If you have been folowing silver, then you would know that 2014 did not start of great. After toppling from the lofty heights and great psychological barrier of $50, what seems a lifetime ago now to investors in this precious metal, the price of an ounce of silver at the start of 2014 was rock bottom and perhaps even teetering on the brink of yet another precipitous drop that would sink the hearts and break the banks of countless portfolios. On New Years Eve, silver bears pushed the metal to a low of $18.72, but by the end of the day price had recovered to settle at $19.43. This is how 2014 began. Bulls started calling for a double bottom, pointing out the previous low of $18.17 that had been hit in the previous July but alas it was not to be. After dwindling in the month of January, a strong rebound pushed the price upto $22.18 on 24th Feb, but not enough however for a double bottom confirmation which requires breaking resistance from the highest point between the troughs, a point that stood at $25.12 set on August 28th 2013. Following what many called a ‘Bull Trap’, price fell back to a low of $18.68 by May 1st 2014. Now at the time of writing, silver is marooned in the summer doldrum months that see prices not only in silver but also the yellow metal, meander with no clear sign of direction in sight.
At this point I would like to cast your attention back two years. After drifting aimlessly in said ‘Summer Doldrums’ it seemed like silver had finally awakened somewhat. It had crossed back and held a postion over its 50 Day Moving Average line, something that had not happened in the previous 4 months. The weekly chart was also looking favorable. MACD, a trend-following momentum indicator that shows the relationship between two moving averages of prices, was pointing upwards suggesting positive upward price momentum; a great sign as set-ups like this on the longer-term indicators are more robust. How did things turn out? Very nicely actually. Price rose from $28 to $35; a meaty increase of 25%, but one that would portend the ever-decreasing price that would spiral downwards to hit the lows mentioned above.
So where are we now? Well just check out the chart below to find out what the price of an ounce of silver is in 2014.
Price of an Ounce of Silver 2014
How Much is an Ounce of Silver Worth
The history of the silver dollar is embedded in the history of the United States itself. Faced with a fledgling new nation in which bullion coins from the old colonial masters still freely circulated, Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1792 in order to introduce a common system of monetary accounting to reinforce the nation’s new found independence and establish a relationship between how much a silver dollar was worth in regards to gold. More affordable than its yellow metal brother, the gun-metal, shiny silver dollar nowadays has grown to be the stuff of legend and is sure to have you dreaming up romantic images of the Wild West. In spits and spurts over the course of more than 200 years, the US Mint has been striking beautiful silver dollars for circulation and as collectibles since the nation’s monetary system was devised centuries ago. Even though the composition of the US silver dollar is 90% silver and 10% copper, the market value of these little beauties at auction can easily be far more than their bullion worth and is very much a function of its age, design, mint mark, condition and rarity.
Arguably the most famous silver dollar among collectors are from the Morgan Silver dollar range, but over the years the US Mint has struck a number of different designs in different mintages which have resulted in silver dollars being worth varying values. The first silver dollars stem from the period prior to 1804 and are highly prized by coin collectors, exceptionally valuable and range from fairly common to incredibly rare. Due to the early practice of hand engraving each die, there are dozens of varieties known for all dates between 1795–1803. Widely considered to be one of the rarest and most valuable of US coins, only 1,758 ‘Flowing Hair’ 1794 silver dollars are believed to have been struck on a hand-turned screw press at the Philadelphia Mint on October 15, 1794; the only day of production for dollar coins that year! The 1795 strike was much larger at over 160,000 but being over 2 centuries old, less than 150 specimens are deemed to have survived to this day.
‘Flowing Hair’ was quickly superceded by the ‘Draped Bust’ silver dollar. Minted between 1795 and 1803, the ‘Draped Bust’ features a buxom Lady Liberty on the obverse and two reverse designs; small eagle (1795–1798) and heraldic eagle (1798–1804). The 1804 silver dollar or ‘Bowed Liberty’ dollar is considered to be one of the rarest and most famous coins in the world due to its unique history.
How Does the Mint and Condition Affect a Silver Dollar’s Worth?
