Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Clearing Up the Mystery...How do I Identify a burnished Silver Eagle?

When the Mint started using burnished blanks and individual, manual hand setting at West Point Mint, there was a built in confusion over what was, and what was not, a burnished coin.

The burnished versions are much lower in mintage than the normal silver eagles, but that doesn’t help in identifying the true burnished coins.
You can make the determination pretty easily:
  1. It must have been struck at West Point, and
  2. It must have the “W” mint mark on the reverse.
Grading companies make it easy for the collector by representing the burnished coins as 2013 W Silver Eagle, or 2012 W Silver Eagle, etc. Those struck at West Point that are NOT burnished are represented as 2013 (W) Silver Eagle, using parens around the W to easily spot the difference. NGC will also use the term “Struck at West Point”, which is NOT burnished, but simply a designation of the mint where it was created.

Burnished coins came out in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013, all from West Point Mint. I also believe that 2011 had some burnished coins from San Francisco Mint, around 100,000. I am not sure the designation using parens around the “S” differentiated the burnished coins from that Mint in 2011, so please be aware to do your homework.

Since the burnished versions are much scarcer, the price is much higher than the standard Silver Eagle. These burnished coins look to be very good investments based on the mintage numbers, so be smart and make sure you buy burnished coins. And start doing it now before they really catch on!
Below are the estimated mintages on burnished Silver Eagles.

Burnished Silver Eagle Mintage Totals
2006 W468,020
2007 W621,333
2008 W533,757
2011 W309,927
2011 S100,000
2012 W230,872
2013 is yet unknown


Sunday, June 9, 2013

This 2013 Enhanced Silver Eagle from West Point might create much needed interest

The 2013-W American Silver Eagle Enhanced Uncirculated bullion coin will have a new look this year, and the result will be a coin that has much more contrast and eye-popping appeal than ever before. The coin will be the first coin produced by any United States Mint that uses three different, and therefore, contrasting finishes. Two of the finishes have been used before; the mirrored brilliant finish and the heavy frosted finish. The new light frosted finish is the new look, and is a soft satin finish used on the field of the coin to gently disperse light that is reflected from it.

On the obverse, the mountains in front of the sun, the lines on Lady Liberty's dress and the red and blue parts of the United States flag have the brilliant mirrored finish.  The remaining items lettering on the obverse have the standard heavy frosted finish. On the reverse, the ribbon in the eagle's beak, the arrows and oak branch all have the brilliant mirrored finish. The lettering, and other devices on the reverse, have the heavy frosted finish.  The fields on both sides of the coin have the new light frosted finish.

Each coin is struck with specially prepared dies at the West Point Mint facility. In order to maximize the three contrasting finishes, each coin is struck three times on burnished 99.9% silver planchets. Each individual planchet is hand placed into the coining press and inspected by the operator before it is sent on to be encapsulated and packaged.

The coin is 99.9% silver and is the first coin produced with special "light frost" finish. Mintage numbers will not be known until much later.

UPDATE: Sales closed on June 6, 2013 with a sales total of 281,310 sets. This number will go down slightly due to cancellations etc., and settle somewhere north of 250,000 sets, up about 10% over last year.

This is a copy of the press release from the United States Mint on January 24, 2013:

Later this year, the United States Mint will also offer a special two-coin set of American Eagle Silver Coins, both of which will be struck at its facility at West Point, N.Y. The 2013 American Eagle West Point Two-Coin Silver Set (final product name subject to change) will include one American Eagle Silver Reverse Proof Coin and one American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coin with an "enhanced" finish. (A "reverse proof" coin reverses the mirror-like background finish of a traditional proof coin and applies it to the design elements, creating a magnificent contrast.) These two coins will only be available in this special set. The bureau expects to begin accepting orders for the set in the spring. Pricing and other information will be available prior to its release.

Please see the World’s best top graded coins at Modern Graded Coins

Sunday, May 26, 2013

2013 Canada Silver Bald Eagle Extremely Scarce

The hottest new coin North of the Border is the Bald Eagle. This new series just made its debut in the past couple weeks, and is a different perspectives of the bald eagle. Two months ago, the Royal Canadian Mint released a 1/25 oz. gold coin featuring a bald eagle which was pretty well received by the buying public.

This new 99.99% pure 1 oz silver coin features a portrait of a bald eagle’s head on the obverse, with intricate details of its features. The coin includes edge lettering “1 OZ FINE SILVER 1 OZ ARGENT PUR”.

The mintage for this coin is miniscule, only 7,500 pieces with a price of $99.95 CAD. Graded versions are just showing up at about $140 for NGC PF70, and similar pricing for PCGS grade 70. An ordering limit of two per household was imposed, and the coin is already out-of-stock at some of the prime sellers in the USA.

