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What is your opinion on the modern graded bullion game?

AzurescensAzurescens Posts: 2,683 ✭✭✭✭✭

I hoarded modern commems and key date world bullion at the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020 and got in some pieces good enough so that if I had to panic sell, I wouldn't totally lose my ass.

I had some health problems and had to sell off a bunch of it but ended up having enough time to send them off for grading.

I'm reflecting back on the entire experience and am very pleased with my results. While some coins sit for awhile, it seems to be worth it in the end.

A 2020 1/10 Britannia in MS70 selling at auction for $500 comes to mind. Silver commems you wouldn't pay $30 for going for $100+. PR70 two and three piece sets sold with OGP realizing a few hundred in profits.

Never had to sell any at a loss. Never had to break even. Grading fees are cheap, the market seems like it's there, and I've padded my inventory with key dates and other "mainstays" along the way to keep me busy if I ever gotta liquidate again.

I was always taught here that there is no market for these things. Which I feel was good advice four years ago and was probably good advice for some time but things seem to be very different now. The rise in counterfeits has people going toward slabbed and graded pieces and they're willing to pay more.

I wouldn't say I've made a fortune doing this or it's a way to get rich quick, but it has treated me well, and I was never really very good at this, so I wanted to ask here what you guys thought, or if your opinions had changed over the last few years.

Of course, there are some that never seem to sell, or others you'd expect to sell well and quickly that end up sitting, but I'm left with the impression it's like that with everything else anyway, so if you're making money, who cares.

Thoughts? What are your experiences?

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    MeltdownMeltdown Posts: 8,667 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If it's profitable, I can't argue with the logic. I don't look twice at modern silver commems, graded or not.

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    psuman08psuman08 Posts: 237 ✭✭✭

    I would never pay extra for a modern commem or bullion if it was graded. Figuring out what is a 69 and what is a 70 is not for me.

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    AzurescensAzurescens Posts: 2,683 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @psuman08 said:
    I would never pay extra for a modern commem or bullion if it was graded. Figuring out what is a 69 and what is a 70 is not for me.

    It can be pretty annoying but when the profits come they're nice. Unfortunately all the ASEs I thought were 70s were always 68 or 69, and the ones I just wanted to ensure were real ended up catching 70s.

    I'm a degenerate gambler so it is a good outlet for me. Instead of losing it to a slot machine or online blackjack, my worst case situation ends up with me owning graded silver for at least what it will sell for. Though, it may not sound very appealing to people who never had a gambling problem.

    @Meltdown said:
    If it's profitable, I can't argue with the logic. I don't look twice at modern silver commems, graded or not.

    I find it really hard to enjoy modern US commems outside of silver eagles, and now the type 2 reverse has me hating even those.

    Australian and Canadian examples that are actually pleasing coins are my jam.

    Non-US Platinum performed worst out of all of them. Seems to be a raw and jewelry kinda game, and I don't get pieces cheap enough to make that really worth it. The money you get between a 69 and 70 is not that far apart.

    Maybe one day it will pay off and I'll be grateful for having a bunch laying around.

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    jmski52jmski52 Posts: 22,380 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks, after some of my 70 gold sells on GC.

    It does seem to me that generic bullion at lower premiums is at least as good a bet as bullion in graded plastic, with some notable exceptions.

    It seems like 70-graded gold buffaloes have gone prohibitively high these days.

    Q: Are You Printing Money? Bernanke: Not Literally

    I knew it would happen.
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    blitzdudeblitzdude Posts: 5,459 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I've bought graded modern bullion but never paid a premium for it. There have been many times where MS69 slabbed bullion coins could be had for the same price as raw. Even the occasional MS70. Personally, I prefer raw because less space required than needed to store a bunch of slabs. I do find the whole thing a bit comical though, an MS69 looks identical to a MS70, actually plenty of examples out there where slabbed 69s look better than 70s. That said there is no denying there are collectors out there willing to pay premiums. I'm not one. RGDS!

