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Silver: $15.27$-0.08

 

International Precious Metals

  • Chinese Yuan Aims to Knock Out the American Dollar

    The almighty American Dollar’s current reign as the “World Champion” reserve currency may be coming to a end.  The aim is for the chinese yuan to knock out the American Dollar, and has made aggressive moves in precious metals to achieve their goals.  With the creation of its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), they will challenge the U.S. dominance of the world’s financial system. Read More »

  • Edmund C. Moy Signature Labels available at International Precious Metals

    Edmund C. Moy Signature Labels

    Edmund C. Moy is a former U.S. Mint Director, celebrated author, respected economist and sought-after public speaker.  Born in Detroit, Michigan, he was raised in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  He has been celebrated for his pioneering work at the U.S. mint and has been honored with Edmund C. Moy signature labels . Read More »

  • 7 Urgent Reasons to Buy Gold Now

    Wise investors are drawing closer to Gold's defensive, safety haven, functionality. Physical gold is private, portable, secure and immutably valuable. Historically, it has retained its value, maintaining through the collapse of governments and even cultures. No paper asset offers the same security.Gold’s safety haven appeal often benefits from uncertainty in the wider financial markets.
  • How Much Are Native American Coins Worth?

    The North American Origin of Old Native American Coins and Currency

    As residents of North America from before the founding of the United States of American, Native Americans have long been honored on United States coins.

    Since the 18th century, when the U.S. began striking gold coins for everyday commerce, Native American figures,  history and culture have been featured on U.S. currency and these representations and themes remain some of the most popular designs in U.S. history.

     

    History of Native American Coins

    The first Native American coin struck -  one of the most popular Native American-themed coins to this day - was the Indian Head indian coin - five-dollar-indian-head-gold-coin-in-handpenny, released into circulation in 1859. The “Indian” featured on the coin is a representation of Lady Liberty wearing a Native American feathered headdress. The penny, designed by James B. Longacre, remained in circulation until 1909 when the Lincoln cent replaced it. Millions of Indian Head pennies were struck and many have survived in decent condition. It is still possible to buy a gently worn,  Indian Head penny for less than $5.

    In 1913, the Buffalo or Indian Head nickel, designed by James Earle Fraser, entered circulation. The Native American featured on the obverse was a combination features from sketches by Fraser of three Native American men. The buffalo on the revers is actually a bison, modeled after Black Diamond, a bison residing in the New York Central Park Zoo. The last Buffalo nickel was struck in 1938, indian - native-american-horseback-on-cliffthe year the first Jefferson nickel was released. The popularity of the Buffalo (Indian Head) nickel inspired the U.S. Mint to reinvent the famous Native American coin’s design and place it on an American Buffalo 24-karat gold coin with a $50 face value.

     From 1908 to 1929 Indian Head type $2.50 and $5 gold coins were minted and from 1907 through 1933, the $10 Indian Head type coin was struck. The $10 Indian Head features Lady Liberty wearing a Native American war bonnet.

     

    Most Valuable Native American Coins

     

    Modern Native American Coins

    In 2000, the United States Mint released the Sacagawea gold dollar, featuring an image of the Shoshone woman carrying her infant son, Jean Baptiste.

    In 2007, president George W. Bush signed the Native American $1 Coin Act instructing the U.S. Mint to begin producing coins that celebrate Native Americans’ contributions to American history.

    In 2009, the mint released the Native American dollar coin which features a variety of images of Native American people, history and culture. The obverse of all these coins feature Sacagewea with the inscriptions LIBERTY and IN GOD WE TRUSTindian - ten-dollar-indian-head-gold-coin-under-magnifying-glassThe reverse features a new design each year honoring important contributions of Indian tribes or individual Native Americans with the inscriptions $1 and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The Native American dollar coin series was issued  to run concurrently with the remaining years of the Presidential dollar series.

