Our Coins of the Week fall on more of the “scarce” side.
Our first coin is a 1798 Draped Bust Silver Dollar. 1798 is the year that the reverse design changed from the Small Eagle variety to the Large Eagle (or Heraldic Eagle) variety. This particular coin is of the Large Eagle variety and graded VF Details by NGC. While this year is one of the more common dates for a Draped Bust Dollar, the 1798 mintage is still just 287,536.
Our second coin is a 1893-S Morgan Dollar. At a mintage of about 100,000, the 1893-S is one of the key dates for any Morgan Dollar collector. This coin was graded Fine Details by NGC.
Coin of the Week – Palladium Eagle
On September 25th, 2017 the US Mint released the first ever US Palladium coin. It is called a Palladium Eagle, and has the Mercury dime head design, and an Adolph Weinman eagle design on the reverse. The coin has a denomination of $25. It has a strong high relief design to it.
Originally it could only be bought from distributors contracted with the US Mint, and sold for about $1100. At the time of this writing, they are now trading anywhere from $1500 up to several thousand dollars depending on the label and holder type. The Mint only produced 15,000 pieces. Next year the US Mint will produce a proof version of the coin that they intend to sell direct to the collector.
Overall this coin is a winner on eye appeal. It’s hard to say what the collector value will be long term. But if you buy what you like, and it fits in your budget, you’ll want to own one of these!
For this week’s Coin of the Week segment we’ll take a look at a couple of modern coins (or are they from a long, long time ago?).
Yes, that means Star Wars.
The 2017 coin features Darth Vader on the reverse, while the 2018 coin features a Stormtrooper (the recent release of the Stormtrooper coin coincides quite well with the upcoming Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, which is perhaps another reason we’re excited about these coins). Apart from the date, the obverses are the same — “ELIZABETH II NIUE TWO DOLLARS” circling an image of the Queen (Elizabeth II, not Amidala).
Why Niue? Well, these coins are considered legal tender in the country of Niue (a South Pacific Ocean island Northeast of New Zealand). However, it is highly unlikely they would ever be used for purchases, just as an American Silver Eagle Dollar would almost never be found circulating in the wild. At one troy ounce of .999 silver, the precious medal value is much higher than the legal tender value.
These two coins are the start of a
“Niue” new series by the New Zealand Mint. Besides Star Wars, they mint series of silver and gold coins featuring Disney characters, Doctor Who, endangered species, local wildlife, creatures of Greek mythology, and other topics.
NZM is just one of several mints that produce collectible coins featuring historical, wildlife, pop culture, or other subjects, which is perfect for when someone’s coin interest matching up with one of their other interests. Take a look here at some examples of 2017 dated silver coins and 2018 dated silver coins.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about these or other coins.
Our Coins of the Week showcase a couple commemorative coins, from one of the earlier U.S. commemorative coins to a more modern example.
Our first coin of the week is a 1900 Lafayette Silver Dollar. This coin owns a couple of “firsts”, as it was the first U.S. commemorative of a one-dollar denomination and also the first authorized U.S. coin to have a portrait of a U.S. president. Interestingly, the date on the coin is not actually when the coins were minted–they were minted in 1899–but rather the intended date of the erection of the General Lafayette monument in Paris. The statue on the reverse is very similar to that monument, which was a gift from the American people to France to honor General Lafayette. This specimen is graded MS62 by PCGS.
Our other coin of the week is a 2011-W U.S. Army $5 Gold Coin. The obverse features soldiers from different eras, with the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the modern era represented. The reverse features the U.S. Army emblem. This particular coin is graded PF70 Ultra Cameo by PCGS.
In order to make up for lost time, we’re going to “cheat” a little bit and showcase two(!) coins for the Coin of the Week.
Before we look at our first coin, let’s give some background information. Indian Head Cents come in 3 types:
- Type 1 (1859) was only minted in the year 1959, with the reverse featuring the words “ONE CENT” encircled by a wreath tied at the bottom by a ribbon.
- Type 2 (1860-1864) keeps the same obverse, but the reverse has some noticeable differences: the wreath and lettering are fuller, a small shield occupies the top center, and the ribbon now also holds three arrows.
- Type 3 (1864-1909) keeps the same design as Type 2, but the composition switches from Copper-Nickel to Bronze. Both the thickness and weight of the coin are reduced.
This particular Indian Head Cent is minted in the year 1863, meaning it is Type 2. It has been graded MS62 by PCGS.
Liberty Nickels have two types:
- Type 1 (no “CENTS” , 1883) Liberty Nickels had a large “V” on the reverse, but did not contain the word “CENTS” anywhere. This prompted some individuals to hand carve reeding to the edges and gold-plate the coins in an attempt to pass them off as $5 Gold Half Eagles (these nickels are known as “Racketeer” Nickels).
- Type 2 (with “CENTS”, 1883-1913) Liberty Nickels were minted with the word “CENTS” to counter such individuals. “E PLURBUS UNUM” was moved to above the “V” to make room for “CENTS”.
