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The Coin Analyst: U.S. Mint Creates New Finish for American Silver Eagles
By Louis Golino on March 25, 2013 4:13 PM
by Louis Golino for CoinWeek ………
In May or June the U.S. Mint (www.usmint.gov) will begin taking orders for a special two-coin West Point American silver eagle set that will mark the 75th anniversary of the Mint’s facility at West Point.
The set will include two coins that will only be sold in the special set. One will be a reverse proof silver eagle, and this will be the fourth time that finish has been used. The fields are frosted and the devices are mirrored instead of the other way around as is the case with proof coins.
The second coin will be what the Mint refers to as an enhanced uncirculated silver eagle, and this will be the first time such a coin is issued and the fifth type of finish used on a silver eagle. The others are uncirculated as used on the bullion coins, proof, reverse proof, and burnished uncirculated. The Mint has not yet decided whether the new finish will be used on future silver eagle coins.
The enhanced uncirculated coin will include three different types of finishes for the fields and devices of the coin, including heavy frost, light frost, and brilliant polish, which will be combined to give the coins a unique look.
On the coin’s obverse the mountains, the stripes on the flag that would be red, if it were in color, the flag’s blue field, the year, and the sandals of Liberty will all have a brilliant polish field. The other design elements of the obverse and the coin’s lettering will be done with the heavy frosted finish, and the remaining fields will have the light frosted finish.
As for the reverse, the ribbon, arrows, and olive branch will use the brilliant polished finish, and similar to the obverse, the remaining design elements will have a heavy frosted finish, and the empty fields will be lightly frosted.
In order to put all these different finishes on the same coin, the Mint auto-polishes the coin dies using a horsehair brush for the uncirculated finish, and then it uses a laser for the heavy and light frosting.
In addition, the dies are given a physical vapor deposition coating to increase the life-span of the die. And the coins are struck three times on special burnished planchets.
Because the coin appears to be closer in appearance to a reverse proof than an uncirculated or burnished uncirculated coin, some people have questioned why the coin is classified as an uncirculated, rather than proof coin by the Mint.
Like a proof coin it has been struck multiple times, but according to the Mint that is not what distinguishes a proof from an uncirculated coin, especially since most of the proof and uncirculated coins the Mint makes for collectors are struck multiple times using specially-prepared dies.
According to a statement from the Mint, these are the unique features that make the coin enhanced uncirculated rather than proof rather than the number of times the coin has been struck: “The horsehair brush automated process creates a reflective surface of artwork elements, but cannot achieve a smoothness of the felt pad. The felt pad cannot polish relief and is generally used to polish the field of a proof die, resulting in a mirror like finish. The auto polishing with a horsehair brush results in a brilliant uncirculated finish. The dies then go through a laser frosting process to achieve a heavy laser frost or a light laser frost in areas as described above.
According to some comments from the Mint’s spokesman Michael White that appear in the April 8 issue of Coin World (www.coinworld.com), this is not the first time the Mint has used more than one finish on the same coin. He mentioned the examples of the 2012 September 11 medals and the 2012 Hawaii Volcanoes five-ounce silver America the Beautiful coin, which both use multiple finishes.
The enhanced uncirculated silver eagle was first reported by James Bucki, who writes about coins for About.com (http://coins.about.com). During a visit to the West Point Mint he saw the coins being struck, and wrote about them for his column and posted the first images of the coin. Mr. Bucki wrote that in his view the coins are really proofs rather than uncirculated coins, based on the ANA’s official definition of proof coins (http://coins.about.com/b/2013/03/19/is-enhanced-american-silver-eagle-uncirculated-or-proof.htm)
Since then other numismatic publications have picked up on the story, the Mint has released some statements and images of the coin (including the ones that appear here), and there has been quite a lot of discussion about the new finish in coin forums.
I would need to see the coins in person to be able to properly evaluate the new finish, but my initial impression is positive, and these coins are already generating a lot of excitement among silver eagle collectors.
Because the reverse proof finish has been used already three times prior to the release of the new sets, many collectors felt that the reverse proof approach was in danger of being overused and were eager for something different.
The enhanced uncirculated silver eagle appears to satisfy that desire for a coin that retains the same design, but presents it in a new and innovative way. As long as the new finish is not overused, it should be successful.
The inclusion of a new type of silver eagle could end up driving sales of the West Point sets higher than those of the San Francisco silver eagle sets released last year, as collectors will be eager to see the new finish. The San Francisco sets currently rank second lowest in mintage of the anniversary silver eagle sets after those issued in 2011 for the 20th anniversary.
At this time the Mint could not confirm whether the new sets will be released in the same way last year’s sets were, and whether they will be minted to demand. Last year buyers had one month to place their orders, and were able to buy as many as they wanted during that period.
With the 30th anniversary of the silver eagle approaching in 2016, a lot of collectors have expressed interest in a new design for the coin, either to be used only on the 2016 anniversary set, or to be used from that date forward. That is something the Mint should give serious consideration.
The silver eagle has already surpassed every other American silver dollar in terms of the number of years it has been minted with the exception of the Seated Liberty dollar.
Louis Golino is a coin collector and numismatic writer, whose articles on coins have appeared in Coin World, Numismatic News, and a number of different coin web sites. His column for CoinWeek, “The Coin Analyst,” covers U.S. and world coins and precious metals. He collects U.S. and European coins and is a member of the ANA, PCGS, NGC, and CAC. He has also worked for the U.S. Library of Congress and has been a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international affairs for a wide variety of newspapers and web sites.
Silver Bullion News: The “New” Liberty Dollar is Back
By Al Doyle on March 19, 2013 5:04 PM
by Al Doyle for CoinWeek ……
The Liberty Dollar – a one-ounce silver medallion that attracted the attention and wrath of the federal government and resulted in a pending prison sentence for its creator – is back in a revised form.
Although the New Liberty Dollar retains the main design elements of a Liberty head on the obverse and a torch on the reverse, the legends and other features have been changed to avoid some of the points of contention made by the federal government in its 2009 case against Bernard von NotHaus.
The original Liberty Dollar had a “face value” of $20, which was displayed numerically and spelled out on the reverse. As for the updated version, it may be the first silver round with an MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). In this instance, the sum is $50, and it’s noted numerically and spelled out as “FIFTY NEW DOLLARS” on the bottom quarter of the reverse.
