Precious Metals Predictions

I’m going to start the New Year with some observations and predictions about the prices of precious metals and the events that may have an impact on those prices. I’ve already seen headlines reading “2016, The Year of Living Dangerously”, and unfortunately I have to agree. My observations are neutral and are not intended to favor one side or the other, they are just observations, but their impact on the prices of metals can’t be overlooked. You’re in for a wild ride, so hold on to your hat!
This year we elect a new president, and whatever your feelings about the current one, what is past is done. Looking at the current field on both sides doesn’t instill confidence there is a unifier in the crowd, which is needed in order to get work done. Without discussion there can be no compromise, and when there is no compromise the country suffers.
The economy tanked in 2008 (which triggered the rise in the prices of precious metals) and in my opinion hasn’t improved that much in spite of what we read in the newspapers. Consider the fact the interest rates are artificially low and the Fed is still printing money 24/7. Unemployment rates have recovered to near pre-2008 levels, but that is due in part to the way of counting people working part time instead of full time and not counting people who have stopped looking for jobs altogether. Our area is suffering more that the rest of the country due to our reliance on the casinos and the fact we lost 4 last year, and in the infinite wisdom of our legislators they are looking at building some in North Jersey which with further hurt the local economy.
On the world stage, the Middle East is a tinder box waiting for some mishap to really set it off, not that it is paradise currently. Country against county, tribe against tribe and religion against religion, what a mess. Throw in the terrorist group ISIS that has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria and is exporting their brand of terrorism to Europe and the United States. And the fighting is causing an immigration of over a million people trying to get away and seek refuge in Europe, which already had its’ financial problems.
And there are 2 bullies out there, Russia and China, flexing their muscles militarily on the world stage. Remember, bullies never pick on the big guy, they always pick on the skinny kid with glasses. Just put glasses on him and you’ll know who I mean.
This is by no means a thorough or in depth discussion as to the events that can have an impact on metal prices, doing so would require using all the pages in this newspaper, and even then it may not be enough.
So where are we and where are we going? Start with gold. Gold price peaked in 2011 at around $1900 an ounce; now it is around $1080 per ounce, slightly higher than its price at the start of the financial crisis. In perspective, gold was around $300 per ounce in 2000 and had gradually risen to $1000 in 2008. Gold is an international commodity, more so that silver or platinum, so you will see countries purchasing gold for financial security. And if something happens to destabilize the world order such as the outbreak of a major war, gold prices will rise.
Silver is a much more volatile commodity and is subject to price manipulation. But it is also an investment within the price range of the average person, hence its attractiveness. Silver traded at under $10 per ounce until 2006 (rising from under $5 per ounce around 2000. It traded at around $14 per ounce at the beginning of the financial crisis, rising to a peak of almost $50 per ounce in 2011, then gradually declining to its current level of $14 per ounce.
Platinum is another metal that is used for investment, but is probably the least favored. Platinum was actually at its high point at the beginning of the financial crisis ($2200) and then dropped to around $800 per ounce. Platinum miners were on strike then, affecting the production, but since the largest user is the automotive industry which also tanked during the financial crisis, there was no demand. Platinum rose afterward to around $1900 in 2011 due to the continuing strike, but has steadily declined to its current price of $880 per ounce, even with the automotive industry having a banner year.
So, looking at current prices and those at the onset of the financial crisis, it appears the clock has been reset to 2008 levels, which in my mind, if any of the above events turn out badly, prices could be in for an overdue rise. However if the world keeps muddling along as it has, there will be no drastic demand for gold, silver or platinum.
These are my opinions only and the accuracy of same can only be measured against that of the weather man, who is usually only right about 50% of the time.
A footnote: after I wrote this article, North Korea detonated a purported hydrogen bomb, causing gold to rise to almost $1100 per ounce. See what I mean about adverse news affecting prices?

