Sunday, November 27, 2011

Silver Investing - Cleaning Silver Coins (Or Not)

For some time I have been meaning to write an article about cleaning silver coins. It wasn't high on my list because, in general, I don't recommend it except in a few special cases. Most dealers will tell you never to clean your silver coins (referred to as whizzing) as you may destroy any value it/they may have over and above the intrinsic value. Even if it doesn't have great value, you won't get a better price for a whizzed coin and, if you do it wrong, you may get less than if you just brought it in as is.

Peace Silver Dollar before cleaningClean silver coin - Peace DollarAnother reason I have taken so long in writing this article is because I didn't have good pictures of coins before and after the cleaning process (actually I describe two different cleaning procedures in the article). I was able to find two good examples to work with which you can see in great detail along with an example of a really bad whizzed coin. You can read about it at Cleaning Silver Coins.

It appears that November's Silver Eagle totals are headed for the lowest amount so far of all months in 2011. There for a while it looked like the U.S. Mint wouldn't even reach 1,000,000 but as of today (11/28) the number stands at 1,284,000 with just two more days to go. Compare this with the next two lowest months of March (2,767,000) and April (2,819,000) versus January's 6,422,000 and September's 4,460,500 and you can see the numbers are all over the board. We'll have to see where December's total comes in at but I would be very surprised to see it go higher than 2,500,000.

Spot silver stands at $31.93 and can't seem to break the $32 mark for any length of time. That's down $3.36 in the last 30 days but still up $5.23 over the last year which is +19.59%. Time is running out for the rosy projections of a much higher silver price by year-end. But keep the faith since 2012 appears to be shaping up as a most interesting year.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Silver Investing - I'm Going To Stop Puting Things Off, Starting Tomorrow

My last few silver purchases have been with a small dealer in my area. When I say small dealer, I mean small in that he is a one-man show. He travels around to local and regional coin shows, rents a booth and conducts business. Maybe I could get better deals elsewhere but Artie the dealer is as honest as the day is long and we trust each other.

Artie and I have a mutual friend that believes he missed the boat on profiting in silver and refuses to invest. The trouble is he has been saying that since silver was in the mid-teens. So he really did miss the boat then and he is still missing it. He has to stop puting things off. One thing our friend does like to do is spend time at the casino in our area. If he would take just half of his gambling funds and invest in some silver, he could be accumulating some real assets. I mean $40 will maybe get him 5-10 minutes of "fun" on a tight slot machine. With that same $40 (or less) our friend could become a full-fledged silver investor. It's all a matter of priorities and a little future planning.

My most recent purchase from Artie was a small amount of Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) Ben Franklin half-dollars (1948-1963). These are beautiful coins and, since they are uncirculated, each coin contains .3617 troy ounces of silver. With spot silver hovering around $35 per ounce, the intrinsic value (the value of the silver content only) of each coin is about $12.66. These coins would be worth a little more because they are uncirculated and in beautiful condition. Silver half-dollars that have been in circulation are considered to contain .3575 ounces of silver due to the wear factor. Based on the current spot price of silver, I paid a healthy premium for these half-dollars. But based on where I think silver is going, I won't be losing money on them. You can find out more about different silver coins at Silver Investing Guide and Silver Investing Simplified.

It can be confusing and frustrating trying to decide what to invest in these days. There are lots of conflicting stories on what is a safe investment. If you decide not to invest in precious metals and stay in other markets, I respect your decision. Just use good judgement and some good old common sense. Those that don't can expect the following...

When a person with money meets a person with experience,
the person with the experience gets the money and
the person with the money gets the experience.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Silver Investing - Buying Silver From Classified Ads

Before I discuss the mauling silver prices have been taking lately, I want to share a couple of classified ads that recently appeared in my local paper offering silver coins for sale.

Ad #1: 250 Silver Dimes, $750. How good of a deal is this? Circulated silver dimes (I'm assuming they are circulated) are considered to contain .0715 troy ounces of silver. So 250 x .0715 = 17.875 ounces of silver. Divide $750 by 17.875 for a cost per ounce of $41.958. The seller probably placed the ad when silver was going for $39-$40 an ounce (just last week). Spot silver at the time of this post is at $31.05 so the current worth of each silver dime is $2.22 (31.05 x .0715). Paying the asking price of $3.00 per coin, or a premium of $.78 per coin, is a little steep. I'd pass on this one.

Ad #2: 6 Silver Dollars, 5 Walker 1/2, 5 Silver Eagles $575. let's look at this offer a little closer. Circulated silver dollars are considered to contain .7650 troy ounces of silver, Walking Liberty half-dollars .3575 ounces of silver and Silver Eagles a full-ounce of silver. So total them all up (6 x .7650, 5 x .3575 and 6 x 1) and you have 12.3775 ounces of silver. Divide $575 by 12.3775 and you get an asking price of $46.455 per ounce. Ouch!