    The whole worlds off its rocker, buy Gold™.

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    derrybderryb Posts: 36,209 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There is a large collector base for 69/70 modern bullion.

    Keep an open mind, or get financially repressed -Zoltan Pozsar

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    AzurescensAzurescens Posts: 2,683 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 21, 2024 4:08PM

    @jmski52 said:
    I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks, after some of my 70 gold sells on GC.

    It does seem to me that generic bullion at lower premiums is at least as good a bet as bullion in graded plastic, with some notable exceptions.

    It seems like 70-graded gold buffaloes have gone prohibitively high these days.

    This is just an opinion, but it is probably because they're the only attractive modern US bullion coin.

    @derryb said:
    There is a large collector base for 69/70 modern bullion.

    So I've discovered 😂 By the way some people here were talking about it a few years ago, you'd think those types of collectors would be a rare exception.

    I did pretty well with some Libertads too, but I think it's pretty hard to have those perform poorly.

    It's really, really hard to find high grade silver maples from the 90s without milk spots. The RCM really did the 25th anniversary coins pretty dirty, too. Nearly all of those are really, really bad. Like someone was trying to make them like that on purpose.

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    blitzdudeblitzdude Posts: 5,459 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Milk spots are VERY easy to remove. I probably sold you some. LOL RGDS!

    The whole worlds off its rocker, buy Gold™.

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    PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,433 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @blitzdude said:
    Milk spots are VERY easy to remove. I probably sold you some. LOL RGDS!

    How do you remove milk spots? I haven't had any luck with dipping them.

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

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    MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 32,218 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @psuman08 said:
    I would never pay extra for a modern commem or bullion if it was graded. Figuring out what is a 69 and what is a 70 is not for me.

    I do like the idea of buying 69's as low as possible just for the authenticity guarantee

    Current maintainer of Stone's Master List of Favorite Websites // My BST transactions
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    MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 32,218 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @blitzdude said:
    Milk spots are VERY easy to remove. I probably sold you some. LOL RGDS!

    please describe methodology. please.

    Current maintainer of Stone's Master List of Favorite Websites // My BST transactions
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    USMC_6115USMC_6115 Posts: 2,958 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 22, 2024 4:37PM

    I bought a couple way back in 1991 with the AGE 1/4 and 1/2 ounce purchases fairly cheap at the time. Both are in PCGS MS69. I had thoughts of collecting all of the 1/2 ounce MS dates, but I got distracted and sadly never continued to collect them. I am thankful I still have these two coins though.. They have been seeing great returns :)

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    dcarrdcarr Posts: 8,007 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:

    @blitzdude said:
    Milk spots are VERY easy to remove. I probably sold you some. LOL RGDS!

    How do you remove milk spots? I haven't had any luck with dipping them.

    .

    I think he means that he "removed" the milk spots (from his holdings) by selling off the afflicted coins.

    Milk spots are a micro etching of the surface. The silver surface inside a milk spot has a slightly rougher texture than outside the milk spot. As such, no amount of "dipping" will smooth the metal surface back out to where it was before. Only an abrasive polishing will knock down the roughness. But that is usually obvious and it may look worse that the milk spot did.

    .

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    johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 27,512 ✭✭✭✭✭

    a waste of money to me, fwiw

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    blitzdudeblitzdude Posts: 5,459 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 23, 2024 8:37AM

    Use the Weimans to dip off "the nasty" aka toning, use the Wrights with a soft cloth to gently remove milk / haze. Cartwheel luster remains, looks as fresh as the day it was minted even under 15x magnification. I've rubbed thousands of Maples and Philharmonics. If you're going to collect gutter at least keep it clean. RGDS!

    The whole worlds off its rocker, buy Gold™.