Some Coins are Know as Mules

In the animal kingdom, mules are known as stubborn yet reliable working animals, the result of breeding 2 different animals, a female horse and a male donkey. In the coin and currency world a mule is the result of using different than intended dies for coins, or printing plates for currency, to make the intended item.
Coins that are considered mules go back to ancient times and are found in the coinage of various countries. But the examples I am to give focus on just those coins from recent times in the United States.
Probably the most famous and interesting (translation: valuable) is the pairing of the Sacagawea Dollar coin with a Washington Quarter. In 2000, while striking the Sacagawea Dollar, the obverse (face) die wore and was to be replaced. Inadvertently (we think) a Washington Quarter obverse die was inserted and the resultant coins featured the face of Washington with the reverse eagle from the dollar coin. The last article I read put the number of known pieces at 14, although I’m sure more are out there to be found by someone paying attention to his or her change, and the value ranges from $40,000 up.
Another type mule coin that is not so obvious is one created by using dies meant for different purposes; that is reusing a die that was used to strike proof coins reused to strike circulation pieces. This has been documented in both the Washington silver quarter series as well as the Franklin half dollar.
Washington quarters dated 1956 to 1964 have been attributed as mules when they have what is called a type “B” reverse, one that is the result of reusing proof reverse dies to strike coins meant for general circulation. As I have stated before proof dies have greater detail and are meant to strike coins that have a sharper appearance then their circulation brethren. Some of these differences are minute, but the key to recognizing a type “B” proof reverse die is the spacing between the letters “E” and “S” in the word STATES. On the die meant for the regular circulation specimens those 2 letters almost touch, but on coins struck from proof dies, they are clearly separated. Since this pairing was not immediately recognized and since coins struck in that fashion were the first off the presses, not many have been attributed nor have received a high grade.
The 1958 and 1959 Franklin half dollars were another coin to be minted reusing proof dies for the reverse. Once again for economy purposes, the mint decided to reuse perfectly good proof reverse dies for striking half dollars intended for circulation. The key distinguishing feature on these coins is found in the small eagle situated to the right of the bell on these reverse of the coin. Looking closely at the left wing of the eagle, the type 1 circulation strike coin has 4 weak feathers to the left of the perch the eagle is standing on, but on the type 2 proof die, there are 3 sharp feathers, making it a mule coin.
Other coins I am shown, which people think are mules or errors are coins that are 2 headed or 2 tails, which are commercially made as “flipping” coins, ones they will always call correctly when betting the outcome of a flip. (I bet you young people never heard of such a thing). Another coin, and one I had a lengthy discussion with the owner about, is one I call a magicians coin, where a cent coin is hollowed out on one side and a dime is inserted into the space. It’s a magician coin because he can turn a cent into a dime – “Magic!”. The owner didn’t believe me and insisted on sending the coin to a grading service, never mind that both coins were of their proper metal (copper and silver) which wouldn’t occur if the coin were a true mule.
Mules occur in the currency series also, but they can only be identified by the plate number that occurs on the reverse of the note. These mules are not as dramatic as those found on coins, but to an avid collector they are no less important. However for a collector to identify these notes he will need to purchase a good currency catalog in order to learn which series of notes have mules in their midst, and what plate numbers to search for.

