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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 15, April 13, 2008, Article 18

COIN MELTS AND THEIR AFTERMATH

[The May 2008 issue of COINage magazine has an interesting
article by Tom DeLorey titled "Melts and Their Aftermath:
How Coin 'Deaths' Affect Market Value".  He discusses the
various times in U.S. economic history when high specie
values have led to the melting of coins.  He notes that the
first great melting of U.S. coin occurred in 1834 when the
country's gold coins became overvalued in specie terms vs
face value.  Here are a few excerpts. -Editor]

"It is safe to say that more than 99 percent of the pre-1834
U.S. Gold coins no longer exist, there being very few collectors
at the time to preserve them ... How individual pre-melt
coins survived was mere chance.  While working as an
authenticator-grader at the American Numismatic Association
Certification Service (ANACS), I saw an uncirculated 1804
Half Eagle ($5 gold piece) wrapped in a piece of brittle paper,
that apparently had been sent to England as a present.  Written
on the paper was a message that read something to the effect
of 'To Freddie. An American Guinea. Christmas 1805.'

[In the late 1970s/1980 boom when coin shops had people
lined up around the block to sell their coins and gold, a
dealer could buy $500,000 to $1 million in bullion each day.
-Editor]

"My colleague says his firm would air-freight its silver
purchases to Switzerland every night because the refineries
there were not as backed up and could pay for the silver in
a more timely manner."

"I do not know if some day in the near future we will be
posting "2x" or "3X" buy prices for cents and nickels in
the coin shop where I work, but I would not rule it out."

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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