The presence or absence thereof of the Mint Mark is a critical factor in determining rarity and ultimately how much a silver dollar is worth. For example, Morgan silver dollars from the Carson City mint (“CC” mint mark) are worth a premium such as the 1889-CC strike. Whilst it is not the rarest Carson City dollar by mintage, is the rarest by surviving examples today, and is the most valuable Carson City dollar. The Mint Mark can be quite hard to find sometimes but is usually located on the reverse of the coin somewhere near the words ‘United States of America’. The mint marks that have been used are:
- “C”: Charlotte, North Carolina
- “CC”: Carson City, Nevada
- “D”: Dahlonega, Georgia
- “D”: Denver, Colorado
- “O”: New Orleans, Louisiana
- “P”: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- “S”: San Francisco, California
- “W”: West Point, New York
Like all collectibles, the condition of a silver dollar makes a difference when judging how much it is worth but it is not paramount. For example, a ‘Gobrecht’ silver dollar (which are rare) in extremely bad condition will always be more valuable than a commonly available Morgan silver dollar in brilliant uncirculated condition. The basic grades for coins are:
- UNC – Absolutely no trace of wear
- AU – Small trace of wear visible on the highest points
- XF or EF – Very light wear on only the highest points
- VF – Light to medium wear. All major features are sharp
- F – Moderate to heavy even wear. Entire design clear and bold
- VG – Well worn. Design clear, but flat and lacking details
- G – Heavily worn. Design and legend visible but faint in spots
- AG – Outlined design. Parts of date and legend worn smooth
- F – You can identify the coin as to its type
- B – You can identify the lump of metal as being a coin
Millesimal fineness is a system of denoting the purity of silver alloys by parts per thousand of pure metal by mass in the alloy. For example, an alloy containing 75% silver is denoted as “750″. The millesimal fineness is usually rounded to a three figure number, particularly when used as a hallmark, and the fineness may vary slightly from the traditional versions of purity.
Common Silver Purities in Millesimal Fineness
999.9 (Ultra-fine silver used by Royal Canadian Mint in the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf)
999 (Fine silver used in Good Delivery bullion bars, also known as three nines fine)
980 (common standard used in Mexico ca.1930 – 1945)
958 (equivalent to Britannia silver)
950 (equivalent to French 1st Standard)
925 (equivalent to Sterling silver)
900 (equivalent to Coin silver in the USA, also known as one nine fine)
833 (common standard used in continental silver especially among the Dutch, Swedish, and Germans)
830 (common standard used in older Scandinavian silver)
835 (a standard predominantly used in Germany after 1884)
800 (minimum standard for silver in Germany after 1884; Egyptian silver; Canadian silver circulating coinage)
750 (uncommon silver standard found in older German, Swiss and Austro-Hungarian silver)
18 karats is a very common purity or karatage in which gold jewelry is manufactured. Go down to any gold market and you will find a plentiful supply of bangles, wedding and engagement rings, earrings, studs, necklaces and all other types of paraphernalia and ornaments stamped with an 18kt hallmark. Likewise, you’ll find just as many items branded 14 karat that look almost if not just as shiny as the 18kt merchandise but with a lower price tag. And this of course is because 18kt gold is worth more than 14kt gold, but what exactly is the difference? You are most likely well versed in the fact that pure solid gold is rated 24 karat. Well, another way of interpreting this is that out of every 24 parts of gold, all 24 parts are in fact gold as opposed to some other component such as zinc or copper i.e. it is 24 karat pure. On the other hand, if only 18 parts of those 24 parts are gold, then lo and behold you have 18kt gold. And as a fraction, 18 out of 24 is the same as 3 out of 4 which your primary school math will have taught you is 75%.
So you now have the first part of this puzzle solved, namely that 18kt gold is 75% pure. Using the same logic, 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold out of 24 parts, which equates to a fraction of 14 out of 24 or 7 out of 12 which is less easily remembered at 58.3%. Now this is the tricky part, if we divide 75 by 58.3, we get approximately 1.3, which means 18kt gold is roughly 1.3 times more pure than 14kt gold and thus one would expect it to be worth approximately 1.3 times more than 14kt gold.
In other words, all other things being equal, an 18kt gold ring of a given weight should cost 1.3 times more than a 14kt gold ring of the same weight, and we can now put this theory to the test. The table below compares a plain 14kt yellow gold women’s wedding band on Amazon.com with the 18kt version. It would appear fairly conclusive that the price ratio is approximately 1.3 as calculated above.
||Gold Band Width
As is the case in many tales of fame and fortune, the 1804 silver dollar is considered to be one of the rarest and famous of coins not only in the US but in the whole world due to a fascinating quirk of history. Following the 1792 Coinage Act when the minting of silver bullion dollars was commissioned, President Thomas Jefferson duly ordered production to be suspended following the 1804 mintage after it was discovered that the newly-minted US silver dollars no more than 10 years old, were being whisked off to Europe where their bullion content was fetching a higher price than their face value. Silver dollars would not be struck again until 1836. This however is not the reason for the 1804′s fame. Rather, in keeping with the practice of the time, the old but still usable dies dated 1803 were utilized in the striking of the following year’s mintage. Proof dies were expensive and it was common practice of the time to use them until they literally fell apart. Thus, all the silver dollars minted in 1804 were stamped 1803. However, the quirk of history that would eventually lead to this coin’s rarity would stem from the fact that there was no subsequent mint, meaning that no 1804 dollars were actually minted with an 1804 die in 1804 itself.