Sweeden Does Away with Coins & Currency

I recently read an article about Sweden, that country in northern Europe between Norway and Finland, where it gets really cold, and how they are planning on doing away with all coins and currency. Instead of using coins and currency, the citizens of Sweden are being encouraged to use an app-driven mobile payment system called Swish, which is currently the front runner of other similar app-driven systems considered.
The way it seems to work is when a purchase is made, the buyer uses a card similar to a credit card (or maybe even a smart phone app) and the money is immediately transferred from his or her bank account into the seller’s bank account. The ability to access different accounts exists and there is no minimum amount required for the transfer. However there is a cost associated with the transfer, which wasn’t revealed.
Several major banks in Sweden are now refusing to accept cash entirely and those offices that do accept bank notes and coin require the customer to declare where the money came from due to regulations that aim to prevent money laundering and funding for terrorism.
I think there is going to be a bigger chill in Sweden than the weather. The Swedish kroner (Sweden is not a member of the European Union and as such doesn’t use the Euro) is valued at around eleven cents, U.S. Several concerns are that retirees (think older citizens) have a hard time understanding and accepting this new technology; there has been a noticeable increase in cyber crimes and, most concerning, the government can monitor all transactions and if it wishes, empty a persons’ or businesses bank account with the push of a button. That thought should cause some people to have sleepless nights. Although the intent is for the entire country to move toward a cashless means of commerce, a recent survey of Swedes showed that fully two thirds of people surveyed felt it was still their right to use physical cash if they so choose.
Could this movement gain traction and possibly come to the United States? Quite honestly, we are partially there already since many customers use debit cards to make even small purchases, the excuse being it’s more convenient than cash and they don’t end up with a pocket full of change. And at the end of the month they have a record of where their money went. But, since all our currency has the statement “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE”, it would require undoing the entire financial system of our country to move toward a cashless society, something I don’t see happening.
Technology is a wonderful thing, and more and more apps are being developed to make our lives easier and less complicated (no, actually I think these are making our lived more complicated, but that’s my opinion). There is a limit to what I, and many people like me are willing to embrace, possibly since we can’t see or touch it, and this cashless approach is just such an example. I like the idea of having cash in my pocket; I know where it is and what it’s worth (even though it’s only a piece of paper with a number on it, I know I can get that value in a product that I choose to purchase and no cyber criminal can take it from me).

The Gold and Silver Mine 14.25

   The Gold and Silver Mine

 

 

A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.

 

Last weeks’ article about auctions and the fact they don’t always meet expectations was timely, given that the results of the auction for the rarest stamp are now in.

 

If you recall, I wrote about this stamp, the One Penny stamp from the South American country of British Guiana several months ago. It is the only stamp known of this design, has long held the title of the rarest stamp and has been the object of desire for many a stamp collector. This stamp, with much fanfare, was put up for auction as part of the estate of its last owner and heir of the du Pont fortune, John E. du Pont who died in jail after being convicted of murder. See, money doesn’t guarantee happiness.

 

Anyhow, the auction house handling the sale placed a pre auction estimate of $10 million to $20 million price. Quite a range don’t you think? Well, as I stated in my previous article, estimates don’t always become reality as the final price was $9.5 million including buyers premium. That means the buyer probably had to cough up an additional $.5 million for the auction house. Not bad for a days work.

 

Don’t get me wrong, $9.5 million for a small piece of paper is a respectable price for this stamp. And it is a new record price paid for a stamp. It just highlights what I said about auctions not always living up to their hype.

 

By weight, this is the rarest of all collectibles. But for value, that is price paid, art and other items exceed that number. As for coins, the rarest to sell in auction recently was an 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar which brought slightly over $10 million. Plus there are other coins in private collections whose owners have turned down higher offers, or if those coins are ever brought to auction they would bring higher prices than the $10 million.

 

This brings me back to my opinion last week that while auction houses have their place in the market, they don’t always offer the best alternative to disposing of collectibles. For the very rare and truly unique items they definitely are the way to go as the auction houses exposure to the marketplace and their advertising budget allow them to reach a broad audience. But even with that, as the auction for the worlds rarest stamp shows, they don’t always deliver on expectations.

 

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles formerly in the Shore Mall, now located at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old WaWa building just past the former Cardiff Circle. The also have satellite offices in both Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation, The Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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The Gold and Silver Mine 14.24

   The Gold and Silver Mine

 

 

A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.

 

With rare coins, currency and (soon) stamps setting record prices in auction, the logical question one has when considering selling a collection “is selling through an auction house going to get the most value for my collection?”.

 

Once again there is no simple answer to this question, so let me share some of my experiences, having dealt with the major auction houses, Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Heritage, just to name the majors.

 

First and most importantly when an auction house publicizes a record price for something in their auction, there may be hundreds or even thousands of other items in that same auction that may or may not reached expectation, let alone set records.

 

Auction houses typically will only accept items of a minimum value, and even then, lower value items will be responsible for a higher percentage commission on the sale price.