Just to be absolutely certain that no one confuses a New Liberty Dollar with anything coined by the federal government, the phrase PRIVATE INFLATION PROOF CURRENCY appears on the reverse. The date has moved from the reverse to the obverse where it replaces “USA”. The phrase TRUST IN GOD has been changed to RIGHT TO CONTRACT.
All the modifications were made after thorough study of the transcripts of the von NotHaus case and consultation with attorneys, according to New Liberty Dollar issuer Joseph VaughnPerling.
“I took off anything that might have been questioned or associated with U.S. coins such as GOD WE TRUST, which sounds much like IN GOD WE TRUST,” he said. “Even though I’d like to put Made in America on the New Liberty Dollar, I took off anything that was unique to the United States.”
VaughnPerling’s caution is understandable when the von NotHaus trial and conviction (he has awaited sentencing since 2011) is examined. Among the multiple charges made by the government was counterfeiting, which is somewhat illogical given that the defendant was producing silver rounds when circulating coinage has been a base metal product for nearly 50 years. U.S. district attorney Anna M. Tompkins went so far as to accuse von NotHaus of practicing “a unique form of domestic terrorism.”
“I have been buying silver for a long time, including the original Liberty Dollar, ” VaughnPerling said. “The federal case got me interested in doing this. The NORFED (von NotHaus founded the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve and Internal Revenue Code) case struck me as an absolute parody of justice. It’s a fraud case without any victims. The item in question was worth more than people paid.”
It might take some searching to find a New Liberty Dollar today, as the product is still in the early or test marketing stages. Some bullion dealers and other distributors have them in stock, but the firm (check the web site at www.newlibertydollar.com) isn’t selling directly to the public yet.
Once that happens, it will take more than hitting the send button and transmitting payment to obtain the proof-like medals. These one-ouncers will be sold only to “qualified buyers” who have read and signed off on the disclosure forms that declare the New Liberty Dollar is not a U.S. coin or designed to be similar to a government-issued monetary item.
“Buyers sign a contract after reading a disclaimer,” VaughnPerling said. “They have to have knowledge of what they’re buying.” As with any other silver product, sellers are free to set any price they choose. Dealers may obtain New Liberty Dollars in 10,000-piece lots for $1.40/ounce above spot.
Silver investors shouldn’t consider the stated MSRP to have anything to do with the face value found on a legal tender coin.
“It’s not a value, it’s a price,” VaughnPerling insists. “There were a lot of false assumptions about the NORFED case in the popular press, but there have never been any U.S. silver coins with a $50 face value. Nobody has ever seen one. It can’t be a counterfeit.”
Earlier versions of the Liberty Dollar are banned from eBay, and the medallions are popular with collectors and libertarian-minded types. A run of Ron Paul medallions are especially sought after, as pieces bearing the portrait of the freedom-minded former congressman sell for sums far in excess of the original purchase price.
“People give me lots of ideas for different designs, but I don’t think I’ll ever come out with a Ron Paul anything,” VaughnPerling said. “My personal feelings don’t come out in this project. I have been very careful to have no political message at all. I don’t have any of the political goals that were inherent in the NORFED organization.”
Silver Stalls, Gold Gains as CFTC Clarifies London Fix Investigation, US Inflation Rises
By BullionVault on March 15, 2013 8:52 AM
GOLD ticked higher but silver prices stalled Friday morning, as a rise in Asian stock markets failed to carry over into European or pre-opening trade in US equities.
The Euro currency rose sharply through $1.30, knocking the gold price in Euros back below €1220 per ounce, virtually unchanged for the week.
Sterling gold prices slipped to £1050, some 2.3% below Tuesday’s new 4-month high.
For Dollar investors, Friday morning’s London Gold Fix came in at $1593.25 per ounce – more than $6 above yesterday afternoon’s level and the highest AM fixing in more than two weeks.
Silver achieved only a 2-day high at its London Fix on Friday, set at $28.91 per ounce.
“Given what we have seen in Libor [the interbank lending rate], we’d be foolish to assume that other benchmarks aren’t venues that deserve review,” said Bart Chilton of US regulator the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in an email Thursday, clarifying reports that the London Fix is under investigation by US derivatives regulators.
The CFTC has not begun an investigation, but is “discussing internally” whether the global benchmark for valuing and pricing gold – a snapshot taken at 10:30am and 3pm for gold, and at midday for silver – may be open to “manipulation”, along with “energy, swaps…and the whole litany of ‘bors,” as Chilton said in testimony more than 2 weeks ago.
Back in today’s markets, “Gold prices are not being supported by the current confluence of events,” says French investment bank and bullion dealer Natixis in its latest weekly comment.
“[The] stronger Dollar predicated upon fiscal retrenchment suggests further downward pressure upon gold prices, while any move by the Fed to scale back QE3 in response to a pick-up in growth…also represents a downside risk for gold prices.”
Consumer price inflation in the US rose to 2.0% annually in Feb, new data showed today, with gasoline prices rising at the fastest pace since 2009.
“Inflation is still contained, but there’s a fear that it’s starting to rebound,” Bloomberg quotes Hideo Shimomura, chief fund investor for $63 billion in assets at Mitsubishi UFJ in Tokyo.
“Treasury yields at 2.0% show people expect improvement in the economy.”
Money markets are now pricing in 2.6% inflation, the newswire adds, the highest level of inflation expectations since September.
“The American economic revival, diverging monetary policy expectations and the unfinished Euro area crisis…all point in the same direction,” says a note from SocGen analyst Sebastien Galy – “a stronger Dollar.”
“Gold’s fate will largely ride on what direction US equity markets will take,” counters Thursday night’s note from INTL FCStone, saying that “only a sizable correction in US equities will likely prompt funds to get back into gold.”
Noting that silver investment has risen while ETF trust fund holdings in gold fell, “We find this divergence surprising given that silver investment demand tends to be closely linked to sentiment towards gold,” says Anne-Laure Tremblay, precious metals strategist at BNP Paribas.
Trimming her silver price forecast from a 2013 average of more than $34 per ounce to $31.35, “A reversal in trend is likely in the next two months if our forecast for a subdued gold price performance [also] proves correct.”
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Will Interest Grow in Early Half Dollars?
|By Paul M. Green, Numismatic News
February 21, 2013
Other News & Articles
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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There is no escaping the fact that we are seeing record prices for the first coins of the United States. With a 1794 silver dollar recently topping the $10 million it seems safe to suggest that historical coins are definitely enjoying a period of popularity rarely seen in the past.
One of the relatively few early issues of the United States that seems to more available and less expensive than might be expected would have to be early half dollars. That is surprising as half dollars were an upper denomination and that would normally argue against much saving by the public at the time of issue.