This particular Liberty Nickel was minted in 1907, and is clearly not a $5 Gold Half Eagle. It has been graded MS64 by PCGS.
The “World Treasures Mint” is putting out fake silver bars. These bars are marked “1 Troy Oz .999 Silver”. They come in many different designs. They also come in individual holders and some have serial numbers.
These bars are made to look like real silver bars and are made to deceive. There is nothing on the bar that indicates they are not pure silver. The weight is also off. The bar we examined weighs 34.4 grams instead of the 31.1 grams a troy ounce should weigh. This particular bar has a serial number. You can see, under magnification, that the serial number is copper, as is the rest of the bar.
The company sells them as ”Silver Clad” on their website, but they are not marked that way. All you get is a hint that they are clad with the (hard to read) words “In Clad We Trust”. The average person looking at these bars would have no clear way to know they are not pure silver based on the markings.
October 13th, 2013 was the issue date for the new $100 bill. It was 4 long years since they tried to issue the notes, but had several problems during the production process. The biggest addition is a holographic strip that runs vertically on the front of the note. The image shifts from the “Liberty Bell” to a “100”. It is a really nice purple color.
The note still has lots of micro-printing on it, as well as the watermark. The notes have a gold to copper color shift on the 100 in the bottom right corner as well as the Liberty Bell found in the ink well. A large, multi-color “100” is on the back to help the visually impaired identify the note.
The back of the note has a newly refined version of ”Independence Hall”. It looks sharp. I don’t know if there is a reason for the time on the Clock on Independence Hall, but it went from 2:22 on the old notes to 10:30 on the new note. Conspiracy theories enter here:_____________ . Maybe the artists simply took some liberties!
The new bust of Benjamin Franklin is sharp. Previously it was just his face. These notes seem to have cripser lines and design details then the last incarnation. We’ll see if that is because they wanted to put their best foot forward on the roll out of the new (2009-A Series) notes, or if the new process is that much superior to the old process. We should know in 6 months.
Overall I believe it is a big improvement in not only the technology side of things, but also aesthetics. The holographic strip jumps off the note and the note will compete with the much better designed notes of other countries (especially our mates up north, don’tya-know). The new $100 bill is a big step forward from the older design.
You can find more about the new $100 on the BEP’s website.
One common comment coming from consumers is “I have some old ones, they’ll have value”. This can be in reference to coins, or currency or jewelry or collectibles. It is a very common misconception that age makes things more valuable.
If you own a house you know how this is not true. Often, with age, comes problems like wear and tear. But a house in an area in demand can appreciate at any age. The same is true for collector items of all kinds. The value is based on the availability (supply) and who wants it (demand). That is why you can have coins from the time of Christ that are only $10 and yet see coins that are modern sell for thousands of dollars.
The lesson here is that age does not equal value. Some times things just get old.
Posted in: All, Education
I had a customer ask about the guys who sell coins on TV. Technically, the question was “which one do you like better”. Come on, you can’t expect a guy to pick between his kids can you? 🙂
These coin vault type shows have a couple of flaws. The first is that they charge about double what you can buy things locally for. That assumes you are buying legit items. (We’ll save the fancy boxes for another day.) I don’t know too many business where you can charge a 50% commission and have people fawning over you. I know some real estate agents who think they are worth that much. You know who you are.
The second flaw is worse, it is the dishonest way in which they represent themselves. That is the coins that they sell are not sold in an honest fashion. Let’s face it, you can go to a major coin show and pay double what a coin is worth. Although if you are an avid collector that would probably never happen. But when you show prices from eBay to justify how you are pricing things on your TV show, that is nonsense. He always seems to find people pricing things for twice what he sells them for. I guess he couldn’t find any selling for less, hmm…. what are the odds?
The quick answer, just don’t buy from the TV. Even when they sell a good coin, you are paying way more than you can buy them for locally. And if you shop locally you can usually find knowledgeable dealers who are willing to show you the items up close and answer your questions.
The Franklin Mint has produced ”collector” items for several decades. The word collector is in quotations because the items that they sell are not really collector items. Yes, people do have them, and keep them, so in the very broad term they are ”collectible”.
The problem with items that are made to be collectible tend to have a negative return on investment. Most things that you can save or collect over time that end up having value are everyday items (like toys or clothes or furniture). They were not made to be a collectible, but people save them because the items are unique or scarce or remind them of their childhood (or a certain time period in history they have interest in).
The only upside to Franklin mint items is that a lot of what they produced (especially in the 1970’s) was made out of sterling silver. Herein lies the value of any of their stuff. Unfortunately, most of the items they sold were at such high premiums that there is little to no hope of actually getting a positive return on your money.
Today, many other companies market based on the Franklin Mint model. They either use the word ”mint” or other official sounding words to make people believe they are getting something of value. Or, they promote an item as ”collectible” or as something that will appreciate in value. Unfortunately most of these companies are the only ones who are getting a good return on their investment, while the consumer is left holding a fancy box!