 

Now, about commissions. Commissions are how an auction house makes money while covering their expenses, which among other things include labor, handling of auction items, printing catalogs and conducting the actual auction plus collecting the money afterward. Commission typically vary from 10% to 20% of the sale price, the lower the value of the item, the higher the commission, and are collected from both the buyer and seller. An example would be if a coin were to be auctioned with a final bid of $1000, at 20% commission, the buyer would pay $1200.00 and the seller would receive $800.00, the auction house getting $400.00, the difference, for their effort.

 

And then there’s the wait time for to get paid. A typical time line is first contacting the auction house to discuss your items. Then you must send or deliver your items which will be cataloged and scheduled for auction, the date to be determined by the auction house. Then, once the item has been sold, you may wait an additional 30 to 60 days before you receive payment since the auction houses offer 30 day payment options to their bidders.

 

And the main thing to consider is there is no guarantee that you receive the price you expect. Since most auction houses will not allow you to place a reserve price on your items, (or if they do allow that, you will be responsible for the commission on your reserve price if the item doesn’t sell) you must accept whatever your item brings at auction, less commission. Also they will not allow you to bid on your items so you can’t drive the price up. Depending on the auction house and the market, the price realized can be disappointing. I have seen auctions where there were so many items offered, that there were not enough bidders to absorb everything, and the bid prices were lower than the market price.

 

So is sending your items through auction a guarantee you will get the best price? Unless you have something of great rarity, probably not. Negotiating the sale of your items with a dealer has many advantages, first and foremost if you don’t like the price offered, you don’t have to sell. And if you do agree on a price, you will be paid immediately, no waiting.

 

This is not to say auction houses are not a viable option, but one must exercise care when deciding to go that route. I have used auction houses in the past with a degree of success, but I’ve also experienced some major disappointments.

 

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles formerly in the Shore Mall, now located at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old WaWa building just past the former Cardiff Circle. The also have satellite offices in both Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation, The Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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The Gold and Silver Mine 14.23

   The Gold and Silver Mine

 

 

A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.

 

Last weeks’ article was about gold and silver as investments and if there is any potential for the prices to rise in the future. This week I will give some insight relative to investing in rare coins and currency. That differs from buying just bullion items as the value of an investment in gold and silver bullion items rises and falls with the metals market, whereas the value of rare coins will change based on demand and supply, independent of the price of the metals. Although the track record of rare coin investments is very good, there are never any guarantees and not every rare coin investment increases in value. Careful selection is important.

 

First let’s clarify the difference between investing, collecting and just buying and accumulating coins and currency. A collector usually has an objective in mind such as completing a set of some denomination of coin, obtaining a collection of different types of coins or whatever may strike the persons’ fancy. That’s the reward of collecting; doing what makes that person happy with value a secondary consideration.

 

An accumulator (think hoarder) is probably the most unfocused of the bunch as he just wants to get the most he can get his hands on without any clear idea of what he is purchasing. This person is under the misguided illusion that whatever he buys is worth more than he has paid and can be sold for an immediate profit. We actually had someone like this purchase a piece of currency, only to come back several days later complaining rather verbosely that he couldn’t immediately sell it for a profit. We refunded his money and asked him not to come back.

 

A person who is investing in coins has spent time studying and learning about coins and currency, much as any investor would do before putting out their hard earned cash. This would be the same approach if one were buying stocks, bonds, property, etc. Typically an investor, after studying coins and currency and learning about mintages, rarity and condition will chose a topic that appeals due to a proven track record of increasing in value, or one that has a good potential to increase in the future. And an investor is interested in quality, not quantity, so his portfolio may be comprised of anywhere from several to several dozen coins, all of a high quality or rare nature.

 

There are many options available that represent good investment opportunities and its’ not my place to make recommendations, but the main thing to remember that although certain coins make excellent investments, the typical minimum hold time is 5 years in order to realize a sufficient profit that would equal or exceed that of other investment opportunities. This is because the difference between the buy and sell prices (or commission) is higher on rare coins than bullion items. Even considering that factor, rare coins can make good investments.

