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 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 December 20, 2020

As 2020 rages to a close, the damage on the numismatic world will carry over in 2021. This week, the American Numismatic Association announced the National Money Show’s cancellation scheduled for March in Phoenix. Earlier in the week, the February Long Beach Expo was canceled.

Previously, the January Florida United Numismatists (FUN) Show and the New York International Numismatic Convention. The Berlin Money Fair has canceled in-person events and will offer a virtual convention.

The U.S. Mint canceled coin launch ceremonies for the 2020 and 2021 America the Beautiful Quarters and American Innovation Dollars. Most are now virtual events.

The numismatic market appears strong based on the prices realized by the auction companies. With every auction company moving their auction online, many report better than expected returns from their auctions. Online auction services like eBay and HiBid report strong sales of numismatics across their platforms. Finally, the U.S. Mint is also boasting of enthusiastic demand, even with its online ordering system’s failures.

Other areas that are showing significant interest are where numismatics are including as part of other hobbies. The most significant growth is with the mints that are producing coins supporting the comic book industry. Some overseas observers report that sales of comic-themed coins produced by the New Zealand and Royal Australian Mints have shown increased sales as part of the holiday shopping season.

The numismatic industry appears to be doing very well. Too bad the numismatic organizations have not figured out a way to reinvent themselves to adapt to the current environment.

And now the news…

 December 11, 2020
 → Read more at smithsonianmag.com

 December 11, 2020
A design by student Ymen Riahi, who attends St Nicholas Middle School in Rabat, was chosen for the last of a series of five €2 coins from the ‘From Children in Solidarity’ programme. The €2 commemorative coin will be issued on 14 December 2020 by the Central Bank of Malta.  → Read more at newsbook.com.mt

 December 14, 2020
Life as we know it may have ground to a halt in 2020, but treasure hunters appear to be going about business as usual. Witness the UK, where amateur archeologists have turned up thousands of gold coins and other antiquities since the start of the pandemic.  → Read more at robbreport.com

 December 14, 2020
Half of all consumers believe that cash should be withdrawn from circulation in the next 10 years.  → Read more at irishexaminer.com

 December 15, 2020
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former deep-sea treasure hunter is about to mark his fifth year in jail for refusing to disclose the whereabouts of 500 missing coins made from gold found in an historic shipwreck.  → Read more at timesleaderonline.com

 December 16, 2020
Berlin police raided homes and jewelry shops Wednesday on suspicion they could be connected to efforts to fence a massive 100-kilogram Canadian gold coin — piece by piece — that was stolen from a museum in the German capital.  → Read more at ctvnews.ca
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Weekly World Numismatic News for June 14, 2020

1984 Mexico Libertad

We sold this 1984 Mexico Libertad at auction for a nice premium above spot!

The most interesting news for this week did not come from online sources but an email newsletter for resellers. According to the readers of the newsletter, the best selling items are coins and currency.

According to their survey, most of their readers report that collector coins are outselling all other categories and bringing in the best premiums. The best-sellers are modern bullion coins and Morgan dollars.

Modern bullion coins are not limited to American Eagles. Auction bidders are driving up the prices of Maple Leafs, Britannias, and Libertads. Collector bullion coins, like the American Eagle proofs and Pandas, have realized premiums beyond typical liquidation auctions.

Other categories that are experiencing a spike in sales are mixed lots. Mixed lots of silver U.S. coins are doing the best followed by lots with foreign coins. One dealer sold a lot of 20 holed English pennies for $2.50 per coin. These were coins from the reign of George V and early into Elizabeth II.

Since the readers of the newsletter I receive are dealers in the second-hand and liquidation markets, this is excellent news. The bad news is that it is becoming challenging to find inventory to resell.

And now the news…

 June 5, 2020
A RARE Roman coin discovered in Colchester more than 40 years ago has sold for £4,000 after going under the hammer. Kevin Scillitoe found the coin, minted by the Emperor Carausius, when he was ten-years-old.  → Read more at harwichandmanningtreestandard.co.uk

 June 7, 2020
Arizona history is rife with tales of hidden mines and buried treasure. Even today, those hoping to strike it rich head out with maps and shovels, despite tremendous odds against them. Scott Craven/The Republic  → Read more at lcsun-news.com

 June 7, 2020
As shoppers and retailers do away with cash transactions, we may be witnessing the end of a major source of social and historical information – the coin. In the modern age, coinage is increasingly seen as cumbersome, a vector for disease and costly to manufacture.  → Read more at theconversation.com

 June 8, 2020
Multiculturalism (tolerance) and the ability to unify large different ethnic groups living within the state’s boundaries are those distinct features which serve as the fundamentum for economic, military and cultural achievements of the Western civilization.  → Read more at georgiatoday.ge

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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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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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Still Trying to Figure Out the Pandemic Gold Market

2020 American Gold EagleIn last Sunday’s Weekly World Numismatic News, it opened with a discussion about how gold and silver were doing in the current market. While researching the data, the indication was that physical bullion and electronic purchases were driving the markets. Bullion coins were not a factor.

On Monday, Bloomberg News published an article that suggested otherwise. The article notes that retail buyers of gold are paying up to $135 per ounce above spot prices. An analyst interview for the article said, “There has never been a time for American Gold Eagles at this premium level.”

A call to a trusted source explained the differences in the reporting.

Last year, gold hit a low of $1,269 per troy ounce. With good economic indicators, investors thought that the prices would continue to fall. The market did not see value in buying a declining asset. Sellers were hoarding their stock until prices became more favorable.

