Old Pueblo Coin – Tucson, AZ Finest Coin Dealer

The Coin Geek

Happy 2016

Welcome to the New Year. Have you heard the expression “New Year, New You?”. Is that true for coin collectors as well?

For collectors of brand new mint products the New Year always brings something new to collect. New commemoratives will come out that depict events from 50, 100, 150 or more years ago.  Some examples from the US Mint for 2016 include the National Park Services commemorative and the Mark Twain Commemorative coins. There will also be gold coins commemorating the coins of 1916 – The Mercury Dime, Standing Liberty Quarter and the Walking Liberty Half Dollar. These coins should be spectacular and very popular.

So we know that modern coins bring new things to the collector, but what about folks who don’t collect modern mint pieces? Do you, or I, change our collecting ways in the new year? Should we? First of all, if you’ve never made a road map or outline for your collection, then you may want to consider trying it. A quick set of goals will make collecting more enjoyable. Consider these questions:

-What series of coins will you collect?

-What grades will you accept?

-What price ranges?

-What will you NOT buy?

-Will you buy only slabbed or only raw or either?

Thinking about these things will help you find the coins you like and know when to make a purchase and when to pass on a coin. I recently had a customer make the change to only buy certified coins. And only within a certain grade set. And only within a certain time period. And only within a certain size (or denomination). Now when he is at a show or a shop and he finds something that does not meet all his criteria then he will pass on it without any regrets.  But if it meets all his criteria then he feels comfortable with his purchase.

Another customer has decided to go in an entirely new area of collecting. He previously didn’t do any foreign coins but now has fallen in love with ancients. This is his knew target. He is starting to learn and buy a little bit here and there and is enjoying the process. If you’ve been considering a different series, now may be the time to start. It can really rekindle your passion.

So what about you? New Year, new you?

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Commemorative Bullion – Silver Edition

The US Mint makes commemorative coins annually. These coins are often well advertised and active collectors would recognize most of them if they saw them at a coin shop. But there are entire series of commemorative coins that most collectors will never see unless they actively seek them out.


America The Beautiful

In 2010 the US Mint started the America The Beautiful (ATB) quarter series. Each state and the territories will have a state park put on a circulating commemorative quarter. You may have seen these in your pocket change. What you are not likely to see is the 5 ounce silver version that the mint is creating concurrent with the quarters. The 5 ounce versions are still a quarter face value.

Fort McHenry Bullion version of the 5 ounce silver quarter.

Fort McHenry Bullion version of the 5 ounce silver quarter.

These large silver  coins have very low mintages and come in both a ”bullion” and ”numismatic” version. The bullion version does not have a mint mark. They come in tubes of 10 and most of them have mintages below 35,000 pieces. The bullion version has a bright satin finish to them.

The numismatic version has a mint mark, they come in a custom box, and have a ”burnished” finish to them. Most of these coins have mintages below 25,000.

The price for these coins vary greatly depending on the source. You can pick many of the bullion pieces up for a slight premium. Currently silver is around $16 ounce and you can find many issues for $20 and ounce ($100 each). On the other extreme the most popular coin is the Hawaii with mint mark. This coin trades up to $600.

Silver Eagles

Silver Eagles are the most well known and highly collected of all US Bullion issues.  So much so that some of the bullion issues are trading at double the price of silver (1986, 1996). In 2001 the mint started to produce ”Burnished” uncirculated coins. These came in special boxes and have the “W” mint mark. The burnished UNC coins mostly trade in the $40-$80.

There is one error in the Silver Eagle series. It is a 2008 dated coin with a reverse of 2007. This type of error is commonly referred to as a ”mule”. The difference is subtle. In 2008 a serif was added to the coins. The error version is san-serif. It trades for $450+.

The mint also creates the Proof version of the silver eagle. Many of these trade in the $40-$75 range. In 2006 the mint produced it’s first ever Reverse Proof coin. With a mintage below 250,000 pieces it trades in the $200 range.

In 2011 the mint produced a 25 year set with 5 different coins. It includes an “S” mint UNC and a reverse proof. These two specific coins have mintages below 100,000 and also trade in excess of $200. In 2013 the mint came out with the first ever ”enhanced proof”. These coins trade in the $75 range and are a good value relative to the 281,310 mintage.

It will be interesting to see what new twist the mint will put on the Silver Eagle series moving forward. One thing is sure, it will continue to be a popular series to collect.



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Silver Not For Sale


Silver Not For Sale!


The current silver market is frustrating. Wholesalers are backed up for weeks. Retailers can’t get it to sell. Buyers can’t find it to buy. Some buyers consider it a conspiracy that when the metals drop they can’t buy any. The reality is that demand has outpaced supply. This has happened several times over the last couple of years as the price has come down. There is a quick drop in the price and the buyers react with a quick spike in orders.

