By Al Doyle
What else might get melted?
As reported in the March 10
issue of Coin World, steadily rising bullion
prices have led to widespread melting of
low-mintage 2007 First Spouse half-ounce gold
$10 coins. 2006-W and 2007-W gold $5
commemorative coins have also been sent to the
smelter just months after they were issued.
With gold at its highest all-time price in U.S.
dollars and silver above $20 an ounce, the
obvious question is: What other recent coins are
candidates for melting?
The modern commemorative series (1982 to date)
has a number of common pieces that sell for
bullion-related prices. More than adequate
supplies exist to meet collector demand, so
anyone who bought a batch of certain dates a few
months back is in a profitable position.
Extend the precious metals bull market a few
months, and it could make sense to wipe the dust
off a hoard of modern silver and gold coins and
send them off for profitable melting. The 1982-D
and 1982-S Washington half dollar could be
turned into silver bars.
The 1983 and 1984 Olympic silver dollars may
share the same fate. Neither is an artistic
success, which only increases their chances of
being melted. As for Olympic gold, the 1984 $10
and 1988 $5 coins are on the hit list.
With a mintage of 7,138,273, a few hundred
thousand 1986 Statue of Liberty dollars could be
melted without being missed.
Even at a somewhat lower mintage, the same can
be said for the 1987 Constitution silver
dollars. The gold $5 pieces from both programs
(especially the Constitution) could see their
If the gold/silver ratio continues to narrow,
combined with higher prices in the future, a
pair of more recent products may end up in the
The coins in a 1992-S Silver Proof set contain
0.71487 ounce of silver, or $14.38 worth of the
metal at a spot price of $20.11. That's a little
below the current retail value, but definitely
subject to change in a fast-moving market.
Silver Proof State quarter sets are often broken
up, as the best examples are sent to grading
services, while others are sold as singles.
Lower-value leftovers (not the earlier dates)
could end up in a miscellaneous pot of melted
coins if silver continues to rise.
While the thought of melting coins might horrify
the collector, there may be a positive side to
the process. If the supply of common pieces is
reduced, the worth of survivors could increase,
and who wouldn't want to see their holdings
become more valuable?