The story of the U.S. penny begins back in 1787 when the first pure copper half-cent was designed by Benjamin Franklin and manufactured in a private mint. Back then, you could buy a nice plate of eggs and bacon with a few cents, but today a penny doesn’t get you much at all. If you’re like most Americans, you probably find yourself either leaving your pennies in the “penny dish” at the counter, or taking them home to drop in a jar that you periodically empty into a CoinStar machine.
You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing about what a great time it is to sell your gold. With the economy still struggling, more and more people are selling their gold for cash. And it’s true that at around $1,700 an ounce, gold prices are near record highs. But you need to be careful when selling your gold.
At West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins, our certified numismatists have been evaluating gold since 1979. And we talk to people interested in selling gold every day.
Here are some simple tips you should consider before selling your gold to a gold buyer:
Gold is a hot topic these days. You’ve heard about it on the news. Or seen the men waving signs that say, “NOW IS THE TIME TO SELL YOUR GOLD!” Prices are near all-time highs — and that’s why it can be a great time to sell your gold. But first you have to figure out how much it’s worth.
We’ve all got some gold lying around. Maybe it’s a dusty box of old gold jewelry, or a collectable gold coin or two. The question is: How do you determine the value of your gold?
An appraisal is a fairly simple process, but it helps to have an expert opinion you can trust. The specialists at West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins help people with fair and accurate gold appraisals every day.
There are three main factors that gold appraisers take into account when valuing your gold:
Haven’t we all seen that guy on the beach or in the park — with his socks pulled high and headphones on, swinging a funny contraption over the ground — and thought to ourselves, “that guy won’t find anything! What a waste of time!” Well, maybe we’ve got it wrong.
On January 16th of this year, an avid local prospector came across a 12-pound (177 t/oz.) gold nugget in Ballarat, Australia, resting two feet underground. The exact location remains a mystery, but we do know he was using a Minelab GPX-5000 detector that costs about $6,000. Not your entry-level detector, but definitely worth the investment after this find! The prospector took his enormous find to the Ballarat Mining Exchange Gold Shop to confirm his discovery. The owner of the shop, Cordell Kent, described how the prospector heard a faint sound, then wiped away some leaves and started digging. What he thought was an old car part turned out to be a 12-pound nugget of gold!
It’s true that gold gets all the glory, but its precious metal cousin silver also deserves your love. Silver’s a fascinating metal with a long history of use in royal artifacts, religious rites and wealthy homes. And right now, the silver market is hot, with prices rising to some of their highest levels since the early 1980s.
So without further ado, here are ten great reasons to fall in love with silver:
A beautiful diamond can take your breath away, transport you on a flight of fancy, and turn the most grizzled old bachelor into a romantic poet. But when you’re buying a diamond, it’s essential to keep your head if you want to get the most diamond for your money. Knowledge is power, after all, and if you’re thinking about buying diamonds, you need to understand the 4Cs.
Back in the 1940s, the Gemological Institute of America understood that diamonds were only going to become more popular and more valuable. That’s why they developed an international grading system that uses the 4Cs — clarity, color, cut, and carat weight — to give you the true value of a diamond.
So, before you buy a diamond, here are the four things you need to know:
1. Its clarity. No diamond is perfect. When a diamond professional evaluates a stone, they look for blemishes on the surface of the diamond and internal irregularities called inclusions. The fewer blemishes and inclusions your diamond has, the more valuable it is. But keep in mind the old Chinese proverb: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one.”
2. Its color. Here’s something you might not know: Diamonds come in all colors. We’re used to seeing the clear stones, but fancy colored diamonds can come in hues such as red, purple, green or blue. If you’re looking for a colored diamond, remember that the most valuable stones are the ones with the most saturated colors.
3. Its cut. The cut of a diamond refers to the way the stone has been designed to interact with the light. High-quality diamonds reflect the light in a dazzle of brilliance and color. The radiance of an unforgettable diamond is largely a result of its cut, so if you want sparkle, make sure you get a diamond with an expert cut.
4. Its weight in carats. This one’s pretty simple. Diamonds are measured in carats. And typically, the more carats, the more valuable the diamond is. However, it is possible that a poorly cut, highly blemished large stone would be less valuable than a very clear, well-cut smaller stone.
Before you go shopping for a diamond, think a bit about which of the 4Cs is most important to you. If you’re in the market to buy a diamond, you can shop with confidence at West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins. We’ve got many GIA-certified diamonds to choose from — all accompanied by GIA reports listing their exact dimensions, weight, color and clarity.
If you’re thinking about selling a diamond, the experts at West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins have the experience and technology to effectively evaluate your stone — with no strings attached. Read more about how our free appraisal process works, and then stop by for a chat with one of our expert gemologists to find out how much your diamond is really worth.
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Prices for gold are some of the highest they’ve ever been. In fact, the average price for an ounce of gold has risen nearly 600% over the past 15 years. It’s definitely a great time to think about selling your gold. But why are prices so high right now? It comes down to a combination of factors.
1. Everyone wants gold. It’s been true throughout history. As the world’s favorite precious metal, gold has been used in opulent thrones, royal crowns, prized jewelry and even priceless paintings. Gold is the quintessential treasure — and everyone from Blackbeard to Queen Elizabeth has been mesmerized by its allure.
2. Supply is down. Recently, South Africa — the world’s biggest exporter of gold — has reported a substantial decrease in supply. With supply down and demand rising, prices skyrocket.
