Silver: Power to the People
Silver: Power to the People by Rory for The Daily Coin
Silver is money of the people. Silver, as we have pointed out endlessly, has been money longer than gold; silver is still money today it is just not used as currency.
Over the past several years as my affection for silver and gold has grown my appreciation for the “art of the coin” has grown tremendously. I have created objects of art since I was a child so it is no wonder there is an affection for the sculptural quality found in some of the coins on the market today.
Investment silver has really come into it’s own over the past decade and with this renewed interest in investment silver we find several creative entrepreneurs making a statement in silver, not with jewelry but with their coins and bars.
A few months ago I was able to pick up some generic rounds that were produced in 1976. These silver medallions were in honor of a business convention being held in Nashville, Tn. The medallions (generic silver rounds or if you prefer, generic silver coins) weigh 0.65 of an ounce.
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The coins are nice, not real creative but somewhat rare. There were not a lot generic rounds being made in 1976 so these medallions are somewhat of a novelty. The only real value they have is the silver content. The artwork, as stated, is not real creative so no one is really seeking them out. I did manage to find a coin shop selling them for $30 per coin. Personally, I would not pay that much for these coins. I bought them strictly for the silver and will reintroduce them to the market when the exchange rate for silver is more favorable.
Moving ahead we find today the coin/medallion/rounds have changed dramatically. The artwork is spectacular, the idea behind the design is thoughtful and the quality of the sculpture is world class. Unfortunately there are just too many to cover in this one article so I am going to showcase a couple of coins that I really like and can demonstrate how investing in coins as coins or art can be a lot of fun and profitable.
Click any image to enlarge.
First up, Perth Mint. A lot people are familiar with Perth Mint as they are world renowned for their gold coins. Perth Mint is the official mint of Australia and most of their coins are considered currency and have a face value stamped on the observe side. Most all of the coins, regardless of the size or denomination, have an image of the Queen of England on the observe just to remind everyone you are slave to the Queen. Here is what you will see on almost all Perth Mint coins.
Perth Mint does an outstanding job of creating some of the most beautiful silver coins in the world. Beginning in 1999 the Mint decided to begin issuing the Lunar Series coins. These 1 ounce silver coins struck in .999 silver bullion were based on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Each year for twelve straight years the Mint would issue the corresponding Lunar symbol for that year. This has proven to be one of the more anticipated coins every year. This coin series along with the Kookaburra and Koala coins are fan favorites the world over. Each of these coin series, not only have incredible non-repeating art they also have some of the lowest mintages for any government silver coin produced. The Kookaburra, the national bird of Australia, coin began with a mintage of only 300,000 coins per year. The popularity of this coin has led Perth Mint to raise the mintage to 1,000,000 coins annually. The art work changes every year so, unlike the American Silver Eagle, you get a completely different coin each year. I have at least one coin for every year going back to 2009. I will be ordering my 2017 within the next few few days.
Here is the entire set of Kookaburra coins for 2016 – the kilo, 10 ounce and one ounce – pictured above is the one ounce “privy mark” (Year of the Monkey) coin which is included in this collection.
Something to keep in mind when looking at coins as an investment is the off sized coins. e.g half ounce, two ounce, five ounce and the like. These coins typically have a much lower mintage than the much more popular one ounce coins. Generally speaking you will find the number of coins produced to be significantly lower across the board. These numbers can range from a several hundred coin mintage to less than an hundred. On occasion a really popular design will breach the 1,000 mintage mark in the off size but by and large they are under 1,000 minted coins. This makes these coins all the more rare. The only problem is the after market is all the more smaller and, therefore, these coins may not produce a buyer as easily as their one ounce cousin.
An example of how one can profit in these coins is to acquire them as soon as they hit the market. The premiums are low, the current cost of silver is rock bottom and the after market in the coins has proven to be generous. eBay is a great gauge of the health of the market, along with other online auctions as well as most of the online bullion dealers will be happy to relieve you of any unwanted silver. The premiums on after market coins can vary by significant amounts. If we look at the 2012 Year of the Dragon one ounce BU coin on eBay. The advertised pricing for this coin ranges from a low of approximately $41 US to as much as $53 US. That’s a big swing in my book. These coins were introduced to the market at approximately $36 per coin. (average cost of silver was $31.15 then add premiums and shipping). In five short years this coin has appreciated by approximately 3-4%. Not great, but not bad.
On the other hand if we look at the half ounce 2012 Year of the Dragon BU coin this is what we find: the range is staggering on eBay – low of just over $22 US all the way up to $50 US (average is approximately $25). This coin originally sold for approximately $18 US. If we use the $7 US increase we are approaching a 40% return on investment, that’s more like it. So, you can see the half ounce has appreciated more than the one ounce on a percentage bases. I expect this trend to continue.
Get out there and pick up a coin or two, it doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t cost that much and it sure as hell beats downloading the latest nonsensical pop “song” on iTunes. For the cost of three cups of Starbucks and two downloads on iTunes you could actually make an investment that you or someone in your family could, potentially, benefit.
Look for more in this series as there are a great many more coins to cover. Next up we will venture exclusively into private minted medallions and rounds from Elemental (Privateer) and Silver Shield.
John Lennon was murdered on this date in 1980. The title of this article in his honor. Mr. Lennon was only 40 years old at the time of his death. May he Rest in Peace.