Tuesday, February 27, 2024

History of Gold Prices

The current Gold price is much more than the price of a commodity. The price of Gold today is the result of being the most important Precious Metal for thousands of years. Looking beyond the Gold price chart, you will discover a tale that goes beyond the value of a bar of Gold in an investment portfolio.

You will discover Gold became much more than currency for the earliest humans and to this day maintains an important place in science and medicine, as well as jewelry, clothes, homes and palaces.


About 4,000 B.C., the first recorded use of Gold to fashion decorative objects was found in present-day Eastern Europe – probably mined in the Transylvanian Alps or the Mount Pangaion area in Thrace. About 1,000 years later, the Sumer culture of southern Iraq created sophisticated jewelry, with some styles still worn today. Around 500 years after that, Gold jewelry was buried in the First Dynasty Egyptian King Djer’s tomb in Abydos.


With large Gold-bearing regions, Egypt was considered a wealthy nation as Gold became the recognized standard of a trade by 1,500 B.C. Also around this time, the Shekel became the standard Middle Eastern unit of measure. Made of about two-thirds Gold and one-third Silver, imagine the current Gold and Silver prices for these first Shekels. About 400 years later, China legalized little squares of Gold as currency. The first coins we know of to be made purely from Gold weren’t produced until 560 B.C. in Lydia, an Asia Minor kingdom. By 50 B.C., the Romans had produced a Gold coin called the Aureus.

The current Gold price is, in part, built on this rich history of civilizations turning to Gold as standard money. Gold makes great coinage because it doesn’t readily oxidize and therefore doesn’t lose its weight, maintaining the Gold coin value. Other metals like iron would rust away or, like copper, gain weight from oxidation.  As a result of the historical Gold values, finding new sources of Gold became part of conquests as early as 344 B.C.


In 344 B.C., Alexander the Great led 40,000 men across Hellespont on a massive military conquest and took control of large quantities of Gold from the Persian Empire. By A.D. 1511, Gold would be a driving force behind trips to the Americas. Spanish King Ferdinand commanded explorers in 1511 to “Get Gold, humanely if you can, but all hazards, get Gold.” By 1700, Gold was discovered in Brazil and was responsible for almost two-thirds of the world’s output just 20 years later.


The first Gold Rush was in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, in 1803 after a 12-year-old boy found a 17-pound Gold nugget in Little Meadow Creek. He used it as a doorstop for three years before his father took the rock to a jeweler who bought it for $3.50 and later sold it for a 1,000-fold profit.

In the early 1800s, the Gold from the North Carolina Gold Rush supplied the U.S. Mint’s Philadelphia branch with the Gold needed to produce domestic Gold coins. In 1792, the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, used almost 1/20 of an ounce to create the American dollar, making the Gold bullion price about $19.39 for a regular ounce. The $20 Gold ounce price remained the same until 1934.

The California Gold Rush is the best-known Gold rush in American history. Gold was first found in Los Angeles in 1843, but the real rush came in 1848 when John Marshall found Gold flakes while building a sawmill, Sutter’s Mill, near Sacramento. This began what was the most famous rushes of the placer mining technique, which ended in 1860. Placer mining, also known as panning for Gold, is a popular way to separate Gold from gravel and sand in streambeds. By 1859, Gold was also found in the Comstock Lode area in Northern Nevada, along with Silver. The last Gold Rush of the century took prospectors to Alaska, where two prospectors discovered Gold while fishing in Klondike. Even with these big Gold rushes, the Gold ounce price remained at $19.39 per ounce.


Much of the 20th century included changes in regulations of Gold, including in 1933 when President Roosevelt prohibited Gold currency and in 1961 when Americans were prohibited from owning Gold. By 1974, Americans were again allowed to own Gold. The Gold ounce price began to fluctuate as various other policies took hold.

During the 1900s and into this century, Gold has been used for more than currency and trade, including a variety of scientific and medical devices, bolstering the demand for Gold. In 1927, a widespread French study showed Gold could help treat rheumatoid arthritis – something reaffirmed in 1960. In 1935, the Western Electric alloy of 69% Gold, 25% Silver and 6% Platinum was used in all switching contacts for AT&T telecommunications. At AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1947, the first transistor is created with Gold contacts pressed into a germanium surface and by 1960 AT&T was using Gold-coated mirrors in the newly patented laser.

