Commemorative Coins

Although commemorative silver coins are supposed to be more collectible than their ordinary bullion brethren, many of them are available for a price which is just slightly above the current spot price of silver, showing that the original purpose of the governments that issued them is perhaps not served quite as well as was their intention. As such, many of these coins are well adapted to serving as basic bullion coins, and some can be purchased almost as cheaply as silver rounds of equivalent weight!

Therefore, buying commemorative silver coins in bulk is a viable way to get silver at just a little above spot to use as a storage unit for monetary value. You will need to pick those coins which have little additional value above spot to make this technique cost effective, of course. Interestingly, it is mostly American commemorative coins which are worth little more than their melt value, possibly because many of them were made at less than 99.9% fineness, or because so many were made.

Some commemorative coins, on the other hand, are worth far more than their melt or spot value. These rare coins offer the potential for investment, buying, and selling between collectors as the price fluctuates. You should seek this variety of silver commemorative out if you are interested in “playing the market” to try to make a profit selling coins, rather than just storing monetary value to hedge against future inflation or other economic disruptions.

Commemorative coins therefore offer both bullion and collectible possibilities, depending on which ones you choose to buy. They are usually made to the same high standards as other coins, though you should be aware that some American commemorative coins are cheaper than others because they contain a lower proportion of silver – since the U.S. Government, like the Chinese government, appears to be willing to issue coins at less than 0.999 fineness at times.

Commemorative silver coins can be bought from all the usual sources – authorized dealers in the year of their first release, regular coin dealers later, and the Internet, including auction sites like eBay and professional, highly reputable businesses such as APMEX, the American Precious Metals Exchange.

Information About The History of Commemorative Silver Coins

Silver coins have been issued in many different forms and for many diverse purposes. Not so long ago, these coins were struck to serve as actual currency, and though this mostly took place prior to the World Wars, some countries such as South Africa minted coins for general currency purposes as recently as the 1960s. Since the 1980s, the governments of the world have begun to mint ever-increasing numbers of bullion coins, which are meant to be an investment and a basic store of value for purchasers.

Commemorative silver coins are those which are struck to note the anniversary of some important event, or to call the event itself to mind (being struck once at the time the event occurs). They differ from medals and similar articles, which can also be made out of silver or gold, because they are also created in a monetary format, with a face value, and can theoretically serve as currency as well as a memento of the event in question.

As such, silver commemorative coins have existed nearly as long as coinage itself. Some of the early coins of the Middle East show the effigy of the local king with the tiny face of his new son in the picture beside him – generally just as stylized as his father, and often distinguishable only by size and lack of beard – which qualifies as a type of commemorative coin. The Roman Republic, in its final days, minted a coin celebrating the assassination of the would-be emperor Julius Caesar. Various other countries produced occasion coins to celebrate a victory, announce the birth of a royal heir, and so on.

However, these efforts were chaotic, limited, and haphazardly organized. It took the affluent middle class and highly organized bureaucratic states of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to create the circumstances where precisely minted commemorative coins could not only be produced, but met with enough demand to make them economically feasible.

The United States was among the first countries to issue commemorative coins in the modern sense – saluting a specific person or event, issued in a carefully controlled mintage, and produced to a uniform standard of excellence. The era of the modern silver commemorative began in 1892, when a coin was struck to commemorate the Columbian Exposition, depicting an exceptionally prissy-looking Christopher Columbus on the obverse and the navigator’s ship, the Santa Maria, above two globes on the reverse. The first of these coins sold for $10,000, but the rest were less successful and were eventually sold off for a dollar apiece, which was twice their nominal value.

The United States issued a steady stream of commemorative coins for decades thereafter, profiting from most of these issues until the middle of the 20th century. At this point, the government issued so many gimmicky, poorly designed coins that the public was filled with disgust and demand withered for over a generation.

Eventually, the memory of the numismatic Ponzi schemes faded, and the modern era of commemoratives began. In the meantime, however, other nations had established themselves in the market as well, and their contributions continue to be robust and effective to this day.

Traits of Commemorative Silver Coins

As might be expected from a descriptive category so broad, there are a huge number of variations on the commemorative coin form, and there cannot be said to be a standard format. For example, the Columbian Exposition coins are half dollar coins, while some modern commemorative coins weigh in at 10 ounces or even more. Most are made out of silver with a fineness of 0.999 (99.9% pure silver), but some are even purer (Canada’s are 99.99% pure silver), while others, like U.S. commemorative coins, have considerably less silver – only 90%, a startling lack of metal for such a powerful and well organized Treasury to include in its coins. Regardless of their origins, however, commemorative silver coins are made to high standards of quality and are among the most collectible in the world.

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