Jim Bisognani: Gold and Silver Prices are Surging!

Posted on 4/13/2023

Gold and silver coinage, such as $20 Saints and 90% US silver coins, are commanding impressive premiums this spring.

It was a battle like none other, but it appears that we here in New Hampshire have finally put Old Man Winter to rest. By my account, it seems to have been one of the rougher goes this past season. We persevered, my friends; and with temperatures in the lower 70s, I say a resounding “Hallelujah!”

I may also voice the same platitude for the metals market. In case you have just emerged from your winter cocoon, both gold and silver have been flexing their muscles quite admirably this spring.

Fears of ongoing inflation coupled with several major bank failures have fueled an already unprecedented demand for the yellow and white metals. Gold spot has revisited and breached the magical $2,000-per-ounce benchmark, where it has maintained a solid foothold into that record territory. Silver, too, has quietly powered to nearly $26 per ounce.

As one major metals and bullion trader voiced to me, “These moves, while expected, have finally come to fruition, and with considerable strength and resiliency to back them.” I heartily concur, and with this rise in values of gold and silver since mid-February, traders, dealers and, of course, collectors are seeing and feeling the market surge.

Based on this information, I decided to do some research and see what the impact has been on one of the most powerful semi-numismatic gold bullion coins: the ever popular $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle.

1928 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle graded NGC MS 64+
Click images to enlarge.

Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles

February 2023: Gold Spot at $1,857

Grade Wholesale Sale Price Percentage Over Spot
MS 61 $1,990 +7.16%
MS 62 $2,025 +9.05%
MS 63 $2,085 +12.28%
MS 64 $2,125 +14.43%
MS 65 $2,300 +23.86%

The spread between MS 61 and MS 65 in February was $310.

For my favorite play in this series, the Ultra Gem MS 66 examples were quoted at $3,100, equal to 34.78% above MS 65 price.

Now, gold spot as of today is at $2,045, which equates to an increase of just north of 10%. (During the same time, silver spot went from $22 to $25.90 for a nifty bump of nearly 18%!)

April 2023: Gold Spot at $2,045

Grade Wholesale Sale Price Percentage Over Spot
MS 61 $2,370 +17.62%
MS 62 $2,400 +19.11%
MS 63 $2,470 +22.58%
MS 64 $2,530 +25.56%
MS 65 $2,650 +31.51%

Spreads between MS 61 and MS 65 have now tightened to $280, and the 10% increase in the spot price of gold is reflected in the premiums for MS 61 through MS 64 grades. Only the MS 65 grade saw a bit of a reprieve with only a 7.65% escalation.

Considering Ultra-Gem $20 Saint-Gaudens

My favorite MS 66 $20 Saints are $3,290. So, as gold spot has risen by 10%, the spreads between MS 65 and MS 66 $20 Saints has tightened to 24.15% versus the 34.78% of two months ago.

These, my friends, are great values in my opinion. Consider the following: As of April 2023, a total of 1,064,181 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles have been graded by NGC, according to the NGC Census.

Out of the total NGC-certified Saint-Gaudens, 105,759 are graded NGC MS 65, which accounts for 10% of the total population. Conversely, only 20,128 have been awarded a grade of NGC MS 66, which is less than 2% of all the Saints in the NGC Census!

In actual dollars, my friends, you can expect to now pay $160 less than what the spread between an MS 65 and MS 66 was just two months ago, which by percentage equals a 20% discount to boot!

The spreads for most other pre-1933 US gold coins have remained virtually unchanged, with a few actually trading down a few dollars. This is, of course, makes the present market even more enticing for those looking to get the most value per dollar out of their collections.

Silver, 'the Great White Hope,' is on the move

The world’s most popular bullion silver coin — the US Silver Eagle — is courting tremendous demand. On one of the electronic trading networks, a major trader is offering $10.50 over spot for sealed monster boxes or fresh rolls of any date. Meanwhile, bids for the fresh-off-the-presses 2023 Silver Eagles are easily seen at $12 over spot!

1986 Silver Eagle from NGC Coin Explorer
Click images to enlarge.

Other silver bars and rounds are also heading north, and fast. 90% US silver is seeing a multitude of anxious buyers, and traders are upping the ante.

At present, the formula for 90% US silver is something like this: Spot price (as of the time this article posts) is $25.90. Add $7.25 for dimes and quarters to get $33.15. Finally, multiply that by 715 (the number of ounces in a $1,000 face value bag of 90%. This all equals $23.70 per dollar of face value for 90% silver dimes and quarters.

That formula increases for Half Dollars, such as Walkers and Franklins. The spot becomes $25.90. Add $9.00 to get $34.90, then multiply the result by 715. The equation equals $24.95 per dollar of face value!

On the other hand, two months ago, the factors were +$1.75 over spot for dimes and quarter and +$2.35 over spot for 90% Half Dollars!

Using the NGC World Coin Price Guide

Once again, this is a time for bargain collectors and my fellow coindexters to scavenge around silver junk boxes, shows and on eBay.

The greatest and most valuable tool for this hunt is right at hand, courtesy of the NGC World Coin Price Guide. When you pull up the date and series information of a particular coin, you will also see the actual silver weight (ASW). The current value will also be listed!

For example, you might find a 1960 Canadian quarter in in a junk box at a show or local coin shop. Pull up information on the NGC Price Guide. When you look at the world coin price guide, you’ll see the ASW is 0.15 ounces, and the current melt value is $3.88.

Some of my favorite silver coins to collect are Canadian silver Prooflike sets circa 1960 to 1967. These sets will most always be in cello pack with mint card and envelope, too. Each set contains exactly 1.11 ounces of pure silver. So please keep that calculation in mind if you happen across any of those sets!

Good luck! I too am an avid bargain hunter and will scour eBay on my iPad as I drift off to dreamland tonight (and most nights).

Until next time, be safe and happy collecting!

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