To take advantage of either "deal" would require great faith that 1) silver will one day surpass $50 per ounce and, 2) the buyer is willing to buy and hold despite the volatility of silver. I think it will go above that price sometime in the future but there are probably better deals to be had with silver presently in the $30-$31 range.

Now on to the shellacking the price of silver has taken lately. I've discussed this before but there is a world of difference between the silver paper traders and those dealing with physical silver. From all accounts I have read, this drop in prices has U. S. precious metals dealers scrambling to fill the huge demand their customers see as a fantastic buying opportunity. Silver buyers in Canada are of the same mind. In an article titled "Maple Leaf silver coins seeing record demand" a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mint stated they are on track to raise sales of its silver bullion coins by around 30 percent to 25 million ounces this year. The article is here.

You would never know that physical silver demand continues to be strong by watching the downward action - a probable result of technical paper trading in the futures market. The anti- higher-silver-price crowd certainly flexed their muscles last week - silver had its biggest single-day decline in two decades. More downward pressure came after the CME again increased margins on Friday. How many does that make now?

The U.S. Mint is starting to crank out Silver Eagles again after a slow September start. The total so far for the month is 3,425,500 (year-to-date 32,376,500) with a few more days to go. Still far from January 2011's total of 6,422,000.

Be sure to visit my web sites on silver to read helpful information on common U.S. and Canadian silver coins. Again, they are Silver Investing Simplified and Silver Investing Guide.

Thanks for reading. Keep the faith.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Silver Investing - Smart Phone Apps for Silver Coins

If you find yourself in a position to buy or sell silver coins (flea markets, private buyers/sellers, etc.) but are unsure of what they are worth at the moment, just take out your smart phone and find out. Here are a few smart phone apps that could save the day.

The first is called RRBI Silver Coins and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later. It's free and can be found at iTunes. Check it out here. The second is an Android app that essentially does the same and is also free. It can be found here. Hope you find this useful.

I just posted an entry on my Gold Investing Blog where I discussed gold and silver prices on September 11, 2001. Silver was at $4.18 and gold at $271.00. At the time of this post, spot silver is at $41.16 which is the strongest showing by far of other assets. You can see the article titled "Market Performance Since 9/11" here. It covers a number of asset classes and is interesting.

Silver eagle totals for August came in at 3,679,500. That is 3,679,500 ounces of silver used in support of that program but the U.S. Mint actually used quite a bit more in support of other programs - namely: 1) the 5-ounce 'America the Beautiful' coin series which used 175,065 ounces of silver in August and 1,902,000 ounces year-to-date; and 2) the proof U.S. Silver Eagle program which had sales of 133,460 in August and a year-to-date total of 726,921. So far in September 651,000 silver eagles have been produced with a year-to-date total of 29,602,000. Now that's a lot of silver. I hope they can keep it up.

I came across an interesting YouTube video titled "How are Silver Coins Minted?". Produced by Endeavour Silver Corp. (a mid-cap silver mining company headquartered in Vancouver B.C.), you will see the process from the melting of raw silver to the production of silver blanks (planchets) to the stamping out of silver rounds. The video runs just over six minutes and you can see it here.

My posts to this blog have been sporadic and will remain so for a little while longer. Once I get my scheduled surgery out of the way on 9/15, I hope to do better. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Silver Investing - Silver Price Holding Steady While Gold Flying High

I don't understand how the spot silver price can be stuck in such a narrow range while gold is charging full speed ahead - making new high after new high. Silver prices in the last 30 days ranged from a high of $42.27 to a low of $34. 77. But in the last week, silver has stayed in the $37 to $39 range while gold has charged ahead with record setting highs. Something is going on behind the scenes which is not meant to be disclosed to or understood by those who follow the price of silver.

On the positive side this represents a terrific buying opportunity if you believe silver is going to meet and exceed the $50 per ounce mark. If you are one to wander over to eBay and check on silver auctions with the intent to bid, I have some tips for you. I first posted these tips on my gold blog but will repeat them here only tailored to silver.

Tips On Buying Silver On eBay

Reuters recently published a blog entry titled "How Americans buy gold and precious metals on eBay". In this short entry it was revealed eBay’s gold bullion sales have jumped more than 60% from 2007 through 2010 with “almost half of the silver and gold buyers in the first quarter of 2011 never purchased these items on eBay before.” You can find the article here.