This happened in August. The demand increased to the point that the US Mint stopped accepting orders for Silver Eagles. They wanted to make sure they could fill all the orders that they take and meet demand.  The companies that make silver rounds are now in a similar situation. Instead of halting orders they simply push back delivery times. Delivery times that were once less than a week are not several weeks, in some cases over two months.

Some believe this could become the new normal. If history holds true then we will see the supply loosen up in a few weeks time. Until then you can expect to see showcases that are empty or nearly empty.

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Commemorative Bullion – Gold Edition

The US Mint makes commemorative coins annually. These coins are often well advertised and active collectors would recognize most of them if they saw them at a coin shop. But there are entire series of commemorative coins that most collectors will never see unless they actively seek them out.


In  2007 the mint started producing the presidential dollar series. In this series they release one coin for each president (for presidents who served non-consecutive terms the get two separate coins). The US Mint releases 4 coins per year. As a companion to that series they release the ”first spouse” series. These coins have a $10 face value and are one half ounce of .9999 fine gold.

Some of the presidents were not married at the time of their presidency. Most of these coins have a depiction of a classic US coin. There was an odd exception when in 2012 Alice Paul was placed on a coin.

The first year of the coins saw mintages averaging around 18,000 for proofs and 17,000 for BU coins. The mintage dropped significantly in year two, with proofs averaging 7,000 and BU averaging 4,000. The most recent mintages are even smaller with mintages under 2,000 for BU coins and under 3,000 for proofs.

Most every coin from this series trades at or near the gold prices, despite the low mintages.


In 2009 the mint made a one time issue called the Ultra High Relief. It is exactly one ounce of gold. The coin is unusually small in diameter but thick. It has the design of the St. Gaudens $20 High Relief coin. The mintage exceeded 114,000 pieces. The popularity, however, has kept the coin trading well above the price of gold. Currently gold is around $1150 per ounce and these commemorative bullion coins are trading near the $2,000 range.


This may become a trend. In 2015 the mint produced a different high relief coin. It has a completely new design and is also one ounce of pure gold. The coin had mintage limited to 50,000 pieces. These coins were issued around $1500 and are trading around $1,800 as of this writing. This coin has a face value of $100, making it America’s first $100 gold coin.


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2015 Readers Choice Awards

Vote Old Pueblo Coin Best Coin Shop in Tucson

Vote Old Pueblo Coin Best Coin Shop in Tucson

Family and Friends and Friends of Friends! It’s time for the Arizona Daily Star’s “Best Of Tucson” annual Readers Choice Awards!

This year they have ”Best Coin Shop”, and we’d like your support! VOTE HERE.


You can vote once a day for each email address you register. Voting ends Monday, August 31st at 5:00 p.m. We have links on our webpage and Facebook page. Please share with your friends.

If you vote in 30 or more categories you are entered to win $1,000.00.

And while we are at it, we made a best of best of list. Here is a list of our favorite favorites. You may have been dying to list some of these.

  • Huevos
  • Funeral Home
  • Grout Cleaners
  • Long Distance Company
  • Customer Service
  • Olive Oil/Balsamic Vinegar
  • Best place to buy a piñata

Thanks for your support! And God Bless America! (Don’t you love election season).


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Commemorative Bullion – Platinum Edition

The US Mint makes commemorative coins annually. These coins are often well advertised and active collectors would recognize most of them if they saw them at a coin shop. But there are entire series of commemorative coins that most collectors will never see unless they actively seek them out.


The US started producing platinum bullion coins in 1997. For the uncirculated version of the coins the design has been the same. But starting in 1998 the proof versions have had a different reverse every year. From 1998 to 2002 they produces the ”Vistas of Liberty” series which had images of New England, the Southeastern Wetlands, America’s Heartland, the Southwest Desert and the Pacific Northwest. In 2003, 2004, and 2005 they had individual allegorical images. 2006-08 saw the creation of the “Foundations in Democracy” series which featured a coin for each of the branches of government. Since 2009 they have been producing a series called “Preamble to the Constitution”.

Collecting these coins is very challenging. Not just because platinum is a more expensive metal, but because the mintages are very low. Most of the one ounce proofs have mintages below 10,000 pieces. The last three years of platinum issues have a mintage of less than 20,000 combined!

There are many nuances to collecting platinum commemorative bullion coins, including: Uncirculated, Proofs, Burnished Uncirculated coins, and a Reverse Proof. There are also fractional issues (1/2 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/10 oz), however, the fractional coins have not been produced since 2008. So, even though the fractional issues have higher mintages, they are also hard to locate because the lower price points opens the collector market to more people. Platinum is currently below $1,000 per ounce, but most one ounce pieces trade in the $1,200-$1,800 range. The least expensive coins are the 1/10 oz pieces which trade anywhere from $110 on up.

