Today is Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is a modern invention created back when most people only had access to the Internet through a dial-up modem and would use their company’s faster connection to do online shopping following Black Friday.
In the modern world, Black Friday does not have the same meaning. It used to be when retailers would become profitable with the beginning of the holiday season sales. The name was derived from written ledgers when negative numbers were written in red and positive numbers were written in black. After Black Friday, the numbers would be written in black! But that is not how modern economics works. Company profits are measured on a quarterly basis and should be in the black all year. But why destroy a tradition!
With the proliferation of broadband access from the home, Cyber Monday has also lost its meaning. In fact, there are reports that suggest that there will be more online shopping than shopping in brick-and-mortar outlets. But that is not going to stop Cyber Monday sales!
It is the holiday season and regardless of your beliefs there will be presents exchanged. Or you may purchase your own present. Do you have numismatic presents on your wish list? What about for others? Do tell!
While thinking about modernizing the hobby it came to me that there is one aspect of the hobby that may still be stuck in the 20th century and that is price guides.
Price guides are supposed to be the guide that tells buyers and sellers the value of a coin. But over the years price guides went from being an art form to a statistical business with many different players vying for your attention.
Some of these guides have a good reputation while others may not be considered the best sources for prices. In either case, collectors have been known to use both the good and not so good to determine the price of their collectible because ultimately, the price is what you are willing to negotiate with the dealer to pay for the item regardless of what the guide says.
I started thinking, what do collectors use as their guide for pricing? Do they use more than one guide? If they buy a hardcopy (“dead tree edition”) do they buy new copies every year?
Today’s poll wants to know what you use to determine the price of your collectible or the acceptable price to buy or sell that special item.
American Palladium Eagle mockup as presented to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee
The U.S. Mint announced today that sales of the American Palladium Eagles will begin on September 29. As bullion issues, they are being sold through with authorized channels and not directly to the public.
After seven years since the law was passed (American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010, Pub. L. 111-303), these coins Will begin their sale. There is no indication whether the U.S. Mint will offer collectable versions or just release the bullion coins.
The coin will have a $25 face value and require that “the obverse shall bear a high-relief likeness of the ‘Winged Liberty’ design used on the obverse of the so-called ‘Mercury dime’” making it yet another bullion coin that will feature a design from the early 20th century. For the reverse, the law says that the coin “shall bear a high-relief version of the reverse design of the 1907 American Institute of Architects medal.” Both the Mercury Dime and 1907 AIA medal designed by Adolph A. Weinman, whose Walking Liberty design is used on the American Silver Eagle coins.
No price has been announced but the current Price of Palladium is $911.63. As a reference the current spot price of metals are as follows:
Precious Metals Price Snapshot as of September 19, 2017 (This is a static chart—it does not update)
The U.S. Mint does not publish the bullion and bulk sale prices the way it does for collector coins but it is likely that these coins are sold to distributors at a premium over their spot price. I guess we will find out how much these coins will cost for investors and collectors purchase when they hit the market.
For the last few weeks, I have been publishing the Weekly Numismatic World News every Sunday evenings. These posts consist of links to the articles that I find around the Interwebs along with a commentary on one of the articles or something else related to the news.
I had an idea. Rather than just post the news, I would create a podcast that would allow me to report the news and add some information. Rather than typing a full discussion, the news links posted on the website would be the equivalent of show notes for the podcast. The commentary would be moved to the show.
For those not familiar with a podcast, it is like a radio show but stored in an audio file that can be downloaded or listened to on demand. You can download podcasts and listen to them like any music file. There are also programs that allow you to subscribe to podcasts so that they can be downloaded when new episodes are available.
If there is an interest, I can produce a weekly podcast that will look at the various numismatic-related news items with commentary in a show that is a half-hour or less. In the future, I will look to create special podcasts from events.
Please note: I will continue to write this blog. It is not an either/or situation. If there is an interest, I can do both!
Not including the regular issues that will be sold by the U.S. Mint, the items left on their schedule is the American Liberty Four Silver Medal Set and the American Palladium Eagle.
American Liberty Four Silver Medal Set will be on sale on October 19, 2017 at Noon ET
I previously discussed the Palladium Eagle. The american Liberty Four Silver Medal Set are four silver medals featuring the gold 225th Anniversary American Liberty Gold design struck in silver and without a denomination. Each medal will contain one troy ounce of silver and consist of one medal from each of the active mints with different finishes:
Philadelphia Reverse Proof
San Francisco Proof
West Point Enhanced Uncirculated
Although the price has not been announced, given the current 225th Anniversary American Liberty Silver Medal $59.95, it is within reason to predict that the four medal silver set with special packaging will cost around $250 (plus-or-minus 15-percent).
The poll question of the day is are you going to buy these items?
Are you interested in the remaining U.S. Mint special collectibles?
I am just not interested (42%, 18 Votes)
I will buy the American Liberty Four Silver Medal Set (23%, 10 Votes)
These items are too expensive for my budget (14%, 6 Votes)
I am going to buy both (12%, 5 Votes)
I will buy the American Palladium Eagle (9%, 4 Votes)
I might consider them but buy them on the secondary market (0%, 0 Votes)
If you have not heard, the U.S. Mint announced that they will produce a set of enhanced uncirculated coin featuring all of the coin releases for this year in a package similar to that used for their proof sets. Enhanced Uncirculated coins are struck using dies that have been specially laser etched to use levels of frosting to give the designs a more in-depth look.