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    blitzdudeblitzdude Posts: 5,459 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 23, 2024 6:23PM

    @dcarr said:

    @blitzdude said:

    Use the Weimans to dip off "the nasty" aka toning, use the Wrights with a soft cloth to gently remove milk / haze. Cartwheel luster remains, looks as fresh as the day it was minted even under 15x magnification. I've rubbed thousands of Maples and Philharmonics. If you're going to collect gutter at least keep it clean. RGDS!

    The "cartwheel" (mint luster) may remain to some degree, but it will definitely be diminished, especially on the high points. Any such coin will be labeled "cleaned" by major grading services.

    IDisclaimer: I don't send in bullion for grading. The only thing I have slabbed is my Pre-33 Au, Morgan and Peace sets. I wouldn't use the Weimans on any of these.......However, you, me, them, whoever wouldn't know the difference on modern gutter. RGDS!

    The whole worlds off its rocker, buy Gold™.

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    TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 43,848 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nothing so drastic as plastic . Spending $30 to protect $30 is like renting a safe deposit box to store your aluminum cans.

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    blitzdudeblitzdude Posts: 5,459 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TwoSides2aCoin said:
    Nothing so drastic as plastic . Spending $30 to protect $30 is like renting a safe deposit box to store your aluminum cans.

    Nobody said life in the gutter required logic, brains, common cents. etc.. RGDS!

    The whole worlds off its rocker, buy Gold™.

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    GoldFinger1969GoldFinger1969 Posts: 1,304 ✭✭✭✭

    @Meltdown said:
    If it's profitable, I can't argue with the logic. I don't look twice at modern silver commems, graded or not.

    I like the National Park Foundation Saint-Gaudens Commemoratives. Much cheaper than the gold variants, and you can see some of the designs that ASG contemplated and either produced a pattern or nothing at all.

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    GoldFinger1969GoldFinger1969 Posts: 1,304 ✭✭✭✭

    @TwoSides2aCoin said:
    Nothing so drastic as plastic . Spending $30 to protect $30 is like renting a safe deposit box to store your aluminum >cans.

    For 1 or 2 as display or conversation pieces, I don't have a problem with it. Would I buy a bunch of the ASF commemoratives I listed above at big premiums ? No....but with silver, the absolute $$$ amount of the premium is something I can live with.

    Even if the break-even price for silver for me to make it up is probably about $50/oz.

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    TwoSides2aCoinTwoSides2aCoin Posts: 43,848 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @GoldFinger1969 said:

    @TwoSides2aCoin said:
    Nothing so drastic as plastic . Spending $30 to protect $30 is like renting a safe deposit box to store your aluminum >cans.

    For 1 or 2 as display or conversation pieces, I don't have a problem with it. Would I buy a bunch of the ASF commemoratives I listed above at big premiums ? No....but with silver, the absolute $$$ amount of the premium is something I can live with.

    Even if the break-even price for silver for me to make it up is probably about $50/oz.

    I am not opposed to grading or set building via holders. However, a person can enjoy modern NCLT without the extra costs. I'm not convinced there is much "added value", as is the case with rare or classic coins being encapsulated and graded. Each to their own. I like that.

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    AzurescensAzurescens Posts: 2,683 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @dcarr said:

    @GoldFinger1969 said:

    @Meltdown said:
    If it's profitable, I can't argue with the logic. I don't look twice at modern silver commems, graded or not.

    I like the National Park Foundation Saint-Gaudens Commemoratives. Much cheaper than the gold variants, and you can see some of the designs that ASG contemplated and either produced a pattern or nothing at all.

    Winged Liberty Saint-Gaudens concept, original sketch in plaster (which is apparently as far as Saint-Gaudens took it):

    National Park Foundation version:

    One of my versions, carrying the original idea to fruition:

    Everything about this post is awesome

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    derrybderryb Posts: 36,209 ✭✭✭✭✭

    MS/PR 69's that can be bought at near raw prices are worth a few extra dollars. Their certification makes them much easier to sell in the future. The smart stacker would have boxes of MS/PR 69 gold eagles/buffalos.