The plot thickened when in 1834, the US State Department decided to present a set of coins to certain rulers in Asia in exchange for trade advantages. It was decided that the silver dollar would be gifted and since the last recorded mint year was 1804 and Jefferson’s silver dollar ban was still in effect, the new set of dollars were struck with a newly created die bearing the mintage year of 1804! The result is that no more than twenty silver dollar coins dated 1804 actually exist!
The 1804 is a ‘Draped Bust’ silver dollar design. Whenever one is sold, worldwide attention is generated. Over the last few years, new owners have paid amounts ranging from under a $1 million to well over $3 million to acquire one of these prized coins.
That may sound like a lot but pales in comparison to the price fetched by the Neil/ Carter/ Contursi 1794 silver dollar believed to be the very first silver dollar ever minted.
How Much is a Silver Dollar Worth
Of all the silver dollars ever struck in all the mints in all the US, the 1794 mint is the undisputed Grand-Daddy of them all. Following the Coinage Act of 1792 which put in place the standards for the modern day US monetary system, the 1794 was the first mintage of US silver dollars to be struck. Only 1,758 dollars were produced and of that fewer than one hundred and fifty remain today. This compares to the 160,000 coins that were minted in the following year 1795. It should come as no surprise then that the 1794 coin is of great numismatic worth and ranks among the classics of US coin collecting, with specimens selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars and more. That’s not bad for a coin with a $1 face value! Known as the ‘Flowing Hair’ silver dollar, the coin took its nickname from the depiction of Lady Liberty and her flowing locks on the obverse of the coin. The reverse is imprinted with the words ‘United States of America’ and depicts the olive tree and eagle. As per the 1792 law, the silver dollar was in fact specified to be 89.2% fine silver and weigh 416 grain or 27g by modern standards. However, when it came to executing the letter of the law, the official assayers at the mint found this fineness difficult to attain and thus increased the silver content slightly to manufacture a 900 fine coin.
Given its 90% bullion content, you could use our generic silver calculator to figure out how much a 1794 silver dollar is worth but this would be inappropriate and farcical to numismatists. As one of the rarest coins in the US, its place in history is significant and momentous resulting in a worth that far exceeds its inherent bullion content. The ‘Flowing Hair’ design was in fact decommissioned after only 2 years making way for the ‘Draped Bust’ silver dollar.
In fact, evidence of its importance as a rare and historical coin was comprehensively demonstrated recently in 2010, when the Neil/ Carter/ Contursi specimen which was reckoned by some experts to be the very first silver dollar ever struck at the US Mint, sold for a staggering $7.85 million! This however has been surpassed in 2013 when this very same coin sold for $10 million.
Check out Rain Coin Wholesalers or Collectors Corner for latest prices of ‘Flowing Hair’ silver dollars and specimens for sale.
Current prices range from around $5,000 for Very Fine condition coins upto $100,000 for those in Mint condition.
Silver bullion coins can be a bit tricky for the average investor to get their head around and this is because of the diverse variety of silver coins that are available for purchase on the newly-minted and secondary bullion markets. Silver rounds, junk silver and silver dollars all seem to create more than a little confusion among investors. To keep it simple, there are essentially three kinds of silver coin. The first are top-notch minted bars that normally are no less than ‘three nines’ fine i.e. 99.90% pure. These are considered pure silver and are the staple entry point for investors looking to hold silver bullion; think American Silver Eagles, Canadian Silver Maple Leafs and a whole host of silver rounds that are not legal tender or official currency but have trade, barter, or numismatic value. The second category are rare silver coins whose value is determined not only by their bullion content but also their numismatic premium or coin-collector’s worth if you will. Examples of these are pre-1804 silver coins such as the ‘Flowing Hair’ and ‘Draped Bust’ silver dollars. Third and finally, there is ‘junk’ silver. But don’t be mislead by their name. These coins are hardly junk; containing up to 90% silver content, the scrap heap is the last place these little beauties deserve to be. Rather, the term is used to describe the fact that such coins have been a part of general circulation and thus stripped of any value as collectible items. With no numismatic or collectible premium on the coins, they have value only in terms of their precious metal content. So when you think junk silver, think Peace & Morgan Dollars and other pre-1964 half-dollars and quarters.