An advantage of the enhanced uncirculated process is the ability to selectively apply the frosting to the die. One of the coins where this had a real dramatic effect was the 2013-W American Silver Eagle. The enhanced uncirculated American Silver Eagle was only sold as part of the 25th Anniversary set.
2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Set with reverse proof and enhanced uncirculated coins.
2013-W American Silver Eagle enhanced uncirculated coin
2015-W Native American Dollar Enhanced Uncirculated Reverse celebrating the Mohawk Iron Workers
Reverse of the 2015-W Enhanced Uncirculated Native American Dollar
Obverse of the 2015-W Enhanced Uncirculated Native American Dollar from the 2015 $1 Set
Previous Enhanced Uncirculated issues
According to information currently available, the coins will be struck on the same planchets as what is used for business strikes.
I have been working on a few manuscripts over the last year. If I put in the extra time, I can publish two of them within the next few months. Both books are more of a labor of love, taking some of the best content from this blog plus some additional information and packaging it for a book. I am not settled on the format of one of the books and considering a different approach.
After nearly 11 years of writing this blog, I have a lot of information that can be shared in a much longer form than I can on a blog. But I would rather polish the manuscripts and have them in the hands of the collecting public than sitting on my computer.
A long time ago, I authored a technical book and contributed to another. My book is very out of date and would have liked to have provided an update. But since the publishing company owned the rights, it was not seen as a priority and has languished. I learned that unless the publishing company is willing to allow updates, I am better off trying to self-publish my work.
My experience also taught me that unless you write a New York Times Bestseller, nobody is getting rich off of publishing a few books. But publishing has its costs whether it is paid by a publishing company or by me, if I self-publish.
Self-publishing is relatively easy but it does require paying the up-front costs. I need help with the funding. One way people have been able to fund new ventures is through crowdfunding sources. Websites like Kickstarter and Indigogo provide a service where someone can have a project funded. Those who provide funding get a reward for helping, such as early access to the project being funded and having your name added to the acknowledgements.
I have participated in helping fund a few projects, but the only numismatic-related project was for the Baltimore BNote. The rewards for funding the project was receiving BNotes, which I still own. I thought it might be worth a try.
When the books are ready to be published, it is my intention to make them available in both printed and in an electronic form. The electronic version will be made available for the most popular devices (Kindle, iBooks, and the Nook) as well as one that can be used on any computer or device (PDF). There may also be additional rewards for larger donations (I have an interesting idea).
Would you be interested? Let me know what you think.
1976 Washington Quarter with my favorite, the Drummer Boy reverse
This past weekend, I had a discussion with someone I met at an estate sale about collecting modern versus classic coins. Although I recognize the differences in collecting each type, I think that after 53 years, it is time to give modern coins a chance.
The modern era of United States coins begins in 1965 when silver was removed from circulating coins except for the Kennedy half-dollar. The silver content of the half-dollar was reduced to 40-percent and clad around a copper core while the dime and quarter were copper-nickel clad, as they are today. It would not be until 1982 when the cent was changed from being 95-percent copper to being copper-plated zinc coins. The nickel has used the same copper-nickel composition since the release of the 1883 Liberty Head nickel except for the World War II issues.
For the average collector under 40 years old, coins have always been copper-nickel clad and the cent has always been made from copper-plated zinc. For a significant amount of their lives, the reverse of the Lincoln cent always had the Lincoln Memorial and the reverses of the quarter have been changing ever since they can remember. While many of us grew up with single designs, those of us who were around for the Bicentennial will remember the special reverses produced for the quarters, half-dollars, and dollar coins. In fact, the Drummer Boy reverse of the dual-dated 1776-1976 quarters remains my all-time favorite circulating commemorative reverse.
Maybe it is time to give modern coins more respect. What do you think?
Over the last few years, Whitman has been adding more information to the Red Book to entice people to buy a new edition each year. This year, they are adding new information to the MEGA RED Book to the book whose page count continues at 1,504 pages. It is physically a large book with a lot of information.
The key feature of the Red Books are the prices. Prices are set by industry insiders who report what they have seen as prices for coins. Because of the publishing lead times, the prices may not be accurate to market conditions. Some say that the prices are not in line with current prices because the market moves quickly. In fact, a comparison with online resources like the Numismedia Fair Market Value prices and PCGS Price Guide shows that the Red Book may need updating for the most common coins. The disparity is that great.
Even so, the Red Book in all its forms probably is the bestselling book on U.S. coins of all time. Whenever someone wants to know more about U.S. coins and what they are worth, the persistent recommendation is to tell them to buy a copy of the Red Book.
This brings us to the latest poll question:
Will you buy a 2018 Red Book?
Yes, I always buy the Red Book (37%, 7 Votes)
I don't buy any of these books. (37%, 7 Votes)
I will buy the 2018 MEGA RED Book (16%, 3 Votes)
I don't always buy the Red Book but I will this year (11%, 2 Votes)
I buy the special edition Red Books when they are produced (0%, 0 Votes)
I buy both the Red Book and Blue Book (0%, 0 Votes)
I don't bother with the Red Book and only buy the Blue Book (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 19
Select as many as you want. If you have another opinion, add your comments to this post.
Yesterday, I wrote about sales of 2017-P Lincoln cents selling at nearly 20-times face value online. These are coins in production that the U.S. Mint will continue to strike until December 2017 at a pace that should yield over 5 billion coins.
At the end of the post, I wrote:
Maybe it is time for the American Numismatic Association and Professional Numismatic Guild to issue a statement warning the public. If these organizations are about protecting the collector, here is a clear case of price gouging that they should show concern!