Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What is the Gold and Silver in My Coin Worth?

This is probably the most frequently asked question I get from people.

A few years ago I wrote an article showing people how they could answer their own question. But most people really don't want to know how to do it, they just want to know the answer. So, this post is for them.

Below is a list of coins and the values of their gold and silver content. Some are coins produced by the U.S. Mint, and others are produced by National Collector's Mint.

The prices for silver and gold used in the calculations are as follows:

Spot Price of Silver per oz. (as of 01/11/11): $29.68
Spot Price of Gold per oz. (as of 01/11/11): $1,383.00

U.S. Mint

Barber,  Mercury, and pre-1965 Roosevelt Dimes
        Silver value = 0.07234 troy oz. x $29.68 = $2.15

Barber, Standing Liberty, and pre-1965 Washington Quarters
        Silver value = 0.18084 troy oz. x $29.68 = $5.37

Barber, Walking Liberty, Franklin, and 1964 Kennedy Half Dollars
        Silver value = 0.36169 troy oz. x $29.68 = $10.74

$1 Seated Liberty, Morgan, and Peace Silver Dollars
        Silver value = 0.77344 troy oz. x $29.68 = $22.96

$20 Liberty Head Gold and St. Gaudens Double Eagles
        Gold value = 0.9675 troy oz. x $1,383 = $1,338.05

$1 American Eagle Silver Bullion
        Silver value = 1 troy oz. x $29.68 = $29.68

$10 First Spouse Gold Bullion
        Gold value = 0.5 troy oz. x $1,338.05 = $669.03

$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion
        Gold value = 1 troy oz. x $1,338.05 = $1,338.05

National Collector's Mint
(all the following were reportedly struck with silver recovered from ground zero after 9/11)

5th Anniv. World Trade Center Commemorative Proof
   Advertised as:
        "15 mg each of 24KT pure gold and .999 pure silver"

   Silver value =  0.00048 troy oz. x $29.68 = 1.4 cents
   Gold value =  0.00048 troy oz. x $1,338.05 = 64.2 cents
   Total Value = 65.6 cents

10th Anniv. Liberian September 11th Commemorative Dollar
   Advertised as:
        "14 mg of pure 24-Karat gold" and
        "clad in a total 14 mg .999 pure silver"

   Silver value = 0.00045 troy oz. x $29.68 = 1.3 cents
   Gold value = 0.00045 troy oz. x $1,338.05 = 60.2 cents
   Total Value = 61.5 cents

$1 Cook Islands "Freedom Tower" Dollar
   Advertised as:
        "71 mg of .999 pure silver"

   Silver value = 0.00228 troy oz. x $29.68 = 6.8 cents
   Total Value = 6.8 cents

Sometimes It Pays to Do the Math

There is a big difference in the precious metal content between the coins produced by the two mints, but there is also a big difference in price.

As I write this, the U.S. Mint is selling uncirculated First Spouse gold coins for $841. This is a 25% premium over the spot price of gold.

On the other hand, the 10th Anniversary Liberian September 11th Commemorative Dollar from the National Collector's Mint is only $29.95. However, this is a 4770% premium over the spot prices of the gold and silver in the coin.

Think that's bad. How about the $1 Cook Islands "Freedom Tower" Dollar. At $19.95 it has a markup of $29238% over the spot price of the silver in the coin - ouch!

I'm not going to pass judgement on either mint and whether their prices are too high, I'll leave that up to you. All I will say is that I'm unhappy with how some companies are commercializing the memory of 9/11. The people that are buying these momentos apparently disagree. But a mark-up of over 29 thousand percent?

They can't all be happy about that.


At 3:05 AM, OpenID numismatico said...

In my opinion, the only reason why mits coin commemorative coins is to get money.

I mean, a dollar is not a lot of money, so they can be sure that they will sell some millions of coins and they will get an important amount of money with them. That is a pretty easy business.

Here in Europe all the mints make quite a lot of money selling commemorative with 0% of gold or silver... and there are thousands of european collectors that buy them!!

At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, basically, I have a pretty and well kept 5th anniversary 9/11 gold coin with a silver 3-D stand alone piece that stands within said coin and the over all value is less than what I paid for it when it was first advertised on television? Man... I'm a complete dope.

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just saw a commercial for a commemorative coin and the announcer said numerous times, "15 mgs of pure 24k gold!"
I just had to get up and find out how much 15 mgs of pure 24k gold was actually worth...
The ad proclaimed the coin to be a $50 value, but, if you act now you could have it for the incredibly low price of $9.95, plus shipping of course..!
So, it was not quite the ripoff that the Liberian Sept 11, or, Freedom Tower pieces are, but, certainly a high markup considering its true value..!



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