‘Swiss’ or ‘Suisse’ gold bars are famous worldwide. Since their introduction over 40 years ago, they have become and remain today an excellent vehicle for private individuals to invest in gold and reap the rewards of what has been and may still continue to be one of the greatest gold bull markets. Decades before South Africa began issuing its famous Krugerrand gold coins, Suisse gold bars were being recognized by the London Bullion Market Association as top quality minted bullion that were acceptable for international trade and investment. The LBMA ‘Good Delivery’ list comprises of gold refiners whose gold bars are of exceptional quality and trust-worthiness making inclusion on this list the goal of every bullion refiner in the world. Given the importance of being accredited by the LBMA it is indeed remarkable that Switzerland is home to 5 such refineries. The minted gold bars produced at the refineries listed below are highly regarded and liquid forms of gold bullion. The top 2 Swiss banks also use these refineries to issue their fully backed gold bars, namely Credit Suisse and UBS.
Valcambi Suisse Gold Bars
Based in Balerna, the world famous Valcambi refinery has been listed on the LBMA ‘Good Delivery List’ since 1968. Valcambi Suisse gold bars and the famous Credit Suisse gold bars are minted here. The assayer’s logo ‘CHI’ in a circle and text ‘Essayeur Fondeur’ authenticates every bar.
Metalor Suisse Gold Bars
Listed by the LBMA since 1934 and situated in Marin, Switzerland, ‘Metalor Technologies’ is understood to be one of the first refineries in the world to be accredited. The assayer’s logo is ‘MP’ in a triangle followed by the text ‘Essayeur Fondeur’.
Argor-Heraeus Suisse Gold Bars
Based in Mendrisio in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino, this refinery has been LBMA listed since 1961. In addition to its own brand gold bars, Argor-Heraeus also manufactures UBS gold bars on behalf of UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank. The assayer’s mark is ‘AH’ in a circle with the words ‘Melter Assayer’ or ‘Argor-Heraeus’.
Cendres & Metaux Suisse Gold Bars
Located in Biel-Bienne, this refinery has been listed since 1981. Cendres & Metaux are primarily providers of refined gold for the medical, dental and jewelry industries. Their bars are stamped with the words ‘CM’ in a circle followed by ‘CH Bienne’ or ‘Essayeur Fondeur’.
Situated in Castel Saint Pietro and listed by the LBMA since 1987, PAMP Suisse gold bars made by ‘Produits Artistiques Metaux Precieux’ are one of the most highly recognized and sought-after Suisse gold bars. It has distinguished itself by imprinting decorative motifs onto its gold bars. Each bar is stamped with the insignia ‘PAMP Essayeur Fondeur’.
Surprisingly small for its weight, the 10oz Credit Suisse gold bar is just one of the top quality investment-grade minted bullion bars to come out of Switzerland’s world famous Valcambi refinery. Backed by the Credit Suisse bank of Switzerland, the quality, authenticity and craftsmanship of this Suisse gold bullion bar is second to none as recognised by bullion exchanges around the world including the all-important London Bullion Market Association. Being a minted gold bar means that it is made primarily for investment purposes as opposed to cast bars that serve a fabrication purpose as well. 10 ounce gold bars are a convenient weight denomination as it is easy to calculate the value of a gold portfolio containing such bars. For example, if you own two 10 ounce gold bars and the spot price of gold is $1000, you immediately know that your investment is worth $20,000.
Also, they are popular with investors as they carry one of the lowest premiums on gold bullion. Premium is the price above the market value of the gold bullion that represents refining, manufacture and delivery costs. Generally, a 10oz gold bar will cost you less to purchase than ten 1oz gold bullion coins or ten 1oz gold bars. They therefore represent a cost-effective way to invest in the gold bull market. So if 1oz gold bullion is too small and a 1 Kilo bar is too large, consider the 10oz Credit Suisse gold bar.
Identifying 10oz Credit Suisse Gold Bars
Each 10oz bar is stamped with the following five important pieces of information, so you can make sure you are holding onto the genuine article and not a gold coated slab of tungsten!
- The trademark logo of ‘Credit Suisse’.
- The logo of Valcambi, the assaying refinery – ‘CHI Essayeur Fondeur‘
- A unique serial number by which a bars authenticity can be traced.
- The numbers ‘999,9’ which denotes the bars purity in millesimal fineness. This means 999.9 parts gold out of a thousand i.e. 99.99% pure gold (anything above 99.90% is 24 karat gold).
- The words ‘10 Ounces Fine Gold’ denoting its bullion content and weight in troy ounces which is equal to 311.03 grams (1 Troy Ounce equals 31.103 grams or just under one third of a kilogram.
Buying 10oz Credit Suisse Gold Bars
Given a spot price of $1300 and therefore a spot bar price of $13,000, 10oz Credit Suisse gold bars have been found to be available for sale from the following vendors at the following prices:
Credit Suisse Gold Bars