I have tracked activity on eBay for both gold and silver auctions for some time and even included some "ending soon" auctions on both my Gold Investing and Silver Investing web site pages. Only one fact surprised me in that they stated "There are two silver buyers for every gold buyer because silver is so much cheaper." I would have guessed a 5 to 1 ratio or even higher of silver to gold.

I have purchased silver on eBay in the past but never gold. There are two warnings I would give anyone before bidding on an eBay gold or silver auction:

1. It is important to watch the premiums you will be paying before bidding on a coin or lot. The Reuters blog entry mentions a 21% premium over spot silver for a Silver American Eagle. I would shop around for other silver coins or bars to invest in with lower premiums since the popular Silver Eagle will command among the highest premiums of any silver bullion coin. To be a smart shopper, you absolutely should know the spot silver price before bidding.

2. The blog entry also mentions the potential purchase price of a coin from a "top-rated seller". There are many, many auctions initiated by sellers that are NOT top-rated sellers. So how do you increase your odds of making a safe bid with a reputable seller? Here is what I would look for...

In the upper right-hand corner of each auction page is the seller's basic statistics area that identifies the seller's eBay name (if they are a top-rated seller, it will display that too), the number of transactions (with feedback) and the positive feedback percentage. To see what I'm talking about, go to Peace Silver Dollar, scroll down to the eBay auctions and click on any auction. If Top-rated seller is not displayed, I would look for several hundred transactions with 100% positive feedback. I would also try to deal only with sellers in my own country. Just keep in mind that only you can decide if bidding on an item is right for you. I take no responsibility for whatever gold purchases you successfully bid on.

For your information, I don't use eBay much for silver purchases. My personal preference is to use: 1) a smaller, local dealer for small purchases; 2) a large, reputable regional or nationwide dealer for larger and/or riskier purchases; and 3) eBay auctions if a good deal or "odd" coin pops up that I want -- in that order.

Thanks for reading. I hope you found this information useful.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Silver Investing - What Your Silver Coins Are Really Worth

People that have silver coins in their possession are naturally curious as to what they are worth. The purpose of this post is to give you a general idea of what your silver coins are worth if you were to bring them in to a coin dealer (or jewelry store accepting gold/silver). I am not recommending you sell your coins - that day will come but, in my humble opinion, that day is a ways off.

Let's start with the Morgan (1878-1904, 1921) and Peace (1921-1935) Silver Dollars. With spot silver at $39.27 and these silver dollars considered to contain .7650 in circulated condition, their "spot" value is $30.04. The price range you can expect to get will vary from approximately $24 to $29 depending on condition. These are for common date circulated coins. There are a number of exceptions and if you aren't sure if your coins are common date, see your coin dealer and/or visit my silver sites at Silver Investing Guide or Silver Investing Simplified.

Next, let's look at half dollars - the 1964 Kennedys, the Franklins (1948-1963) and the Walking Libertys (1916-1947). Again, with spot silver at $39.27 these silver half-dollars are considered to contain .3575 in circulated condition with their "spot" value being $14.04. The price you can expect to get will average about $12.55 for common date circulated coins. Here again there are exceptions, especially with the Walkers that have key dates and mint marks. More information can be found at Walking Liberty Half-Dollar.

For silver quarters, I'll cover the Washington (1932-1964) Quarters only. If you have Barber Quarters (1892-1916), you should consult with a trusted coin dealer since condition and a few key dates/mint marks can result in a tidy sum. With spot silver at $39.27 and these quarters containing .1788 in circulated condition, their "spot" value is $7.02. The price you can expect to get will average $6.25. Maybe a little more if in great condition. Key dates/mint marks worth much more are the 1932D and 1932S quarters.

Last are the silver dimes - the Roosevelt (1946-1964) and Mercury (1916-1945) Dimes. With spot silver at $39.27 and these silver dimes containing .0715 in circulated condition, their "spot" value is $2.80. The price you can expect to get will average $2.50 for common date circulated coins. There are some key dates/mint marks with the Mercury Dimes with the 1916D being the "super dime". See Mercury Dime for more details.

For Canadian Silver Coins, a general price guide is about 20 times the face value of 80% silver coins and 10 times face value of 50% silver coins. You can find more details at Silver Canadian Coins.

If you take your silver coins in and aren't quoted similar prices to those above, try another dealer. If you are an eBay Seller, it is possible you can get more for your silver coins as some outrageous prices are being bid for some of these silver coins.