Even in the 1950s many collectors did not attempt Franklin or Walking Liberty half dollar sets simply because of the high face value. If the cost was too much for the collectors of the 1950s it would have certainly been a problem for collectors back in the early 1800s.
However, there has been at least one major hoard, which has made an enormous amount of difference when it comes to the supply of early half dollars. That hoard of more than 110,000 pieces was the Harmony Society Hoard and the story of that hoard from a small group located in the little Pennsylvania town of Economy is just part of the fun when you begin to collect and study the early half dollars of the United States.
Hoards aside, half dollars were also often used by banks as reserves during the early 19th century. This helped preserve some of the coins in much the same way that gold coins of the United States were saved when they ended up in European banks.
The half dollar was authorized along with all the other initial denominations on April 2, 1792.
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Being authorized and being produced, however, were two very different things in the early days of the American federal government. In fact, at the time, the half dollar and other denominations were authorized there was not even a mint where they could have been produced.
The capital of the United States at the time was Philadelphia, and in consequence that is where the first U.S. Mint was built. Even once the building was ready the following year there was no legal way to produce half dollars as before silver or gold coins could be produced the officials had to post a financial bond. The chief coiner and the assayer balked at the amount of $10,000 each before they could commence precious metal coinage. The bond requirement was imposed to indemnify the government should they prove to be less than honest.
Therefore, the U.S. Mint was restricted to producing only copper half cents and large cents as the bond requirement was not met.
The problem with the bond was worked out in 1794 with a reduction in the amount, and that opened the door to silver and gold coin production. The decision was made to start production with silver dollars.
That was probably a mistake as the equipment on hand could only produce coins up to a half dollar in size. Officials knew that and knew that better equipment was due to arrive shortly, but then they went ahead anyway. As a result, only 1,758 1794 silver dollars were delivered. We do not know how many silver dollars they tried to make but everyone assumes it was more than 1,758. The problems with the equipment can be deduced readily from the silver dollars showing weak strikes and other problems.
After that unpromising start, offices moved down to the half dollar as their next denomination. In fact, the half dollar production seems to have been much more successful as might be expected. The time was late 1794 and the total mintage was 23,464 pieces. That odd number suggests that there might have been problems, but with the conditions of the day it is hard to tell as the average coin was likely to receive a light strike in some part of the design. There were also likely to be file marks or a silver plug to get the planchet to the right weight.
The first 1794 half dollars with a Flowing Hair and small eagle design are certainly historic. Their price today of $2,850 in G-4 with an MS-60 at $225,000 would probably be much higher were it not for an estimated 150 found in the hoard of the Harmony Society. As the dates in that hoard ended in 1836, an inventory provides an interesting snapshot of what might have been in circulation at the time as the members of the Harmony Society were not coin collectors. They believed in paying “in money” and that to them meant silver.
With silver dollar production terminated in 1804 and many of those that were struck exported to an assortment of other lands, the largest silver coin Americans could routinely acquire was a half dollar and the presence of the 1794 in the Harmony Hoard suggests there were still a number of them in circulation well after they were produced.
Of course in the case of the 1794 half dollar, you are dealing with a coin that was still made under difficult conditions. They are typically found with light strikes particularly on the breast of the eagle and defective rims. In addition there are frequently adjustment marks to file away silver to make the planchet the right weight. When adjustment marks are not present there has sometimes been a small silver plug infused to make the planchet slightly heavier.
To all these potential problems with their initial striking, collectors can add sometimes heavy wear to the coins that have come down to them. These provide a good idea of the sort of challenge it is to find a nice 1794 half dollar even in middle circulated grades.
Had it not been for the Harmony Society, the supplies of these coins today would probably be much lower and the prices much higher. As it is the Professional Coin Grading Service has graded 274, with 231 of them being VF-30 or lower. In Mint State PCGS has only seen one coin although there were a number in AU, but that helps to show just how tough a top quality 1794 really is and why the current MS-60 Coin Market could easily be topped at auction.
The 1794 would probably also be much more expensive were it the only year of the type, but 1795 would also see half dollars of the same Flowing Hair type produced and the 299,680 mintage of the 1795 definitely made a big difference in the availability of the type today. The 1795 lists for $1,025 in G-4 with an MS-60 at $46,500 and its numbers were helped by the Harmony Society as well as the estimate is there were some 600 pieces in the hoard. That is possible with PCGS having seen over 900 examples of the 1795 and that includes about 17 in Mint State, making it much more available than the historic 1794.
One variety worthy of note has only three leaves and it is more expensive at $2,600 in G-4 a price which is justified in light of the fact that PCGS reports just 23 examples seen in all grades combined.
In 1796 there was a design change to a Draped Bust obverse while the small eagle reverse was retained. The type would be produced only in 1796 and 1797 and the total mintage for the two years combined was just 3,918 pieces. In addition, the 1796 came with either 15 or 16 stars, The 16-star variety is tougher.
Naturally when you have such a low combined mintage there are questions as to how many were made of each. In fact, we cannot answer that question with certainty although the suggestion over the years has been that the 1796 mintage might be as low as 934 while the 1797 would then be 2,984. Today’s prices do not seem to support such a difference as a G-4 of either is about $36,500 with the 16-star variety of the 1796 being about $3,000 more. In MS-60 the 15-star 1796 and 1797 would be about $300,000.
In fact the 1796 and 1797 have proven to be as tough as that mintage suggests. There were reportedly only three examples of the two dates in the Harmony Society Hoard while the grading services show PCGS having graded 56 examples of the 1796 and 71 of the 1797 while the NGC totals show a nearly identical divide between the two dates not really allowing us to draw any conclusions on the mintage.
We can draw conclusions on the scarcity of the two by citing Q. David Bowers in his book “A Guide Book Of United States Type Coins,” suggesting when discussing the type, “this is the Holy Grail, the rarest by far.”
The next half dollar would appear in 1801 and it would have a new large Heraldic eagle reverse. The low mintages had not changed with the half dollar not being requested by those depositing silver as they would usually ask for dollars. The 1801 would have a mintage of 30,289 while the 1802 was at 29,890. The two are priced at nearly identical levels reflecting their similar mintages. The 1801 is $850 in G-4 while the 1802 is $900. In MS-60, the 1801 is $50,000 with the 1802 at $52,000. In fact PCGS has only seen a couple examples of the two in Mint State and they were both the more expensive 1802.
