Archive for April, 2011

Father and Son Have “The Talk”

Posted on April 26, 2011 by No Comments

My 11 year old son is starting to notice increasing gas prices (over $4 a gallon now). The other day he asked, why is gas so expensive now? My response was, “remember today’s prices, as when you have to pump gas in your car (several years from now) you will probably think that $4.20 a gallon is cheap.

Father and Son Talk About Gas Prices

Father and Son Talk About Gas Prices

I told him that I also remember when my parents complained about gas prices about 20 years ago when it went from 99 cents a gallon, to about $1.89 a gallon just within a couple of years. So we may think gas prices are high now, but the odds are, that today’s prices are cheap compared to what our kids and what we will have to pay later.  

What about coins? Well, we’re already seeing this in numismatics too. For example, in 1986 an Uncircualted  Silver eagle would sell for about $7, in 1988 about $9, in 2004 about $11 and today, a whopping $52 each!

I wonder what my 11 year old son will have to pay for a Silver Eagle five years from now.

$52 average wholesale price for an Uncirculated Silver Eagle

$52 average wholesale price for an Uncirculated Silver Eagle

Filed Under: News

Back in the day…

Posted on April 14, 2011 by 2 Comments

Back in the late 1950s I was growing up in Binghamton, NY. That’s considered Upstate if you’re living in the NYC area but it’s only about three hours north of the City. When I look back on those years I can’t imagine anything more idyllic. We didn’t have to worry about all the things young kids do today. We never heard of child molesters or kidnappers. No one ever tried to hurt you or take your stuff. Besides, there were too many adults around that simply wouldn’t let that happen. Police didn’t arrest people – at least we never heard of it happening. The worst thing that could happen was getting in trouble with your parents.

After a quick breakfast the door would slam and I would be on my bike headed off for a day of adventure. Often times I would slide my baseball glove over my handlebars and head for the ball field where we would play all day. It was a simple little field where we would play Little League on the days we played organized ball. Somehow a few of us would congregate until there were enough for two teams. Then the fun would begin.

Binghamton was part of what was called the “Tri-City” area. I think the Tri-Cities consisted of Binghamton, Endicott and Johnson City. Back in 1960 or 1961 my dad got me started on collecting coins. We approached collecting like most others back then. We bought several blue Whitman folders and diligently worked to fill them. Everything we collected we found in circulation. In the early 60s there were a lot of older coins that were still in circulation. Silver coins were still the standard and the only people with any reason to take coins out of circulation were collectors. On many an occasion my mother would give me a 50c piece and tell me to go to the Grand Union and get a loaf of bread. These were usually Franklins or Walkers, and I’m not sure if my memory is playing tricks on me, but I seem to remember some Barbers as well.

One night I was sitting in front of the TV and the local news was on. The news team was quite excited about some local young man who had just spent a king’s ransom on a coin – a dime at that. They actually interviewed the youngster and you could tell they were flabbergasted. That young man’s name was Q. David Bowers. I think he was a teenager at the time. The coin was an 1894-S 10c that I think he paid $10,000 for. That was probably more than most of those news people made in a year. It caused quite a stir! QDB’s Empire Coins was located in the Tri-City area.

Money was pretty tight back in those days. We could go to the movies for 65c, and a candy bar was only a nickel. One of our entrepreneurial ways of making money was to pedal our bikes around town looking for soda bottles that had been tossed to the side of the road. We could redeem most of them for 2c each. Finding 3 or 4 bottles made you rich! (BTW – tossing a soda bottle out your car window was standard operating procedure in those days. We hadn’t heard of littering yet.)

On the corner next to the ballpark was a little corner store called Sammy’s. It was quite the hangout for the pre-teen crowd. Sammy had this great big wooden counter that he always stood behind. It was surrounded by all kinds of candy and enough other enticements to make sure that we never left with any money. Sammy was a wily old guy with a sense of humor. He had glued a buffalo nickel on the wooden counter and would deliberately turn his back to anyone standing in front of it. There was a little mirror that he would use to watch that person struggle to pick that nickel off the counter. It was his way of having fun with any new person that came in.

One day, after cashing in a couple empty bottles, my friend Richard and I were trying to decide what to buy when I noticed that one of the pennies I had just received looked funny. All the lettering and the date were doubled! I remember saying something about it, like “boy they really messed up when they made this coin”, but I didn’t know anything about 1955 double dies. I went ahead and bought my candy and spent my penny. Little did I know that the Tri-City area was ground zero for the distribution of the 1955 double die cents. I never saw another in circulation.

Filed Under: News

The Most Successful Coin Dealer in the World

Posted on April 13, 2011 by 2 Comments

It is estimated that the U.S. Rare Coin Market is a 10 Billion Dollar a year industry. This is not including Bullion Modern coins sold by the U.S. Mint. However, if we included bullion coins the estimates would uquestionably be much higher. 

For example, in 2010 the largest and most successful coin dealer in the world (U.S Mint) sold over 3.89 billion dollars in coins alone, a new record high. This was a 33.45% increase from 2009.

$50 2010_BuffaloBullion

In 2010, the American Eagle and Buffalo Coin Programs rose to a new record of more than 2.8 billion dollars in sales (an increase of 68.5% from the previous year), but note that some of the revenue also came from the increased price of silver and gold.

In 2010, the Mint sold 409,000 ounces of Buffalo Gold Coins (382,000 more ounces than in 2009.) In 2010 the Mint sold 1.43 million ounces of American Gold Bullion Coins (4 million more ounces than in 2009).

Overall, in 2010 the Mint sold a record 35.8 million ounces of Silver, Gold and Platinum bullion coins combined (8.2 million more ounces than in 2009 or a 29.7% increase).

One thing that I’ve noticed, is now that the price of Silver and Gold are increasing significantly, more and more people want to buy both metals more than ever.

Filed Under: News