Gold even contributed to space. In 1965, Col. Edward White wore a Gold-coated visor to protect his eyes from direct sunlight as he made his first spacewalk during the Gemini IV mission. Gold-coated visors are still worn today in space. In 1980, Gold-coated impellers were used in the liquid hydrogen fuel pump on the first space shuttle launch. These and other medical and scientific endeavors have used Gold to make advancements, and to this day, the reliance on this Precious Metal has helped increase the spot price of Gold.

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Saturday, February 24, 2024

What Is Bullion?

What is a Bullion Coin?

A bullion coin is a coin that has no collectible value beyond the Precious Metal contained in it. Bullion coins are usually manufactured to meet demand from investors looking for smaller denominations of Precious Metals products. Many mints manufacture bullion coins with a minimal amount of Precious Metal because Precious Metal content is what gives bullion value.

Bullion coins are typically sold at a lower premium price over the market price of the underlying metal when compared to numismatic or semi-numismatic coins. The coins come in half-ounce, quarter-ounce, tenth-ounce, and even one-twentieth-ounce sizes.

The classic Gold and Silver coins are the South African Krugerrand, the Chinese Panda Coin, American Buffalo Coin, or Canadian Maple Leaf Coins. These coins are all manufactured with 1 troy ounce of .9999 fine Gold each. The value of these physical Gold coins is often based on their Precious Metal content, but also the scarcity and collector value.

The American Eagle Coin series has become extremely popular. Minted by the United States Mint since 1986, they are available in four sizes: 1 oz, ½ oz, ¼ oz, and 1/10 oz. These coins are guaranteed by the US Government to contain their stated weight of .999 fine Precious Metal. More than 400 million American Eagle Coins have been minted.

Adding a Silver or Gold coin as a Precious Metals investment to your collection is a more accessible way to improve its value.

There are multiple factors to consider when buying bullion:

  • Precious Metals value: Bullion and Precious Metals values are often mentioned together. any factors such as the economy, supply and demand, trading frequency and political circumstances play a role in bullion value. Whether you are interested in bullion bars or coins, understanding the value will help put your purchasing power into perspective.
  • Bullion shapes: Bullion comes in many shapes, such as bars and rounds, but can also come in non-traditional shapes like stars and Silver bullets. Hand-poured Silver is considered bullion, even though it does not have a traditional finish as molded bars do. Some jewelry can even be considered bullion.
  • Coin types: Bullion coins come in a variety of types from around the world. These common coins are considered bullion and are highly valuable, including the Australian Kookaburra and Kangaroo coins, American Eagle and Buffalo coins, Canadian Maple Leafs, Austrian Philharmonics, British Sovereigns and Britannias, Mexican Libertads and Pandas from the Central Mint of China. These coin types are just some of the many bullion coins available.
  • Precious Metal types: Bullion extends to both Platinum and Palladium, which are rarer than Gold and Silver. Despite the rarity, Platinum bullion and Palladium bullion are readily available for investors. 

The appeal of collecting or investing in bullion is different for each buyer, but the vast array of options to choose from ensures there is something for everyone. Novice and experienced investors can find something within their budget and investment strategy. Having a good understanding of what makes bullion so unique and valuable will go a long way in helping you develop and reach your investment goals.

Bullion appeals to many investors because the sizes and shapes vary, providing a plethora of options. The traditional 1 oz Precious Metals sizes are common, but other sizes include 1/10 oz Gold or 5 oz Platinum, and even 1/4 oz Silver or 1/2 oz Palladium. Smaller sizes provide an affordable approach for buyers because they do not require a large financial commitment but still make a nice introduction to bullion collecting.

Larger sizes of bullion can also be purchased; sizes like the 10 oz Silver bar or 1 kilo Gold Bars and Rounds. They require more of a financial commitment but add diversity to any Precious Metals portfolio.
  • Types of Silver Bullion
Once you have determined your goal for buying Silver bullion, the next step is to select the best quality Silver for your needs. Silver bullion may be purchased in several forms. For a new collector looking to buy Silver bullion, there are several tempting options.

So-called “junk” coins — older U.S. coins minted with a Silver content of 90% — are a viable form of Silver bullion. They are still attractive, they just have no numismatic, or collectible, value beyond their Silver content.

The U.S. Mint has a long history of producing bullion coins, with mintage going back to 1986. The most popular modern coin – the American Silver Eagle – is arguably the best way to own silver as an investment. A close runner up to the American Eagle is the Mexican Libertad.

