box that contains 500 troy ounces of silver. The U.S. Mint seals the box before shipping them to authorized purchasers. The term Green Monster Box refers to the green box with 500 silver coins.

Resellers sell Green Monster Boxes with the intent of selling to investors. Resellers also sell unopened rolls from the Monster Box.

Sealed Green Monster Boxes have the benefit of being unsearched and unhandled since leaving the U.S. Mint. These boxes are usually offered for sale by bullion dealers at a small premium over the current market (spot) price of silver. Unsealed Monster Boxes with the U.S. Mint’s labels intact can attest to the authenticity of the coins.

In the next installment, we look at the American Gold Eagle coins.

All images courtesy of the U.S. Mint unless otherwise noted.

Weekly World Numismatic News for May 10, 2020

2020 American Eagle Silver Bullion CoinIs it Sunday already?

This past week, the numismatic world was greeted with the news that the Philidelphia Mint struck a limited number of American Silver Eagle bullion coins to help fill the demand.

Most of the production of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins are in the West Point Mint. Sometimes, the San Francisco and Philadelphia Mints add capacity when necessary, with San Francisco being the priority. Since the West Point and San Francisco Mints temporarily closed because of the effects of COVID-19, Philadelphia picked up the slack.

The U.S. Mint produces all bullion coins without mintmarks. In most cases, it is impossible to tell which mint struck the coins. An exception is the 2015 (P) American Silver Eagles. Collectors and the grading services have been trying to figure out where the green monster boxes came from by examining the serial number and other clues. In 2015, Philadelphia struck just under 80,000 bullion coins. Those handling monster boxes noticed a difference in the packaging and quality.

According to the U.S. Mint, “Monster boxes of 2020 American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins minted in Philadelphia were affixed with a typed label containing the box tracking number; additionally, box tracking numbers were handwritten directly on the boxes. Box tracking numbers 400,000 through and including 400,479 were used on boxes of coins minted in Philadelphia.”

The 480 monster boxes translate into about 240,000 coins.

With that knowledge, the third-party grading services will add a special label noting that the coins were struck at Philidelphia only if the monster box sent for grading has the proper label and seal.

Of course, the price gougers are out in force. Most reputable companies are selling MS-70 graded “emergency” coins at around $250. That is about $200 over a “First Strike” or “Early Release” graded coins. One online seller is offering a pre-sale of the “emergency release” coins in MS-70 PCGS slabs with John Mercanti autographs for $595.

Coins graded MS-69 are selling for $75-80, which is $40-45 over other MS-69 graded coins.

Remember, if the listing says “pre-sale” it means that the seller does not have the coins in inventory.

And now the news…

 May 6, 2020
With central banks spraying unprecedented amounts of printed money at the global economic system, it’s little wonder the gold price soared by 18% in the six weeks following the stockmarket meltdown. All the extra money sloshing around means the chances that consumer price inflation will take off and erode the value of your cash have risen sharply.  → Read more at theweek.co.uk

 May 6, 2020
(Kitco News) – The last time the U.S. Mint sold this many platinum coins, President Bill Clinton was being tried by the U.S. Senate and Spongebob SquarePants was premiering on Nickelodeon. As of last month, the U.S. Mint said sales of the 1 oz platinum Eagle in 2020 reached 56,500 oz.  → Read more at kitco.com

 May 8, 2020
A veritable gold mine of silver coins which had been hastily stashed inside a church in a ceramic jug hidden by a blind Polish priest over 300 years ago has been unearthed by workers removing rotting floorboards in the blind priest’s former church.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for May 3, 2020

This past week has been interesting for the precious metals markets. When the market seems like it will take off, prices modulate and lay flatter than a pancake. Predictions as what the markets will do are all over the place without a consensus answer from analysts.

It reminds me of the quote attributed to President Harry S. Truman, “Give me a one-handed Economist. All my economists say; ‘on one hand…,’ then ‘but on the other….’”

This past week, the Anti-Counterfeiting Educational Foundation (ACEF) weighed in with another problem in this market: COUNTERFEITING!

Counterfeiting is not a new problem. What makes the problem more pronounced is that with much of the country staying home and Internet usage increasing, the number of websites trying to scam people out of money has risen. ACEF has been monitoring the problem and has reported over 100 websites selling counterfeit coins and bullion to government enforcement agencies.

Many of these counterfeiters create slick websites. Not only is it easy to create professional-looking sites with modern tools, but it is easy to copy information from one website to another. Once the scammer has the information they want, it is easy to repurpose it to scam people. They also copy the text from legitimate websites, especially if English is not their first language. It is easier to steal the text than have to create their own.

  1. If the price is too good to be true, it is probably a scam. Check a site like kitco.com for the current Bid/Sell price. If the offer price is below the current Bid, be wary of the seller.
  2. Many scammers do not include real information about their location. Beware of the seller if they do not have a physical address. I know that there are exclusively online dealers that work from home but use post office boxes, so they do not publicize their home address. For those dealers, you will have to do more investigations. However, if the dealer is using a private postal box, you may want to avoid their offers. Private postal box services have fewer verification checks than the Post Office. Also, if something happens with a Post Office Box, you will have a stronger case when you complain to the Postal Inspection Service.
  3. Nearly everything said about addresses can apply to telephone numbers. Telephone numbers can be faked, rerouted, sent to a pay-as-you-go phone that some people call a “burner phone,” and so many more options. The problem also exists for toll-free telephone numbers but with an additional issue: when you call a toll-free telephone number, the owner of the number will get the phone number of the telephone you used to call. Since the recipient is paying for the call, they have the right to know where the call originated.

