The running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, ended in July, but bulls in the precious metals market paid no attention to the calendar. Gold, silver and other precious metals had another strong month in July and kept climbing higher in the opening week of August.
Gold finished July at $1,350 an ounce – an increase of 27.4 percent since the beginning of the year, when the yellow metal was worth $1,060. Silver ended July at $20.34 an ounce – a stunning 47.2 percent higher than its year-opening value of $13.82. The upward trend continued unabated in the early days of August, as “dog days” turned into “bull days” for collectors and investors.
Bulls may wreak havoc in china shops, but bullishness works wonders in coin shops – especially those that handle bullion-related coins. The run-up in gold and silver has stimulated sales of all coins containing those metals – both bullion and numismatic – during 2016.
Gold coins struck at the Carson City Mint have been particularly active, with strong demand for those in grades of Extremely Fine and higher. These coins capture the essence of the Wild West and benefit, as well, from consistently low mintages.
As sales and prices of collectible gold coins – especially double eagles – have surged throughout the year, we have seen premiums over melt value shrink for common-date gold type coins in lower grades
Premiums over melt value also have narrowed for common circulated Morgan and Peace dollars and bags of “junk silver”. As of Aug. 1, with silver at roughly $20 an ounce, junk silver dimes, quarters and half dollars were bringing 15 times face value.
The United States. Mint’s offering of 10,000 proof 2016-W platinum American Eagle coins proved to be a quick sellout. The ordering limit of one per household helped bring about a broad distribution.
Shortly afterward, there were online offers from dealers to purchase these Platinum Eagles for about 10 percent over their issue price. Specimens graded Proof-70 by PCGS or NGC typically were bringing bigger premiums in the aftermarket. The 2016 proof Platinum Eagles, which carry a face value of $100, are the second in a two-year series illustrating “Torches of Liberty.”
The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation has become the first third-party certification service to grade 35 million coins. NGC has been certifying coins since 1987. It was only two years ago that the company reached the 30-million mark.
Rosa Gumataotao “Rosie” Rios stepped down July 8 after nearly seven years as 43rd treasurer of the United States. Rios was appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama, and her signature has appeared on billions of U.S. bank notes during the intervening years. As treasurer, she oversaw the U.S. Mint and the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing,
I had the pleasure of meeting Treasurer Rios at the opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s “Value of Money” exhibit, where she spoke eloquently about the importance of a National Numismatic Collection. She also was a frequent visitor at major coin shows, where she graciously signed bank notes as souvenirs for collectors.
Once a successor is appointed and confirmed, collectors can start looking for the new treasurer’s signature on future paper money.
The coin hobby is mourning the passing of pioneer hobby publisher Chester “Chet” Krause, who died June 25 at the age of 92. Chet started small, compiling the first issue of Numismatic News – a one-page, single-sided broadsheet – on the dining-room table of his parents’ home in Iola, Wisconsin. That became the cornerstone of a hobby publishing empire.
Over the years, Chet published dozens of newspapers and magazines, not only on coins but also about other pursuits that piqued his interest, such as antique cars, sports cards and firearms. He also was a major supporter of hobby organizations.
One of the weightiest parts of Chet Krause’s legacy is the Standard Catalog of World Coins, which he co-wrote with Clifford Mishler. Roughly the size of a big-city telephone book, this perennial bestseller is widely referred to by hobbyists everywhere as the “Krause catalog.”