    The coins are selected by the Secretary of the Treasury with input from the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the Congressional Native American Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Congress of American Indians and  public review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. The golden Native American $1 Coins have a distinctive edge and feature edge-lettering of the year, mint mark and E PLURIBUS UNUM.

    The Native American dollar coin program is set to run through at least 2016.

  • What is the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee?

    The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, CCAC was formed in 2003. It serves as a replacement for the Citizens Commemorative Coin Advisory Committee, which though similar, had a more limited role. The CCAC functions as a representative of the interests of American citizens and coin collectors.

     

    It was established to advise the Secretary of the Treasury  on proposed themes or designs for circulating coinage, bullion coinage, Congressional Gold Medals, national and other medals. The CCAC also makes recommendations  with regard to the events, people, or places to be commemorated on coins in each of the five calendar years  following the year in which a  commemorative coin designation is made.

     

    CCAC portland-oregon-convention-center

     

    They also make recommendations with respect to the mintage level for any commemorative coin. The Secretary makes the final decision on all coins based on the committee's recommendations.

     

    The committee is comprised of 11 members whose job it is to offer experienced an impartial advice to the Secretary of the Treasury, spends hours determining how money looks and how moments in American history will be perceived by future generations. Of the 11, four members are recommended by House and Senate leadership. Currently, those four are Donald Scarinci, Mike Moran, Thomas J. Uram and Mary Lannin. It is mandated that one person on the committee be an expert in the study or collection of currency, also known as numismatics.

     

    CCAC coin-collectingDr. Michale Bugeja fills that seat. One member -  currently Robert Hoge - must be an expert in the curation of numismatics. The committee must also have an expert in medallic art – Heidi Wastweet -  and an American historian – Dr. Herman Viola. The remaining three are drawn from the general public. Those currently include Erik Jansen, Gary Marks and Jeanne Stevens-Sollman.

     

    A public meeting of the CCAC is set for 9:30 a.m. until 6:45 p.m. Thursday, March 5 in Room 151 of the Oregon Convention Center at 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Portland, Oregon. Agenda items include the review and consideration of candidate designs for the 2016 Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Program, the Monuments Men Recognition Act Congressional Gold Medal Program, the Code Talkers Recognition Congressional Gold Medal Program for the Rosebud Tribe, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential $1 Coin.The CCAC will also review and advise on design concepts for the 2017 America the Beautiful Quarters Program Coins, the Nancy Reagan First Spouse Gold Coin and Bronze Medal, and the 2017 Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Program.

     

    The CCAC will also host a public forum the next day, Friday, March CCAC professional-business-meeting-image6, 2015, at 9 a.m. in Room 149 to receive input from collectors and other members of the public. Any member of the public interested in submitting matters for the CCAC’s consideration or addressing the CCAC at the Public Forum is asked to submit them by fax to the following number: 202–756–6525.

     

    For more information write to William Norton, United States Mint Liaison to the CCAC; 801 9th Street

    NW., Washington, DC 20220; or call 202–354–7200.

  • Gold Extraction: Where Can You Extract Gold From?

    Gold Extraction: Some everyday sources for a modern form of mining of precious metals

    Approximately 85 percent of all the gold ever found is still being used today. Most of that can be found in electronics, catalytic converters and other man-made products like cellphones.

    All of these items have a shelf-life and when their time is up, precious metals can be recovered. Precious metal can also be gleaned from nature – in sand and seawater.

    The extraction of gold from all of these is possible through a variety of processes.

     

    Electronics

    Beyond outdated computers, several other electronics make use of the yellow metal. Televisions, radios, refrigerators and cellphones will all yield a fair amount of gold.

    Gold can be recovered from computer motherboards soaking an a cyanide solution to reach the gold contained within pins and sockets. To recover gold from motherboard chips, the chips must be burned and ground to a fine powder. Then one of many different methods may be employed including the aqua regia recovery process, pyrolysis and cupellation process.