 

An example of some prices for coins similar to ones I owned years ago, a 1943 copper (bronze) cent just sold in auction for $329,000 – I paid $5000 for one back in the mid 1970’s. I sold a 1895 Silver Dollar (no mint mark and graded XF) for $4500 in 1984. That same coin is now worth over $30,000. Maybe I should have been an investor rather than a dealer, but as a dealer I have bragging rights that I once owned some very rare coins.

 

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles formerly in the Shore Mall, now located at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old WaWa building just past the former Cardiff Circle. The also have satellite offices in both Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation, The Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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The Gold and Silver Mine 14.22

The Gold and Silver Mine

 

 

A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.

 

With gold and silver taking a breather now, I’m asked by my customers is this a good time to buy because prices are lower, or should they consider selling because the price of these metals may go lower? I wish there was an easy answer to that question, and because there are so called “experts” arguing both directions for the prices, I guess my opinion is just as valid as theirs. So here goes.

 

First let’s look at gold. Gold has many uses in addition to being an investment, mainly jewelry and electronics. It is a hedge against inflation (which is virtually nonexistent) and a safe haven in times of international turmoil (gold jumped when trouble started in the Ukraine, but has since settled down). India once was the largest importer of gold for use in their jewelry industry where many brides received huge dowries of gold jewelry, but an import tax levied recently put a crimp on their imports. China, with its’ exploding economy and rising middle class surpassed India recently as the largest importer of gold, but the recent downturn in their economy has caused a pause. Having given a few basics affecting the price of gold, here is my opinion, and only my opinion.

 

First and for most I always recommend an investment of no more than 10% of your portfolio, and that you hope you don’t make a profit on that investment. Why? Because if gold is going up due to one or several of the above factors, chances are the value of your other investments is going down. (Last year gold and the stock market actually tracked each other going up, something I hadn’t seen before.) If you want to buy gold, buy something you understand such as a gold coin that is sold only at a fixed percent over its’ bullion value. And consider buying some small fractional pieces in addition to 1 ounce coins, just so if you need only a small amount of money you don’t have to sell a full ounce coin. I’ve listened to some of the doom and gloom buyers of gold who fret that they will have problems using gold to make purchase if the economy falls apart. I try to convince them that scenario won’t happen, but if it did the median of exchange would still be the dollar. The gold would be converted into dollars and then spent for whatever purpose. The example I use is inflationary post World One Germany where everything was priced in the millions and billions of marks, but the mark was still the monetary unit as would be the dollar were hyperinflation to occur here.

 

Silver is a cheaper commodity for investment purposes, but is subject to more radical ups and downs. Plus there have been recent accusations of market manipulation that may have some merit.

 

My crystal ball tells me that there are some difficult times ahead, both with our economy and with international disorder (a fancy way of saying conflicts). So having said that, I like to have a little gold around just in case.

 

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles formerly in the Shore Mall, now located at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old WaWa building just past the former Cardiff Circle. They also have satellite offices in both Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation, The Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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The Gold and Silver Mine 14.21

The Gold and Silver Mine

 

 

A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.

 

Several weeks ago I wrote about how coin collecting doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition, and gave examples of how searching through pocket change for Lincoln cents or Washington state quarters can be rewarding and inexpensive. Well, another category of collecting that can be fun and inexpensive is foreign coins and currency.

 

Collecting coins and currency (not investing) is a matter of personal interest and therefore there is no wrong way to go putting a collection together. Examples of collections of foreign coins I’ve seen include one coin from every country (I don’t know if that collection will ever be completed with countries coming and going as they have), coins from countries that no longer exist, coins with animals, coins with odd shapes, coins with Kings and Queens depicted (if was common practice for countries to have a portrait of the reigning monarch on their coins verses in the United States where no living persons’ image can be used). Other examples include coinage of the European Union whose individual countries mint Euro coins that can be used in any member country but with a design unique to their country. And don’t forget our neighbor to the north, Canada. Since the population of Canada is much smaller than the United States, their mintage figures are much less, yet compared to the U.S. their prices are reasonable. Plus they have a coin program in place where they change their designs periodically. And since Canadians have vacationed in South Jersey for many years, a lot of their coins have been left behind.