Things would be different with the 1803 mintage. The total soared to 188,234. In fact there is some suspicion that some of the 1803 mintage might have been struck in 1804 as it was 1804 when the production of silver dollars and gold eagles was suspended in the hope of freeing up time and resources at the Mint to make smaller denominations that were badly needed in circulation.
Whatever the actual date of the 1803 mintage, it is much more available at $195 to $$255 in G-4, depending on whether it is a “large 3” or “small 3” variety while the MS-60 pieces list for $14,750 and $17,250 respectively, although that may be an excellent deal as PCGS reports just a few examples in Mint State.
Starting with the 1805 there would be higher mintages. The 1805 total is 211,722 and that was quickly topped by the 1806, which stands at 839,576. Such totals would naturally produce lower prices today and that is seen as available dates and varieties start at just $195 in G-4. In fact, these dates and those that followed presently are more available as they were the prime period for the Harmony Society saving so they were found in significant numbers in the hoard. With the hoard placed at 110,000 coins or so, there was never a full breakdown of dates but the majority were from 1807-1836.
The 1807 is interesting as it was produced both in the old Draped Bust design but also in the new John Reich design and it is in this type where the greatest impact of the Harmony Society Hoard can be seen as an available date of the Capped Bust design, 1807-1836, can be found as low $55 in G-4. Although the Harmony Society Hoard probably made little difference in Mint State, it is also possible to find a Mint State example of an available date for a price around $1,000 and there are numbers to back up the low prices. The 1812 for example has been graded over 125 times in Mint State and there are other dates that are also found in significant numbers in Mint State.
The period would see a number of small design modifications and an assortment of varieties and errors especially in the case of overdates. The first of the design modifications took place in 1808, which saw Liberty’s neck shortened while her ear was made slightly larger. The reverse also saw modifications with slight changes being made in the wings and talons. One thing that some might questions is why with the saving and large mintages there are not more examples preserved in grades like MS-65 where the most available dates still list for over $10,000. In fact, it appears that in their haste and perhaps as a cost cutting measure the dies were used for too long and as a result you do not get many examples in MS-65, with the 1831 being the leader at PCGS with 30 examples graded MS-65 or better while the 1826 trails with 28.
Certainly there were some better dates and varieties starting with the 1815/2, which had a listed mintage of 47,150. Certainly it must not have been found in large numbers in the Harmony Society hoard as it lists for $1,100 in G-4 and $14,500 in MS-60 where it is rarely seen, with PCGS reporting just five Mint State examples out of 184 coins graded while the NGC total is 20 examples out of 150 graded.
The major rarity of the period is the 1817/4 overdate, which was not even discovered until a century had passed after its initial release. It was a simple case where no one at the time checked for things such as overdates and as a result when E.T. Wallis noticed it in the 1930s it caught everyone by surprise. The discovery was quickly followed by inclusion in the Wayte Raymond catalog and recognition by half dollar expert Al Overton. Of course this was all over 100 years after it was released, making the finding of any example in an upper grade simply a matter of luck, but there was very little of that, which is why we see a G-4 priced at $60,000 while an XF-40 is at $240,000 although any price may be cheap as NGC and PCGS have only seen three examples in any grade.
There are some interesting dates that are much less expensive, such as the 1824 with various varieties of overdate that is priced at $60 in G-4 and $2,000 in MS-60. The 1824 with various overdates is probably easily worth the price just in the fun you can have with it as it started like as an 1820 before the die was altered to 1822 only to later be punched with 1824, making it a true cost cutting classic of the early Mint as they attempted to use what means needed to avoid having to make a new die.
The varieties continued through 1836, which saw a regular mintage of 6.5 million pieces including varieties. There was also an 1836 with a reeded edge and denomination expressed as “50 CENTS” as opposed to “50C.” The reeded edge half dollar was an important coin at the time as it was the first coin produced on a new steam powered press installed that year.
The 1836 with the reeded edge has caused a certain amount of debate as it has been called a pattern by some. In fact it was a trial strike from the new press, but it was one that saw circulation. The mintage is small for a coin, but large for a pattern as most believe the total was roughly 1,200 pieces. The fact that it circulated, however, makes most content with the notion of it being a coin and that results in prices of $850 in G-4 and $8,850 in MS-60 while an MS-65 is at $66,500. It is worth noting as the final word on the pattern question that PCGS has graded 202 examples, but only 21 were called Mint State.
Fortunately for type collectors there was an 1837 of the same type and it had a mintage of 3,629,820, which makes it an affordable alternative to the 1836 at just $58 in G-4 and $1,160 in MS-60 with an MS-65 at $23,500. As opposed to 21 example in Mint State, the 1837 has been seen by PCGS a total of more than 250 times.
In 1838 there would be another change as the denomination was changed to “HAL DOL.” creating the final type of early half dollar. There was no longer the Harmony Society to hoard examples to make these dates more available and that fact can be seen in prices that put a G-4 at $58 while an MS-60 is $1,200 and an MS-65 is $17,500.
There is one very special date of the type in the form of the 1838-O, which was created to celebrate the opening of the New Orleans Mint. In the process the 1838-O became the first branch mint proof. In addition being created to celebrate an historical event there is already reason to expect a solid price, but the 1838-O was also a rarity. We are not sure of the actual mintage, although the chief coiner at New Orleans at the time suggested it was “not more than 20 pieces.”
Of course that does not mean it was 20 pieces, although most use 20 today as the mintage and of that total the general belief is that perhaps one-half exist. At PCGS they report four examples, but a coin like the 1838-O is not by definition going to be sent to a grading service. It is also not a coin many are willing to sell as it is rarely offered. The Norweb Proof-64 to -65 brought a price of $93,500 but that was years ago. If you see one offered today based on perhaps 10 being known that puts it in the same rarity class as the 1894-S dime and it is also much more historically important. As the 1894-S has now topped $1 million a couple times, a similar price would not be out of the question for the 1838-O.
As with the 1836 reeded edge half dollar there is an alternative for someone wanting an example of the type from New Orleans. There was an 1839-O, which had a mintage of 178,976. That is still a low total, which results in a price of $240 in G-4 and $4,500 in MS-60. While certainly premium prices at least the 1839-O is available with PCGS reporting just over 30 in Mint State.
Certainly with a number of rarities and some other very tough dates, it is unlikely that most collectors could complete a set of early half dollars. Thanks at least in part to the hoarding of the Harmony Society, a number of early half dollars are more available than they otherwise would giving everyone a chance to at least have a couple of these very interesting and historic coins.