    Keep an open mind, or get financially repressed -Zoltan Pozsar

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    OnlyGoldIsMoneyOnlyGoldIsMoney Posts: 3,299 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @derryb said:
    MS/PR 69's that can be bought at near raw prices are worth a few extra dollars. Their certification makes them much easier to sell in the future. The smart stacker would have boxes of MS/PR 69 gold eagles/buffalos.

    derryb, when I was busy purchasing gold pre-2016 my coins of choice were PCGS and NGC certified common US $5 and $10 commemorative coins. They are surely easy to sell at coin shows.

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    derrybderryb Posts: 36,209 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @OnlyGoldIsMoney said:

    @derryb said:
    MS/PR 69's that can be bought at near raw prices are worth a few extra dollars. Their certification makes them much easier to sell in the future. The smart stacker would have boxes of MS/PR 69 gold eagles/buffalos.

    derryb, when I was busy purchasing gold pre-2016 my coins of choice were PCGS and NGC certified common US $5 and $10 commemorative coins. They are surely easy to sell at coin shows.

    was there a bit lower premium because the were modern comms?

    Keep an open mind, or get financially repressed -Zoltan Pozsar

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    OnlyGoldIsMoneyOnlyGoldIsMoney Posts: 3,299 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @derryb said:

    @OnlyGoldIsMoney said:

    @derryb said:
    MS/PR 69's that can be bought at near raw prices are worth a few extra dollars. Their certification makes them much easier to sell in the future. The smart stacker would have boxes of MS/PR 69 gold eagles/buffalos.

    derryb, when I was busy purchasing gold pre-2016 my coins of choice were PCGS and NGC certified common US $5 and $10 commemorative coins. They are surely easy to sell at coin shows.

    was there a bit lower premium because the were modern comms?

    Yes - little or no premium in many cases. Modern gold commemoratives (1984 - 1992 common types) and arts medallions (1980-1981 common types) often could be had for substantially less than melt when you factored in the various discounts (ebay bucks, cc cash back, big crumbs, etc).

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    derrybderryb Posts: 36,209 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @OnlyGoldIsMoney said:

    Yes - little or no premium in many cases. Modern gold commemoratives (1984 - 1992 common types) and arts medallions (1980-1981 common types) often could be had for substantially less than melt when you factored in the various discounts (ebay bucks, cc cash back, big crumbs, etc).

    excellent bullion play for the long term holder.

    Keep an open mind, or get financially repressed -Zoltan Pozsar

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    Clackamas1Clackamas1 Posts: 765 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I use to play heavily in this when I could grade well. I would get MS70's and 69's, sell the 70's for handsome premiums and keep the 69's for free. Stacked a boat ton of gold doing this. You really have to get a bunch of coins to see what a 70 looks like, they just have that 'extra' and be perfect.

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    GoldminersGoldminers Posts: 3,587 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Is it a game? Where can I buy it as I would like to play.

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    jmski52jmski52 Posts: 22,380 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yes - little or no premium in many cases. Modern gold commemoratives (1984 - 1992 common types) and arts medallions (1980-1981 common types) often could be had for substantially less than melt when you factored in the various discounts (ebay bucks, cc cash back, big crumbs, etc).

    Have you ever sold any of these? The discount cuts both ways - both when you buy them cheap, and when you sell them with very little premium, if any.

    Q: Are You Printing Money? Bernanke: Not Literally

    I knew it would happen.
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    OnlyGoldIsMoneyOnlyGoldIsMoney Posts: 3,299 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jmski52 said:
    Yes - little or no premium in many cases. Modern gold commemoratives (1984 - 1992 common types) and arts medallions (1980-1981 common types) often could be had for substantially less than melt when you factored in the various discounts (ebay bucks, cc cash back, big crumbs, etc).