Millions of these coins are minted every year and they contain one troy ounce of .999 fine silver. The silver American Eagle coin and silver Mexican Libertad coins are available in smaller weights. Backed by the United States Mint and Bank of Mexico, these are considered investment-grade bullion coins.

While the artistry involved with minting precious metal rounds can vary, many rounds have a distinct bullion finish. They are often minted by private mints and contain the same amount of precious metals as government-minted coins, but they may come in different shapes and sizes.

A well-informed bullion investor should have a firm understanding of silver spot prices, value and liquidity before buying silver in bulk.

In order to buy Silver bullion may select a form of Silver more typically thought of as bullion: larger-format Silver bars. Weighty and beautiful, stereotypical bars of bullion make a gorgeous display to serious investors and collectors. For an investment of this size, it is key to follow Silver prices today and the time your purchase accordingly. Small fluctuations in Silver bullion prices will add up quickly when you are considering buying 100 oz or more at a time.
  • Types of Gold Bullion
Buying Gold bullion is a larger financial undertaking that rightly demands greater consideration. That said, there are many ways to get started as a Gold bullion investor even with a modest budget. First, if you carefully follow Gold bullion prices you can maximize your buying power.

While Gold has a strong upward trend over the long term, you can take advantage of momentary dips to get the best value for your money. Secondly, you might consider buying Gold bullion in smaller amounts. For example, a 1/10 oz Gold bullion round is an affordable entry point into purchasing Gold bullion without making a large financial commitment.

Thirdly, consider buying Gold coins. Gold coins are sold by many different sovereign nations and these coins are not only a good investment because they are made of quality Gold but also because of their proof or burn status. With proof Gold coins, the coin is specially manufactured to have any aspect of visual appeal. These proofs may be done with special dies, polished dies, or a special strike.

Proof Gold coins often carry a high premium because of their controlled mintage, artistic value and scarcity. In contrast, burn Gold coins are those that have been specially processed to wear as if they were used as currency. These types of coins also allow for the actual design on the coin to be clearly seen, which also adds to the visual appeal.

Most Gold bullion investors are drawn to Gold bars because of their affordability, portability and ease of storage. For individuals looking for simple ways to invest in Gold, buying Gold bullion bars is a good option. The typical types of investments found in most investment portfolios are stocks, bonds or mutual funds.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

How Much Do My Coins Weigh?

The weight of any coin depends upon three factors: diameter, thickness, and material composition. As such, coins made out of different materials, having different thicknesses, and different diameters will weigh different amounts. Mints from around the world have used a variety of different materials to manufacture coins ranging from precious metals, such as gold and silver, to low-cost steel and aluminum that sells for pennies a pound.

The composition of United States coinage is determined by laws passed by the United States Congress and approved by the President. The Coinage Act of April 2, 1792, established the denominations and specifications that the Treasury Department could direct the United States Mint to manufacture. Congress must approve any changes to the diameter, weight, and composition of the coins.

Although the United States is one of the few nations in the world that has not officially adopted the metric system for commerce, all coin specifications for United States coinage is given in millimeters for diameter and grams for weight.

Mints strive to produce a product that is consistent in diameter, thickness, and material used. However, slight differences in the manufacturing process will lead to variances in the coins it produces. In other words, there will be some slight differences between identical coins that were produced at different times in the minting process.

How Much Does a Penny Weigh?

The United States Mint currently manufactures one-cent coins that consist of a core of 99.2 percent zinc and 0.8 percent copper plated with less than 0.003 inches of pure copper. It is 19.05 millimeters in diameter and weighs 2.5 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.1 grams.

Pennies dated from 1864 until 1982 were made with 95 percent copper and 5 percent zinc. These coins weighed 3.11 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.13 grams. In 1982, the mint produced half of the pennies with the solid copper composition and half of the pennies with the copper-plated zinc composition.

In 1943, Congress dictated that the United States Mint changed the composition of the penny to a core of pure steel plated with zinc. This change in composition was intended to save copper for the manufacturing of munitions to be used in World War II. These steel pennies weigh 2.689 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.13 grams. These steel cents quickly started to rust and deteriorated. In 1944, Congress reversed its decision, and the composition returned to the copper and zinc alloy.

How Much Does a Nickel Weigh?

