Editorials on the Buffalo nickel, written shortly after its release

1913-5c-o-r-StxOn May 11, the Mint will release the 2017-W American Buffalo gold Proof coin. James Earle Fraser’s iconic Indian Head / Buffalo design debuted on the nickel five-cent piece in 1913, and today is a beloved classic.

As with so many designs, however, Fraser’s nickel did not receive universal approval. Numismatic author Roger Burdette quotes a New York Times editorial that said, “The new ‘nickel’ is a striking example of what a coin intended for wide circulation should not be … [it] is not pleasing to look at when new and shiny, and will be an abomination when old and dull.” Not only was the coin criticized for its aesthetic qualities, the concept of representing Liberty as something other than the traditional goddess figure was viewed askance.

Since these criticisms will sound familiar to collectors of modern Mint coinage, particularly the concern about Miss Liberty, I thought it would be interesting to exhume a few editorials published in the Numismatist back in 1913, to see what their authors had to say on the subject. (Readers will recognize a few other types of comments, as well.) Aside from the correction of a handful of typos introduced during optical-character-recognition scanning, the articles appear exactly as they were published.

“The New Five-Cent Piece”

(by Edgar H. Adams, editor of the magazine [no byline], The Numismatist, March 1913, pp. 130–131)

Through the courtesy of the Hon. George E. Roberts, Director of the United States Mint, we are enabled to show in this number a reproduction of the new five-cent piece, which is now being coined at the mint. It was intended to issue this coin early in February, but it was not until Feb. 17 that regular coinage started, when one press produced them at the rate of 120 per minute.

The design is radically different from that of any five-cent piece that has ever been issued at the Mint, and is slightly concave on both sides, somewhat like the present ten and twenty-dollar pieces. Directly under the figure “3” of the date 1913 on the obverse is the letter “F” for the designer of the piece, James Earl Fraser of New York City. It is said that Mr. Fraser took as a model an Indian of the Cheyenne tribe who recently visited New York City. The bison was modeled after a specimen in the New York Zoological Garden.

Mr. Fraser, the designer, is reported as saying that the capital “F” below the date has met with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Director of the Mint, and also the National Art Commission.

Already, it is said, the presence of this tiny letter has aroused a certain amount of criticism, similar to that which greeted the appearance of the letters “V. D. B.” on the Lincoln cent, which resulted in their removal, doing an injustice to Mr. Brenner, its designer, and violating all precedents.

It is to be regretted that the new coin does not show much more finished die work, which could easily have been accomplished. We are inclined to think that the rough finish of the design will encourage counterfeiters, whose handicraft need not now fear comparison which it has met in the past with the ordinarily delicate and finished mint issues.

The new piece certainly has radically changed the old-time tradition that Columbia is our best representation of “liberty.” In view of the rather restricted character of both of the Indian and the buffalo to-day, it is an open question whether either is a good symbol of “liberty.” St. Gaudens, in an interview, once stated that his conception of a symbol of liberty was that of “a leaping boy.”

We still prefer Miss Columbia as the proper representation of freedom, and regret that she does not appear on the new five-cent piece. We have no doubt that the original enlarged model of this design was of a handsome character, but that it would not allow for the great reduction to the size of a five-cent piece is quite apparent. From an artistic point of view no doubt the design is all that it should be, but there is another element to be considered in the making of a coin design, and that is the one of practicability. For instance, the date and the motto are in such obscure figures and letters that the slightest wear will obliterate them beyond understanding.

Altogether the new design emphasizes the absolute necessity of the appointment of a proper committee to pass upon new coin designs. Such a committee should be composed of sculptors, numismatists, and die engravers. One of this committee should be the Chief Engraver of the Mint. It will not be until the appointment of such a committee that we may expect to see a coin that will embody all the proper requisites.

“The New Five-Cent Piece”

(By W.H. De Shon, The Numismatist, May 1913, pp. 239–240)

The new five cent nickel has reached Utica. On the obverse is a most artistically executed head of a Comanche Indian, facing to the right and covering nearly the entire surface of the coin. The head dress presents no suggestion of the war bonnet of the Sioux, which the Buffalo Bill show has led the public to believe is typical of the garb of all American Indians, nor is there any hint of the chaplet of feathers such as appeared on the alleged Indian head of the cent pieces just preceding the Lincoln cent. Instead the head is bare except for two eagle feathers thrust into the hair at the back. A thick lock of hair, bound with a thong, extends to the front of the neck. On the border of the coin opposite the forehead and nose of the Indian is the word “Liberty.” Under the back of the neck is “1913” and under the 3 of this date is a very small letter “F,” the initial of Artist Fraser who designed the coin. Being incused, this initial will remain on the coin until the surface around it is worn away—that is, it will last as long as any part of the raised surface. In some quarters objection has been made to this initial on the same ground that caused the withdrawal of the initials of Victor D. Brenner from the Lincoln cents. The “F” is likely to stay on the coin, however, as there is really no valid objection to its remaining. Many of our coins have borne the initials of their designers, notably the Indian head cent, on a neck ribbon of which was an “L,” the initial of Longacre, the designer.

While the obverse of the new nickel may look more like that of a medal than a coin, there can be no criticism of it from an artistic point of view. The reverse, however, is apparently not so satisfactory. The chief feature is a full length figure of a buffalo, facing left and covering the surface from border to border. To the naked eye the face is very much suggestive of that of a human being, no matter from what point of view it is observed. On the border above the animal is the inscription “United States of America,” and on the border below “Five Cents.” Another inscription that is crowded into the field between the buffalo and “America” is “E Pluribus Unum” in three step-down lines. So crowded are the letters in “Pluribus” and “Unum” that, even under a powerful glass, they are seen to overlap. This fault, together with the fact that the letters are very small will soon reduce the words through wear to mere ridges on the surface. The crowding in of this motto mars the artistic appearance of the reverse. There is no particularly good reason why it should not have been omitted entirely. It first appeared on our coinage when it was put on the first $2.00 gold pieces that were struck. It had previously appeared on some of the State coins, notably the cents of New Jersey. There was no suggestion as to its use, however, in the act of Congress providing for the coinage of money. It is found on one of the half cents, none of the three-cent silver pieces or nickels, and none of the cents until the coming of the Lincoln cent. Outside of the $2.00 piece it did not appear on any of the coins first struck. Later, however, it was put on the reverses of gold and silver coins where it remained for many years. Eventually it disappeared from most of these coins to be returned on those of more recent mintage.

