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Making Silver Meaningful
May 13, 2010



Gold set a record yesterday. Silver went up too. It passed a nice round number of sorts.

The bullion value in 90 percent U.S. silver coins struck before 1965 is now worth just over 14 times face value.

I like round numbers. A quarter is worth $3.50, a half dollar is $7 and the dime is $1.40.

Figuring this out this morning makes me recall the advertisements of a bygone age when silver bullion buyers were just starting to push up the value of the silver in standard silver coins beyond face value.

I remember ads offering a 7 percent premium over face value.

Yes, that’s right, 7 percent.

It is hard to imagine a time when that would be a sufficient inducement to even bother to search, but it was.

It was because we all expected more. Silver was going to go higher yet. You put silver coins aside because they weren’t making them anymore. You put them aside and invested them with a view of the future.

In the intervening four decades, the value of silver has fluctuated. It has gone up, backed off and gone up again.

What it hasn’t yet done is surpass the $50 mark, which was the high point of 1980.

Will it do so?

Good question.

People are still investing their views of the future in their silver coins. We have many more options now with convenient one-troy ounce sizes, but for me the strongest bond is between my pre-1965 silver coins and me.

They tell a story. They were also a part of my life. That makes them more real than having a simple stake in the price of silver.







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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News, Bank Note Reporter and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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