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2018 American Silver Eagle a Good Buy

February 5, 2018 0 Comments

The early months of the year are a traditional time to buy US Mint bullion coins. January is when the Mint releases its uncirculated Silver Eagle coins stamped with the current year – 2018. If you are buying either for the melt-value investment, or as a coin collector, for numismatic value, now is the perfect time to make your buys. The classic silver dollar, containing a full one troy-ounce of silver, has been produced each year since 1986, as America’s official silver bullion coin.

The background to this coin is interesting. Back in the 1970s, it was felt in Washington that silver was being mined in excess of strategic needs, and there was a wish to start selling the surplus silver held at the Defense National Stockpile at Fort Belvoir, North Virginia. This was opposed by mining states, by traders who feared the effect of flooding the market, and by congressman who wanted the revenue generated to be used to buy stocks of other valuable minerals, and not used to pay down the federal deficit. Early announcements of the sale did indeed depress the market by 11%, and the plan was frozen. Finally it was agreed that by selling as coins, not as bars, the effect on the market would be lessened. That plan was put into effect, and the result was the sale in 1986 of the first Silver Eagle coins. Since then, along with their gold equivalent, these have been the standard way to buy and sell silver as bullion, or to collect this item as a coin.

To enhance its collector value, a classic design was chosen for the obverse. This was the Walking Liberty, a design that had first appeared on the US double-eagle $20 gold coin, in 1907. It is by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, an New Yorker who studied in Europe, and was a sculptor and designer in the Beaux-Arts tradition. The design was used until 1933. Lady Liberty, wrapped in the American flag, is striding towards the rising sun, carrying in her arms laurel branches for peace and oak branches for bravery and constancy. The words IN GOD WE TRUST is engraved to her right, and below her feet is the year of issue of the coin.

On the reverse is a heraldic eagle, bearing a shield. Around the rim are the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 1oz. FINE SILVER ONE DOLLAR. As well, the mint mark ‘W’ appears, showing that these coins are minted at the West Point Mint Facility.

Right now, sales are slow, and the wise investor always ‘buys low’, which is often indicated by slow sales. An extra consideration for numismatic collectors, as opposed to bullion buyers, is the question of quality. As coins are stamped, minor errors and imperfections can occur. For collectors, perfection is everything.  Businesses such as the highly-regarded ‘Professional Coin Grading Services’ (PCGS) and the ‘Numismatic Guaranty Corporation’ (NGC) grade mint coins for quality. Grading is between ‘M60’ and ‘M70’, with M70 being the highest possible grade – as perfect as a coin can be. M70 coins command a premium with collectors, and as time passes, the value of this small difference in grade is amplified. If you are collecting for the long term, it is worthwhile to go for M70 coins. These high-end quality differences are the way to maximize the future value of your coin purchases.

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