The new nickel, like its predecessor, does not bear the motto “In God We Trust.” It and the 10-cent piece are the only coins of the United States now struck that do not have it. This motto first appeared on the two-cent pieces, coinage of which began in 1864. Subsequently it was put on most of the gold and silver coins. A notable exception was that of the St. Gaudens double eagles and eagles. Those first struck did not bear the motto. Protest having been made, President Roosevelt made answer with some good arguments for the omission, but eventually he yielded and the motto appeared on all of the current gold pieces.

The act of Congress providing for the coinage of money provided that the word “Liberty” should appear on all coins. The provision has been generally carried out. Notable exceptions are the shield nickel five-cent pieces, the three-cent pieces both silver and nickel, the two-cent pieces and the copper-nickel cents struck in 1856, 1857 and 1858.

“More about New Nickel”

(No author credited, The Numismatist, May 1913, pp. 240–241)

No five-cent pieces of the old type have been coined this year. Proofs of the new type are not yet ready to be delivered, although, as no money sent with orders for the coins has been returned, it is inferred that proofs may be issued eventually. There is a possibility, however, that, because of the widespread objection to the new coin, no proofs of it may be struck until changes are made in the design. Heretofore proof nickels have been struck by a hand press from specially prepared dies on burnished planchets. The result was that the field of the coin, which was of considerable area, was given a mirror-like surface. The cents of the Indian head type were struck in the same way. With the advent of the Lincoln cent, however, the brilliant polish of the field disappeared, with the result that, outside of perhaps a clearer impression, there was practically no difference between proofs and the regular cent just issued for circulation. The area of the field of the new nickel is very small because of the size of the Indian head on the obverse and that of the full-length buffalo on the reverse, and what there is of the field has a roughly finished surface that is suggestive of lead rather than of nickel. Moreover, there is a concave surface, the striking of which appears to have forced up the metal along the edge, thus making the coin there so much thicker than that of the old type that it cannot be used in the slot machines now so common. If the field surface of proofs of the new nickels is to be as lacking in brilliancy as is that of the ones issued for circulation, there will be little difference between the two. Possibly, as we have stated, there may be a change in the design of the new coin. There can be nothing, however, in the story going the rounds that the Government will “recall” the coins already issued. The Government cannot repudiate them, nor can it get possession of hundreds of thousands of them already in circulation to destroy them. It can only change the design and issue new coins of that design to circulate with the others, as was done in 1883, when the five-cent piece with the word “cents” was issued instead of the piece without “cents.”

Up to last year the Philadelphia mint was the only one that coined five-cent pieces. Last year coinage of them was begun at the Denver mint. This year the coins will be struck for the first time at the San Francisco mint. As these mints are the only ones now in operation, all the mints of the United States will this year coin both cent and five-cent pieces.

“The Proof Nickels”

(No author credited, The Numismatist, May 1913, p. 241)

Proofs of all denominations of metallic money issued by the United States are struck at the Philadelphia mint, the only one where they are coined. They are sold to persons remitting for them at prices enough higher than their face value to pay for the cost of getting them out. For example, proofs of the minor coins—cent and 5 cents—are sold for 15 cents. Until recently the price was only 8 cents. The coins are struck by hand on a hydraulic press. Up to recently the planchets were burnished until they had a mirror-like surface, which remained on the field of a coin after striking, giving it a brilliant and attractive appearance. When the Lincoln cent was issued, however, a somewhat roughened surface was given to the field, with the result that the former brilliancy was lost, and there was little difference between a proof coin and one just issued for circulation. Proof coins have as a rule been ready for distribution to those ordering them on January 18 of each year. This year, however, because of the change in the design of the nickel, there has been a delay of about two months in getting out the minor proofs. They are at last being received by collectors. The proof of the 5-cent piece is even more unsatisfactory than that of the Lincoln cent. While the lines of the design are finer and struck up more clearly—the wrinkles on the buffalo’s skin, and parts of the Indian’s head, for example—the appearance of the coin is practically the same as that of the one struck for circulation. The surface of the small field is as rough, and the date and letters as liable to wear. There is the same crowding of the letters in the motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” particularly in “Pluribus,” where the “I” is wedged in so tightly between the “R” and the “B” as to be difficult of detection even through a very strong magnifying glass. Although a different die is supposed to have been used in striking these proofs, there is no detectable difference in design between it and that used for the nickels distributed for circulation.

The prediction of numismatical experts that the lead-like appearance of the new nickel, because of the rough surface, would make easy the counterfeiting of it, is already being fulfilled. From Philadelphia comes the report that the slot machines in that city are being flooded with counterfeits. As the danger of getting bogus coins increases, popular objection to the new nickel will be still more pronounced, and may become so strong as to force, before the year ends, some alteration in the design that will make it to conform more satisfactorily with what is of practical necessity in the case of a piece of money of so wide a circulation as the nickel. Satisfactory changes in the design might be as follows: Retain the head of the Cheyenne Indian, which is really an artistic creation, but reduce the size so as to give more field surface to the obverse. Above the head place the word “Liberty” and, underneath, the date in figures as large as those of the old design. If the initial of the designer’s name is retained, let it be incused in the bottom of the Indian’s neck. Eliminate the buffalo from the reverse entirely. Discard also the motto, “E Pluribus Unum,” as there seems to be no good reason why it should appear on any of our coins. Around the upper border place the legend “United States of America;” in the center the figure 5, as appeared on the old shield nickels; and, on the lower border, the word “Cents.” Give the field on both the obverse and reverse a smooth, level surface. A design of this kind would be sufficiently artistic, while there could be no objection to it from a practical point of view.   ❑



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  1. cagcrisp says

    For those that don’t know what happened to PM’s today, they didn’t like what the Fed had to say.