The lack of buying, especially by retail investors, left dealers with a lot of inventory. With inventory building, dealers did not buy additional coins from the U.S. Mint’s dealers. As the prices rose, sellers started to sell their gold coins adding to the inventory.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic.

Markets hate uncertainty. The coronavirus pandemic has made uncertainty the only certainty. Not knowing where to turn, many sources are reporting significant gold sales. Where the reports differ is the source of the gold.

Although sources confirm that physical bullion and warrants are producing the highest volumes, they say it is because the investors cannot find enough bullion coins to satisfy market demands. The markets adjusted.

The demand increased when the U.S. Mint temporarily closed the West Point Mint. While the reaction did not rise to panic-like levels, retail gold buyers sought bullion coins, primarily American Gold Eagles, with greater urgency.

Professional investors are buying bullion and other gold products, including classic United States gold coins. The retail demand for American Gold Eagle coins has driven up the price. As the price for Eagles rises, it has driven up the cost of other bullion coins, including the Canadian Maple Leaf and Krugerrand.

When considering the purchase of gold coins, keep the spread in mind. If you purchase gold coins with a $150 premium over spot, to ensure that your investment generates a return, the bid price has to raise $150 plus whatever premiums dealers place on the coins. It might require the price of gold to rise $200-255 per troy ounce to break even.

Investors thought that the supply would ease with the Royal Canadian Mint resuming processing of bullion. However, in the beginning, the Royal Canadian Mint will produce large gold bars to satisfy orders from central banks so they can settle on accounts. They will also be striking silver Maple Leaf bullion coins.

Some reports suggest that most of the early production of silver coins will stay in Canada.

After discussing the markets with three different analysts, the only certainty is uncertainty. Each had an opinion that differed from each other but agreed that someone is going to make money.

Weekly World Numismatic News for April 26, 2020

As the stay or safe at home orders continue, news in the investing world around coins and bullion is whether there will be a recovery and what will happen.

While investors are turning to gold as the equity markets are less than stable, reports that bullion and bullion-related warrants are outselling all coin offerings. Even though the West Point Mint briefly paused coin production, the markets have not felt the impact.

Silver prices are faring as well as gold. The area that silver is gaining strength is in the industrial markets. Driving the price is the demand for electronics. The primary use of silver is in the braising that ensures the connections between the chips are secure and with the production of LEDs.

Industrial silver is in more demand than industrial gold. As Asian electronics production begins to ramp up, some investors feel that there may be a temporary shortage of silver. One analyst suggested that silver prices could climb to $18 per ounce. Silver is currently $15.26 per troy ounce.

On the other hand, the reports of economic contraction have suggested that bullion prices will collapse. If this is the case, then there will be more to worry about than the market price of bullion.

And now the news…

 April 22, 2020
People have been collecting coins for about as long as coins have been made. That’s a passion that has endured for centuries, since roughly 600 to 800 BC. Coin collecting is a worthwhile hobby and can sometimes be a financially savvy investment.  → Read more at washtimesherald.com

 April 23, 2020
Gold coin demand makes up a small part of total demand, and thus doesn’t have much impact on the gold price. Demand for gold coins must be seen as a retail sentiment indicator.  → Read more at seekingalpha.com

 April 25, 2020
Copper is well documented for its impressive antibacterial properties. Even Ancient Egyptians used bronze filings (an alloy of copper and tin) from their freshly sharpened swords to treat their wounds.  → Read more at iflscience.com

 April 25, 2020
What's True The reverse of a U.S. quarter issued in 2020 honoring the National Park of American Samoa features a pair of fruit bats.  → Read more at snopes.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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Weekly World Numismatic News for July 28, 2019

One of the indicators as to how the markets view the economy is the price of precious metals. When there is uncertainty in the markets, investors leave the equity markets and buy precious metals. When that happens, it will have an impact on most pre-1965 coins.

Marketwatch reported that silver hit a 13-month high about the same time Iran captured a Britsh tanker. Since then, the silver market leveled out with few signs of dropping. Silver is not selling for at the same level as seen during the economic crisis in as it approached 2011, there continues to be upward pressure on its price.

Silver investing is sometimes called the “poor man’s gold.” When the average investor is uncertain and looks for a safer investment, they will buy silver while the wealthier investors will buy gold. Palladium has emerged as the new investment vehicle for investors with means.

Gold has been more erratic with wild swings in both directions depending on the news of the day. A precious metals fund manager who manages several diverse portfolios called the divergence of the markets curious. There is not a clear explanation for the current rise of silver. If someone were trying to manipulate the market, the prices would climb faster. All she could tell was there were a lot of low-end investors buying into silver.

30-day Gold Chart (will not update—Courtesy of Kitco)

For numismatics, the rising price of silver can be problematics. As the price of silver rises, the value of your coins will increase. However, adding to your collection will cost more, especially on those collectible coins whose value is tied to the price of silver.

Those responsible for investing in these markets are beginning to worry. If investors are buying silver as a safe haven, there could be a feeling of a pending economic crisis. Only time will tell if they are right.

And now the news…

 July 24, 2019

Present-day tenants of home owned by Jewish family before the Holocaust find jars containing 2,800 coins from as far back as the Roman Empire and as far away as India  → Read more at timesofisrael.com


 July 24, 2019

A hoard of Roman coins dating from the time of Queen Boudicca have been found by a metal detectorist in a field. What makes this find especially fascinating is that they may have been hidden there during one of the most interesting periods in Britain’s early history, the revolt against Rome led by the Celtic Queen Boudicca.  → Read more at thevintagenews.com


 July 24, 2019

Silver futures settle at a 13-month high on Monday, outpacing strength in gold, which saw prices eke out only a modest gain despite rising tensions between…  → Read more at marketwatch.com

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