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When memories have silver backing

Silver valued at nearly $20 an ounce is a good news/bad news situation. Those who own it think it is great. Those who are working on sets that are influenced upwards by the cost of the precious metal might be a little frustrated to see their costs escalate.

This week I am thinking of the positive side of the ledger. To see what you own going up in price is not a bad feeling. It generated a lot of talk around the office about the rising value of anniversary and holiday silver rounds that were given to employees of Krause Publications over the years.

Our former president and CEO, Clifford Mishler, liked giving numismatic mementos to employees. It is fair to say that most of these employees, who are not collectors, were nonplussed by them. Former ad manager Joel Edler always did a vigorous post-holiday business in buying up the KP silver rounds from fellow employees. I remember one particularly busy year for him when the going purchase price was $6.

Those KP employees, however, who kept the souvenirs have seen them rise in value far beyond the $6 price that is so vividly etched in my memory.

I have joked that I am keeping my silver rounds because they are part of my retirement plan.

Readers over the years have had the same opportunity as Krause employees. This firm used many a silver American Eagle over the years as an inducement to get people to subscribe to Numismatic News. Sadly, $20 silver makes that kind of offer a thing of the past.

However, any longtime subscriber who has taken advantage of the silver Eagle offers probably has a nice set of 20 or so pieces. Bullion value is almost $400. Retail value is about $500. That’s a nice little silver stash. Its value means the money spent for the subscriptions has been offset to a very large degree by the current value of the American Eagles.

There are some magazines I have been loyal to in my life, but few ever allowed me to recoup my subscription costs over time.

I remember paying $3 a year for Coins Magazine in 1967 plus $1 to obtain the 1967 Canadian Confederation Centennial silver dollar. I still have the coin. It’s value has more than paid for the subscription. I jumped on the magazine subscription offer of the following year to obtain a Voyageur Canadian silver dollar. That has appreciated in price very nicely as well.

Chet Krause recalls that an offer of the new 1964 Kennedy half dollar was the most successful subscription promotion he had ever done. I’m sorry I missed that one.

Now, though, isn’t the time to remember what I missed. It is time to remember what I was a part of. Joel Edler is still buying silver. If you saw him today, would you be a seller? I’m not. I think the mementos are more valuable as memories than as metal.

More Resources:

• Subscribe to our Coin Price Guide, buy Coin BooksCoin Folders and join the NumisMaster VIP Program

2010 U.S. Coin Digest, The Complete Guide to Current Market Values, 8th ed.

State Quarters Deluxe Folder By Warmans

Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money, 1928 to Date

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition



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