The Coin Analyst: Mexico’s Silver Libertad Coins Offer Great Opportunity for Collectors
By Louis Golino on February 25, 2013 7:38 AM
by Louis Golino for CoinWeek ………
There is, quite simply, no better world bullion coin from a long-term value perspective than the Mexican Silver Libertad, in the opinion of the Coin Analyst.
Silver Libertads are minted of .999 silver and come in 1/20th, 1/10th, ¼, ½, 1 ounce, 2 ounce, 5 ounce, and kilo sizes in uncirculated finish, and in proof they come in 1 ounce, 2 ounce, 5 ounce, and in sets from 1/20th to 1 ounce.
The coins are minted by the Casa de Moneda (the Mexican mint) for the Banco de Mexico (Mexico’s national bank).
They have by far the lowest mintage year after year of any major world bullion coin; they sport a gorgeous obverse design of a bare-breasted and winged depiction of Victoria, the Mexican goddess of independence, also referred to as the Angel of Liberty, a design that would never get approved in the more bashful United States; and they are eagerly sought after and collected and have a solid track record of price performance.
Some people are mainly familiar with the relatively more common one ounce coins, which are fairly easy to collect, though you will have trouble tracking down some issues. Every dealer that sells them is regularly out of stock of many, if not most, issues with the exception of the most recent ones.
But there is so much more to explore for the astute Libertad collector who takes the time to learn about this wonderful series.
A certain amount of mystery or mystique surrounds this series and which adds to its allure for collectors. That is largely because unlike other world bullion or collector coins, there are no pre-announced mintage limits for Libertad coins. In addition, although they eventually reach many coin and bullion dealers, they are mainly imported into the U.S. through a small number of companies including a Texas company called Lois and Don Bailey and Son Numismatic Services, based in Houston (http://www.mexicancoinbroker.com), Panda America of Torrance, CA (www.pandaamerica.com), and others.
Most years the Libertads are released later than other countries’ bullion issues, but this year, as reported in Coin World on February 18, a Mexican legal impediment to the early release of the coins was removed, and so bullion uncirculated silver Libertads were released on January 7, which is the earliest they have ever been released. In previous years it was not possible to produce the following year’s coins in advance, but that is no longer the case.
To give readers an example of the kind of opportunity that Libertads provide, last year I tracked down a silver kilo Libertad from 2011, which comes in an amazing proof-like finish that really shows off the coin’s beauty, and includes a heavy wooden display box and a booklet about Libertad coins. The coin was briefly on sale at a major U.S. bullion company for a price that was not much over melt value. The coin ended up having a mintage of only 1,000 pieces, making it the third lowest in the kilo series, and when found, today it sells for between $2500 or more, which is double what I paid.
Try buying $1250 of American silver eagles, or most bullion coins other than silver Pandas before the mintage levels were increased, and see how much your investment is worth a year later.
What distinguishes Libertads from most other world bullion coins is they are more than just vehicles for stacking precious metals. They are collectible coins in their own right.
The proof versions for 2013 have started to be released as well. The one ounce and two ounce proofs have just been made available to Don Bailey’s company, and the silver proof sets and 5 ounce proofs will available by early May, according to Banco de Mexico.
The gold Libertads, which I will cover in detail another time, also offer the best potential among world gold bullion coins for price appreciation apart from melt value. For example, the 2012 once ounce gold bullion coin, which if you shopped around was available for a bullion price until not long ago, has a mintage of 3,000.
Because there are so few and owners are aware of this fact, the coins take on numismatic allure and prices increase quickly. In fact, some gold Libertads are only minted in the hundreds, such as the 2008 ounce coin and several of the half and quarter ounce versions as well as a number of the proof gold coins. There is no other world mint that issues coins in such low numbers.
But a lot of Libertads, silver and gold, remain highly undervalued, and there is tremendous long-term potential for the informed buyer of these coins who does their homework.
Don Bailey is probably the leading American expert on Mexican coins. I recently had the opportunity to interview his son, Pat Stovall, on his company’s involvement in the modern Mexican coin market.
LG- How did Don Bailey first get involved selling coins from the Mexican Mint? What was it about modern Mexican coins that attracted your family to this field of numismatics?
PS- Don Bailey, due to his years 50 years of activity in the Mexican coin market, was invited by the Banco de Mexcico to become a distributor for their modern coin series. See Don’s bio
LG- Are you the exclusive U.S. distributor for the Banco de Mexico, and do you sell on a wholesale basis to U.S. bullion companies and coin dealers in addition to selling retail?
PS- We are one of several distributors for the Banco de Mexico. Being a very small company, we have found it best to focus on the needs of the collector and not wholesale distribution.
LG- Do you know the reason why there are no pre-announced mintage limits for gold and silver Libertad coins?
PS- A mintage run may last all year, until all of the authorized coins are produced. Thus when the final count is finalized, then the mintage figures for all of the coins are released at one time.
LG- I know the silver proof sets and 5 ounce silver proof coins are expected to be released soon. Do you have any information on the gold coins and the silver kilos?
PS- The gold Libertads are very close to being released, but there is no word yet regarding the kilo’s release date.
LG- How would you describe the market for modern Mexican coins in the U.S.?
PS- For many seasoned collectors, it has been a small gold mine, as the market values have been climbing in very recent years. For many new collectors, it is the “undiscovered country”, as evidenced by the very strong demand of new and old modern Mexican coins. In addition, shifting demographics will have 35% of the American population of Hispanic origin by 2035. This shift is creating stronger demand for all coins of Mexican origin as more collectors realize this.
LG- Because older Libertads are so hard to find and sell rather infrequently, it is hard for collectors to know what their coins are worth, and when they do come up for sale prices vary widely. I have heard that Whitman Publishing is working on a multi-volume series on Mexican coins and there are the Krause world coin catalogs, but otherwise I am not aware of any good books with retail price values on Mexican coins. Do you have any suggestions for collectors of Libertad coins to figure out the value of their coins other than checking out e-Bay prices and coin dealer prices?
PS- Don is currently writing this four-volume book for Whitman, with a possible release of volume 1, in the summer of 2013.
CoinWeek extends its thanks to Pat Stovall and Lois and Don Bailey and Son Numismatic Services for their participation in this discussion.
Louis Golino is a coin collector and numismatic writer, whose articles on coins have appeared in Coin World, Numismatic News, and a number of different coin web sites. His column for CoinWeek, “The Coin Analyst,” covers U.S. and world coins and precious metals. He collects U.S. and European coins and is a member of the ANA, PCGS, NGC, and CAC. He has also worked for the U.S. Library of Congress and has been a syndicated columnist and news analyst on international affairs for a wide variety of newspapers and web sites.
