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$40 silver tempts sellers

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Those rolls of Morgan dollars, broken gold chains and Aunt Martha’s silver tea service are coming out of dresser drawers and closets as gold and silver prices climb.

Silver hit a 31-year high of $40.60 an ounce on April 8, the same day gold set a record $1,473.40 per ounce.

“We’re seeing some people come in with scrap gold, scrap sterling and stuff that’s broken or has been sitting around and they’re not using,” said Kirk Kelly of The Coin Depot. “And some are buying investment silver and investment gold.”

Silver dollars are selling for about $20 higher than they were six months ago, he noted.

“It’s similar with all silver products. They are up higher than they were,” he said. “Most of our customers bought silver when it was cheaper so they are sitting on the sidelines now pretty happy that they did.”

Right now there’s more interest in bullion coins, Kelly said.

“It’s an awfully, awfully strong market and a lot of people are buying into it,” he said. “Most of them are investors not looking for collector coins, but looking for bullion value.”

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Gordon S. Converse, who operates an auction firm in Malvern, Pa., has had inquiries from people wanting to sell Morgan dollars and silver wares.

“Many people I know have silver things laying around that they haven’t used for 25 years,” he said. “They weigh 40 ounces of solid silver. That’s enough money for them to say, why don’t I sell it?”

But some people get upset when they learn a set of silver flatware is going to be melt down for its silver, he said.

“It’s like melting a piece of history.”

A lot of that happened back in late 1979 when silver took off and hit $50 an ounce before dropping.

“I know one dealer who withdrew some silver for sale because he thought it was morally reprehensible to melt down Georgian tea pots for the silver,” Converse said.

Today’s rising silver prices prompted a friend to write Converse inquiring about the price he could get for some Morgan dollars.

“The silver dollars are very beautiful coins,” Converse said. “It’s a shame to melt them, but it’s awfully hard to resist if you have a pile of them, and some people do. If you have 100 coins, that’s over $3,000.”

Marc Watts of Gaithersburg Coins said he’s seeing people sell off middle grade collector coins so they can put their money in more liquid silver and gold bullion coins.

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