One last item before I close is an interesting article I came across titled "11 Mentality Shifts of Silver Investors". I don't necessarily agree with all the details but it is an interesting read. You can find it here.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Silver Investing - Recognizing U.S. Silver Coins

For the last few years, I have been carrying an 1881 Morgan Silver Dollar with other change in my pocket. This is not something I would recommend others do as the silver content of this coin gets a little less all the time. But I really like the Morgan dollar and will probably continue to carry it until it will be difficult to tell if the image of Lady Liberty is a man or a woman. When coins become this faded in detail, they reach the status of what some of us in the business called "pond skimmers".

What is interesting about this is the reaction I get when getting change out for a purchase. Clerks spot this coin which usually results in comments like "what is that" or "my Dad (or Grandpa, Grandma, etc.) has one of those" but they have no idea what it is or its value. If I were to tell them the value of this Morgan dollar is about $26.75 (with spot silver at $35), they would think I am putting them on.

Not knowing which coins have value can be costly. Not long ago my wife was in our local bank when a couple came in with two coffee cans of quarters. They found them when renovating an old house and wondered if the bank would exchange them for cash! I would bet a bunch that these were pre-1965 quarters worth about $6.25 apiece ($35 spot) and the bank was only too happy to give them a $1.00 Federal Reserve Note for every four quarters they turned in.

So here is a general refresher on common U.S. silver coins:

U.S. Nickels - only nickels between 1942-1945 contained a small amount of silver (.0563 troy ounces). There is no silver in other nickels.

U.S.Dimes - pre-1965 dimes contain .0715 troy ounces of silver and include the Roosevelt Dime (1946-1964), the Mercury/Winged Liberty Head Dime (1916-1945) and the Barber/Liberty Head Dime (1892-1916). It takes about 14 silver dimes to equal one ounce of silver.

U.S. Quarters - pre-1965 quarters contain .1788 troy ounces of silver and include the Washington Quarter (1932-1964), the Standing Liberty Quarter (1916-1930) and the Barber/Liberty Head Quarter (1892-1916).

U.S. Half-Dollars - pre-1965 half dollars contain .3575 troy ounces of silver and include the 1964 Kennedy Half-Dollar, the Franklin Half-Dollar (1948-1963), the Walking Liberty Half-Dollar (1916-1947) and the Barber/Liberty Head Half Dollar (1892-1915).

Kennedy Half-Dollars (1965-1970) - these coins are 40% silver and contain .1475 troy ounces of silver.

U.S. Silver Dollars - these include the Peace Silver Dollar (1921-1935) and the Morgan Silver Dollar (1878-1921). Their silver content is .7650 troy ounces of silver.

The silver content specified above is for circulated coins. Uncirculated coins have a slightly higher silver content since they have no wear associated with them.

Based on increased traffic to my silver sites Silver Investing Simplified and Silver Investing Guide, it appears more and more people are getting "educated" on the value of silver coins but still far from the majority. You are wise to be learning more about silver coins and, hopefully, investing in them.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Silver Investing - Problems Getting Physical?

One of the resources I use to purchase silver is a person who operates out of his home and attends regional coin shows to do most of his dealing. This about as small-time as you can get for a coin dealer but he is honest, quotes me fair prices and I trust him.

Knowing he was going to another show last weekend, I contacted him a few days before and expressed an interest in picking up a roll or two of 90% silver half-dollars. I prefer Walking Liberty Half-Dollars but the Ben Franklins or even 1964 Kennedy Half-Dollars would be acceptable. He has not contacted me since which probably means he was unable to get even one roll (20 coins) of half-dollars in any of my three choices.

This is not too surprising and has happened to me before. Supplies of physical silver coins are tight and it seems buyers outnumber sellers by a wide margin. I know I am not interested in parting with any of my silver at this time with silver holding great promise to head back to the $50.00 per ounce price and beyond.

If I had been able to get at least one roll of any of the above half-dollars, what would be a fair price? The silver content of each circulated silver coin is .3575 troy ounces times 20 equals a little over seven ounces of silver. With spot silver at around $35 per ounce and taking the premium into account, I might have ended up paying around $275-280 per roll. But alas, it was not to be.

When you are buying 90% silver coins like this, it is important to know the silver content to help determine how fair the asking price is. It takes approximately 14 dimes or six quarters or three half-dollars to equal one troy ounce of silver. Knowing this plus the current spot price of silver will allow you to do a quick calculation of the premium being tacked on to the seller's asking price (and the fairness of the offer). Knowledge is power.

A final note: for those of you who have had trouble viewing my article on Morgan CC Silver Dollars, the problem has been resolved. Clicking on the link (above) will take you to the corrected page.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Silver Investing - May 2011 Totals For Silver Eagles

The May total for Silver Eagles stands at 3,653,500, second only (in 2011) to January's 6,422,000! Year-to-date, 18,901,500 Silver Eagles have been produced and snapped up by a growing number of investors.

