These 6 Gold & Silver Coins Decline the Least During a Market Pullback
At the time of this writing, which may be much different by the time you read this article, we’ve seen about a 5% correction in gold prices and an 8% pullback in silver prices over the past couple of weeks. These corrections are par for the course when investing in precious metals, as prices tend to be volatile – especially in response to new economic, financial and geopolitical news. Except for the most recent jobs report, which exceeded expectations, most of the recent economic news has been negative, which has put downward pressure on gold and silver prices.
This should be viewed as a buying opportunity by the public, but of course, everyone is concerned about trying to catch a falling knife, so most people wait on the sidelines until they’re comfortable that the market has bottomed before moving back into gold and silver. This oftentimes results in missed buying opportunities, as gold and silver tend to rebound quickly when the market fundamentals don’t justify a pullback in prices.
That being said, any pullback, whether temporary or not, can cause an uneasy feeling. We certainly understand, as we’ve been there before ourselves. While most bullion gold and silver coins and bars have corrected commensurately with the pullback in prices, not all gold and silver coin options have been affected, or at least to the same extent. In this article, we’re going to highlight 6 gold and silver coins that have recently held up the best during this temporary market correction.
Pre-1921 Morgan silver dollars
While we’ve seen a fairly significant correction in Peace dollars, 1921 Morgan silver dollars, and cull or off-quality silver dollars, prices for pre-1921 Morgan silver dollars (those issued in 1904 and earlier) have held up better than their
counterparts. 1921 Morgan and Peace silver dollars are currently trading a few dollars over their melt value, which the premiums on pre-21 Morgan silver dollars are still in the double digits.
We believe there are a couple of reasons for the resiliency of these coins. The most obvious reason is that Morgan silver dollars have always been, and likely will continue to be some of the most popular and collected coins in the industry. We’ve been in business for quite a few years, and no matter what the general market is doing, rarely have we encountered a market when pre-21 Morgan silver dollars were out of favor.
Secondly, these coins were produced in lower quantities than their 1921 Morgan and Peace silver dollar counterparts. While that’s not the case with all Peace dollars, as there are some lower mintage coins that sell at a premium, by and large, the mintages of Peace dollars were higher than pre-1921 Morgan silver dollars. Furthermore, the Pittman Act of 1918 authorized the melting of up to 350 million Morgan silver dollars. The total number ended up being closer to 270 million coins, which was about half of the total Morgan silver dollars minted up to that time.
Since no one knows for certain which coins were melted down, the survivability of many of the coins that were originally produced in large quantities in all likelihood are much less than we realize, making these coins an intriguing option.
Proof American Silver Eagles
Another resilient coin that seems to do well during thick and thin is the proof American silver eagle. We’ve covered the topic of proof silver eagles in a previous article, but for those of you new to our blog, these are coins that were double struck and produced with a special die, which gives the coins a mirror-like finish background and frosted foreground.
For a proof silver eagle to be complete, it needs to include a velvet case, certificate of authenticity and an outer box. These components are important, as they’re required to make the coin IRA-eligible. If any of these items are missing, the silver eagle is considered incomplete and sells at $5 – $10 less. One other note regarding packaging is that the correct color and design box is required for the proof silver eagle to be complete. Here’s a link to a previous article that we wrote regarding the correct color and design of boxes for the corresponding year of the proof silver eagles.
As is the case with most coins, some proof silver eagles are considered lower mintage coins that sell at a premium. The 1994 proof silver eagle is the lowest minted proof silver eagle. Please note that we’re not including in our list any special mint or limited-edition proof silver eagles, which sell at a premium. Additionally, 1993 and 1997 proof silver eagles sell at a slight premium above standard-issue silver eagles, and at least, at the time of this writing, proof silver eagles issued in 2000 and earlier tend to be in slightly higher demand that those issued from 2001 through current.
While we’ve seen a very slight pullback in the price of proof silver eagles during this market decline, it’s been inconsequential relative to most other silver coin and bullion options.
Carson City Morgan Silver Dollars in GSA Holders
Rain or shine, Carson City Morgan silver dollars in GSA holders are always a popular coin and are sought after by investors and collectors alike. A hoard of these coins, which consisted of about 3,000 bags containing 3 million coins, was auctioned off by the Government
Services Administration in the early 1970’s after the Treasury ceased redeeming silver certificates for silver dollars in 1968.
GSA Carson City silver dollars include the coin in the acrylic holder, an outer box and certificate of authenticity. Standard uncirculated coins were issued with a numbered certificate and include the word “Uncirculated” on the front of the acrylic holder. Those considered slightly off-quality as is evidenced by toning or excessive contact marks, don’t include the word “Uncirculated” on the GSA lens or a numbered certificate.
As is the case with proof silver eagles, these coins aren’t considered complete without the original government packaging. The packaging and the “uncirculated” version of the coin isn’t as important for common date GSA coins (notably, those issued from 1882 – 1884), but will impact the demand and value of the other dated coins. Some of the better date or lower mintage coins can sell for hundreds of dollars less without a numbered certificate.
We’ve gone in depth in a previous article on the mintage of the various GSA Carson City silver dollars, but those that sell at the highest prices are 1879, 1890 & 1891. These coins, when in high certified condition can sell upwards of $10,000 or more. The important thing to keep in mind is that these values are only realized if the coins are intact in the original holders, the holders are in retail-quality condition and the coins include the original numbered certificate of authenticity. Beware of duplicate or counterfeit certificates, which are somewhat prevalent and aren’t acceptable substitutes for original certificates.
