The U.S. Mint has suspended sale of U.S. silver eagle coins because a large increase in demand has depleted their inventories. In the memo to authorized purchases said the suspension would last about two weeks.
In today’s memo to bullion coin buyers, the Mint said:
“As you are aware, the significant increase in demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins depleted our current inventories. The United States Mint facility at West Point, New York, continues to produce American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins and we anticipate resuming sales in approximately two weeks.”
The drama over Greece’s financial crisis continues to dominate the headlines. It appears a deal has been reached providing Greece with yet another bailout if the Greek government adopts new “austerity” measures. The deal will allow all sides to brag about how they came together to save the Greek economy and the European Monetary Union. However, this deal is merely a Band-Aid, not a permanent fix to Greece’s problems. So another crisis is inevitable.
The Greek crisis provides a look into what awaits us unless we stop overspending on warfare and welfare and restore a sound monetary system. While most commentators have focused on Greece’s welfare state, much of Greece’s deficit was caused by excessive military spending. Even as its economy collapses and the government makes (minor) cuts in welfare spending, Greece’s military budget remains among the largest in the European Union.
Despite all the handwringing over how the phony sequestration cuts have weakened America’s defenses, the United States military budget remains larger than the combined budgets of the world’s next 15 highest spending militaries. Little, if any, of the military budget is spent defending the American people from foreign threats. Instead, the American government wastes billions of dollars on an imperial foreign policy that makes Americans less safe. America will never get its fiscal house in order until we change our foreign policy and stop wasting trillions on unnecessary and unconstitutional wars.
Excessive military spending is not the sole cause of America’s problems. Like Greece, America suffers from excessive welfare and entitlement spending. Reducing military spending and corporate welfare will allow the government to transition away from the welfare state without hurting those dependent on government programs. Supporting an orderly transition away from the welfare state should not be confused with denying the need to reduce welfare and entitlement spending.
On reason Greece has been forced to seek bailouts from its EU partners is that Greece ceded control over its currency when it joined the European Union. In contrast, the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is the main reason the US has been able to run up huge deficits without suffering a major economic crisis. The need for the Federal Reserve to monetize ever-increasing levels of government spending will eventually create hyperinflation, which will lead to increasing threats to the dollar’s status. China and Russia are already moving away from using the dollar in international transactions. It is only a matter of time before more countries challenge the dollar’s reserve currency status, and, when this happens, a Greece-style catastrophe may be unavoidable.
Despite the clear dangers of staying on our recent course, Congress continues to increase spending. The only real debate between the two parties is over whether we should spend more on welfare or warfare. It is easy to blame the politicians for our current dilemma. But the politicians are responding to demands from the people for greater spending. Too many Americans believe they have a moral right to government support. This entitlement mentally is just as common, if not more so, among the corporate welfare queens of the militarily-industrial complex, the big banks, and the crony capitalists as it is among lower-income Americans.
Congress will only reverse course when a critical mass of people reject the entitlement mentality and understand that the government is incapable of running the world, running our lives, and running the economy. Therefore, those of us who know the truth must spread the ideas of, and grow the movement for, limited government, free markets, sound money, and peace.
Through the decades, people have collected coins for different reasons. In the past, when coins were made of gold, these were collected mainly for their intrinsic value. As far back as the 1st century, accounts show that the Roman emperor Augustus already had a form of coin collecting hobby. He gathered exotic coins which he used to give away as gifts.
Coin collecting today is frequently referred to as numismatics. Strictly speaking though, numismatics is a broader discipline which devotes itself to the study and collection of different types of currency while coin collecting limits its interest to the acquisition of coins. Still, using numismatics as a name for coin collection has become commonly accepted.
The Kind of Collector You Want to Be
If you want to start collecting coins as a hobby, it is important that you decide what kind of a collector you want to be. You may want to start a coin collection as a serious investor. You may even want to gather certain coins because of their metal value which can be almost twice their face value as currency.
Or, like many collectors, you may want to collect coins just for fun without care as to type, condition or value of the coins gathered. Your interest in coins may be so expansive that you want to take in many different types of coins. This would make you a generalist like the exiled king of Egypt, King Farouk, who had accumulated 8,500 rare coins and medals at the time of his death.
Investing in Your Collection
You will have to invest not just time and effort but also money in your coin collection unless you plan to gather coins randomly without attaching any importance to value. Make no mistake about it; a coin collecting hobby can cost you a pretty penny.
Expenses in the proper collection of coins will include the cost of basic tools such as a reference book on coins, albums or holders to classify and keep your collection, gloves and a strong magnifying glass. Usually, serious collectors keep a jewelers’ loupe as well. The cost for all these items will be in the neighborhood of fifty dollars. You can look for free reference materials to bring this figure down but if you are bent on pursuing this hobby in earnest, sooner or later you will have to buy a good reference book that you can keep on hand all the time.
Of course on top of the tools you will be using, as a serious coin collector you will be buying some items to add to your stash. A coin can cost anywhere from $10 to $100,000 so it will be up to you to decide on a budget and stick to it.
Deciding What Kind of Coins You Will Collect
Unless you want to be a generalist, it would be good to focus on the kind of coins you will collect. Some collect coins based on country of origin while some do this based on design. Others will gather coins based on the year or the period they were minted or the subject depicted on them. There is a wide range of choices in terms of the kind of coins you want to look for and keep. However, it would be wise to first take stock from the beginning of what you already have and how much you intend to spend.
For the person wanting to grow their collection of silver coins, collecting pre-1965 dimes, quarters, and half-dollars might be a good choice. Don’t be misled by the term used to describe these coins – “junk silver”, as they are definitely not junk.
Learning about the Hobby
A coin collecting hobby can be enriched by the wealth of information readily available today about the topic. If you want to indulge in your hobby in an organized and knowledgeable way, find out everything you can about coin condition and value. Practice your hand at examining coins based on universally accepted standards in coin collection. Join a group that shares the same hobby and learn everything you can. If you go into collecting with skill and enthusiasm, your collection of coins can present you with a vast and interesting new world that you can fully enjoy by yourself or with the participation of friends and family.