Talk of physical silver shortages continues to circulate but the spot silver price doesn't want to rise accordingly. Shouldn't the price get back on a rising track with such high demand and tightening availability? Not while the paper silver traders keep getting "in the way". To get a better understanding of this silver market, I recommend you read Silver Action a Reminder of the Risks of the Paper Market.

In the last few weeks, Richard Russell has come out strongly in favor of silver and his belief in a resumption of rising prices. The first appeared on May 10th and can be read at Expect Huge Rebound in Silver. The second was posted on May 30th and can be read at Subscribers Should Buy Silver Once Again. When Richard Russell speaks, I listen.

In my research of the last few weeks, I listed several potential stories for this post but decided to drop most of them in favor of this one that really caught my interest. It is titled "A 1980 copy of Playboy Predicts the Future for Silver". It explains the Hunt Brothers actions in the silver market at that time and offers some parallels to today's actions. You can see it here.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Silver Investing - The Great Silver Take-Down

The price of silver was oh so close to $50 per troy ounce, just about $0.15 away. And then last week happened. I know that silver is subject to wild swings but losing two weeks of gains in 11 minutes on Monday (5/2) is a bit much. It's one for the silver record books. The worst one-week showing for silver in 30 years. Silver was down four of the five days for that week.

Some say it was time to take profits and that probably had some effect. But the big reason in my mind (and several others) is the Chicago Mercantile Exchange raising the minimum margin requirements on silver futures. Without going into great detail, those traders holding futures contracts in silver had to either cough up lots more money or sell some or all of their contracts. Lots must have sold based on the falling prices. The CME did this four times in a week! Usually this done when prices are rising to cool the market down. They even did this with falling prices.

The good news is whenever this happened in the past, silver prices rebounded later. From the low 30's silver is now rising again. Spot silver is at $39.30 at the time of this post. Some experts are predicting silver will attain $50 per ounce before 2011 is over. In the meantime, this price drop may be a gift for you to pick up some nice silver pieces while it is $10 lower than it was just a few days ago.

Silver American Eagles are being produce in greater volume than in the past few months. For the first 10 days in May, the U.S. Mint reported 1,421,000 which adds up to 16,669,000 for the year. At this rate, May will be a better month for Silver Eagles than April (2,819,000) or March (2,767,000).

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Silver Investing - Price Of Silver Heading To All-Time High

Silver hit an all-time high on Thursday helped by a falling dollar and indications by the Federal Reserve that it would maintain a loose monetary policy renewing inflation worries. What was surprising to me is why silver didn't finish much stronger on Friday with gold tacking on almost $30 on the day. It smacks of some powerful force(s) at work since gold and silver almost always move in tandem.

Spot silver finished at $47.94 moving into the weekend after hitting a high of $49.24 resulting in a one-day loss of $.54. Very strange. Regarding Silver American Eagles, a total of 2,819,000 were produced in April. Sans an update on Monday, this will be the final April number which is far from the record set in January.

Here are a few stories I'd like to share with you. The first is from Reuters giving more information on the silver high. It is titled "Silver hits record near $50 for first time since 1980" and you can read it here. The second article is for those who question if silver is in a bubble. It is titled "Think Silver Has Gone Parabolic? 1980 was 5 Times Faster!". You can find it here.

One last item to those interested in bags/partial bags of junk silver. At the present time, prices are based on piece count of the coins per bag or partial bag. A full bag of 90% U.S. coins is considered to contain 715 troy ounces of silver (about 8.3 ounces less than uncirculated coins). Actual ounces can vary due to the number of well-worn coins are contained in the bag/partial bag. Not a big deal when silver wasn't so pricey but now it is. Even a 10 ounce difference results in almost a $500 loss. Future sales may switch to silver junk bags being sold by weight and not today's face value. More information can be found at Junk Silver Bags.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Silver Investing - Mid-April Silver Eagles Total

So far in April, total Silver Eagles produced stands at 2,079,500. It is slowly creeping up to March's total of 2,767,000 and February's total of 3,240,000 but nowhere near January's huge and record-setting 6,422,000.

If you have been keeping your eye on spot silver lately, you know that silver is having a nice run with a few 31 year highs. Today, silver was well into $43 and change before dropping back. The current spot price is $42.79 for a 30 day gain of $7.49 and one-year gain of $25.05 or 141.37%. Do I hear $45.00?