    We are having Slower growth than anticipated and yet the Fed didn’t back off of the number of planned rate hikes for 2017.

    PM’s don’t like rate hikes…

  2. Dustyroads says

    I think the FOMC didn’t want to spook the markets by changing course. And I have believed for the past couple years that the Fed HAS to get into a better position with higher rates so that they could essentially replenish some tools for use down the road.

  3. cagcrisp says

    @Dustyroads, Other than the stock market, a Lot of things are slowing down.

    (It’s amazing what Projected tax cuts, and Projected repatriation will do)…

  4. Darek says

    Just in time for gold Buffalo, only gold coin which I going to purchase this year from the Mint.

  5. Throckmorton says

    We Americans are a funny people. We practically engaged in genocide against the Indians and almost exterminated the buffalo to starve out the Indians yet we romanticize both on a coin.


    Dustyroads the chart is very helpful, thank you.

    Darek, I am wanting the fractional gold buffalos also.

  7. Tom says

    Very interesting articles from 1913. At this time I would like to purchase the proof coins at said price of .15 cents. I need something to off set my PM costs.

  8. bob r. says

    At 15 cents for a proof nickel in 1913 is a 300% mark up, I think I will pass on that investment and go with a buggy carriage company, after all everyone knows that newfangled horseless carriage thing is just a fad.

  9. jhawk92 says


    From previous thread, there does seem to be a large number of versions on the Queens Beasts. I have started with the 2oz version as I thought that was a very unique size. I’m tempted by the proof but that is a pretty steep premium for a 1oz coin. The 10oz bullion is interesting as it has a nice $/oz ratio. It sounds like you both have the 1/4oz gold version…how does that look? About the only gold I get are the 1/10oz proof AGE, but the Beast might be a way to add a little gold to my mostly Ag stash.


    jhawk92 I have the Queen Beasts in the 1/4oz gold, and they look very nice.

  11. jhawk92 says


    Sounds good. From some online videos, it looks like a nice size coin, and more affordable than a full one ounce.

  12. Xena says

    Jhawk92 – the 1/4 looks great, glad I went that route. It’s the only gold series I have ever attempted, I think it’s been a good choice so far.

  13. Gary says

    The effect of the “Buffalo” nickel is a triumph of artistic design. The country of origin is immediately apparent, even if no inscriptions ever appeared on it! Yet it is true that as a working circulating coin it did have serious technical flaws… the date was too raised and near the border and evaporated with wear and same was true with “FIVE CENTS” on the reverse, especially with the full mound type 1 1913 issue.

  14. Xena says

    Happy Star Wars Day everyone! If anyone needs a good Star Wars fix, try thinkgeek.com.

    Sith – an early happy Revenge of the Fifth Day to you!

    Dianna – nice article, thank you. My Dad really liked buffalo nickels.

  15. cagcrisp says

    AM Gold fix $1,235.85

    New clock starts today.

    Just in time for a Possible $50 reduction for Gold Buffalo Launch one week from today…

  16. earthling says

    Anyone have a feel for what’s going on with N Korea? I get the sense it’s a cooperative effort between #2 and #4 of the B.R.I.C.S. Countries and their puppet N.Korea.

    In the end I think us sheeple in the USA will be funding Meals on Ships for the NK. China has vast resources so how do WE need to be doling out welfare to the wacked out areas of Asia ? It’ll be the same old formula at play, the Billionaire elite will create the program, us sheeple will be handed the bill.

    The rich getting richer. The poor getting poorer. S O S different day.

  17. fmtransmitter says

    Regarding that chart, anybody know what happened, or has an idea, in April, 2011?

  18. joe#2 says

    hmmmmmmmmm. could silver be heading to around the $15.49 mark…
    It brokethe $16.56 level. We shall see.

  19. says

    Xena – Happy SW day to you too,
    I’ve been offloading my 40 year old vintage childhood pieces and converting into QB gold pieces.

    By the way, Vintage Star Wars pieces in excellent condition have a far, far greater return over gold since 1977

    May the Force be with you!

  20. says

    Xena –

    I busted a gut laughing at this

    “KSCO – someone posted here a little bit ago that the Douglass quarter is being called the Bob Ross. Got a good laugh out of that. Not sure how he did it, but he’s still popular today – kids today who he is from youtube. But no, I didn’t buy a Bob Ross puck.”

    I really enjoyed Ross on a rainy Saturday afternoon as a kid watching PBS.., the comparison is hilarious.

    Was just something about his amazing talent, smoothing voice describing his animal friends in those treess of his.., that dude smoked some good stuff in Nam. God Bless his soul!
    And there’s been no substitute since

  21. cagcrisp says

    @KCSO, There is no way of Understating just how bad sales are. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking at numismatic sales or bullion sales.

    Sales are Dismal…

  22. Louis Golino, Author says

    @jhawk- There are so many dealers selling QB bullion now that you can sometimes get some very good deals. I got the first 3 gold 1/4 oz. that way for close to spot.

    I have an article coming this pm in CW on whether there are too many.

  23. John says

    @ dismal sales comments
    That’s because people buy high and sell low. Prices go lower and people quit buying.

  24. earthling says

    When it comes to that Beautiful Artistically Correct 2017 (225th) HR Gold , looks like folks are voting with their feet. I’m willing to bet that most are more concerned about getting Rolls of 2017-P Lincolns than getting that PC HR.

  25. The Real "Cool" Brad says

    @KCSO – There is a guy who I like about as much as Bob Ross, look on youtube for Let’s Paint, Exercise, and Blend Drinks

  26. JBK says

    Thx for posting these editorials – they are a fascinating glimpse at what was happening in1913.

  27. says

    Concur with JBK – they are excellent pieces and much appreciated!

    AWESOME way to fill time when the mint doesn’t have anything going on.


  28. says

    The Real “Cool” Brad says
    MAY 4, 2017 AT 4:52 PM

    @KCSO – There is a guy who I like about as much as Bob Ross, look on youtube for Let’s Paint, Exercise, and Blend Drinks

    Thanks! The title alone sold me.

