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Chalk it Up to Nostalgia?
November 02, 2010

With all of the rapid technological change we are experiencing, it is bit strange to see something still coming from 30 years in the past.

I see advertisements in national newspapers offering U.S. government silver dollars for sale.

The wording always is careful, but gives the impression of some recent government action that makes these coins available.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

But the strange thing is the template for these ads was basically written in the 1970s when the government was indeed selling off three million silver dollars through the General Services Administration.

These were the leftover coins after the U.S. Treasury stopped paying out silver dollars to redeem Silver Certificates in 1964.

The last of these government sales was roughly three decades ago.

Yet the ads from the private firms keep appearing.

What does it say about would-be coin buyers that such an old approach still works? After all, the approach must work or the ads would not appear.

I also had an e-mail from someone who wondered if the U.S. Mint got the silver for the new five-ounce America the Beautiful coins from the Federal Reserve melting down silver coins that it had.

There was no Federal Reserve inventory to melt. The U.S. Mint is not capable of making its own silver blanks, so even if there was a supply of silver bullion it would not do the Mint any good.

So here we are in the Internet age where rapid communication should lead to more informed coin buyers.

Why isn’t it?

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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 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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