Washington Silver QuarterIf you have read my previous posts, you know I am a fan of silver dimes - especially the Mercury dime. These are 90% silver thru 1964 and it takes about 14 silver dimes to make up one troy ounce of silver. Another silver coin I like and for you to consider is the Washington quarter (1932-1964). Each circulated coin contains .1788 troy ounces of silver and six quarters contain a little over one ounce of silver. You can buy them by the $10.00 (face value) roll or they have been a popular coin by the bag or partial bag. A full bag consists of $1000 face value coins which equals 4000 quarters - a little pricey in todays market. They can also be purchased in half-bags, quarter bags (1000 coins) or in lesser amounts. You can find out more about buying them by the bag at Junk Silver Bags.

Coin dealers are having a heck of a time keeping silver in stock as customers are buying most everything silver and creating shortages. Here is an article that pretty much tells the story of coin shops across the U.S. You can read it here. There is a nice picture of 100 ounce silver bars which are hugely popular and subject to backorder at this time.

My last item is an article that tells about another launch of five-ounce silver bullion coins by the U. S. Mint later this month. These will honor the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania and Glacier National Park in Montana. Let's hope this goes better than their 2010 America The Beautiful program. You can read all about it here.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Silver Investing - Silver At $40.00 An Ounce

Silver reached the much talked about $40 per troy ounce on Friday - the highest it has been in 31 years. In fact, the spot price cruised past that figure and was knocking at $41's door, closing at $40.93 going into the weekend. As of this writing (early Monday morning CDT), silver is already up another $0.98 and stands at $41.91. Some say silver's price will not correct until it reaches $50.00.

This is good news if you already own (and have in your possession) a nice amount of physical silver but not so good if you are just starting to invest in silver. Silver is red hot now and finding a good deal is hard to locate. If you keep an eye on eBay auctions, you see some silver already being bid up to $50 per ounce and beyond. I have no recommendations on where you can buy silver cheap. Your best bet is to look for miscellaneous one-ounce silver rounds or possibly silver bars which have traditionally had a lower premium than coins.

So far in April, 750,000 Silver Eagles have been produced with the Year-To-Date total at 13,179,000.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Silver Investing - March 2011 Totals For Silver Eagles

Production of Silver American Eagles is down again from the previous month. The March total comes in at 2,767,000 while the February total (28 days) was 3,240,000. Neither came close to January's 6,422,000! The demand remains high but the problem could be a shortage of blank silver planchets from which these silver bullion coins are made. But relief may be in sight...

An article titled "Ron Paul to Probe U.S. Mint Coin Shortage" talks about an upcoming meeting this week (April 7th) to address this very problem. It appears that he has identified another source for providing blank planchets to the U.S. Mint so this hopefully becomes a non-issue. The article also mentions: 1)The Coin Modernization, Oversight and Continuity Act of 2010 which gives the U.S. Mint more flexibility in meeting the bullion coin demand (and the demand for gold and silver numismatic pieces); and 2) The Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011 whose purpose is to repeal legal tender laws in order to prohibit taxation on gold, silver and a few other precious metals. You can read the entire article here.

Another possible cause of Silver Eagle production not keeping up with demand is not enough of the existing Mints are involved in its production. On March 23rd, a spokesman for the U.S. Mint announced that trial strikes are currently being produced at the San Francisco Mint, with full-scale, temporary production to begin sometime in May. The West Point Mint has been the sole producer of Silver American Eagles since 2001. The article can be found here.

As of this post, spot silver stands at $37.97 which amounts to a gain of $2.31 in the last 30 days and a one-year change of $20.10 (+112.42%).

Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Silver Investing - Storing Your Silver and Gold

If you have physical silver and/or gold in your possession and are storing it at home, there is a well written article that you should definitely read. In the article, the author talks about a friend of his that was robbed of some of his gold coins and is very upset about it. Especially since: 1) he suspects it was an "inside job"; and 2) there isn't a thing he can do about it because he can't prove a thing.

The author provides details on the three most common places to store gold along with some considerations for each. The article is titled "Robbed", the author is Jeff Clark and you can read the article at Safely Storing Your Gold. Scroll down a bit as the article isn't right at the top.

In a related article by the same author, readers of the "Robbed" article provide input and suggestions on storing gold and silver on which the author provides useful comments. This is good information and might save you a heartbreaking loss down the road. The article is titled "Think Like a Thief" and you will find it here. Again, scroll down to find the article.

At the time of this post (Monday evening) spot silver is up over $36 again at $36.26. Spot gold is up a couple of bucks at $1429.20. With all of the turmoil in the world (with no sign of a slow down) it should be an interesting week.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Silver Investing - Silver Nickels

In the fall of 2008, less than 30 months ago, the price of silver was $8.79 an ounce. Yesterday the spot price was over $36.50 at one time but today dropped back and now sits at $35.12. How many other investments can brag about those types of gains? If you invest in silver, you have to understand that silver is very volatile and these ups and downs are to be expected - especially with the world events now going on. Some very knowledgeable people are saying $50 silver is yet ahead so keep the faith.