  29. says

    Has anyone seen anywhere the Douglass first day sales? Or first several days?

    I usually have time to research though not today, thanks

  30. Barry says

    In addition to slow sales at the mint a large dealer reported customer selling back PM’s to be at a five year high for them.

  31. LurkingTroll says

    Totally Off Topic but when did the Mint put the Lady Bird Proof out of its misery and pull it off of the site?
    I don’t remember a sell out, but then again I may have nodded off during the rapid countdown. Jackie Unc is crawling away with only 46 to go…
    With Proof Bird gone, cannot understand why Proof Bess is still listed….Oh wait, this is the US Mint I am referencing…

    On Topic, ditto on the kudos for the 1913 OpEd reprints…some things never change

  32. Erik H says

    Nice 1913 flash back. Imagine that according to the article above a nickel had enough buying power that it was worth counterfeiting! That quote alone should tell you that today’s currency is worthless up to $20 (but I was told by a merchant that people float fake $5 bills).

  33. Ryan says

    I just nibbled at some sovereigns and a 10oz queens beast today. Sentiment certainly seems negative.

  34. Ryan says

    I think that people are thinking that nothing bad in world events will ever stick so metals will never rise when it comes to bullion. It reminds me of near misses for years with hurricanes, then one finally hits and it takes everyone by surprise. When it comes to numismatics I think that designs this year are terrible pretty much throughout the whole world. I’ve only bought 3 or 4 collectors coins this year and I haven’t really been blown away by any of them.

  35. jhawk92 says

    Thanks for your thoughts. I haven’t done much gold buying, and certainly not tried to do more than the 1/10oz proof AGE. Those are a pretty small canvas, but the 1/4 looks like it is a nice balance.

    Hmm, close to spot you say…I’m even more interested. Are they “local” or do they have an online presence?

  36. Dustyroads says

    jhawk92, Thanks to the tips of one of the gentlemen here on the blog, I have bought a couple very nice 1/4 QB’s at very close to spot from PCE on the bay. They are great looking coins. Quality is second to none, designs are strong and bold. No complaints. I highly recommend them.

  37. Dustyroads says

    BTW, I ordered a Douglass “P” puck the first day. It’s one of my favorite. He seems to have been a real fighter. What a great rags to riches story. I’m on the side of anyone who has the audacity to kick injustice right in the balls!

  38. KML in KY says

    I received 2 of the Douglass “P” pucks today. Like the design but unfortunately both of them have contact marks on the obverse and they are going back to the Mint for replacement. This will be my 2nd return this year and I haven’t bought that much this year. The first return was 5 uncirculated Lions Club dollars. All of them had significant contact marks. I asked for a replacement and they sent me 5 good coins.

    John – I agree that it seems many people do the opposite of what they should do – buy high and sell low. In 2011 I sold a bunch of junk silver and common modern commems I had accumulated over the years and did quite well. I have accumulated quite a bit more over the past few years when PM prices have been relatively low. If PM’s go up again before I die like they did in 2011 you can bet I’ll be selling a lot of coins.

  39. says

    Here we go! Saronaya PM’s

    BREAKING NEWS: Boom! U.S. companies add 211K Jobs in April, Unemployment Falls to 4.4% Lowest Since May ’07

    The employment picture for the U.S. is looking brighter as companies stepped up hiring and boosted wages for workers.

  40. David says

    I’m kinda nervous about the PM markets in regards to silver. I don’t have a lot, just 18 ounces between Canada Maple Leafs, American Silver Eagles, UK Britannia’s, Somali Elephants, Australia Kangaroo’s, and a Mexican Libertad. Spot prices have declined to levels below what I had originally paid considering the premiums paid in addition to the spot price. I kinda wanna sell but I think I’d be taking too much of a loss. Any advice??

  41. Barry says

    I’d keep it just for insurance in case of a financial crisis. The currency will continue to be devalued as money printing won’t cease until who knows when.

  42. MarkInFlorida says

    David, do you need the money? If not, why sell at a loss? Now is the time to buy, not sell. Wait until silver is back up to $30 or $50 to sell.

  43. Scott says

    @ David, I suggest you add to your stash while prices are low and that will bring your average cost per ounce down. If you sell, that paper money often will slip thru your fingers and be gone with nothing to show for it.

  44. Louis Golino, Author says

    @jhawk- It was a while ago, so I can’t remember, but look for specials from PCE, Bullion Exchanges, and others.

  45. Alex in MA says

    Is it good price for
    JM Bullion have this sale.
    Thanks for response.

  46. David says

    @Scott, I never looked at it this way before. There is a certain logic to it.

    “I suggest you add to your stash while prices are low and that will bring your average cost per ounce down.”


    With the spot price of metals dropping, the mint has the nerve to sell the proof silver eagles in bundles that still equate to $53.95 a piece. Imo, they are desperate to rid themselves of the 2016 proof silver eagles.

  48. Brad says

    I wonder why the Mint went back to a limit of 99 of the same product number per order again? It was much easier doing the “inventory check” by adding two zeroes to the “1” that was in the cart by default! I guess I still can do that, but it always now advises me that my quantity has been reduced to 99.

  49. Barry says

    I bought the gold QB 1/4 oz. Lion awhile back based on comments here. It is a really nice coin. I don’t know about others but, I always buy a capsule for bullion gold that doesn.t come with one as the metal is soft. The QB’s fall in that category.

  50. earthling says

    I’m jonesin bad for a Coin fix. What to do? What can I buy? I want a Moonlight Mint Big Owl somethin. A cool US Mint Plat Proof would do but not some recycled 1997 design.

    I never actually bought any Gold Buffalos yet – except for that reverse Proof a few years back. I don’t really care for that though. Will this new Proof Buff be worthwhile? Lately they’re selling like common pieces .. mintage too high.

    I guess I need to look for a nice slabbed and CAC’d $20 Liberty in MS64 or better.


    @Barry- I have all three of the QB 1/4oz gold, and like the capsules with the black rings.

  52. Gary Not Dave says

    Off topic here:

    Just a question for all.

    With the demand of Silver Eagles falling behind…I believe we are about 5 million or so off pace of from 2015 and a little behind 2016 levels.