Since the United States Mint began producing nickels in 1866, the specifications remain fairly constant. The five-cent coin is composed of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel. It weighs 5 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.194 grams and has a diameter of 21.21 millimeters. Nickels produced between 1866 and 1883 had a slightly smaller diameter of 20.5 millimeters and therefore were slightly thicker than today's standard.

Since nickels produced in the United States are composed mainly of copper, Congress once again intervened to change the composition of the coin to save copper for the manufacture of munitions to fight the war in Europe. From 1942 until 1945, five-cent coins were composed of 56 percent copper, 35 percent silver, and 9 percent manganese. These coins are easily distinguishable by the large mint mark located above the dome of Monticello on the reverse.

How Much Does a Dime Weigh?

Since 1965, all United States dimes have outer layers of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel clad to a core of pure copper. A 10-cent coin weighs 2.268 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.091 grams and a diameter of 17.91 millimeters. Roosevelt dimes dated before 1964 were composed of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper and weighed 2.5 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.097 grams.

How Much Does a Quarter Weigh?

All 25-cent coins manufactured since 1965 have outer layers of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel bonded to a core of pure copper. They weigh 5.67 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.227 grams and a diameter of 24.26 millimeters. Washington quarters manufactured in 1964 and earlier have a composition of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper, weighing 6.25 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.194 grams.

How Much Does a Half-Dollar Weigh?

The United States half-dollars manufactured for circulation since 1971 have outer layers of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel adhered to a core of pure copper with a diameter of 30.61 millimeters. These coins weigh 11.34 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.454 grams.

Kennedy half-dollars minted from 1965 through 1970 have a composition of 40 percent silver and 60 percent copper and weigh 11.5 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.4 grams.

Franklin and Kennedy half-dollars minted between 1947 in 1964 are composed of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper that weigh 12.5 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.259 grams.

How Much Does a Dollar Coin Weigh?

The United States began producing silver dollars in 1794. The composition, diameter, and weight have changed drastically over time. The United States Mint currently produces the Native American dollar series. These coins are minted with outer layers of 77 percent copper, 12 percent zinc, 7 percent magnesium, and 4 percent nickel clad onto a core of pure copper. These coins weigh 8.1 grams and have a diameter of 26.5 millimeters. These are the same specifications also used to manufacture the Presidential dollar coin from 2007 to 2016.

Other dollar series included the Susan B. Anthony dollar with outer layers of 75 percent copper and 25 percent nickel bonded to a core of pure copper. Anthony dollar coins weigh 8.1 grams with a tolerance of ± 0.3 grams and ​a diameter of 26.5 millimeters.

The last of the "big dollars" was the Eisenhower dollar that also had the copper-nickel clad composition, except they weighed 22.68 grams with a tolerance ± 0.907 grams and a diameter of 38.1 millimeters. Several silver Eisenhower dollars were specially made for coin collectors. These weighed 24.5 grams and were minted with outer layers consisting of 80 percent silver and 20 percent copper bonded to an inter-core of 20.9 percent silver and 70.91 percent copper. These special collector coins were produced in both business strike and Proof finish.

All silver dollars minted from 1794 until 1935 were composed of approximately 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. They weighed anywhere between 26.956 grams and 26.73 grams. The diameter varied between 39.5 millimeters and 38.1 millimeters.

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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Bicentennial Quarters

The 1970s were a tumultuous time in the history of the United States. Many of the causes and cultural changes that began in the 1960s carried over into the next decade. Protests for civil rights for women, African-Americans, and other marginalized groups continued into the 1970s. Protest against the Vietnam War occupied a large part of the evening news. The environmental movement started while the Watergate scandal forced the first resignation of a sitting U.S. president.

The 1970s was also a time of great triumphs. Disco ruled the dance floor, while bellbottoms ruled the fashion world. The United States had just landed a man on the moon. Videocassettes and video games started to appear in more and more homes. The first personal computer was developed and marketed by IBM. Medical advancements included MRIs and the artificial heart.

Perhaps the biggest celebration the world has ever seen began its planning stages in the early 1970s. A multi-year event to celebrate the Bicentennial anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence swept the country. In addition to parades and souvenirs, the Treasury of the United States issued its first circulating commemorative coin.

How They Decided The Design;

Secretary of the Treasury George P. Schultz directed Mrs. Mary Brooks, Director of the Mint, under the auspices of Public Law 93-127 to design three new coins emblematic of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution and to begin production on July 4, 1975. The three coins chosen to proclaim the bicentennial were the quarter, half-dollar, and one-dollar coin.