Doug Winter’s Answers to this Years “Rosen Report” on the state of the Rare Coin Market
By CoinWeek on February 18, 2013 10:11 AM
Every year, I participate in the Rosen Report in which I (along with an impressive panel of fellow dealers) answer a series of timely and interesting questions which pertain to the rare coin market. This year’s version of the report was interesting and I think that you will find my answers to be informative.
Please note that all of the questions are as asked by Maurice Rosen; the answers are the exact ones which I gave to him.
1) What is your outlook for the coin market in 2012/2013?
I think we are going to see a continuation of what we’ve seen in the last few years. The market for rare coins is extremely bifurcated right now. The solid “collector quality” coins in the $1,000-5,000 are very strong. When I get in a neat, rare, affordable coin with a good story and/or nice appearance it sells almost immediately on my website. And the market at the upper end is very strong. If ultra-rarities or important pieces become available (typically at auction), they sell for great prices. As an example, Steve Duckor’s St. Gaudens double eagles, which are in the 2012 FUN sale, will bring exceptional prices across the board. But the “middle end” of the market is soft and in danger of becoming softer. Coins that are $10,000-30,000 and not especially nice or interesting or rare are really, really hard to sell right now.
2) What areas of the market will be the strongest in 2012/2013? Why?
Nice early gold in the AU55 to MS63 range (with CAC approval) is an area that seems like it is strong right now and will continue to be strong. Really nice Dahlonega gold has quietly become very strong in the last year. Rare dates or rare varieties in avidly collected series like Large Cents, Bust Half Dollars and Type One Liberty Head double eagles will be strong. The reasons for my choosing coins like this are threefold: the coins are already popular with an avid long-term collector base; they are legitimately scarce with a manageable supply/demand ratio; they are photogenic, interesting coins with a good story to tell.
A few other areas that I expect to see strength in during the next year: Civil War era coins (150th anniversary of this conflict), low mintage/low population Liberty Head half eagles and eagles (quietly becoming a strongly collected area of the rare gold market) and “Gem slider” examples of nearly any coin from the 1793-1893 period.
3) What areas will be the weakest? Why?
As I write this (November 2011), generic gold comes to the top of the list but, with a combination of factors, this could change. There is little demand for most generic gold (with the exception of MS65 and better Saints with CAC stickers) and I don’t see this situation changing as long as the major marketers don’t sell it.
Other weak areas will include almost anything that isn’t at the very least solid for the grade. Collectors have become more sophisticated in the last few years and they want nice looking coins, no matter what the holder says.
Another area that seems really weak now is Commemorative Gold (except for Pan-Pac $50’s). In my area of specialization (rare date gold) the coins that are hardest to sell now are Charlotte issues and condition rarity Type Three double eagles (by this I mean dates that are relatively common in lower grades but scarce in higher grades).
4) A) What new collecting trends are emerging that look to make investments there worthwhile? B) Which specific issues look appealing?
The biggest “trend” I note right now in the market is that newer collectors and investors have so much more information at hand because of the Internet that they are naturally attracted to scarcer and more interesting coins than in the past. Prior to this access to information, collectors were “sold to” by dealers. Now, they tend to be better informed and more interested in things that aren’t solely grade-based. Let me give you an example. In the past, an investor would read about a coin like an Indian Head half eagle in MS65 and be fed the usual story about how it was a beautiful coin, a condition rarity, etc. Today, the same collector is likely to do his own due diligence (for better or worse!) and choose a coin like an 1864 half eagle in nice AU instead.
Given this access to information, issues that look appealing to me are ones that have good “statistics.” By this mean, I mean coins with low mintages and low populations.
One other thing the Web has done is to make photogenic coins more popular. When I put a great looking coin on my site, it sells quickly. I’m certain that the image helps.
5) Unfavorable markets bring out the most complaints. What are the common themes you hear and how do you respond to them?
I can only answer this question from the perspective of my clients and what I hear from them, specifically. The biggest complaints tend to be about the grading services and the problem coins that continue to get graded by both services. My responses tend to be along the lines of this: the grading services do make occasional mistakes but by choosing a good dealer, learning the basics of eye appeal and purchasing coins with CAC approval whenever possible, this will help to mitigate the potential problems inherent in third-party grading.
6) Many believed that new investors first buying bullion would later buy numismatics. How has that been working out?
Not very well! They’ve basically done well enough buying bullion (especially if they bought a few years ago) that they’ve just bought more bullion. Hard to argue with bullion investments, especially if you can cost average your gold at less than $1,000 per ounce.
7) What shifts in demand have you seen in light of the recession and poor economy.
A lot of the “stupid money” that you saw thrown at the coin market before the recession has vanished. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, I was selling expensive coins to both collectors and dealers who didn’t really know what they were doing and didn’t really want to take the time to figure out the basics of the coin market. These people are mostly gone. The disappearance of the non-discriminating buyer is the reason why there are many fugly $25,000-50,000 coins floating around; no bottom feeders are in the market to put them into their “portfolios.”
Most people have less money to spend on coins right now so they want more bang for their buck. I have clients who were spending $100,000 a year on coins up to September 2008. They’ve cut back to $50,000 a year or even $25,000 a year and when they do buy something, they want it to be “special.”
8) Premiums on circ. to Gem Unc. generic gold type collapsed in 2011. What is necessary for premiums to recapture higher levels, or do you doubt that happening? Please explain in detail.
Premiums are so low because there is no real market right now for these coins. If Blanchard and Swiss America decided that they were going to do promotions on MS63 Saints and MS63 Indian Head eagles, you’d see the premiums skyrocket. Heritage and other firms keep repatriating generic gold coins from Europe but there are no marketers waiting to buy (or market) them. The supply is huge right now and the demand is relatively low. Also, the cost factor is overlooked. When Saints were $1250 a coin, they were a lot easier to sell to recession-strapped buyers than now when they are $1750-2000+.
9) My annual report on NGC and PCGS: A) How have they been grading coins this past year? B) What changes/improvements would you like to see?
I thought that grading was decent but unspectacular in 2011. I still see coins in new holders that are doctored and some that seem so blatantly so that it makes me scratch my head and ask “how did they ever miss that?” But the level of consistency that I experienced, personally, in 2011, from both PCGS and NGC was pretty impressive. I think something that everyone has to remember is that you usually don’t see the coins that are undergraded or even properly graded in dealer’s inventories or in auctions. Those coins are easy to sell and they get placed with good clients. What you usually see are the overgraded coins that are “hits” for the submitters.