    My question is: Wouldn’t the Mint sell more Silver Eagles to the public if the public could purchase the Silver Eagles directly from the Mint. I myself would be buying more Eagles if I didn’t have to pay $3.00 or $4.00 over spot. I think after 30 years now we should be pulling the plug on the authorized bullion dealers. I think they have cornered the market long enough.

    @Louis G and all Chime in!

  53. So Krates says

    “I’m kinda nervous about the PM markets in regards to silver. I don’t have a lot, just 18 ounces”

    @ David – Unless you’re a 12 year old with a paper route (are there paperboys anymore?) then your holdings sound puny. I would take all the previous advice offered and gets to stackin’ while the stuff is cheap. Even if it goes down by half (which it won’t), you’ll only lose $150. Chump change. Just for comparison there is one guy here who claims to stack gold by the pound and another guy who gifts 1000 oz bars. 🙂

    If you’re a kid, my apologies, you are ahead of the game and should be encouraged. If you are an adult with a job, I wouldn’t be too worried about the downside on a $300 silver portfolio.

  54. Ryan says

    I just wouldn’t stack any metal unless you have
    1. Zero debt
    2. A cash reserve for safety
    3. Standards covered like insurance, safe place to live, reliable transportation
    4. Some sort of plan for the future or reason to save
    5. The knowledge that this is long term wealth accumulation and you will never buy all of it at the bottom

    If you’re trying to flip for a quick profit there’s far better mechanisms for trading than flipping physical metal and I personally would advise against it, but do your own reasearch, make your own decisions and be careful.

  55. jhawk92 says


    Yep, I got the SD Bullion email today and I think that’s a nice reduction on the premium. I think I’ll run some numbers this weekend and see what makes sense. Certainly having the PM prices come down make this a nice time to buy. And good article over on CW. I think keeping the series shorter is the right thing, even with the multiple sizes and finishes. Not having to slog through 40ish spouses or 56 pucks is certainly easier. I didn’t “spouse” but I am “pucking” so I have my own long term collection to assemble. But I’ll have a nice silver stack by the time it is all done. I really hope the Mint doesn’t try for a second round of AtB coins.


    Thanks for the heads-up on capsules. I would certainly want something to help protect the coins with their softer metal..


    Which capsules do you get? I bet a black ring looks pretty good with contrast to the gold.


    I checked PCE and that’s a decent price, but SD Bullion has them beat with the weekend sale. And I’ll be ordering my Douglas puck soon as well. My Effigy Mounds DMPL arrived today and it looked looks pretty nice.

  56. Dustyroads says

    I don’t think this downturn in bullion sales should be anything to worry about, after all, it’s been said that a trend last 10 years. It has been 9 since the big hysteria began. It is what it is, the fad will fade for many.

  57. NumisMatt says

    re @earthling’s comment:
    “When it comes to that Beautiful Artistically Correct 2017 (225th) HR Gold , looks like folks are voting with their feet. I’m willing to bet that most are more concerned about getting Rolls of 2017-P Lincolns than getting that PC HR.”

    “PC HR”…is that supposed to be a put-down? It never ceases to amaze me how many commentors on this blog complain about static designs but in practically the same sentence denigrate any design that doesn’t fit their narrow definition of an acceptable theme/subject/content/whatever.

    Seems like maybe you need to expand your horizons a bit… Diversity’s a solid investing strategy, and it’s also compelling artistically. Art is meant to challenge the viewer, and if you let it work on you you might be surprised at what you end up liking.

    My first impression of the 225th HR design was that it wouldn’t work well, the stars were too big and incongruous. After some time, though, and strongly influenced by Diana’s excellent article “A Vision of Liberty for a Modern Nation, Part 1” (I’m anxiously waiting for part 2) – and, I’ve got to admit, partly in reaction to some of the visceral comments on this blog (hey, if it brings out the troll in so many, it’s gotta have something going for it) I decided I needed to get one. It came a couple of weeks ago.

    My jaw dropped when I opened it. It is..incredible. Very few designs (and I’ve seen a lot) use high-relief in such a compelling way. This coin is one of the highlights of my collection.

    The mint took a risk and it paid off – artistically at least – in a big way. It’s a pity that so many are “voting with their feet”, but then it’s in good company – the St. Gaudens Liberty had it’s detractors too.

    Kudos to the mint on this one. I can’t wait to see what’s next for Liberty…

  58. Erik H says

    Lucky day, a guy just handed me a silver quater with his change. I instantly heard the “ching” as it rattle against the other coins. For a quick second I thought, should I hand it back and let him know what he had given me? But reality set in, it’s my lucky day!

  59. Louis Golino, Author says

    I expect pm’s esp. gold to dip tomorrow night when the winner of the French election is announced, provided it is Macron, and the opposite will happen in the event of a Le Pen upset.

    Thanks for the comments on the QB article. I mainly wanted to get a debate going. I agree 10 is a good number that allows even those with limited resources to assemble a full set in at least one option.

  60. Dustyroads says

    Erik H, That’s cool! Now let me try to get a better image of how this happened.
    Okay, as you got your change, you whipped your hair around to the opposite side of your head to move it out of the way, then after seeing you had silver in you hand, probably then broke out into a full 360 degree whip just because you could.

    Go on and admit it, I know that’s probably what happened. I’m just kidding. I wish that would happen to me. I still look for silver, but haven’t found any in years. I did however find a zink cent that was missing the copper layer a few days ago.

    BTW, My quote above would be better said “a fad last for 10 years”, not a trend.

  61. Goat says

    Read and reread what Ryan says, The key is no debt. What your loan percentage is, that’s what you are making on that dollar if you pay loan off. Once debt is gone you will have the money to “diversify “. I like land/rental, PM’s, cash and stocks at my age (your age is a factor as So Krates states ). Many ways to invest and paying off your home loan is the best move many people should do it will free up a lot of money. Our home we purchased was $30,000 over our budget at the time and we got serious and paid it off in three years, that was a great move. That money then was spent on assets that earned interest/rent/dividend, (interest working for you not against) the compound affect is great with time and “TIME” is the key factor. One day many years from now you will see all this come together and you will thank yourself for traveling this path. Don’t be afraid to put yourself in a banker/stock broker shoes, they make a lot of money, you can too.