    For the other electronics listed above, the first step is to remove the outer casing from the item. Then scrape any gold residue off with your screwdriver. Collect the gold residue.

     

    Sand

    Panning is the most common method using of extracting gold from a material like sand. To make sure can recover the specks of gold, start with large mesh screens and work to smaller mesh sizes. Use a magnet to recover the fine black sand substance to be saved a dried later. Small bits of gold will be caught in them and when they are dry, you will be able to remove the ferrites and pan the material again. There is also drywasher that uses an electrostatic method to separate the two.Chemical extraction is not recommended for hobbyists. Acids, cyanide and mercury are all environmental and health hazards.

     

    Seawater

    There is an estimated eight million tons of gold dissolved in the world’s oceans. And it is possible – though not practical – to extract that gold.

    gold extraction - prospector-pan-in-sandAfter it was discovered by British chemist S. Sonstadt in 1872 that sewater contained gold, German chemist Fritz Haber, co-inventor of the Haber-Bosch process, spent most of his career trying to devise a method to separate the two to help pay Germany's post World War I debt.

    But the cost of evaporating then concentrating seawater would far outweigh the value of the gold obtained.

     

    Ore

    Minerals containing enough metal to be valuable are called ore. Precious metals are often extracted from ore through a combination of comminution, mineral processing, hydrometallurgical, and pyrometallurgical processes. gold extraction - gold-ore-mineralGiven the chemicals used it is not recommended for hobbyists.

    Catalytic converters transform toxic emissions to less harmful ones through chemical reactions. Almost all present-day vehicles that use gas, have exhaust systems that include a catalytic converter. The catalysts used in these systems is usually platinum, palladium and rhodium - all of the platinum group metals. PGMs are in limited supply and and have a wide variety of industrial uses. Platinum is used in laboratory and dental equipment, electrical contacts and electrodes and jewelry. Palladium is used in fuel technology.

    gold extraction discarded-catalytic-convertersIn 2010, $3 billion worth of platinum, palladium and rhodium were recovered from discarded catalytic converters. Most of the recycled catalytic converters found today come from cars built more than a decade ago.

    The recoverable amounts of palladium, platinum and rhodium in each can range from one to two grams for a small vehicle to 12-15 grams for a big truck in the United States. The recovery value ranges from $25 to a few hundred dollars per vehicle.

     

    If you are looking to invest in proper gold coins to buy, or bullion, then you have come to the right place: International Precious Metals is a renown online coin dealer with nearly 20 years of experience, serving the numismatic community with trust as well as great prices.

     

  • ISIS Using Precious Metals for Currency

    The background of ISIS and their currency plans for the middle east

    Islamic State militants have announced on jihadi websites that IS has plans to mint its own currency. Early last year, IS seized large portions of Iraqi and Syrian territory. The militant group then proclaimed a caliphate on all lands under its control and IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself caliphate. The group plans to issue the currency in the IS-controlled areas throughout Syria and Iraq.

    The militant group is reportedly acquiring gold, silver and other precious metals. In a recent report from online news agency McClatchy, which contains interviews with precious metal dealers in northern and western Iraq, a Fallujah-based gold trader reported that foreign jihadis were buying all the gold and silver they could find in local markets, forcing local dealers to travel far and wide to find metal to replenish their inventories.

    Reports from those dealers indicate that the group may well be on its way to amassing enough metal to begin minting now.

     

     the isis treasury department and their coinage plans

    The IS equivalent of a treasury department, Beit al Mal, issued a isis foreign-militant-with-gunstatement late last year outlining their plans for the currency.

    21-carat gold and silver coins will be based on the Islamic dinar from the 634 CE used during the Caliphate of Uthman.

    Islamic State websites have released the denominations in which coins will be minted including a 21-carat five gold dinars, 21-carat one gold dinar, 10 silver dirhams, five silver dirhams, one silver dirham, 20 bronze floos and 10 bronze floos.