The people of the United States had not seen a commemorative coin since 1954 when the Treasury Department discontinued the commemorative coin program due to abuses by politicians and special interest groups. The excitement for the Bicentennial celebration fueled interest in these new coins. The Treasury Department asked the National Sculpture Society to conduct a design contest among its nationwide membership, impanel a jury of experts to judge the entries, and submit several designs for each denomination to the Secretary of the Treasury.

Collecting These Coins;

Since over 1.6 billion Bicentennial quarters were made between the Philadelphia and Denver United States Mint facilities, they are still occasionally found in circulation. Many United States citizens thought that these coins would be valuable in the future since they were commemorating the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, gem uncirculated specimens can sometimes be found in pocket change because somebody cashed in the coins they've been hoarding since 1976. Additionally, nice collector-quality coins can be purchased from your favorite local coin dealer or on the Internet.

Although business strike coins made for circulation are plentiful, high-quality nicely-struck coins are hard to come across. Remember, the mint was under intense pressure to produce as many bicentennial coins as possible due to the likelihood of hoarding. Therefore, they sacrificed quality to gain quantity. When selecting a coin for your collection, look at the high points on Washington's cheek to ensure there is no evidence of wear and that the coin is fully struck. On the reverse side, look for weakness and lack of detail at the top of the drum. Coins with minimal surface scratches, dazzling mint luster, and excellent eye appeal are necessary for any outstanding coin collection.

Coins made specifically for collectors include the Proof copper-nickel clad, uncirculated 40% silver quarters, and Proof silver quarters. Since the mint manufactured these coins with great care, scratches and surface damage are rarely a concern. However, many Proof coins made with fatigued dies had diminished the intensity of the frosting on the devices and reduced the cameo contrast. Look for coins with deep frosting on the devices and extreme reflectivity on the mirror-like fields.

Unfortunately, many people did not store their special collector edition coins properly over the years. Many collectors and individuals purchased them directly from the United States Mint and then stored them in less than ideal conditions. This may have included boxes that ended up in attics and basements. The extreme temperatures and moisture in these areas can cause toning and corrosion on the coin's surface. Avoid purchasing any coin that has a haze on the coin's surface.

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Thursday, February 15, 2024

What is A Mercury Dime?

Mercury dimes were first minted in 1916. They continued their run until 1945.

Replacing the Barber dime, it was part of a movement by the government and the U.S. Mint to beautify American coinage.


The design for the coin did not alter during its run. However, there were several sizes of mintmarks used by the San Francisco Mint. They are noticeably different by comparing them. 

In 1928, the San Francisco Mint used a normal size S mintmark and a Large S mintmark, displayed here.

In 1941, the San Francisco Mint used both a Large S mintmark and a smaller than usual “Small S” mintmark. The regular size S mintmark was not used. Of the two, the 1941-S Large S is the less common variety.

Then, in 1945, we have an even smaller S mintmark, referred to as “Micro S”. 

The Mercury dime, properly known as the Winged Head Liberty dime, was designed by the artist Adolph A. Weinman. He also created the winning design for the Walking Liberty half dollar. On these coins, his initials AW are depicted.

Also, Weinman’s statues grace national parks around the country.

Weinman was friends with famous poet Wallace Stevens and his wife Elsie. As a gift, he made a bust of Elsie and gave it to them.

She was the model for the both the Winged Liberty dime and the Walking Liberty half dollar. 

The face of the Mercury dime shows Lady Liberty wearing her freedom cap, with wings on the sides.

Per Weinman, the wings were meant to symbolize freedom of thought. When we consider the history of the time, women (known as Suffragettes) were very active campaigning for equal rights. Specifically during this time, they were campaigning for the right to vote.

It was not until 1919 that women were allowed to vote. 

How did the coin become known as the Mercury dime? Mercury was a Roman god. Although Mercury did not wear a freedom cap (which is the hat of a freed slave), he did have wings on his hat.

Also, consider the presence of the image of Mercury in such heavily populated places as New York City.

If you’ve studied your Roman history, Mercury was messenger of the gods AND he was the god of commerce. Per the Ancient History Encyclopedia, “Merchants would pray to him for high profits and protection of their trade goods.” Those knowing this would be apt to consider the image on the dime was that of Mercury. 

And so, the Winged Liberty Head dime became known as the Mercury dime. 