    With the troubles in economics that many countries/people have today I am not afraid of holding and adding too my PM’s. Dollar cost averaging will help you.

    Sometimes you have to give up a little to gain a lot.

  62. Barry says

    I like the black ring capsules for the gold also. Yes, it does give contrast and if you want to open the capsule the ring provides a little cushion.

  63. earthling says

    “Who is worried?
    BUY BUY BUY!!!”

    Gary not Dave –

    Please tell us you’re not channeling the US Mint.


  64. Barry says

    @ Louis- I agree with you on the French election. It will be interesting to see the move one way or the other. If Le Pen wins it will be a big blow to the EU for many reasons.

  65. Gary Not Dave says

    I don’t think so…..when silver and gold drop….the US Mint is the last thought that comes to mind. If your buying your silver stack from the US Mint…”i feel bad for you son, you got 99 problems and a b—h ain’t one.

  66. Gary Not Dave says

    How did the Mint only produce 79,640 silver eagles from Philly in 2015…..that’s an odd number? that would be 159.28 monster boxes….so how would they have produced .28?

  67. Gary Not Dave says

    So did they just combine the extra 7 rolls with another group from a different facility. .28(140 coins) 7 rolls.

  68. Louis Golino, Author says

    Well, the good news is JMB shipped my order really fast and I received an awesome 10 oz silver lion beast. Quality is excellent, much better than our bullion pucks, and also PL in certain areas. However, the capsule was damaged, so now I am waiting to hear if they can send a replacement without making me send the coin back.

  69. Keep Calm & Stack On! says

    How thick is that sucker?

    I can’t find the thickness of it posted on any site. It’s 89mm or 3.5 inches in width, so double the thickness almost of a puck, I presume

  70. Louis Golino, Author says

    Do any of you deal with Austrian Mint? I tried to order, as I have before, the new niobium coin coming next month, and they now say they won’t ship the USA because of our tax regs.

  71. Keep Calm & Stack On! says

    With the drop in Ag, I saw this a.m. that JMB now has them for $191 cash, I just couldn’t resist, pick up a couple for Christmas gifts and that’s what the boys will receive for the next 5 years or so, they’ll get into it.

  72. Goat says


    Hey all got rid of flip phone for pics. Some made fun of me while back. LOL

    Anyone got any ideas of what it’s worth ? Found this some time ago, no words/numbers on obverse and reverse I make out ONE CENT.


  73. Keep Calm & Stack On! says

    Rick says – April 3, 2017 at 6:29 pm;

    Upside potential looks limited at this point

    Rick – I greatly appreciate you posting that many months ago, & just wanted to say so. I was able to get out on the front end of that one, and it worked out well. I highly recommend Bullion Exchanges, first class experience.

    All the best you and happy collecting!


  74. Goat says

    I was checking that everything worked on my last post and noticed I can read the numbers 2013, could not see that with 10x but my Digital Microscope can. Now we now its 2013, what is it worth .

  75. Erik H says

    Dusty, I actually received the coin from a customer (not from a merchant) that’s why I almost gave it back. He wanted to make exact change so even if I told him it was silver he probably would have just said keep it because he didn’t want to break another bill. It’s been about 3 to 4 years since I last received a silver coin from a cashier however I often roll search but that’s a different story.

  76. Barry says

    @Jayhawk- I bought the same exact capsule as shown in the linked page only from a different site. It fit my coin fine with no trimming.

  77. joe#2 says

    Louis.. How are you pal. Could you kindly post ( when the coin is available ), The Northern Sky gold .9999 from Royal Australian Mint. Looking forward to seeing how that one looks. I’m sure 750 mintage. Don’t know if it will be out towards the end of this year or the beginning of next year. thanks man.

  78. Dustyroads says

    Here are a few interesting cents that I have pulled out of circulation over the last few years.
    1. Very little copper over the zink. Also, the rim is thin and wide, with a small clip on the reverse side.
    2. Washed out strike, grease?, suggestions welcomed.
    3. Odd dark gray tone. Possibly caused by heat?
    4. I think this one is a result of grease.


  79. DBR says

    @ Louis Golino

    You’re corred. The Austrian Mint states it can’t ship to USA customers directly. So I think they have authorized distributors. I purchased the Michael Archangel Coin this year from APMEX who carried it. I do think our USA laws changed to prevent the Austrian Mint from selling coins directly. The Michael Archangel coin is a 10€ piece. Maybe bullion is an exception for other Austrian Mint products.

  80. Joe M. says

    @ Dustyroads
    1. Looks like rubbed off copper plating.
    2. Capped Die…would like to see if reverse is full strike.
    3. Would need to see in-hand, but possibly anodized or off-metal. Not a dime blank due to full strike(no weakness due to smaller coin blank[planchette].
    4. Struck through grease or weak strike (Another need to see in-hand or extreme close-ups).

  81. Louis Golino, Author says

    Thanks, DBR.

    @joe#2- No word yet on northern sky. I suspect it will be next year.

    @jhawk- I looked at those, but the coin is too big, 90 mm diameter.

  82. Xena says

    I was away this weekend, but my 10 oz came yesterday. Couldn’t wait to open it! It was cocooned nicely in its packaging. What a stunner! Looks amazing!

    Definitely going on display – I think one of those little plate holders (like from Michaels Crafts) will hold it nicely.

    There’s a little cloudiness in a couple spots on the side, don’t have time right now to check out whether it’s coin or capsule.

    It’s about 6 mm give or take – I didn’t take it out of the capsule.

    I also am using the 22 mm with the black ring for the QB. Sounds like that’s the MNB standard.


    @Cagcrisp-Macron wins the French election, so what is your guess on precious metals, and the stock market?

  84. cagcrisp says

    @JARHEADnFLORIDA , “Macron wins the French election, what is your guess on precious metals, and the stock market?”