    • The 21-carat five gold dinars has a map of the world.
    • The 21-carat one gold dinar bears the symbol of seven stalks of wheat.
    • The 10 silver dirhams shows the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
    • The 5 silver dirhams show a minaret symbolizing Damascus
    • The 1 silver dirhams show a sword and shield
    • The 10 bronze floos carries the symbol of the crescent moon
    • The 1 bronze floos shows palm trees.

    See images here.

     

    creating a currency: is it worth it?

    Creating a currency is easier than it sounds. Just gather enough precious metal to make the investment worthwhile, decide on denominations and convince a significant number of people to use that currency. Creating your own currency will allow you to control the monetary supply and inflation rate.

     

    The pros of creating a currency

    For IS, minting coins is a politically savvy move in its attempts to act as a government. “It's brilliant," says Patrick Heller, a numismatic expert and owner of Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Michigan.  "ISIS isis misc-foreign-gold-coinage-currencyis trying to pretend it's a government. And one of the things that governments do is set a monetary standard, and issue coins and even currency."

    The new coinage could provide intangible benefits as well, even if it doesn't catch on as a currency. It would provide ISIS sympathizers the world over with a way to show support for and loyalty to the group.

     

    the drawbacks of creating your own currency

    Creating a currency brings with it some obstacles. For IS, those hurdles are mostly logistical. Even if the group is able to acquire enough metal, minting and distributing the coins will be an issue. isis people-in-revolt-rebellionAlso, to enforce a mandate that the currency be used exclusively in its zones of control, the group will have to spare manpower.

    Given that any profits accrued by the militant group are the result of terrorism and other illegal activities, IS currency would likely be refused by international banks and corporations. And because the currency is based on gold and silver, the value of the coins would be set by the global metals market. The currency would be subject to the same ups and downs of the market from which the group is purportedly trying to protect itself.

  • Seigniorage: How Much Profit is the Government Making off Coins?

    The definition and role of Seigniorage in our government

    The word “Seigniorage” comes from Old French meaning the right of a lord, or Seigneur, to mint money.

    It is the difference between the value of money and what it cost to produce it.

    Seigniorage is a convenient source of revenue for some governments when the money that is created is worth more than the production cost. The revenue is commonly used by governments to finance some of their expenditures instead of collecting taxes. For example, if it costs the U.S. government 5 cents to produce a $1 bill, the seigniorage is 95 cents, or the difference between the two amounts.

    In order for minted money to continue circulating as money, there must be some seigniorage. Otherwise, the coins would be taken out of circulation and melted down for the metal.

     

    Coin Production Costs

    For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, the costs for producing each of the current four circulating coin denominations showed declines compared to the previous year. Those declines Seigniorage american-coinage-currencywere driven by higher production, decreased metal costs for certain denominations and a reduction in manufacturing costs.

    In 2014, the cost to produce a cent was 1.66 cents, down from the 1.83 cents it cost to produce it the previous year.

    The cost to produce a nickel was 8.09 cents, down from 9.41 cents in 2013.

    The cost to produce a dime in 2014 was 3.91 cents in comparison to 2013 when it cost 4.56 cents.

    It cost 8.95 cents in 2014 to produce a quarter, down from 10.5 cents the previous year.

     

    Does the Government Profit?

    During the 2014 fiscal year, seigniorage per dollar issued was 37 cents above the performance target of 24 cents.

    Though the cent generated negative seigniorage of $55 million and Seigniorage printing-american-currencythe nickel generated negative seigniorage of $49.5 million in 2014, the negative amounts were more than offset by the positive seigniorage from the other denominations.

    Across all denominations and including the impact from mutilated coins, the US Mint generated $289.1 million in positive seigniorage from circulating coinage. This was more than double the prior year total of $137.4 million. As an example, you can see some of our US Mint coins for sale, whose prices are certainly higher than the their respective costs to the Government.

