Letter Re: Tips on Buying Physical Silver Locally

Thank you for your site, I read it daily. I would like to point out that local coin auctions are another good place to pick up some silver. I came across an ad in the classified section of the local paper for a coin auction that was being held at one of our local auction houses. They had a web site that listed all of the coins that were to be for auction that following weekend.

There were over 500 lots of coins for auction that day. I picked up several 40% Ike dollars for $3-$5 less than what coinflation.com had listed for a melt value. There were many bags of pre-1964 coins that sold for less than their melt values. I also picked up some 1 oz silver rounds for $1 to $2 per ounce under that day’s spot price. Also, there were some foreign coins, Francs, Pesos that were .700 or .900 silver that ended up selling for less than their melt values. I would urge caution though on bidding on some of the older [numismatic] coins. There were many Morgan silver dollars that were being run up to $50-$100. I can only assume that there was some rarity value placed on these coins by the collectors. There were fees on purchases made with credit cards, but since I paid cash, there were no fees and no sales tax. If you do your homework you can come away with some good deals. – M.C.W.

JWR Adds: The same principle applies to other auctions, including online variety auctions, gun auctions, and farm auctions. If the majority of the people attending an auction are bidding on the “treasures” and ignoring the “trash”, then the latter will likely sell for well below retail. In the case of coin auctions where the bidders are after the high grade numismatics (Sheldon grade MS-62 and higher), then they will likely pass up on bidding on the heavily worn “junk” silver coins that only have bullion value. I’ve also been to gun auctions where some very “Plain Jane” guns and large “odd lot” boxes of of holsters, scopes and full capacity magazines sold for a pittance because everyone else who was there seemed fixated on buying $20,000+ Colts and Winchesters.