    I think it is GREAT news for the world and a Resounding defeat for populism. For the US stock market, I see little if any effect because you usually buy the rumor and sell the fact. Most polls showed that Macron would win. The Problems would be if Le Pen had won.

    The US stock market is keying off of Proposed tax cuts and Proposed repatriation.

    As for as PM’s is concerned you just have to wonder how much is baked into the cake. Gold is down $60 in the last 14 trading sessions and Silver is down $2.14 in the same 14 trading sessions.

    You have to wonder how much Further you go down or IF you have a dead cat bounce.

    There is a LOT of short interest in both PM’s…

  85. Dustyroads says

    Joe M, I agree that the copper has been rubbed off on the 1st cent, but it’s the only one I have ever seen with this effect. I think it has something to do with it being one of the very first copper coated zink cents produced. The USM began making these in late 1982, and probably had a few failures.
    The die capped cent has a perfect looking reverse.
    The 3rd cent may be anodized as you suggested. I hadn’t thought of that, but likely what it is.
    Thanks for the feedback.

  86. cagcrisp says

    AP Gold fix $1,229.70

    Still in line for Gold drop on Wednesday. Anyone Thinking about buying Gold from the mint needs to wait until Wednesday afternoon. ( There isn’t anything going to Sell Out between now and then)…

  87. cagcrisp says

    47 Jackie Kennedy Gold uncirculated coins left. Even the ONLY FS coin worth owning in the LONG run is having problems selling . Sad…

  88. cagcrisp says

    Above comment. ALL Gold Kennedy coins will be worth owning in the LONG run. John and Jackie.Proof and uncirculated…

  89. Baldwin says

    I don’t see the defeat of Le Pen as a resounding defeat to populism… I see it as a rather liberal country resoundingly defeating a far right candidate… as expected.

  90. Old Big Bird says

    Well here it is May 8th and we still only have a USM product schedule going up to May 17th.
    What about June items????

    Perhaps they will update the product schedule tomorrow if the release the sales numbers

  91. KCSO says

    Any Guesstimates on the sales number for the Douglass Puck?

    From out of left field, I’d have to go with ‘less than the Animal Crackers opener’ at 13,467.

    If it work out that way, Ozark is in big trouble. Same could be said for Rogers at the end of the year.

  92. KCSO says

    In following list below, resides at least that will surpass Volcanoes UNC P as the low mintage wonder..,

    District of Columbia Frederick Douglass National Historic Site April 3, 2017
    Missouri Ozark National Scenic Riverways June 5, 2017
    New Jersey Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty) August 28, 2017
    Indiana George Rogers Clark National Historical Park November 13, 2017

    Michigan Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore TBD 2018
    Wisconsin Apostle Islands National Lakeshore TBD 2018
    Minnesota Voyageurs National Park TBD 2018
    Georgia Cumberland Island National Seashore TBD 2018
    Rhode Island Block Island National Wildlife Refuge TBD 2018

    Massachusetts Lowell National Historical Park TBD 2019
    CNMI American Memorial Park TBD 2019
    Guam War in the Pacific National Historical Park TBD 2019
    Texas San Antonio Missions National Historical Park TBD 2019
    Idaho Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness TBD 2019

    American Samoa National Park of American Samoa TBD 2020
    Connecticut Weir Farm National Historic Site TBD 2020
    Virgin Islands Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Preserve TBD 2020
    Vermont Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park TBD 2020
    Kansas Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve TBD 2020

    Alabama Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site TBD

  93. Baldwin says

    I usually buy the pucks, but I haven’t bought the Douglass Puck… I am sensing a severe lack of enthusiasm for the newer pucks.

  94. joe#2 says

    Cag? The old school is either dead or dying out. It’s a shame folks don’t know who Jackie O was. If the coins were issued in the 1960/s or early 70’s, I’m sure they would have sold out within a week. It’s a sign of the times.

  95. KCSO says

    The lowest two to-date:

    14,978/2012-P Acadia/Maine

    14,863/2012-P Hawaii Volcanoes/Hawaii

  96. KCSO says

    Within the next 36 months, if we were to experience a bit of a run up in Ag prices, then –

    Higher Puck prices + bad designs = anemic enthusiasm

    I’ll be in for Guam, Alabama and Texas, the rest will be a pass..,

    Not sure what you can really do with Kansas, perhaps another ‘bird puck’ or buffalo?

  97. KCSO says

    Current sales from last week –

    2017-P Effigy Mounds Silver Coins 14,373 14,595 222 1.54%
    2016-P Fort Moultrie Silver Coins 16,990 17,022 32 0.19%
    2016-P Theodore Roosevelt Silver Coins* 18,917 18,917 – –
    2016-P Harpers Ferry Silver Coins* 18,896 18,896 – –
    2016-P Cumberland Gap Silver Coins* 18,713 18,713 – –
    2016-P Shawnee Silver Coins* 18,781 18,781 – –

  98. KCSO says

    The QB 10 oz BU Silver piece should be, from a marketing perspective, be called the Puck Killer,

    The last two QB 10 oz I bought over the weeekend I purchased for $191 (check) or $95.5 per 5 oz of silver when compared to an AtB Puck.

    I find value in that. And I’m done in 9 more purchases across 5 years, I like that. With an added benefit of great designs and quality, of a historic theme.

    Done with these pucks. Happy Collecting!

  99. So Krates says

    @ Baldwin – Would you characterize the election taking place on Sunday (as opposed to Tuesday when citizens are at work and school) as “rather liberal” or “far right” ?

  100. cagcrisp says

    @KCSO, IF Douglas P puck is Less than Launch Week sales of Effigy, then that’s a Bad sign going forward. You can make a case for sales being Down for Effigy but IF sales of Douglas are Less than Effigy then the air continues to leak out of the P puck balloon.

    Launch week sales for Effigy were 14,363

    …SO..Anything Less than 14,363 for Douglas would be VERY disappointing.

    We will see tomorrow afternoon (hopefully)…

  101. cagcrisp says

    @Joe#2 “Cag? The old school is either dead or dying out. ”

    Well…I’m not #1 so I guess I’m #2…

  102. Erik H says

    cagcrisp, until silver rallies the “P” versions of the puck will continue to face head winds with the current premiums. At minimum they should reinstate the subscription discount.