Fractional American Gold Buffaloes
The value of most American gold buffaloes tracks along with the spot price of gold, but one noted exception are fractional American gold buffaloes issued in 2008. If you’re new to the coin and bullion industry (even if you’ve been at it for a while), you may have not realized that fractional gold buffaloes exist. At the time of this writing, 2008 was the only year in which the U.S. Mint produced fractional gold buffaloes. If you’re not familiar with the term, fractional refers to any size less than an ounce.
Two versions of fractional gold buffaloes were issued in 2008, which were both eligible for direct purchase by the general public. They were a proof and burnished version. As we’ve highlighted in previous articles, proof coins are special-struck coins that exhibit a mirror-like finish background and frosted foreground, while burnished coins have more of a matte-like finish.
The mintage of both versions was relatively low, but the proof coins sell for approximately 50% more than the burnished coins. Both versions include a display case, certificate of authenticity and outer box. Only those coins that include the complete original government packaging realize their full value. Furthermore, there’s some benefit of having all denomination coins, as many collectors are in search of the complete collection versus a single coin.
The value of these coins tends to perform well regardless of the gold market due to the limited number of coins produced and the strong demand in the marketplace. If you’re going to collect them, we recommend selecting coins with the original government packaging or investing in 70 grade coins as opposed to collecting coins graded a 69 by the third-party grading services, as these coins are in higher demand and tend to trade at a higher premium.
$3 Indian Princess Head Gold Coins
Another gold coin that tends to do well through thick and thin is the $3 Indian Princess gold coin. Like the fractional gold buffaloes, most of the public is unaware that the U.S. Mint produced a $3 gold coin. Even collectors that have been at it for a while are oftentimes surprised when the $3 Indian Princess gold coin comes up during conversation as one of the pre-1933 U.S. gold coin options.
These coins trade for well above their gold weight of .1451 ounces. The most common of these coins, and the coin most counterfeited is the 1854 dated coin, which also happens to be the first year of issuance. Unlike many other counterfeits, the $3 Indian Head Princess gold coin tends to be an excellent counterfeit, and is composed of real gold, which makes it challenging for collectors and investors – even for folks that have been in the industry for a while.
Your best bet is to purchase a certified $3 gold coin or a raw coin from a well-established coin dealer that has the expertise to differentiate a counterfeit from an authentic gold coin. These coins even sell at a premium when in poor condition, or if they’ve been cleaned, polished or previously used as a jewelry piece, which is uncommon for most other gold coins.
The most common grade found in these coins is in VF or very fine condition. Prices quickly increase as the condition or grade improves, with uncirculated versions selling at over two times the value of a very fine condition coin. For those of you who are new to coin grading, a very fine condition pre-1933 gold coin is in standard circulated condition.
MS66 St. Gaudens Gold Coins
The last coin that we’re going to highlight in this article is the Saint Gaudens gold coin; specifically, those certified at the MS66 grade or higher. Keep in mind that the third-party grading service (TPGS) is important. Those recognized and respected in the industry are NGC, PCGS and more recently CACG. Until recently, CAC only assessed the condition of previously graded coins to determine if they were a high-end example for the grade. Those that meet the high standards of CAC receive a green CAC sticker. The sticker makes the coin more valuable, as it’s an indication to the collecting public that this is a premium coin for the grade. More recently, CAC launched a coin grading service, which is commonly referred to as CACG.
For those of you who may be new to our blog, St. Gaudens gold coins are $20 gold coins that were minted by the U.S. Mint from 1907 to 1933. Technically, 1933 U.S. gold coins were never intended to be distributed to the public, and only a few examples are known to exist, which is why most folks use the term “pre-1933 gold coins” to describe coins from this era.
Getting back to our original point, an MS66 grade for a St. Gaudens gold coin is relatively rare. The reason being is that when these coins were original produced by the U.S. Mint, they were thrown in canvas bags and hauled off to banks. The contact marks from being in a bag with hundreds of other coins and the jostling around caused from transporting these coins makes MS66 graded coins difficult to find.
While coins graded below MS66 are still solid coins, they tend to be affected more by the price of gold; whereas MS66 St. Gaudens are considered numismatic coins (even if common date coins) and are less affected by gold prices. If you’re looking to diversify your holdings a bit and are in search of gold coins that will likely hold their value, regardless of the spot price of gold, this is a good option to consider.
In conclusion, we’ve highlighted three silver coins and three gold coins that tend to perform well regardless of the market and are less susceptible to fluctuations in the price of gold and silver.
From a silver perspective, we highlighted pre-1921 Morgan silver dollars, proof silver eagles and Carson City silver dollars in GSA holders. These three coins are some of the most popular coins traded in the market and don’t necessarily move in sync with the precious metals market. This list could have included most other certified low mintage silver dollars, but we wanted to limit our discussion to coins that were readily accessible to the public.
We then highlighted a list of gold coins – some of which you may not have been familiar with. We began our discussion with fractional gold buffaloes, which at the time of this writing, were only produced in 2008. We then highlighted the $3 Indian Princess gold coin, which trades for well above its gold value, but warned against potential counterfeits. We then concluded with certified St. Gaudens gold coins in MS66 condition or above.
We hope that this list provides you with some ideas of how to diversify your gold and silver holdings and welcome you to contact Atlanta Gold & Coin Buyers if we can be of any assistance. Whether you’re in the market to acquire or sell these coins, we’re your one-stop shop. See for yourself why we’re the leading coien dealer in metro Atlanta and beyond.