 

Foreign currency is another area of collecting that offers not only a wide variety of options, but also offers notes that are truly beautiful examples of functional art. Unlike the United States whose currency has had a typically boring look for over one hundred years, currency of many other countries are beautiful and colorful and have incorporated security features such as watermarks in the paper to thwart counterfeiting, something we have just recently started. As with coins, the opportunity to collect a variety of different topics (animals, fish, people, etc) allows a collector to tailor their collection to their interests. Want to feel rich? Collect post World War 1 German inflationary banknotes whose values are in the millions and billions of marks. And unlike the United States whose currency from the 1860’s to date is still legal tender (meaning it can still be spent for its’ face value, although you wouldn’t want to do that because its’ collector value is much higher), these note have no monetary exchange value. Since most other countries financial systems have not been as stable as ours, they have gone through periods of inflation, devaluation, regime changes, resulting in their older currency having no exchange value and being worth only what a collector is willing to pay. Again using the European Union as an example, the currency of all of the member nations in use prior to joining the Union is no longer spendable in those countries. I have read where this caused a real panic in Italy amongst some of its’ wealthy citizens who hoarded large quantities of high denomination Lira notes to avoid paying taxes. The realization was that those notes would become worthless after being replaced with the Euro if the owner didn’t exchange them and face the taxman.

 

Where to start with a collection of foreign coins or currency? Well, it seems almost everyone has some tucked away, either from trips abroad on vacation, a member of the military serving overseas, coins and currency from the old country brought over when immigrating to the United States, just to give a few examples. Family and friends are a good starting point for obtaining some coins and paper money from other countries, and many times people having yard sales or setting up at flea markets will offer foreign coins for sale, usually at bulk prices. So select a topic and happy hunting. And since many countries minted coins from silver prior to the 1960’s, you may get lucky by finding a silver coin or two.

 

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles formerly in the Shore Mall, now located at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old WaWa building just past the former Cardiff Circle. The also have satellite offices in both Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation, The Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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The Gold and Silver Mine 14.20

 The Gold and Silver Mine

 

 

A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.

 

Several weeks ago I wrote about my trip to the Baltimore Coin Convention and being on hand for the release of the National Baseball Hall of Fame 75th Anniversary Commemorative Coins. This coin was unique in as it is the first coin not struck flat, but rather cupped, with one side featuring and appearing like the side of a baseball and the other featuring a cupped baseball glove. Well, these coins have proven to be a “hit” with collectors and sports fans. (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun)

 

These coins were struck in both proof and uncirculated condition for a $5 gold coin, a $1 silver coin and half dollar clad coins. Mintage figures for these coins are as follows: $5 gold – 32,026 proof, 17,974 uncirculated; Silver $1 – 119,869 proof, 74,203 uncirculated; Half Dollars – total of 750,000 for both proof and uncirculated. It appears all except the half dollars are sold out, with the mint yet to deliver confirmed orders. It appears the half dollar is going to “strike out” with collectors (oops, I did it again) since less than 200,000 have been sold as of April 20th.

 

The secondary market sales of the silver dollars have seen prices in excess of twice the issue price with graded examples and first day issue coins commanding very high prices. In my opinion, the coins in gold and silver will be popular and will command a premium price, but probably not as high as some of the asking prices for the graded coins in Proof-70 and MS70 since more coins are to be graded and the availability of those coins will go up. Now is not the time to chase the market. If you were fortunate enough to have ordered one (or more) from the mint, you are ahead of the game (again, no pun intended).