  103. cagcrisp says

    Supply side economics argues that “lower marginal tax rates and less regulation” increases growth. You WILL hear this time and time again as we proceed forward with Proposed tax cuts for corporations and Proposed tax cuts for individuals. Cut taxes and “Growth” will make up the Loss in tax revenue. Supply side economics have been championed ever since Arthur Laffer and David Stockman were with Ronald Regan when he was president. George H Bush called supply side economics “voodoo economics”.

    The Mint tried a version of supply side economics with 4 of the 5 “P” pucks in 2014. The first 4 “P” pucks that year had a 10% discount on Subscriptions. No Subscription, no 10% discount.

    Why did the Mint try the 10% discount? The supply side theory would be that Lowering the cost by 10% would create so much demand (growth) that the overall profit margins would Exceed profit margins Before lowering cost.

    Did it work? It failed Miserably from a financial point of view. How Miserably did it fail? It failed So bad that the 10% discount was Stopped Before the 5th “P” puck (Everglades) was released in 2014. Yes there was an increase in Subscription sales, however, profit margins did Not exceed pre discount levels and on the Discontinuing of the discount profit margin level percentages returned to previous levels. Basically it never increased subscriptions on volume enough to offset the loss in revenue by the 10% subscription cut.

    Here are the Mints numismatic net profit margins for the past few years for “Silver coin Products”:

    2016 29.5%
    2015 31.0%
    2014 11.0% This year had the 10% subscription discount for the first 4 “P” pucks
    2013 31.9%
    2012 32.7%
    2011 41.2%

    Compare the Above net profit margins to the Entire 2014 fiscal year that had the 4 “P” pucks that had the 10% subscription and you will see just how much Lowering the “P” pucks by $15.00/each lowered Overall net profit margins.

    In 2014 the “Silver coin Products” numismatic net margin was a measly 11.0%.

    Considering the volume of “P” pucks vs. other silver products and I would argue that the Mint was lucky to break even on “P” puck sales for the 4 “P” pucks sold with a subscription discount in 2014.

    The Mint is currently in Dire Straits for profits…

    …SO…Lowering the price of the “P” pucks will be the last thing the Mint should do…

  104. KCSO says

    Great analysis, I enjoy reading and contemplating this in-depth analysis and perspective!

    Though with respect to, “the Mint was lucky to break even on “P” puck sales for the 4 “P” pucks sold” – the mint brought them upon themselves.

    They own that, and the reason for that is they struck a little over 24,000 Smokey Mountain pucks which sold out within 3 and a half weeks, Arches and Shendoah were also strong sellers that sold out in rapid fire session.

    Had they upped the mintage in anticipation of strong sales due to the discount, which I’m glad that they didn’t, far more P pucks would have been sold, how many more, well that’s open to speculation, though it would have been a lot more in my opinion, therefore they did not anticipate correctly increased sales with a 10% discount incentive.

    Oh well, I got a truck load of great designed Pucks from some awesome parks at a very favorable price.., Win, Win!

  105. KCSO says

    The U.S. Mint need to come to reality, and design and strike a 5 oz American Silver Eagle in Proof,

    In the second year, strike it in High Relief, 2.5″ diameter, enhance that puppy too

  106. KCSO says

    Just out of curiosity, anyone invest in Uranium, and uranium related refining and services here? Either through company stock or ETF’s?

  107. Baldwin says

    @So Krates… when the election took place has no bearing on the facts… France has been and will continue to be a liberal country. Electing Le Pen was not going to happen and I’ve said that all along. It was not a “resounding defeat to populism” as was characterized. Le Pen had little real chance of upsetting the apple cart to begin with.

  108. So Krates says

    @ Baldwin – You are like me during a traffic stop, i.e., you don’t like to answer questions. Since your scared to answer anything I ask, let me do it for you.

    Holding an election on a Sunday, with more access and participation, is liberal.

    Holding an election on a Tuesday, when most work or are in school, is right wing.

    Does it make more sense to hold an election on Sunday or Tuesday?

  109. Louis Golino says

    Regarding France (which I know better than any coins), the election was a resounding victory for Macron, but not a resounding defeat for populism. Le Pen did much better than her father ever did, there were not anywhere near the protests against the far right that there were in previous elections, and if enough voters had abstained or voted blank, she might have won. The victory for Macron unfortunately only pushes pack the populist tide for now. Macron faces a massive uphill battle to succeed, and if he does not, Le Pen and other extremists will be back. At the same time, if Le Pen had won, she too would have faced great difficulty building a coalition and implementing her agenda, and those who think it would somehow have led directly to France leaving the EU, don’t understand France. You can now return to your regular coin programming.

  110. Erik H says

    cagcrisp, what was the price of silver for the first 4 releases of 2014 (I can’t remember)? If it was higher than today’s price then the margin would be greater. I collect and stack. I would rather stack or buy SLV right now than buy a “P” puck. I need motivation to buy a “P”, either a GREAT design or 10% might help.

  111. cagcrisp says

    @Erik H “what was the price of silver for the first 4 releases of 2014 ( I can’t remember)?”

    Great Smoky $19.88
    Shenandoah $19.27
    Arches $19.33
    Great Sand Dunes $18.66

  112. Baldwin says

    @So Krates – I’ll ask what bearing does that information have on the French election? Le Pen was never going to win the election as I said. So your analogy is more liberals voted on Sunday because they had the day off? Lets face it France has lots of time off with short work weeks already…

  113. So Krates says

    Baldwin-How can we have a conversation if you never answer my simple questions?


    Does it make more sense to hold an election on Sunday or Tuesday?

  114. Devin Santo says

    The people of this land would do well to remove all references to the foreign and alien ancient pagan goddess mentioned in the 1st 1913 review.

    Having “her” there mentioned with the motto “In God We Trust” leaves one to rightly wonder, in which God/god are “we” trusting?


  115. Dennis Tucker says

    I love reading these old first-person commentaries. Interesting insight about “classic” coins that once were newfangled!

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