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The Eagles Have Landed
By Dr. R.S. “Bart” Bartanowicz, Coins Magazine
April 02, 2013

This article was originally printed in Coins Magazine.
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“I won’t be able to make it to the January FUN show. Would you mind picking up a 2013 silver Eagle for me? I need one for my bullion collection, and they should be available at the show.”

Our numismatist was quick to reply, “That’s no problem, Richard. I’ll be at the show for three days. Do you need anything else?”

“No, that’s all I really want at this time. Are you sure this isn’t going to be a bother? I don’t want to impose on our friendship.”

Our numismatist assured him again that this wouldn’t be a problem. He enjoyed picking up things for people and usually had a list of items that his friends wanted.

Arriving at the Florida United Numismatists convention, commonly called the FUN show, our numismatist checked around and was informed that the 2013 silver American Eagles would probably be arriving at a major dealer’s booth the following day.

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Everyone seemed to be anticipating the arrival of the silver Eagles with great relish.

He jotted down the dealer’s table number and proceeded off on his other ventures. The following day, anticipation remained high as dealers and collectors alike were talking about the silver Eagles.

One of the dealers remarked:

“People just love the silver Eagles. They’re big and beautiful.

“I always have a waiting list for these coins when they first become available. I know a lot of the old-school collectors and dealers shake their heads at this phenomenon, but it keeps people interested in coins and a lot of folks branch out into collecting some of the older, classic coins.

“This passion for silver Eagles is good for the hobby and the business.”

Later in the day, a quiet buzz passed along the bourse floor:

“The silver Eagles are in. A pallet of coins just arrived.”

Over the next hour our numismatist watched a parade of dealers and collectors go by his table with silver Eagles in hand. Unable to hold off any longer, he walked across the convention floor and was quick to spot the dealer’s table by the lines of people.

He was only three or four people deep in his particular line as the dealer’s staff was quickly dispensing rolls and boxes of the coins.

As his turn came, he said, “One, please.”

There was a brief pause as he looked at people purchasing rolls and boxes of the coins. He grinned at the dealer and said, “That is, one coin please.”

The dealer returned his smile and came back with one coin. The dealer graciously made change for him and bid him adieu.

Walking back to the table, our numismatist examined the coin and came to the conclusion that it was indeed gorgeous.

What a great hobby, he thought. Here he was among a large group of collectors and dealers buying large quantities of coins in a fast-paced situation and they could still accommodate a single collector coming in to buy just one coin. He had been treated like a world-class customer.

Nope. I did not embellish the above story. The annual rush for the silver American Eagles is an interesting phenomenon. People buy them for the bullion content as well as collectibles.

As dealers go through newly arrived silver Eagles, they are always on the lookout for coins that will reach the grade of 70. Those coins are quickly sent off for grading, and there is no shortage of eager collectors who want these coins.

The anticipated arrival of the coins at this year’s FUN show was remarkable. It wasn’t like holiday shopping. People were civil. There was no being jostled in line or an aggressive run to the major dealer; after all—we collectors are a polite and well-mannered group.

I believe that everyone got their silver Eagles. The prices were certainly good, with convention dealers only charging a few dollars over the spot price of silver.

My brother, Stephen, who accompanies me at the annual convention, decided to become a silver Eagle buyer. He purchased a silver Eagle for his son, Frank.

He also took the plunge and purchased a modern silver dollar commemorative for himself which was the 1997 National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial commemorative. As a retired police officer, he really liked the coin.

My brother will probably never become a dedicated collector but over the years he has come to appreciate the beauty of many coins. If I work on him a bit I might even get him to stand in line for me next year for the arrival of the 2014 silver Eagles.

The West Point-struck silver American Eagles are indeed beautiful. They are available in mint state and proof issues.

The obverse design is old school, as taken from Adolph A. Weinman’s beautiful Walking Liberty half dollar of 1916-1947. John Mercanti’s heraldic eagle graces the reverse. As such, it appeals to the old-timers and the new arrivals to the hobby.

It’s silver and beautiful as well as affordable. Need I say more?

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