Skip to main content

Letters to the Editor (Oct. 3, 2017)

Good palladium buying opportunities hard to find


When the U.S. starts minting its palladium Eagle, it will be in good company with the Canadian Maple Leaf, Chinese Panda, Russian Ballerina, Bermudian Sea Venture, Cook Island (New Zealand) Meteorite, et al. It is not surprising that the U.S. Mint feels it needs to compete for market share.

Gold, platinum, and palladium are all the expensive precious metals with prices per ounce that reflect today’s spot of $1,325, $1,006 and $981, respectively. Not exactly pocket change for most of us collectors. Then again, it is a lot easier to store an ounce of palladium versus the 50-plus ounces of silver for the same dollar value.

eBay has a love/hate relationship with palladium. One can find good opportunities in gold and platinum that approach the metal’s spot prices (meaning little to no premium buyer’s fee); never so with palladium. Even when palladium was at a low of $800, most the lots of minted “coins” carried a premium of $80 or more. In fact, the premium to purchase a palladium “coin” lot often drives the price to exceed platinum “coin” lots that are on sale. The market for palladium is currently small. And like gold and platinum, the premium fees for fractional ounce pieces makes it not very practical.

The cheapest way to own palladium, like gold and platinum, is to buy bars or generic rounds from reputable sources. And unlike silver, palladium does not tarnish at normal temps (sealing is not a requirement). Expect to pay a little more for bars with serial numbers.

Bottom line: I will continue to monitor palladium on eBay, but the opportunity to get a good deal is low compared to its cousin platinum or to gold. Will I buy an American palladium Eagle? Yes, but the odds are against it.

Name withheld

“No-S” cent identified thanks to coverage by NN

I had to tell you about a coin deal that I purchased last week. A customer that had sold me some silver coin and sterling flatware several years ago called me and said she had more coins and flatware.

When I arrived at her house, she had a dozen old sterling collector spoons from the late 1800s, candlestick holders and a small box of U.S. proof sets. The proof sets were a run of one each from 1975-1996. I was quite disappointed to see these since many are worth not much more than face value. I didn’t even bother checking the sets to make sure that the coins were in the correct case and not damaged.

After letting the box sit in the corner for two days, I decided to look at the sets and check the 1979 and 1981 for Type 2 varieties, No luck. Then I decided to check the 1990 set for the “No S.” I failed to mention that none of the sets appeared to have ever been opened.

I couldn’t believe it when I opened the set and saw the cent with no mintmark. I probably wouldn’t have looked if it hadn’t been for the coverage Numismatic News had been giving the 1990 sets.

Before I contact the customer to let her know that she will be getting an extra bonus check, I must now find someone interested in purchasing it. I just had to let you know that, thanks to you, another set has been identified.

Mark Wieclaw
Chicago, Ill.

Mint should offer limited edition coin to subscribers

Dave, your slam dunk bounced out of the hoop article (Aug. 29 issue) was right on. To begin with, 225,000 of anything will never be a rarity, especially if not made for circulation.

I am happy to learn that collectors are beginning to realize that collecting does not mean that buying every item is making an investment.

Now if the hobby of collecting coins is to survive, there must be some hope of the possibility of some collectors getting lucky and obtaining a modern day coin that will generate a profit.

What can the Mint do to help? Many collectors are more of accumulators than collectors and probably purchase one or two mint and proof sets each year from the mint. Many are on the subscription list. Same for American Eagle, etc.

What better way to circulate a limited edition coinage to collectors than to randomly offer a true limited edition of say 10,000 to 25,000 coins/sets to lucky subscribers? The subscribers to be picked at random from the subscriber list at the Mint. Why not?

To begin with you have an opportunity to obtain a coin/set that is truly limited, although not rare. It should encourage collectors to sign up for a subscription with the Mint. The Mint should obtain a larger customer base. It should bring more people into the hobby.

Wouldn’t it be great if you were offered an opportunity to buy a true limited edition direct from the Mint? I for one would love to be offered one of 25,000 reverse proof American silver Eagles.

Dom Cicio
Groveland, Fla.

Buy coin for what it is, not its holder or label

“Television sales programs threaten hobby’s integrity” (Sept. 19) letter-writer Steven McGowen of Algonac, Mich., wrote about TV honkers selling overpriced coins. My response, Mr. McGowen, is “Buy the coin, not the slab (label).

Chip Furr
Archdale, N.C.

Checking change-counting machine slot pays off

Whenever I go to the supermarket I make it a habit to check the coin slot of the change-counting machines on the way out of the store. Yesterday, Sept. 7, I found a large copper 2-new pence, a 1999 Canadian dime and a 1964-D Roosevelt dime. It pays to look. You won’t always find money in the slot, but sometimes it’s worth the look.

R.J. White
Bensalem, Pa.

Missouri club holds successful fall picnic

The Ozark Coin Club, founded in 1955, held their annual picnic on Sept. 9 at a local county park. The event is one the favorites of the YNs. Forty adults and 12 YNs attended.

Activities for the YNs included metal detecting, dart board, bean bag toss, Plinko board and coin walk.

All attendees signed up for door prizes and “guess how many items are in the jar.” Over 100 coin prizes were given out. It was a beautiful early fall day in the Missouri Ozarks culminating in a great time for all.

Jim Guy
Advisor, Ozarks Coin Club

Time for ANA show to come to Cleveland

It’s been a long time since there was an ANA convention and world coin show in Cleveland, Ohio. A lot has changed since the last time the ANA was here.

For political and sports fans, there was the recent Republican National Convention in the Q (Quicken Loans Arena), home of the NBA Champions of 2015. The Cleveland Indians (“Native Americans?”) were American League champs but lost the World Series (Oh well, there’s always next year!). If you’re not into sports, there’s always the Rock-N-Roll Museum and the Science Museum located near the convention center downtown. The convention center has been recently renovated and there are plenty of hotels around to welcome visitors to the ANA convention here in Cleveland.

Bill Tuttle,
Cleveland, Ohio

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

More Collecting Resources

• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700 is your guide to images, prices and information on coins from so long ago.

• The Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money is the only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. currency with today’s market prices.