     

    Commemorative Coins Profitability

    Commemorative coins have traditionally been in high demand with collectors. Often the mint date alone makes a commemorative coin valuable. Collecting commemoratives is a step up from collecting coins from circulation at face value or buying them at shops or shows for a few dollars each.

    One of the most profitable commemorative coins is the 1915-S Pan Pacific $50 gold round which is valued at between $50,000 and $150,000 in mint state.

    An uncirculated 1997 Jackie Robinson $5 gold commemorative, with a total mintage of 5,174 pieces, is listed with the PCGS Price Guide as being worth $3,5000 if in MS69 condition and $6,000 in MS70.

    Seigniorage electronic-digital-moneyThe 2014 First Spouse bronze medal set, released October 23, 2014, was recently declared sold-out, making the set the fastest sell-out ever. With an issue price of $16.95 it is now fetching $200 in e-Bay auctions.

    The electronic creation of money yields the greatest amount of seigniorage since any amount of money can be created electronically at almost no cost.

    Printing physical currency that is durable and hard to fake or copy necessarily costs more than creating electronic currency. It costs 6 cents to print each United States (US) Federal Reserve note, regardless of its denomination.

    In the U.S. electronic currency has fast outpaced the use of physical currency. However, globally, there is still a large demand for paper currency, particularly in third world countries that don't have the technology to to manage or distribute electronic currency.

  • Tommy Thompson & The Sunken SS Central America

    Tommy Thompson, the fugitive treasure hunter responsible for recovering thousands of gold bars and rare coins from the shipwrecked S.S. Central American and accused of cheating investors out of their share has been apprehended by authorities and was recently brought before a Florida court.

    The S.S. Central American Boat Sets out for Sail in 1857

    The S.S. Central America, a 280-ft steamer, later known as the Ship of Gold, operated between Central America and the eastern coast of the United States during the 1850s. In September of 1857, a trip from the Panamanian port of Colon to New York, turned into a nightmare when the steamer was struck and sunk by a Category 2 hurricane off the coast of South Carolina along with more than 550 passengers and crew and 30,000 pounds of gold.

    About 153 passengers escaped in a lifeboat, 50 were saved from the waters by a Norwegian boat and another three were rescued a week later from a lifeboat. However, none of the 30,000 pounds of gold - 10 short tons, valued at the time at approximately $2 million - were recovered.

    Tommy Thompson Sets Out for Exploration

    At the age of 31, Tommy Thompson convinced 161 investors to fund an underwater expedition to recover the treasure of the sunken S.S. Central American. Thompson was an oceanic engineer at Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio, was known for his brilliance. This shipwreck- underseabrilliance, coupled with an energetic charisma, drew investors to his vision like flies to honey.

    Though Thompson was following in the footsteps of countless others who failed to find the wreckage, his methodology was sound after years of preparation and study.

    Thompson and his company, Columbus America Discovery Group, found the shipwreck on October 1, 1988. They excavated about 5 percent of the sunken gold and by early the next year, he and his crew docked a ship in Norfolk, Virginia, loaded with thousands of pounds of gold that had sat undisturbed at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for 131 years.

    Gold Fever

    Not long after Thompson's 1989 victorious return to the Virginia dock, he became entangled in decades-long legal battles with investors, insurers and crew members who claimed to have been cheated of their share of the gold. First up were 39 insurance companies claiming their company insured the cargo ofthat steamer in 1857. The issue was resolved in 1996 when a court awarded Thompson 92 percent of the haul, the rest to be divided among shipwreck-battling-ocean-wavesinsurers. The court's decision gave hope to investors that they'd be compensated soon.

    In 2000, Thompson sold 532 gold bars and thousands of coins to the gold investment company for about $50 million. But by 2005, 161 investors still hadn't seen any compensation. Two of them, a now-deceased investment firm president and the Dispatch Printing Company, who together invested about $1.2 million, sued Thompson.