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Monday, February 12, 2024

The Story Behind The Peace Dollar

The Peace dollar was designed by Anthony de Francisci and was first designed as a commemorative to celebrate the peace at the end of World War I. The design of the Peace dollar was expected to be made beautiful and full of character. The model used was the designer’s wife, whose name was Teresa de Francisci.

At first, the announced design was not favored by the public because part of the design showed a large figure of an eagle perched on a broken sword. The design was trying to show that since the Great War (World War I), there was now peace. Instead, the public felt that it symbolized defeat and surrender. Many times in world history, handing an opponent a broken sword was considered a sign of surrender. So, the U.S. Mint quickly removed the broken sword from the coins.

The obverse showed Lady Liberty with a tiara beaming sunshine from it. Teresa de Francisci’s features were used for this. When Teresa came to the United States as an immigrant child, she was fascinated by the Statue of Liberty. She was not at all the least bit happy when another little girl got to play that role at her school drama. Mrs. Francisci felt that playing the role of being the model of Lady Liberty on Anthony’s coin design made her dreams that she had as a child come true. 

The Peace dollar had two mintage time periods, from 1921-1928 and from 1934-1935. The reason there is a gap is because during the Great Depression, there was no demand for those coins. The Great Depression was a period of economic downturn when many people were poor. The first Peace dollars were struck in late December 1921. It was also minted in 1964 at the Denver Mint, and in 2021, but in both cases, they did not go to circulation.

In 1964, Peace dollars were only struck in Denver. The 1964-D coins were technically all melted down, but some people argue that some do still exist. It would be very good if they did still exist, for they would be a great addition to the hobby. Although law says that people can not privately own one of these spectacular rarities, that may just be a rumor. PCGS, which set out a search for this coin, is willing to strike a deal with the government so that whoever finds the coin can keep it.

Dan Carr in Loveland, Colorado owns a private mint – the Moonlight Mint. This mint made copies of the 1964-D and 1917-1920 Peace dollars. This is not considered counterfeiting as these coins were only produced as fantasy pieces. The U.S. Mint did not technically release the 1964-D Peace dollars.

The 2021 coins, on the other hand, are very real and special and are not meant for circulation. these coins, along with the 2021 Morgan dollar, celebrate the end of Morgan dollars and the beginning of Peace dollars.


Friday, February 9, 2024

The Buffalo Nickel

A History of the Indian Head Nickel commonly known as the Buffalo Nickel

  • The Buffalo Nickel (officially the Indian Head Nickel) is a U.S. five-cent coin featuring a portrait of a Native American Indian on one side and an image of a buffalo (bison) on the other.
  • It was designed by sculptor James Earle Fraser in 1912 as part of the U.S. Mint’s campaign to beautify American coinage.
  • It was produced at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints from 1913 to 1938.
  • The first coins were distributed on February 22, 1913, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the National American Indian Memorial at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, New York.
  • Forty nickels were sent by the Mint for the ceremony in which most of the coins were distributed amongst the Native American chiefs who participated in the ceremony.
  • After the groundbreaking ceremony, the memorial was never built and was dubbed a “philanthropic humbug” by the media.
  • The Indian head nickel turned out to be difficult to coin. The coins tended to strike indistinctly and were subject to wear with the dates easily worn away in circulation.
  • The Treasury was eager to discontinue the coin.

In 1938, after the expiration of the minimum 25-year period during which the design could not be replaced, it was replaced by the Jefferson nickel.

  • Fraser’s buffalo design continues to be admired and has been used on commemorative coins such as the silver and gold American Buffalo coin series.
  • The Buffalo Nickel was officially introduced into circulation on March 4, 1913, and within a week Chief Engraver Charles Barber was expressing concern about how quickly the dies were wearing out during production.
  • According to his estimates, Buffalo Nickel dies were wearing out and breaking more than three times faster than the Liberty Head Nickel dies.
  • Barber and others at the Mint also believed the Buffalo Nickel would not hold up very well to ordinary wear and tear, and that in particular the date and the “FIVE CENTS” marking would wear away completely.
  • To correct these problems, Barber prepared several revisions to the design, Fraser approved them, and this slightly revised Buffalo Nickel went into production right away.
  • Oddly, the dies wore out even faster after Barber’s revisions, and the changes didn’t help with the wear problem, either.