“But Scott,” you ask. “How do I figure out if this information is real?”

Let your favorite search engine be your friend.

Use your favorite search engine and type the address into the search bar. What information comes up for that address? Is the address a business? A private home? A private mailbox service?

Use an online map service that shows street views, like Google Maps. Search for the address found on the website. What can you learn from looking at the street view?

You can also enter the telephone number as a search term. In many cases, you will find one of the many “is it a scam” websites. These sites rely on users to enter data about their experiences with the telephone number. Click on a few to see what others have said about the telephone number in question.

With those essential tools, you should be able to avoid most scammers. Unfortunately, the professional scammers know their way around these issues. Then again, some of those scammers work out in the open. They run legally but use emotion, patriotic-sounding buzzwords, and extremist rhetoric to convince buyers to overpay for their products.

If you think you have been scammed or there is a question about a dealer, contact the ACEF (www.acefonline.org) and ask for assistance.

Finally, if you are in the market to buy precious metals, you should consider working with a member of the Accredited Precious Metals Dealer program (www.APMDdealers.org).

And now the news…

 April 27, 2020
Retail investors can’t seem to get enough of gold during the coronavirus crisis, and they are willing to pay staggering amounts to get their hands on it. Consumers who want to buy gold coins typically have to pay more than the per-ounce prices quoted on financial markets in London and New York.  → Read more at bloomberg.com

 April 29, 2020
Our guest column this week is a report on a study done by accessibility consulting and assistive technology firm BarrierBreak on the new currency coins launched by the Reserve Bank of India that claim to be accessible to people with visual impairments.  → Read more at newzhook.com

 April 29, 2020
Australia’s largest gold refinery has ramped up production of one kilogram bars to ease the supply squeeze in the U.S. that helped propel a surge in the premium for New York futures.  → Read more at finance.yahoo.com

 May 1, 2020
With central banks spraying unprecedented amounts of printed money at the global economic system, it’s little wonder the gold price soared by 18% in the six weeks following the stockmarket meltdown. All the extra money sloshing around means the chances that consumer price inflation will take off and erode the value of your cash have risen sharply.  → Read more at moneyweek.com
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Weekly World Numismatic News for April 5, 2020

I know it is difficult to turn away from the news. It is like watching an automobile accident in slow motion. Every day it seems like there is something else. Unfortunately, this is true about the precious metals market.

Europe, which appears to be taking the closings and stay-at-home orders better than the United States, is trying to figure out what will happen to the economy after everything reopens. That is wreaking havoc with the market.

In one story, Germany is beginning to buy gold in preparation for future spending while institutions in Italy are selling gold to stay afloat. While African mines continue to bring metals to the market, investors are buying gold as a hedge for an uncertain future.

In the last 30-days, the price of gold has bounced back almost to pre-market shaking announcements about COVID-19 in the United States. Other metals have not been as active. According to a source, the only thing keeping the price of silver somewhat stable is its industrial use.

Coins and other collectibles that are sensitive to the precious metals market will begin to see a disparity in prices. Common gold coins whose price is tied to the metals market will rise. Silver coins will likely not move on the metals market.

During a conversation with a professional metals trader, I asked what is next for the market. A person who usually has an answer said that he did not know. He said that most traders are not trying to predict the market but react to whatever happens. One of the problems is that the computer models are wrong. In many cases, firms have halted automated metals trading. He said that the situation is so fluid that some of the computer models were buying from themselves.

If you watch the business news on cable television, you will hear a different opinion from every guest. I plan to use the advice given to me: prepare for the worst and turn off the television.

And now the news…

 April 1, 2020
On that day, men shall fling away, To the flying foxes and the bats, The idols of silver And the idols of gold Which they made for worshiping. Isaiah 2:20  → Read more at breakingisraelnews.com

 April 2, 2020
When people are worried about the future they turn to gold to protect their savings. That’s rarely been more true than today.  → Read more at finance.yahoo.com

 April 2, 2020
I estimate that the Germans own 9000 tonnes in private gold-nearly as much gold as the French and Italians have combined. The World Gold Council (WGC) states there are roughly 198,000 tonnes of gold above ground, of which 35,000 tonnes is held by central banks.  → Read more at seekingalpha.com

 April 3, 2020
Polish archaeologists have uncovered a treasure trove of Roman denarii coins. They date from the first and the second century BC, and they probably belonged to a member of a Germanic people who lived in the area at the time.  → Read more at ancient-origins.net

 April 3, 2020
While removing the floor of the church in Obišovce near Košice, the foundations of the old church were uncovered. After this discovery, the archaeological company Triglav conducted research that took place at the beginning of February 2020, the Regional Monuments Board Košice reported.  → Read more at spectator.sme.sk
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