The U.S Mint is taking quite a breather on the metals this month. So far in March only 717,000 Silver Eagles have been produced. This is after February's total of 3,240,000 and January's whopping 6,422,000 reported Silver Eagle production. I don't think this an indication that demand is slowing down because from everything I hear, demand is still sky high.

One of the things that caught my eye while visiting a coin shop in Laughlin was this Buffalo Nickel Set. The Buffalo Nickel was produced from 1913-1938 by the Philadelphia, Denver and San Francisco Mints (in 1938, the Jefferson Nickel took its place). If the design looks familiar, it should. The design was "borrowed" to produce the pure gold (24k) American Buffalo.

As you may be aware, there is no silver in the U.S. Nickel. The composition is 75% copper and 25% nickel. The only exception was during WWII when nickel was deemed a critical war material. So from 1942-1945, the nickel was composed of 56% copper, 35% silver and 9% manganese. After the war, the nickel returned to its original composition. Even though the nickel contains no silver, because of the metals it does contain the value is approximately .068 cents (not its .05 cent face value).

I have listed many of the common U.S. silver coins' compositions on my silver investing site. If interested, you can read it at Silver Bullion Coins. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Silver Investing - February 2011 Totals For Silver Eagles

After a record setting total of 6,422,000 Silver American Eagles minted last month, the February 2011 total comes in at a weeny 3,240,000 bullion coins. What's up with that? Could physical silver be so tight (as the many rumors state) so that even the U. S. Mint is having trouble getting their hands on this valuable commodity? We'll wait and see what a full month of 31 days brings.

As of this post, spot silver stands at $34.48 - a 31 year high. That amounts to a gain of $6.49 in the last 30 days and a one-year change of $18.04 (+109.6%). When it comes to the rise in and potential of silver (and gold), Sonny and Cher said it well in The Beat Goes On

Are you having trouble getting your hands on desireable physical silver pieces at a decent price (or any price)? If you answered YES, well don't feel like the Lone Stranger. At the recent coin dealers show I attended in Laughlin a few weeks ago I tried to get my hands on a Silver Philharmonic for an article on my Silver Investing web site. There were none to be found - even with the large and varied silver inventories some of the dealers had. I will keep trying even though patience isn't one of my strengths. I hope you are finding yours.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Silver Investing - Are You A Collector Or Investor

I decided to escape the winter weather of the upper mid-west for a few weeks and head for warmer parts - namely Laughlin and Las Vegas NV plus Palm Springs CA later. While in Laughlin, I attended a local coin dealers show. There weren't a lot of dealers there but the ones that were had impressive inventories of coins with silver far outweighing gold coins.

There were many, many Morgan Silver Dollars, Peace Silver Dollars and Silver American Eagles being bought and sold but what struck me were the majority were slabbed and graded. MS-63s, MS-64s and MS-65s on the 1878-1921 dollars and MS-69s and MS-70s on the Silver Eagles. Of course there were some pretty hefty prices on most of the merchandise and I can't say I got too excited about most of these graded coins.

I'll admit I did enjoy looking at many of them but it just reinforced in my mind that I am a silver bullion coin investor and not a silver coin collector. Not only is it less expensive but the knowledge to wisely invest in silver bullion coins is much less. God bless the gold and silver coin collectors but for me it is quantity over quality. Unless it is a coin I am really interested in such as a Morgan CC Silver Dollar, coins grades of XF or AU will do just fine. So which are you?

At the time of this post (in Laughlin), spot silver is at $33.91 for a gain on the day of $1.25! Very impressive. Let's see where this leg up takes us.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Silver Investing - Silver Sniping On eBay

When I have some spare time, I like to look at the various silver coins that are being auctioned on eBay. While I haven't seen many "deals", every now and then I find something that is of interest enough for me to bid on. That may be Walking Liberty Half Dollars, Silver Philharmonics, Silver Rounds, Morgan Dollars, etc. As long as the current bid isn't too high, the shipping fee is reasonable, the seller has a high positive feedback with a good number of transactions under his/her belt and there are only a few hours to go on the auction, I will probably place a bid.

Nothing is more frustrating than almost having the winning bid when some other bidder "steals" it from you with seconds to go. Then it's too late to place a higher bid before the auction ends. That's where sniping comes in. There is a free service that allows a bidder to automatically place a bid with just seconds to go (sniping) thereby increasing the odds of being the winning bidder. And the bidder doesn't even have to be by his/her computer. Just enter the eBay item number, the maximum bid and when to place the bid (how many seconds before the auction ends). Then go play outside. If interested, go to Goofbay and read up on eBay Sniper. This site offers other useful services that you may find of interest.