In 1937 a worker at the Denver Mint polished a Buffalo Nickel die to remove “clash marks” — the marks and scratches that occur when dies are stored in direct contact with each other.

  • Unfortunately, this worker did his job too thoroughly and not only removed all the clash marks but one of the buffalo’s legs as well.
  • Amazingly, this mistake was not caught until after thousands of these “three-legged nickels” had been minted and put into circulation.
  • The Buffalo Nickel was in production for the mandatory twenty-five years, from 1913 to 1938.

In 1938, as soon as was allowed by law, the Mint announced a competition to design the Buffalo Nickel’s successor. 

The Jefferson Nickel began circulating in November 1938.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Susan B. Anthony Dollar

Susan B. Anthony was the first woman to be honored by having her likeness appear on a circulating United States coin. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the Susan B. Anthony Dollar Coin Act into law (Public Law 95-447). This law amended the Coinage Act of 1965, changing the size, weight, and design of the one-dollar coin. On July 2, 1979, the U. S. Mint officially released the Susan B. Anthony coin in Rochester, NY, the home of Susan B. Anthony during the most politically active years of her life. In 1979, 757,813,744 coins were produced. Additional coins were dated 1980, 1981 (numanistic items only), and 1999. Ultimately, the United States Mint produced 888,842,452 Susan B. Anthony coins for circulation.

In 1997, Congress passed the United States $1 Coin Act (Public Law 104-124, Sec. 4), replacing the Susan B. Anthony dollar with the golden dollar coin. The golden color of this new coin, combined with a smoother edge and wider border, helps to more easily differentiate it from a quarter. The act also authorized the Secretary of Treasury to continue to mint Susan B. Anthony coins until such time as the production of new golden coins was ready. In 1999, the final 41,368,000 Susan B. Anthony coins were minted. The coins continue in circulation today.

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Saturday, February 3, 2024

6 Interesting Facts on American Eagle 1 oz Silver Coins


1. It all started with a stockpile.

The American silver eagle bears the elegant Adolph A. Weinman design from the earlier Walking Liberty half dollar with a side profile of Lady Liberty on the obverse with the inscription “In God We Trust,” and the triumphant heraldic eagle design by John Mercanti on the reverse. It’s truly a beautiful coin. So, it might surprise you to know that this coin program began in a very practical way to dispose of excess silver.

The United States government had a huge stockpile of silver, which was well over 100 million ounces. Many lawmakers believed that this excess precious metal was depressing the price of silver. After much deliberation, Congress eventually approved a coin program in 1985 with the primary intent of disposing of the extra. The act authorized the issuance of gold and silver eagles.

The program began in 1986, and it took until 2002 for the silver stockpile to be depleted. At that point, the American Silver Eagle program could have been ended for good. However, the coins were so popular that the United States Mint began buying silver to produce the coins and keep the program going.

2. Silver Eagles are Produced with U.S.-mined Silver

Per the Coin Act of 1985, American silver eagles are only to be produced with U.S. mined silver. Most of the silver mined in the U.S. is from Alaska, Nevada and Idaho. Once the silver is mined, it is fabricated into blanks or planchets, which are shipped to the U.S. Mint from private producers.

Only a select number of silver fabricators are tabbed with the important task of supplying the U.S. Mint with silver planchets. One of the largest suppliers of silver planchets for the production of American silver eagles is Sunshine Minting. They are also one of the most recognized producers of silver bullion rounds and bars.

In 2020, planchets were in short supply, which caused shortages and temporary stoppages of the production of silver American eagles. Covid-19 also played a role in the reduced production of silver eagles. We’ll discuss below some of the steps that the U.S. Mint took to meet silver eagle demand during the Covid-19 crisis.

3. The American Eagle 1 oz. Silver coins may be the most collected U.S. silver dollar.

When you think of collectible silver coins, the American Eagle 1 oz silver coins may not be the first that comes to mind. In fact, these coins are commonly referred to as “bullion” coins. Bullion simply means that the value of the coins are primarily derived from the underlying metal content as opposed to their collectible value.

If you’re a collector, you might instead gravitate more toward Peace and Morgan dollars, which were produced in 1935 and earlier. However, at least one numismatics expert, Michael “Miles” Standish, has stated that American Eagle silver bullion coins are probably the most collected of all U.S. silver dollars.