    The following year, nine of Thompson's crew members piled on with suits of their own.

    On Aug. 13, 2012, a federal judge found Thompson in contempt of court after he failed to appear at a court hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. His was located and arrested on Tuesday, January 27, by U.S. Marshals who followed his companion and fellow fugitive Alison Antekeier to a Hilton hotel in West Boca Raton where it is believed the two had been living for a long while.

    Thompson reappears in Court

    Late last month, the fugitive treasure hunter appeared in a Florida court in shackles after his capture ended more than two years of running from authorities and the investors who funded the expedition that brought him unimaginable fame, wealth and, ultimately, grief.

  • Why Do Pennies Turn Green?

    The Chemistry Behind The Corrosion of Copper

    Copper that is exposed to open air will corrode and undergo a series of chemical reactions that lead to the development of a patina – a coating of copper oxide molecules which actually protects the metal beneath. Over time, copper transitions from its shiny brown color to a darker brown shade.

    After many years it transitions into blues. At an even later stage the formation of copper sulfate, carbonate and chloride salts in varying concentrations turns the surface green. There are several factors which affect the amount of time these processes take including moisture, temperature, and the level of pollution. The formation of the natural green patina seen on copper roofs and statues takes a very long time, but methods have been developed to speed the process up using chemical reactions.

     

    From Green to Shiny?

    There are several methods available for reverting green pennies back to their former shiny copper glory. To clean about two dozen, stir ¼ cup of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt until the salt dissolves in a non-metallic bowl. Soak the pennies in the mixture for five minutes. Rise really well under running water and place on a paper towel to dry. green penny - lone-old-penny-coinAnother method requires a pencil with a fairly pliable eraser. If the eraser is too hard, it can leave deep scratches in the penny. Place a dirty penny on a clean cloth and rub gently in a circular motion with the eraser. Flip the penny and repeat.

    Another cleaning method requires ¼ cup of tomato ketchup, a small container, an old toothbrush and a clean cloth. Dip the toothbrush into the ketchup than scrub the penny, on both sides, gently in a circular motion with the toothbrush. Rinse under warm, running water. Pennies can also be cleaned with soap and water or baking soda.

     

    Careful with Old Coins

    There are cases, however, when a coin is valuable and only light cleaning is recommended to retain the value of the coin. If you suspect you are in possession of a rare penny, or an old coin which can be worth money, make sure to never touch the face of the coin. Because the cleaning process required to restore the original bright and shiny look of the penny are nearly always abrasive, cleaning them rarely improves the grading of a valuable coin and almost always reduces the value.

    A survey of common price discounts on cleaned coins offered by dealers indicates that cleaned coins  scratched through abrasive  processes are rarely worth more than half of their original value before the cleaning. It is generally acceptable to clean coins with dirt on them by soaking briefly in clean water. After removal from the water, pat -don't rub -the coin dry with a soft towel.

     

    Don't Throw Out Green Pennies

    Nearly all of us have stashes of pennies throughout our homes and in the ashtrays of our vehicles. And some of those old pennies can be both very rare and very valuable.

    A list of the more valuable pennies includes the 1944 green penny - old-copper-pennies-pileSteel Wheat Penny with no mint mark. They are currently valued at more than $77,000 and one in perfect condition can fetch upwards of $110,000.

    A 1943 Copper Wheat Penny can get more than $60,000 and one in perfect condition can be worth nearly $86,000. A 1909-S V.D.B. Is valued at $2,250. A 1923 Wheat Penny is valued at $750. A 1909-S can fetch $450. The 1913 D Wheat Penny and 1916 S Wheat Penny are both valued at $225 Before you trade those pennies in for cash, take some time to examine them, as they may be valuable. Feel free to check out some of our U.S. Mint coins for sale if you are looking to boost your U.S. coin portfolio.

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