Spot Metals Soaring

Posted on 7/7/2016

10th Annual Summer FUN Set To Sizzle; Wasn’t The Bicentennial Just Yesterday?

As I write this report another Fourth of July Holiday has come and gone. Our great country’s birthday is something which we should all take great pride in celebrating. 240 years since the Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. It’s amazing; it seems like it was only yesterday that we were gearing up for our Bicentennial back in 1976. Again, I ask where has the time gone?

As is our tradition, Beth and I spent some quality time with family in the bordering Maine town of Berwick at my brother-in-law’s on the 4th. Bruce and his wife Anne Marie (who also happens to be Maine’s biggest Red Sox fan) always put on a great barbeque. After feasting on scrumptious food, good talk ensued and Bruce and I began to reminisce about Fourth of July memories when we were kids. We were both stunned that it was 4 decades ago that we were both anxiously awaiting the release of the new Bicentennial coins as the Quarter, Half Dollar and Dollar were all getting patriotic redesigns on their respective reverses while sporting that 1776-1976 date on the obverse. I asked Bruce how he got interested in coin collecting and he said that a friend, Donald, who was already an avid collector, got him motivated when he was 10 years old. “I started by pulling 90% silver coins from proceeds from my paper route pretty much right after getting the bug from Donald. I liked Franklin Halves but I really enjoyed pulling Walkers out of circulation.”

My brother-in-law saved all the silver coins he could back in the early 1970s. If you kept your eye out you could still pull out a good percentage of silver coins from circulation. Bruce went on to say, “When I would get payment from my customers and I put the change in my pocket I could tell from the “ring” which ones were silver.”

He then told me that his first planned purchase was a Flying Eagle Cent. “I really wanted one; I really liked the design.” So the young collector residing in the coastal town of Kittery, ME, took a bike ride over the Memorial Bridge connecting Maine and New Hampshire and would visit Dolloff Coin Center in neighboring Portsmouth, NH.

"Dolloff had a Bid Board, which is where I got my first Flyer. It was an 1858 Small Letters. I eventually picked up the ‘58 Large Letters and the 1857 and I remember getting some nice Large Cents. The best one was an 1810 Classic Head. It is a nice fine grade that I paid about $13.50 for." Yes he still has the coin and I recommended that we submit it to NGC for grading and preservation!

It’s a small world in the coin collecting community as I too was a regular bidder (#415) on the Dolloff Coin Center (DCC) weekly Bid Board. I wonder if our paths had crossed as collectors back then. Anyways, Bruce advised me that he was a faithful customer on the DCC Bid Board until the metals started to ramp up. “Yeah when silver was moving higher in the late 1970s, someone at the shop instituted an 18 years or older prerequisite for prospective bidders... so I was shut out!”

This didn’t stop him, however, as he still picked up other US coins and bulk silver when he could. He presently collects NGC-certified Silver Eagles and has been buying some of the “better stuff” from the US Mint such as the first State Quarters set of 1999 silver version. This particular set is still sealed and I hope to take a look at it with him sometime soon and assess the overall condition especially the 1999 Delaware Silver Quarter, which according to the NGC Price Guide is currently quoted at $1,750 as PF 70 Ultra Cameo!

Bruce said that he hopes someday soon to acquire his dream US coin, “I want a nice MS 64 or better Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. It is a beautiful coin and the design is just tremendous!” Just like me, coins have been a part of his life since he was 10 years old. Numismatics is a wonderful hobby, one that stays with you and grows with you throughout your lifetime. If you are already a collector, plant the numismatics seed in a youngster this summer season, a son, daughter, nephew or niece, perhaps a subscription to the ANA. You won’t regret it and most probably neither will the recipient.

Spot prices for all the metals are also causing sustained fireworks of late as silver and gold are both soaring to levels which were last visited over 2 years ago. Some pundits forecast even higher levels in the near term do to domestic political upheaval, chaotic world events and of course the Brexit vote which will ultimately cause the exodus of the UK from the European Union. Of course, any rapid movement in the metals arena is sure to cause more volatile reaction, both buying and selling. This almost immediately impacts the more bullion sensitive of the US and world coins containing a higher percentage of these precious metals. A tip for newer collectors attending local shows, shops or eBay: be sure to view or make a copy of the current bullion content for some of the more popular US and world coins on the NGC website Coin Melt Values as this will direct you to all US coins and many popular world coins base metal valuations. Many great buys can still be found in bargain bins as dealers haven’t the time to go in and reprice them!

Things have heated up in more ways than one. A look at the calendar indicates that as we go to press the 10th Annual Summer FUN show is underway and is set to sizzle in Orlando, Florida July 7-9 at the Orange County Convention Center. If you’re in the area, it’s a great venue to excite the Coindexters as well as the youngsters with so many nearby family attractions. Anchored by the host Heritage Orlando Signature auction running July 7-10, the nearly 3,000 lot sale features some fine opportunities for seasoned collector and professional. Colonials, appealing Early Federal type and a great run of US gold coins, something for every hobbyist and budget. A handful of my favorite NGC offerings include the following roster:

1788 Massachusetts Cent NGC VF 20 Here is a solid coin for the Colonial type collector! Featuring an immensely popular design, this is a very appealing and affordable pre-federal issue from my neighboring Bay State.

1858 Flying Eagle Cent Small Letters NGC MS 65 A totally scrumptious representative of the scarcer of the 1858 Flying Eagle Cent. Boldly struck for the issue with an impressive appearance, this coin would make a superb type coin. According to the NGC Census a mere 15 coins grade a single point higher. I will have to tell Bruce to take a look at it as this would be the ultimate upgrade of his first Flyer!

1804 Draped Bust Quarter NGC F 12 Perhaps out of most average collectors' budgets. This problem-free coin is an exceptional find in this grade. Truly a rarity of the highest order, most of the scant mintage of 6,738 coins entered circulation and remained there seeing extensive duty. Anyone who can acquire and hold this classic 1804 at present levels for a few years will most assuredly get a solid return.

1957 Washington Quarter NGC PF 68 Ultra Cameo Wow! A modern marvel from an otherwise easy-to-find Proof date from the late 1950s. 1957 marked the first year that US proof set orders exceeded the million level, producing slightly over 1.2 million sets. (Hey, it is my birth year, what do you expect.) This coin, however, is a condition rarity as very few proof coins of this date were blessed with Ultra Cameo surfaces. Somehow according to the NGC Census a total of 7 have graded 1 point higher. If anyone wants to give me a Christmas in July gift, I would be most receptive!

1881-CC Morgan Dollar NGC MS 66 One of my favorite Morgan CC dollars. I always admired the 1881. This low mintage and wildly popular issue is a tougher one to find in Gem and higher condition and this example is full of pizzazz, flashy satiny white cartwheel luster exhibiting just a tinge of copper bronze accent at the outer most portion of the rims. Certainly worthy of place in an established Morgan collection or a superb CC Morgan Type coin.

At the conclusion of Summer FUN the coin caravan will head up the coast for next week’s engagement in the Old line State for the summer installment of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in Baltimore. Enjoy my friends!

Until next time, happy collecting!

Jim Bisognani is an NGC Price Guide Analyst having previously served for many years as an analyst and writer for another major price guide. He has written extensively on US coin market trends and values.

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