I was intrigued by PCGS’ Secure Plus service when it was first announced but have been pretty underwhelmed so far. It doesn’t seem to have much of a foothold in the market and some of the coins I’ve seen in Secure Plus holders are merely overgraded/doctored coins that were re-packaged by submitters to make them seem “fresh.”
10) A) Given the likelihood of greater government encroachment in our lives, what new regulations might our market face? B) How can investors today best prepare for them?
It seems likely that an Internet tax or some sort of VAT will become a reality in a few years. I’m not totally certain how that will affect the market but I can’t believe it will be a positive.
As local, state and federal governments become more and more strapped for revenue, they will seek out more and more sources. Unregulated markets like numismatics and bullion seem likely candidates.
11) Two sophisticated investors come to you for a portfolio for the long term, one investing $25,000, the other $250,000. How would you construct those portfolios?
$25,000 portfolio: I’d probably look to construct this with three or four neat pieces. I’d choose from the following sorts of coins: MS64 or MS65 Large Size Bust Dime with great color and original surfaces (getting extremely hard to find; most are either very dark or have been dipped and are bright white), No Motto Seated Quarter or Half Dollar in MS64 with attractive medium natural color and minimal rub (I seem to choose these every year but still love the value and rarity that these issues offer), No Motto Liberty Head half eagles in MS63 (these are becoming popular and still and offer good value) and nice AU58 Type One Liberty Head double eagles with a large price jump to the next highest grade range. Whenever possible, I’d choose CAC approved coins.
$250,000 portfolio: I’d look to construct this with fewer than twenty coins and maybe as few as six to ten great individual pieces. I’d choose from the following sorts of coins: accurately graded “Gem slider” 18th century silver type (most AU58 early type is way overgraded and seldom original), PR-64 to PR-65 Proof Bust Dimes (these seem to be great value at current levels), Gem No Motto Seated Quarters and Half Dollars (especially those from the 1840’s; GREAT VALUE!!), PR64 and PR65 ultra low mintage gold dollars, quarter eagles and three dollars, 1860 to 1880 (lower market premium factor than in the past and in most cases still affordable), well-pedigreed Charlotte or Dahlonega quarter eagles and half eagles in MS62 and above (in many cases priced lower than the market highs of 1999-2001), interesting high grade Condition Census half eagles and eagles from the 1840-1870 era (available, from time to time, for less than $20,000 and seemingly a great long-term hold), CAC approved early gold in the AU55 to MS63 range (worth paying a premium for).
If the right $250,000 rarity became available, I might suggest to the investor to “put all his eggs in one basket.”
The next several questions ask for your favorite Best Buy issues within certain groups. Please state specific recommendations and reasons for your choices. If you don’t particularly like a specific group, please state why.
12) What are your Best Buys among U.S. Type Coins, Mint state and proof?
Every year I select the same basic type coins and, true to form, this year I’m sticking with Mint State Bust and Seated Dimes and Quarters in MS64 to MS65. I’d look for coins that had attractive light to medium color and were as problem-free as possible. I’m less of a fan of Proof type although I love Proof Bust coins of all dates and denominations. I’d strongly suggest being very careful buying these (especially half dimes) as many coins in “Proof” holders are actually P/L business strikes.
I love silver type coins with great color. The premium for superbly toned Seated and Barber coins is far less than it is for similar colorful 20th century coins and this makes no sense.
I really like nice MS63 and MS64 Brown Large Cents from the 1820-1840 era. They seem hugely undervalued to me. Same with Red and Brown Cents from this era as well.
12) What are your Best Buys among U.S. Gold coins?
Fresh, original skinned early gold in AU55 to MS63 (it’s very liquid, very historic and very popular); properly graded southern branch mint gold in AU55 and AU58 (it’s a good value right now and choice pieces still don’t bring the premiums they deserve), No Motto Liberty Head half eagles in MS62 and MS63 (still very affordable and often priced at fractions of the MS64 levels).
Amongst the more generic issues, I like MS63 and MS64 Three Dollar gold pieces and CAC-approved high end MS64 common date Indian Head half eagles. Both of these areas could see a big rise in price if they were given a gentle push by a promoter.
13) What are your Best Buys among U.S. Silver Dollars?
I’m not really qualified to answer this.
15) What are your Best Buys among U.S. Commemoratives, silver and gold?
I like fresh, nicely toned silver commemoratives from the 1910’s and 1920’s in MS65 and MS66. I like the specific coins that are really nice but not so nice that they bring multiples of bid. I thought the pieces in the Guttag family hoard that Stack’s Bowers has been selling at auction since the 2011 Summer ANA sale were really neat, for the most part, and as fresh as you could imagine.
16) What are your Best Buys for 20th Century series coinage?
At current levels, Gem MS65 Full Head Standing Liberty quarters seem like a pretty good value to me. Same with Gem MS65 Walkers from the 1923-1934 era. I like coins that are lightly toned and as original as possible.
Although they aren’t technically 20th century coins, Barber Dimes and Barber Quarters from the 1900-1916 era seem awfully cheap right now. Nice MS65 pieces with CAC approval are under $1,000 per coin and seem to have very little downside.
17) What are your Best Buys for Generic and Modern issues?
I personally don’t think any generic issues or moderns are “best buys.” But if I had to choose one area, it would be something like MS62 $20 Libs and Saints where the premium is currently so amazingly low. One good promotion could increase the premium by 10-20% on these.
18) What are your Best Buys for any other areas of your choice?
A large percentage of the coins on the market today, regardless of series, are unattractive and unoriginal. I think a true “best buy” for collectors are coins that are pretty, wholesome and unmessed-with. In certain series, it is nearly impossible to find choice, original coins any more. Collectors who spend the time to learn what originality looks like and who don’t compromise on quality, no matter if a coin is $1,000 or $1,000,000, will be building the sort of collections that will appreciate far more than collections that have lower-end coins.
19) A) What one series strikes you as particularly undervalued? B) What are your best picks there?
I’d have to say that Liberty Head quarter eagles and half eagles probably offer the biggest bang for gold coin collector’s buck right now. In the quarter eagle series, there are still numerous dates that are very scarce to rare that can be purchased in comparatively high grades for $1,500-3,500 per coin.
20) What is your favorite put-away coin? It can be a cheap one you like in quantity or a specific high-priced issue. Please explain your choice.