 

The other coins I wrote about after I attended the Baltimore Convention were those gold coins from the California Hoard, and what beauties they were. Well, they are now coming to market, with the first coin, a $20 gold piece dated 1874 and struck in the San Francisco Mint being auctioned at the Old San Francisco Mint on May 27th with the proceeds to used towards the restoration of the mint. Expect this coin to bring a high price because of its’ charitable nature. Immediately following the auction, more coins will be offered online at fixed prices at either Amazon.com/treasure or Kagins.com. The cheapest coins will be priced at $2500, but these coins have been damaged, possibly by the original owner digging up the containers to add more coins. Undamaged, circulated and graded coins (by PCGS) will be priced in the $3000-$3500 range with the lowest priced mint state coins to start at $5000.

 

These are the commonest coins from the hoard. Remember there were many others in extremely high grade, some being the finest condition known, including the 1866-S “No Motto” $20 dollar gold piece graded MS62+ and valued in excess of $1 million. The final disposition of those coins has not been communicated.

 

Are these coins that are being sold on line worth the premium asked over common $20 gold pieces in similar grades? Maybe. Other coins attributed to treasure finds or sunken ships have premiums the public is willing to pay, and the premium asked for these coins is not unreasonable. So if you want to own a piece of history, the lines will be open May 28th.

 

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles formerly in the Shore Mall, now located at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old WaWa building just past the former Cardiff Circle. The also have satellite offices in both Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation, The Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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The Gold and Silver Mine 14.19

The Gold and Silver Mine

 

 

A weekly column dedicated to “digging out” current information about precious metals, coins and other numismatics.

 

Collecting coins doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor (remember, I said collecting, not investing). There are many opportunities to collect United States coins on a modest budget, examples being Lincoln Cents starting from 1959. 1959 was the year the design on the reverse of the coin changed from having 2 wheat stalks framing the words “One Cent” to the new design featuring the Lincoln Memorial. Although the earlier design with the wheat stalks, which were minted from 1909 until 1958 have virtually disappeared from circulation, the cents with the Lincoln Memorial are plentiful. So if someone wanted to start collecting these cents, they could purchase one of those inexpensive blue coin albums that have holes for each date and mint and then start going through their coins to try to fill all the openings in the album. If you are fortunate enough to have a relative who just throws all their change into a large container, you may be able to get their permission to search for coins to place in your album. And remember, there are some scarce varieties of Lincoln cents that can be found in circulation or in hoards of pocket change, so this can also be considered a treasure hunt. But if you are going through someone else’s coins, a sharing or reimbursement arrangement is advisable.

 

Another coin that is collectible on a modest budget is the State Quarter series and by extension the Possessions and National Parks series that followed. In 1999 the U.S. Mint started striking 5 different quarters each year with each quarter representing a state and picturing something unique or memorable about that state. The program was to last 10 years in order to feature each of the 50 states with the coins struck in both the Philadelphia and Denver mints. These coins were meant to be released for general circulation while coins struck in the San Francisco Mint in Proof condition were to be placed in collector sets. Maps were made out of heavy cardboard picturing the United States and having a cutout within each state to allow to placement of the state quarter at that location. This was an alternative to the aforementioned blue coin albums which were also made to hold the quarters. If someone were to collect one coin from each state, regardless of which mint struck the coin, the total investment would be a mere $12.50. A side benefit to our young collectors is this map offered a good visual of the United States and the location of each state. And because each coin featured a different design, it makes an interesting display.

 

These are just 2 examples of collecting coins on a limited budget. Any series of coins that is still in circulation offer an opportunity to assemble a set of these coins by searching pocket change, yet the thrill of the hunt is what drives many collectors. That thrill is the accomplishment of finding a coin that fills one of the holes in their album and is something only collectors will understand.

 

Douglas Keefe is the president of Beachcomber Coins, Inc. He and his wife Linda operate Beachcomber Coins and Collectibles formerly in the Shore Mall, now located at 6692 Black Horse Pike in the old WaWa building just past the former Cardiff Circle. The also have satellite offices in both Brigantine and Absecon. Between them they have over 70 years experience in the coin and precious metals business. They are members of The American Numismatic Association, The Industry Council of Tangible Assets, The Numismatic Guarantee Corporation, The Certified Coin Exchange and the Professional Coin Grading Service.

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