Our prediction here at moderngradedcoins.com is for this coin to be $400-$500 in grade 70 within 2-3 months. We will have a few grade 70’s for sale in the next week, but really, act fast as this is going to dry up.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

2013 Silver Bald Eagle Canada

This is going to be super hot, only 7500 minted. Get onboard fast on this one!


The new 2013 West Point 2 coin Silver Eagle set should be hot stuff

Early feedback on the two-coin West Point Silver American Eagle set is that the U.S. Mint has a strong player. On the heels of the San Francisco set of last year, which remains very in demand, this West Point set is trending very much the same way.

I think that sales numbers for the 2013 set are going to well exceed the sales numbers for the 2012 two-coin San Francisco set. The SF set sold approximately 225,000 sets (don’t hold me to the exact number) and the WP set looks to be at least 275,000 in sales. This is still very, very low mintage and the price will quickly be determined by the “non-availability” as collectors buy and hold their purchases.

Resale prices should still provide early buyers with a decent profit margin. This is especially true when you consider the vast NGC varieties of labels. And I guess the same is true for PCGS,  but I am not as close to those options as I am NGC. Now the speculator has to look beyond mintage numbers and guess about “hot labels” as he/she buys product.

TIP: One label that has lost favor in the last couple years is the NGC “Blue” Early Releases label. This label has been replaced by First Strikes, 1 of first 200 struck, and similar such labels

The other factor that holds the interest in these sets is the Reverse Proof coin. These are always highly sought after and this WP set Reverse Proof will be the same.

Along with the success of the SF set of last year, is that the overall public sentiment about the economy is up. The stock market is up and the outlook on jobs and employment is very positive. And we all know that our government is still printing money at record paces J.

I personally do not buy from the Mint on these sets. I wait for 70 grade coins to hit the market and pay that premium for quality grades. The profit margin will likely be better right after the initial Mint orders have been filled. And as this set gets traction, other prior sets may get a new little price burst based on credibility of SF in 2012 and this new WP set. The loyal Silver Eagle collectors will definitely buy this set, either from the Mint ungraded, or graded at a later date. And the silver bullion “underpinning” value will have virtually no effect on these sales.
See many of the world's best modern graded coins at moderngradedcoins.com


Saturday, April 27, 2013

The New Labels on Graded Coins

Over the past 4-5 years, or more like 7-8 years, new labels have emerged in an attempt to create a different value for the same coin as compared to conventional labeling. As an example, both PCGS and NGC have First Strikes, or Early Releases, or First Releases. These new labels most often have a different color, like blue for NGC Early Releases. I started to think about this last month with regard to coin values, mintages, and more importantly how a collector is impacted when he/she is building sets of like coins.

At the outset of this practice, it seemed that ER coins, or FS coins, were getting a premium price as compared to the “old Brown NGC label”. In fact, one even might consider the rush to buy and grade coins in the first 30 days, a mini panic amongst the dealers.

The most noticeable coin with these various labels has been the American Silver Eagles. Initially, it was a simple Blue ER label that emerged, and a slight premium was obtained. As we have advanced thru the next few years, more and more unique labels have surfaced, like Trolley labels and Golden Gate Bridge labels for San Francisco mint strikes; Flag and Star labels for West Point mint strikes, etc.



My first thought on this labeling (marketing) approach is that more Silver eagles will get sold, because collectors won’t know exactly which ones to buy, or won’t even appreciate the differences. This will have the effect of creating little sub categories of Silver Eagles that should boost business overall, but also create shortages in certain desired labels. This is probably good for the business as a whole.

This left the NGC Brown label Silver Eagle as the “step child” of Silver eagle offerings, and prices reflected that, at least initially. But not so fast……………

Those of us who collect sets of coins like Silver Eagles soon realized that we didn’t want 20 or 25 Brown labels, and then a Blue ER label in our prize collection! Coin collectors are fussy, and I know I don’t want anything but uniformity in my collection and that includes labeling! And so quickly, the NGC Brown label dipped, but came bouncing back and even is positioned as the desired label all of a sudden!

I don’t know if anyone else sees this the same way that I do, but this little subtlety is one of many in our industry that needs attention when we are buying product. I did see the Coin Vault selling a Silver Eagle MS69 collection that was mixed labels, and it seemed to me that they were being a little less than forthcoming when they were talking about, and displaying the coins in this set for sale.

So what is my point? If this type of thing matters to you (and it should from a resale perspective) make sure you know the label of each and every coin in the set that you are purchasing.
Check out all the various new labels and highly graded coins at ModernGradedCoins