Platinum Coins- Photo from the Red Book.

Platinum Coins- Photo from the Red Book.


Platinum Coins - Photo from the Red Book.

Platinum Coins – Photo from the Red Book.


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Arizona State Silver Bars BEWARE

Despite the outcry from consumer advocates, deceptive ads run constantly in the papers and on the TV. The uninformed public falls all to easily for slick ads with confusing wording.  This is evident with the new ad that is running in the AZ Daily Star. The full page ad shows large bars, “silver vault bricks”, and armed guards unloading the goods. Here is the real breakdown of what they are selling:

  • 6 ounces of silver
  • Cost is $285
  • or $47.50 per ounce

You can purchase silver locally for $17.50 per ounce (at the time of writing Silver is $15.50 per ounce) . That is $30 less per ounce than the United State Commemorative Gallery is selling their silver for. Some things to keep in mind is that this company (US Commemorative Gallery) is in no way related to any government. It is a private company. But they try to make it sound like they are official, even paying for the endorsement of former US Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow.

They have created these bars of silver for the sole purpose of marketing them. It is true that you can not get the bars with the AZ stamp on them anywhere else, but be aware that if you try to sell the bars they are only worth the $15.50 spot price.

If all they did was advertise silver bars for the stated price without all the mumbo-jumbo-hokis-pokis then it would not be so offensive. But not only do they have advertising designed to deceive, they also have high pressure sales. When I called them to find out if there was shipping ($9 shipping on one individual piece, free shipping on orders of 2 or more pieces),  and told her I would get back with her about ordering, she went on the offensive:

  • “these are the only known pieces from the Lincoln Treasury” (another company made to sound governmental).
  • “my concern for you is they may be sold out by the time you call back” (isn’t that sweet!)
  • “the phones have been ringing off the hook”
  • “I don’t know how many we have left”

Remember to seek advice of local businesses whenever you see advertising for coins, paper money, gold, silver or collectibles. Usually you can buy the same or similar articles for a fraction of the price. And if you don’t understand what they are selling, then don’t buy it!




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Peach Pie Public Service Announcement

In the sumer time, in Tucson, it’s hot. This comes as a shock to some as they gripe and grumble about the heat. But not all is lost. Yes summer comes with heat, but it also comes with its seasonal benefits. Perhaps the most important thing you need to know is that it is peach season. As long as it is summer, and you endure the heat, take time to enjoy the seasonal pleasure of peaches. The Village Inn has their peach pie in stock. And it is good!

If you are wondering how peach pie relates to coins, it doesn’t. But when you are located next to the Village Inn, it does. So stop by, get some peach pie and then come over and enjoy the cool AC at Old Pueblo Coin. Look around and you may find something that is just peachy.

Peach Pie Season in the summer time.

Peach Pie Season in the summer time.

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The Kit Carson Cent


Kit Carson is known as a frontiersman of the early American era. Few people make it through the history of time to be remembered by the generations that follow, Kit Carson is one of those men. But at least one man thought Christopher “Kit” Carson would be lost to history. When Carson was a teenager his father died. He was given to be an apprentice of a saddler named David Workman. Carson would rather try his fate in the wilderness and ran away. The year was 1826. Mr. Workman responded with a public reward for his valuable hand. Apparently Mr. Workman didn’t think very highly of the young boy, but would happily offer a bounty of one cent to whomever brought him back!Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 4.16.13 PM

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The coins that aren’t

It is common for people to search for coins from the year they were born. Usually they are looking for the largest coin they can find, a dollar or half dollar at least. What people don’t know is that not all coins are made in all years. This leads to the phone conversation that goes something like this…

“Old Pueblo Coin”

“I’m looking for a silver dollar from 1975”

“You can stop looking, they didn’t make any.”


“Really?! Thank you for telling me. Have a good day.”


I wonder how many places they called or how long they looked before we gave them the correct information. Do people intentionally not give them accurate information? Do people not know? Are they looking on the internet?


There are many examples of coins NOT being made for a period of time. One of the more recent examples is the 1975 Ike dollar, JFK half dollar and Washington quarter. Since it is the 40th anniversary of those coins not existing, let’s look at them. It was the advent of the Bicentennial of the United States. To commemorate the bicentennial they decided to produce special designs for the quarter the half dollar and the dollar and circulate those coins for two years, 1975 and 1976. These coins carry the date 1776-1976 on them. This means that there are no quarters, halves or dollars dated 1975. They did make a proof set in 1975, but only the smaller coins (the 1c, 5c, 10c,) are dated 1975.

imagesSo if you are looking for a gift for a 40th birthday, anniversary or reunion, you can buy a proof set, but don’t expect to find a 25c, 50c or $1 with the date 1975, they don’t exist. Happy Birthday to the coins that are not.


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