If you have come across other useful silver investing tools, please share them on this blog.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Silver Investing - January 2011 Totals For Silver Eagles

When I last checked on Silver American Eagles produced in January, the total was at 4,724,000. This was toward the end of the month and with no updates from the U.S Mint for several days, I thought that may be the final figure. Checking today to see if they repeated their December ploy of reporting a large amount on this first day of February (rather than including them in the previous month), I couldn't believe my eyes. 6,422,000 Silver Eagles for January's total!!!

They also reported 50,000 more on this first day of February. So the year-to-date total stands at 6,472,000. That is a huge, record-setting number. It looks like they are taking the increasing demand for Silver Eagles head-on. That's a good thing. Because if they ever decide to throw in the towel and stop offering these popular silver bullion coins, the premiums will skyrocket for the Silver Eagles already in existance. To prove that silver really is the poor man's gold - in 2010, the U.S. Mint sold nearly 30 times as many ounces of silver as it did ounces of gold.

I have a few short articles you may find of interest by two of my favorite precious metals experts. The first is a King World News Blog entry with information provided by James Turk and can be found at Gold & Silver Have Reached An Important Bottom. The second is also a King World News Blog with information provided by Eric Sprott where he talks about $50 silver and $2150 gold. You can find it here.

Before I close, there is one piece of information I forgot to include in my post on Mercury Dimes. If you decide to invest in 90% silver dimes, keep in mind that it takes approximately 14 dimes to equal one troy ounce of silver. So don't go overboard on what you pay for them if you decide to invest.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Silver Investing - January 2011 A Banner Month For Silver Eagles

The U.S. Mint is working overtime producing Silver American Eagles and the demand is right there too. So far in January 4,588,000 Silver Eagles have been produced - more than any month in its 26 year history. To put that in perspective, 4,588,000 is more Silver Eagles than were produced for the entire year of 1996 (3,466,000), 1997 (3,636,000), 1998 (4,320,000) and so close to 1995's total (4,590,000). And we still have eight working days to go in the month.

At this time, spot silver is at $28.68, down 69 cents in the last 30 days and up $10.81 (60.49%) over the last year. Despite being down recently, you will find the premiums for popular silver bullion coins and bars to be strong because the physical silver market is tight. Be a smart shopper and compare prices of at least a few dealers to get the most for your money.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Silver Investing - Buddy, Can You Spare A (Silver) Dime?

If you have read my article on Mercury Dimes, you know this is one of my favorite 90% silver coins. Officially known as the Winged Liberty Head dime, this U. S. silver coin was minted from 1916 through 1945 by the Denver, Philadelphia and San Francisco mints.

The Mercury Dime contains .0715 troy ounces of silver. With spot silver at $29.71 at the time of this post, the silver in that lowly dime is worth $2.12. In 1980 with silver at around $50 per ounce, a 90% silver dime was worth $3.57. No wonder some gas station operators were selling a gallon of gas for a silver dime. Could those days be in our future?

With silver again knocking at the $30 door plus the high premiums being charged for popular silver bullion coins, don't overlook investing in some of these affordable silver coins. They could come in handy for you someday. Before I leave the Mercury Dime discussion, let me say that some of these dimes are worth a lot more than others due to their scarcity. By far, the most valuable Mercury dime is the 1916D. So if you inherited some old coins, look for this dime and you could be several hundred dollars richer.

So far in January, 2011 the U.S. Mint reports producing 3,357,000 Silver American Eagles. The 1,696,000 Silver Eagles they reported on January 3rd certainly weren't produced in January but rather December. If this was done to keep the Silver Eagles totals down for 2010, it couldn't have been more obvious.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Silver Investing - Year End Totals For Silver Eagles

To say that 2010 was a good year for silver would be an understatement. Unofficially, silver rose $14.04 for the year. An 83.22% gain. I hope you benefited from that gain. Silver is not so cheap but still affordable, still the "poor man's gold". Spot silver at this writing is at $30.74. James Turk was correct in his prediction of $30 silver before year-end.

After a record month for Silver Eagles in November (4,260,000), the U. S. Mint took a bit of a breather. It is possible the number could be "tweaked" this next week but the number of Silver Eagles produced in December stands at 1,772,000. For all of 2010 34,662,500 ounces of silver were converted into beautiful Silver American Eagles. A total of 1,220,500 ounces of gold were used to produce one-ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce Gold Eagles. Predictions for continued strength in both metals in 2011 remains strong.

Thanks for reading.