There are two types of coins that I will either put away for a few years in my personal holdings or anguish a bit before I sell them. The first are No Motto Seated quarters from the 1840’s. I just can’t believe how cheap some of these are. I recently had a nice PCGS MS63 1845 in stock and priced it at $1,500. That just seems absurdly cheap to me for a coin of this scarcity.
The second is a beautifully toned, crusty and original quarter eagle or half eagle from Dahlonega in the AU grades. Even long-time specialists don’t realize how hard it has become to find non-processed examples of even the most common dates. There are some issues where there are probably fewer than ten known in AU that are still original. Despite the rarity of these coins, they can still be bought for around $5,000 each.
21) A) How successful are our industry groups promoting coin collecting to the public? B) What ideas do you have?
I’d have to say that the rare coin industry has done a pretty mediocre job of promoting coin collecting. A few observations: 1) the Mint has an enormous budget and funnels a lot of money out of the rare coin industry without putting much back; 2) we need to be doing a better job of appealing to younger people. For a brief moment back in the late 1990’s, coins became semi-hip to young people because of the State Quarter program but we weren’t able to build on this momentum and we lost nearly all of those potential collectors; 3) as an industry, we could learn a lot from the art business. Our conventions are drab, our auctions are boring and there are few good retail outlets left for collectors to come and view actual coins
One thing I’d like to see is the development of some really good coin apps for the I Pad and I Phone. I have some really good ideas about this but right now they are proprietary.
22) A) How important is rising inflation concerns for the demand side of coins? B) What’s your outlook for inflation over the next three years?
Ask an economist—I’m just a simple coin dealer!
23) For investors looking to play higher silver prices, what are your best suggestions and why?
24) Same question for investors looking to play higher gold prices.
25) What changes/improvements would you like to see for price reporting in the various Greysheets and other publications?
I’ve been pretty outspoken about my dislike for the job that the Greysheet and Trends are doing with price reporting. They are wildly inaccurate for many coins and they seem to deliberately refuse to raise (or lower) prices even after an auction trade (or two, or three) confirm that their reported levels are just plain wrong.
It’s very, very difficult to accurately price report all series of United States coins and I understand this. Both the Greysheet and Trends have had talented people working for them but I think it’s a thankless, overwhelming job.
It seems like it would be a good business for someone to create a good on-line pricing site that was based more on actual sales (at auction and through private treaty) than value estimates.
Do you have any comments about my answers to the 2012 Rosen Report questions? I would be happy to discuss any of these in further detail with you via email. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com
Royal Mint Museum to sell 1859 Proof set
By Paul Gilkes Coin World Staff | 02-11-13
Article first published in February 25, 2013, U.S. Collectibles section of Coin World
The PCGS Proof 64 1859 Seated Liberty dollar is from a recorded mintage of 800 pieces, 10 times the number of Proof gold pieces of any denomination struck in 1859.
After more than 150 years of residence in the Royal Mint Museum collection, 11 coins from a 24-coin double set of Proof 1859 United States coins donated that year by Baltimore professor John Alexander are crossing the auction block.
By Paul Gilkes | 02-05-13
Article first published in February-2013, U.S. Collectibles section of Coin World
January’s record sales of 7.498 million American Eagle silver bullion coins is the highest monthly total in nearly 27 years.
The U.S. Mint set a monthly sales record for American Eagle silver bullion coins in January — a month during which sales were temporarily suspended while depleted inventories of struck coins were replenished.
Sales resumed Jan. 28.
The Mint recorded sales of 7,498,000 of the 1-ounce .999 fine silver coins to its authorized purchasers in January. That number is the highest total for monthly sales in the history of the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Program. Inaugural program sales began in November 1986.
The previous monthly sales record was established in January 2011 when 6,422,000 American Eagle silver bullion coins were sold.
The silver coins have a face value of one dollar.
Authorized purchasers were able to begin placing orders for 2013 silver American Eagles for the first time on Jan. 7. Ten days later, on Jan. 17, U.S. Mint officials suspended sales while the West Point and San Francisco Mints continued production to restock the U.S. Mint’s silver bullion coin inventory.
When sales were resumed Jan. 28, an allocation policy was placed into effect restricting the number of coins any one authorized purchaser could order.
At the time sales were suspended Jan. 17, the Mint had already recorded sales of 6,007,000 silver American Eagle bullion coins.
Gold bullion coin sales
January’s sales of American Eagle gold bullion coins reflects the highest sales volume in ounces since July 2010.
January’s sales of 150,000 ounces of the .9167 fine gold American Eagles represents 124,500 ounces in 1-ounce coins ($50 face value); 8,500 ounces in half-ounce coins (17,000 coins, $25 face value); 6,000 ounces in quarter-ounce coins (24,000 coins, $10 face value); and 11,000 ounces in tenth-ounce coins (110,000 coins, $5 face value).
Sales of the American Buffalo 1-ounce .9999 fine gold $50 coins in January reached 72,500 ounces. That number is the highest monthly sales total since October 2009, when 116,500 ounces were reported sold.
Since the introduction of the American Buffalo gold bullion coins in June 2006, calendar year 2007 is the only one in which sales were recorded for each of the 12 months. Since then, sales have been sporadic. In some cases, sales did not start in January; in other cases, sales, after starting, were interrupted for a month or more; and in some cases, sales ended before the end of a calendar year or even before December.
The U.S. Mint does not directly sell the bullion coins to the public. The Mint instead sells the bullion coins to a network of authorized purchasers, who acquire the coins from the Mint for the spot price of the precious metal on a given day on the London metals market plus a small premium. The authorized purchasers may then sell the American Eagle and American Buffalo bullion coins to dealers and the public.
Monthly sales totals, posted cumulatively on a daily basis over the Mint’s website at www.usmint.gov for American Eagle platinum, gold and silver bullion coins and American Buffalo gold bullion coins, may include coins dated from more than one calendar year and do not represent mintages for a particular year. ■
Fake American Eagle silver coins surface
By Paul Gilkes Coin World Staff | 02-04-13
Article first published in February-2013, U.S. Collectibles section of Coin World
Counterfeit 2011 American Eagle silver bullion coins have been appearing in the market in Canada. The fake coins bear no silver. Arrows on this fake example point out major diagnostic points, explained in the article and on later images.
A counterfeit 2011 American Eagle silver bullion coin recently passed as genuine at a coin shop in Toronto contains no silver, but does contain a trace amount of gold in its composition.