    Have you ever sold any of these? The discount cuts both ways - both when you buy them cheap, and when you sell them with very little premium, if any.

    I have only parted with a handful of modern graded $5 gold pieces and even then only as part of a trade at a local coin show. Surely they won't command the premiums associates with AGE's when selling. What impressed me was that NGC and PCGS graded modern gold was readily acceptable to my trading partner.

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    derrybderryb Posts: 36,209 ✭✭✭✭✭

    While modern comms and the gold art series (predecessor to American Gold Eagles) trade with low premiums, like any form of gold they will rise in price in tandem with gold's price. The advantage to these two types of gold is that they are US Mint issued and if graded their gold content gets an additional bump in authenticity. You're basically paying generic gold bar price for a US Mint product.

    Keep an open mind, or get financially repressed -Zoltan Pozsar

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    ashelandasheland Posts: 22,694 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @blitzdude said:

    Use the Weimans to dip off "the nasty" aka toning, use the Wrights with a soft cloth to gently remove milk / haze. Cartwheel luster remains, looks as fresh as the day it was minted even under 15x magnification. I've rubbed thousands of Maples and Philharmonics. If you're going to collect gutter at least keep it clean. RGDS!

    My first thought was just indeed that, Wright’s Silver cream. If done carefully, it would be hard to detect. 👍

    I don’t do it with coins, but with silverware, I use it often.

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    alexercaalexerca Posts: 246 ✭✭✭

    Always bought bullion for bullion. I'll go with the flow especially if someone will pay a large premium. In my bullion age I found 10 "rare" dates in quarters and halves and 15 1/10. In a few days the 10 will be on their way to cac grading! A few years ago I sold some "rare" pandas for a cray amount of money!

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    jmski52jmski52 Posts: 22,380 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I recently sold a series of burnished 1 oz. AGEs at auction on GC during the gold price runup. I also sold some older "regular" Unc. AGEs to realize a gain that I needed for tax purposes.

    Based on this recent experience, I would state that the "ordinary" unslabbed AGEs that I sold to a dealer were a much better long term bet for realizing a profit than the SP-70 AGEs that I sold at auction (even during the very healthy spot market conditions).

    Graded bullion still has its place, I think - but the risk return is better for generic gold. The allure of hitting a homerun is always there.

    Q: Are You Printing Money? Bernanke: Not Literally

    I knew it would happen.
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    pmh1nicpmh1nic Posts: 3,146 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @derryb said:
    There is a large collector base for 69/70 modern bullion.

    Not looking for an argument but what is your basis for saying there is a large collector base for 69/70 modern bullion? I’m not sure you can use the fact that a particular coin sells out in a few hours as the basis since based on some conversations these sell offs can be attributed to individuals buying hoping to flip coins for a profit and the sellouts don’t appear to be consistent from one issue to the next. Also, when you say “collector base” are you included folks that are stacking or just those collecting a particular series in sequence (every year and/or mint mark)?

    The longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice is it possible for an empire to rise without His aid? Benjamin Franklin
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    GoldminersGoldminers Posts: 3,587 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Currently there are more than 8,034 different sets in the PCGS registry for modern eagles, and 1,377 additional sets of bullion buffaloes and first spouses. More than 50 collectors have 90% or more of all the 110 different dates and finishes in the complete silver eagle set. There are also thousands of NGC modern eagle collectors.

    There are tens of thousands more who are collecting slabbed moderns that are not PCGS or NGC members. Is this an adequate number to call it a "collector base"? I guess it depends on what you want to conclude from the data.

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    jmski52jmski52 Posts: 22,380 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was checking ebay this morning and it sure does look as if Platinum Eagles, Gold Buffaloes and American Gold Eagles are all disappearing from the listings.

    Are these being bought up, or are the sellers holding out for higher prices? Interesting.......

    Q: Are You Printing Money? Bernanke: Not Literally

    I knew it would happen.
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