There is a meme going around the Interwebs that shows Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) getting out of his modified DeLorean with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) standing there with Brown telling Marty not to set the time machine to 2020. If you do not understand the meme, I recommend you stream Back to the Future on your favorite streaming platform. It is a classic movie!
We are 13 days into July, and I realized that June was over, and the Legislative Update was due. Then again, we discussed the only legislation that Congres introduced in June. Otherwise, there is nothing to report on the legislation front.
S. 4006: Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act of 2020
Coins are available from the Royal Mint in gold, silver, and uncirculated. Uncirculated coins come in a special folder honoring Elton John.
There will be those that will complain that these coins hurt the hobby. To borrow a term from our British friends: RUBBISH! If these coins bring people into the hobby, then they are great.
What is bad for the hobby is buying surplus coins from the U.S. Mint and calling it a hoard! For years, the U.S. Mint has been selling off its excess inventory or melting precious metals. This time, someone bought them, sent them to be slabbed, and would jack up the prices under the guise of something special. When the buyer goes to sell them and finds out that they are not worth what they paid, that will have people running away from the hobby. It is similar to the overpriced crap sold on television during the 50 State Quarters program.
Even GovMint.com is getting into the junk selling hype. They have been on satellite radio hawking the emergency production bullion coins struck at Philadelphia after COVID-19 temporarily closed the West Point Mint. Their ad for “P-Mint designated” coins touts them as something special. They are not unique or rare, as the commercial insinuates. Bullion coins are struck at Philadelphia. The difference is that there was a way to determine which mint struck these coins.
What is more damaging to the hobby, selling over-priced bullion or common leftover coins or non-circulating legal tender (NCLT) coins with themes that some old-timers do not seem to like?
Here, let me make some of you upset. I visited the website for the Royal Mint and found something that I will add to my collection:
If that makes you upset, then you need to rethink your attitude on the hobby!
And now the news…
Once again, the State Department is about to do something that negatively affects a part of numismatics. Even if you are not an ancient coin collector, the ability to collect and study ancient coins helps give all of us clarity into history.
If the State Department permits the Memorandum of Understanding with Italy to pass, it will signal an end to ancient collectors’ ability to participate in the hobby. First, it will be the restriction of ancient Roman coins, then others will follow. Soon, every coin will become cultural property and locked in a museum, never to be seen again.
I heard it explained that coins were never meant to be static items. The rulers of ancient lands intended for the coins to circulate with their image. It was supposed to tie people to the empire. It was so important to pay the soldiers and circulate the money that coiners accompanied many armies. They would strike coins using the looted material and move on to the next conquest.
Most of these coins are not rare or even scarce. They are common, often seeing hoards of hundreds and accumulation of thousands across Europe. Some of the scarce coins can be readily found on the market and in museums.
However, if we listened to the archeologist, every crumb they find from the ancient past belongs in a museum. The necessity to save every widow’s mite is like wanting to save the Cross of Coronado.
From Wayne Sayles, Executive Director of the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild:
The deadline to send a comment to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) has been extended to July 14, 2020. Comments can be left at:
If you want more detailed information and a sample letter to the CPAC, read:
In fact, read it anyway. It contains a lot of useful information.
We should stand up for the hobby, whether you collect ancient coins or not!
Some have noticed the new buttons on the Coin Collectors Blog for Buy Me A Coffee. Buy Me A Coffee is a service for content creators to earn a little money on their content. It is like Patreon but more flexible.
Rather than sell advertising that gets in the way, this is a way to crowdsourcing the funding that will help offset the rising cost of hosting the Coin Collectors Blog and new projects.
Right now, I have two extras available through Buy Me A Coffee. Both are a small charge to help identify and give more information about your coin. For $5, I will help identify your U.S. coin, provide some background, and estimate its value. For $10, I will help with all other coins.
On my Contact page, there is an option to ask the questions through Buy Me A Coffee. But if you don’t want to pay, send a note anyway. I have been answering these questions for many years and will continue. After the answer, please consider Buying Me A Coffee.
