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Scarcity premium swept away by bullion

With gold up over eight percent, silver up almost 19 percent and platinum nearly seven percent, everybody is wondering what to do.

This article was originally printed in the latest issue of Numismatic News.
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Last month I mentioned anomalies in the coin market because of the distortions created by sharply higher precious metals prices. With gold up over eight percent, silver up almost 19 percent and platinum nearly seven percent, everybody is wondering what to do. Those with big positions are nervous and wondering whether to sell some. Others are playing ostrich with their heads in the sand. Still others feel they missed the boat.


This last group may have a second chance by looking at the anomalies. There are many coins that have remained stagnant while their more common little brothers have risen due to melt value. There are numerous issues in the Walking Liberty half series, such as 1917, 1918, 1918-S, 1920-S, 1937-D, 1937-S, 1946-D and both 1947 issues, that are available in nice circulated condition for pennies over their melt value and yet when silver was 20 percent lower they were pretty much the same price. The same can be said for AU slider Franklins as well as the 1948 and 1949 issues and don’t forget the 1952-S (underpriced) and the 1953 Philly issue. There are dozens of dates in the Barber series that can be had for a small amount over melt value. I especially like the halves.

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Another group with many such bargains is Morgan dollars in low grades, such as 1885-S, 1892, 1892-O, 1896-S, 1899-S, 1900-S and 1901-S. These are all 20 or more times scarcer than their more common counterparts and have always been in demand for sets. Peace dollars have a few as well, including 1923-D, 1925-S, 1926, 1926-D, all 1927 issues, 1928-S, 1934, 1934-D and the 1935 duo.

Peace dollars should be accumulated by the 20-coin roll so that when it is time to sell you have the typical unit in which the promoters buy them. Accumulating any of the mentioned items should not be difficult as there are many dealers who set these types of coins to the side because they are scarce and then don’t have a ready market for them, or just plain don’t know what to do with them. When silver gets this high, they often sell just slightly over melt value.

Anomalies abound in $20 Saint-Gaudens issues. Just look at everything up to 1922 except for the 1908 No Motto, which is common, and the rarities. If gold were to drop a few hundred dollars, do you think a 1912 will drop accordingly? Consider the lower priced Carson City issues in circulated condition now at only a few hundred dollars over common when they used to be double their common-date counterparts.

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