With between 400,000 and 500,000 million minted and many more millions produced on an annual basis, there are certainly a lot of these silver coins to collect. Many collectors purchase American silver eagles by the tube or in bulk, such as a monster box (500 count green boxes), and investors add them to their precious metals IRAs as a hedge against inflation.

It’s important to remember that if you decide to add proof silver eagles to your IRA, they must include the original government packaging (i.e. COA, case and box). This is one reason why proof silver eagles in their original box tend to trade at higher levels than certified proof silver eagles.

Even though a decent bit more Morgan dollars were minted than American silver eagles – about 657 million in total, it’s estimated that only about 275 million remain. So, while it’s true that Morgan dollars are interesting and worth collecting, it’s nearly certain that more people have American Eagle 1 oz silver coins in their collections.

4. COVID-19 delays resulted in a rare issue of uncirculated Silver American Eagles.

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the United States of America, life changed dramatically in nearly every way. The United States Mint’s production of American Eagle 1 oz silver coins was affected, as well. Fortunately for some collectors, this situation led to an issue of rare coins.

The West Point Mint had been producing the silver bullion coins from 2018 to 2020. Unfortunately, a mint worker became ill with the virus. Of course, the mint responded by closing for a thorough cleaning to protect the other workers. Coin production for the silver bullion coins was paused, restarted at a lower level, and then halted altogether.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Mint was tasked with taking over some of the load. There, about 240,000 American Silver Eagle 1 oz silver coins were produced during the month of April. These are some of the rarest silver eagle coins and are the lowest minted bullion silver eagles.

In fact, the mintage is on par with some of the lowest produced proof silver eagles. Now certified by coin grading companies as “Emergency Issues,” these coins have become a much sought-after prize. Depending on the grade, they can sell for well over $100, and will likely be collected for the foreseeable future due to the historical events that led to the production of these coins.

5. The coin received a design makeover in 2021.

From 1986 to mid-year 2021, the American eagle 1 oz silver coins bore the same design. However, in 2021, the U.S. Mint produced silver eagles with another design in addition to the original type.

The 2021 coins with the first design, which are now referred to as “Type 1 silver eagles,” feature a refreshed image of the Adolph A. Weinman Walking Liberty Half Dollar. This obverse design was also retained for the obverse of the newly designed coins. 

It’s the reverse designs that make the difference. Through mid-year 2021, all the silver Eagle coins bore the John Mercanti image of the heraldic eagle grasping an olive branch and arrows. After that, however, the reverse side of the coins were redesigned.

Created by Emily Damstra, the new reverse shows an eagle coming in for a landing. The eagle carries a branch as if to add it to a nest below.

The reverse of both versions also has inscriptions of United States of America, 1 oz. Fine Silver, One Dollar, and E Pluribus Unum. If the coin has a mintmark, such as “S” for San Francisco, it is also on the reverse. Not surprisingly, the new design is referred to as a “Type 2” silver eagle.

Interestingly enough, the Type 1 silver eagles became more popular after the introduction of the Type 2 coins, as the mintage of these coins was relatively small compared to the number produced in recent years.

6. One American Eagle 1 oz silver coin sold at auction for over $10,000.

The American eagle 1 oz silver coin is U.S. legal tender and is guaranteed by the United States government to contain one troy ounce of 99.9% pure silver. So, in terms of pure investment, it naturally has the value of the spot price of one troy ounce of silver plus the coin dealer’s premium or mark up.

However, some silver eagles are worth much more. In fact, in 2019 a 1999 silver Eagle sold for over $13,000 at auction. It just recently reached another all-time high auction price of $14,400. On the surface, one would assume that a 1999 silver eagle is extremely rare; possibly on par with the 1995-w proof silver eagle, which only had a mintage of 30,000 coins

In fact, 1999 wasn’t a particularly low mintage year, with the production of approximately 7.5 million coins. Relative to recent production numbers, it seems low, but at the time, it had the second highest production run of silver eagles produced in the first two decades of their existence.

So, what made this coin so valuable? First, the coin received an MS70 grade, indicating the coin’s perfect condition. This was rare for 1999 because there were many poorly struck coins that year. Additionally, milk spots (milky-like discoloration of the coins) were common on 1999 silver coins, and this reduced their grade.

Per the most recent NGC and PCGS population reports, there have only been 481 & 62 1999 silver eagles, respectively, that have received a grade of MS70. This is compared to over 100,000 coins that have been submitted to these third party services for certification. Therefore, due to the rarity, their value is extremely high.

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