Within the next week, I will make an e-book available through Buy Me A Coffee. Stay tuned for that announcement!
In the meantime:
THE COINS ARE COUNTERFEIT! FAKES!
I ordered the coins on June 4, the day I posted the article. The coins were shipped from China to California to New Jersey to my office. LIACOO used the services of Newgistics, which is now a subsidiary of Pitney-Bowes. By using a logistics company in this manner, they can hide behind the anonymity of the service.
Contacting Pitney-Bowes is nearly impossible. I left a very public message on Twitter. Let’s see if they respond.
When the coins arrived, I opened the package and started to examine the contents. The coins are in a slab-like holder similar to the Coin World holders but without the Coin World logo. At first glance, they look fine, and then a closer look revealed problems.
My first impression was that there are almost no rims on the coin. A closer look at the obverse, and the font is too thin for the LIBERTY around the coin. Then I turned the coin over to focus on the U in United. It is missing the tail on the right side of the U. I did not need to see any more to be convinced this was a fake coin.
Finally, I removed the coin to weigh it. An American Silver Eagle is supposed to weigh just slightly more than one troy ounce because it is only .999 silver. Since my scale only measures grams to the tenths of ounces, it should have weighed 31.1 grams. It weighed 25 grams.
The coin is not magnetic.
I will investigate further, but I wanted to report my initial findings.
DO NOT BUY CHEAP EAGLES FROM RANDOM WEBSITES!
I bought these coins to prove my point. I knew I was potentially buying fakes. I spent less than $30 for education aids.
Unfortunately, two correspondents wrote to tell me they each bought ten coins from different dealers. They spent $19.95 per coin. Both lost over $200 with the shipping costs.
IF YOU CANNOT IDENTIFY THE DEALER, THEIR EXACT LOCATION, AND THEIR BUSINESS STATUS, THEN DO NOT BUY THEIR COINS!
LIACOO is a scam. It is a company based in China. DO NOT BUT FROM THEM!
An article on Yahoo Finance asked the same question many have asked me: are the high premiums for physical gold a scam or a supply crisis?
Gold is in high demand. As a safe haven for uncertain markets, the current markets have driven investors looking to have some stability in their portfolio. Some have suggested that the preppers, those who prepare themselves for a pending disaster, have been hoarding gold. A favorite among preppers is the small 1 gram through 10 gram gold bars because they will be more useful in daily transactions.
According to market analysts, the demand outpaced the available supply. The available supply is what is available to buy. The problem was that the pandemic caused many supply chains to break down with precious metals stuck somewhere and not being delivered to the buyers.
Another problem in the supply was the perception that the demand could not be satisfied after the West Point Mint’s temporary closing. Although the Philadelphia Mint stepped in to produce silver coins, the gold coin production stopped. Subsequently, there were conflicting reports on whether there was enough physical gold entering the supply chain or whether the gold was not getting to the sellers because of the pandemic.
During the shutdown, there were reports that gold mining slowed or stopped as travel became limited. It was also a problem when the major Swiss gold retailers had to shut down because of the quarantine since most as near the Italian border. While gold was available on the secondary market, perception became that if these retailers were closed, there would not be enough for the future. The uncertainty caused the gold buyers to increase their purchases.
One gold dealer reported that they had sufficient gold to satisfy the market but not in the form the customers wanted. The demand for American Gold Eagle exceeded their supply while the non-Swiss made bars were not selling. Customers that demanded Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coins were also disappointed but refused to buy gold coins from other European mints.
There is also no consistency between the premiums dealers charge. Some of the larger dealers use software to calculate the market price that examines other online sales to determine an average. Smaller dealers have said that they watch what the larger dealers are charging and adjust their premium below the average.
Nearly every analyst is bullish on the future of gold pricing. Being bullish on gold means that those watching the markets are not comfortable with the equities market’s stability. We can be in for a bumpy ride.
And now the news…