3. Demand is up. Gold works as a great hedge against inflation, which the growing economies of Asia are experiencing right now. Demand for gold is through the roof in countries such as China, which in 2012 imported more gold than the entire holdings of the European Central Bank.
4. It’s the economy. The gold market is tied to the strength of the dollar. When inflation pushes the dollar lower, gold increases in price. Also, in times of economic uncertainty, investors turn to precious metals as a safeguard against further turbulence.
We’ve all got some unwanted gold lying around — now’s a great time to find out how much your gold jewelry or gold coins are really worth. Come see the experts at West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins in West Seattle, Bellevue and Lynnwood. We’ll give you a free appraisal with no pressure to sell.
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Many people don’t realize that the money they handle every day has so much history behind it, as does the place where the money is made. The first United States Mint opened in Philadelphia and is still the largest producing mint in the world. There are many interesting facts about this historic place.
It all started in 1799
The US Mint opened for business in 1799 as an independent agency reporting only to the President of the United States. That changed in 1873 when it became part of the United States Department of the Treasury.
But how does it make money?
The US Mint is able to produce money for less than the face value. They then sell the money for face value, which results in profit. This process is known as seigniorage.
The chisel slipped, injuring one of his hands. And the work of Bo Hughes, one of the best-known hobo nickel carvers, was never the same.
The Great Depression largely defined the hobo nickel phenomenon. With millions of people out of work and without prospects in their hometowns, many joined the drifter community, hoping to find work crisscrossing the continent along the railway lines. Many would pass the time carving intricate designs on coins, hoping to trade or sell their small, folk art masterpieces for food or shelter. Bo Hughes is remembered as one of the country’s most talented carvers, a pioneer in the hobo nickel community.
George Washington “Bo” Hughes was born in Mississippi just before the beginning of the twentieth century. He left his home and his 11 siblings in his early teens, entering a world of nomadic freedom riding the rails. Along the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio railroad lines, Bo met Bertram “Bert” Wiegand, a fellow drifter and the man who introduced him to the art of hobo nickel carving. Bert took Bo under his wing, and in a largely anonymous community of drifters, affectionately known as “hobos,” the two carved their way into numismatic history.
The mystery that shrouds this gold US coin is something out of a mystery novel involving theft, the Secret Service and a king of Egypt.
The HMS Victory, a naval ship sailing back from Lisbon to England, sunk on October 4, 1744. The ships accompanying it on its return lost sight of the Victory right outside the Channel Islands when a huge storm came through. The ship was captained by Admiral Sir John Balchen with a crew of over 1,100, all of whom died.
Interestingly, the ship was the last to be armed with 110 bronze cannons. It was also reported to be carrying more than 100,000 gold Portuguese coins. Rescue ships were sent to search for the lost Victory. Locals on the Channel Islands reported wreckage washing ashore, including part of the mast. It was assumed that the ship crashed on the nearby Casquets rocks. The Victory wasn’t found for over 250 years. And it wasn’t found where they thought it sank.
On February 1, 2009, US excavation company Odyssey Marine Exploration found 2 of the 110 brass cannons. They soon after discovered the Victory some 50 miles from the Casquets. Because a US company discovered the wreckage, it raised the question of who was entitled to the millions of dollars in gold it held. But according to the laws of marine salvage, the ship and its contents belong to the British government.
In January 2012, it was announced that the ship would be raised from the seabed. Odyssey Marine Exploration is set to handle the recovery. If estimates are right and they find on the ship what they think is there, the ship could be carrying a billion dollars in treasure.
Interested in starting a coin collection but not sure where to start or what you should know? Here are some tips from the experienced staff at West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins to help you start collecting.
First, choose a series of coins you would like to collect. Start small, with modern coins, before jumping into more rare and valuable coins. Some good options are State Quarters, Lincoln Cents, Jefferson Nickels or Roosevelt Dimes. These coins are all in circulation and can easily be found in your pocket change. This way, your investment is minimal while you test the waters and learn a bit more about the ins and outs of collecting. Coin albums are a great way to organize, store and display your collection. They contain slots for each coin you will need to complete the series, which makes it easy to keep track of your progress.
A great reference tool for coin collectors is the Guide Book of United States Coins, commonly referred to by collectors as The Red Book. Published annually, this book is full of useful information like history and current values, as well as colorful photos. When you are ready to make the jump to foreign coins, the Standard Catalog of World Coins is a superb series of reference books filled with world coinage from the 1600s to the present. There are no rules when it comes to coin collecting — except to have fun, of course. The more coin history you learn, the more confident you will become. And when you are ready to expand your collection to include older, rarer or high-value items, we would love to help. Here are a few more tips to help broaden your collecting skills:
- Learn the language: Familiarize yourself with the terms and phrases coin collectors use, such as toning, bag marks, obverse, reverse and many more.
- Take good care of your collection: Learn the proper ways to handle and store your collection, as well as which materials are best suited to preserve value.
- Learn the numeric grading scale (aka the Sheldon Scale): This includes numerical grades from 0–70 and the descriptions used to grade coins.
- Meet other collectors: Join a coin club or go to a coin show. These are great sources of information and inspiration.
- Join the American Numismatic Association (ANA): They have programs and services for coin collectors of all ages.
- Learn about third-party coin grading services like PCGS, NGC, ANACS and what they do to “certify” a coin.
Coin collecting is a fun and fascinating hobby. We here at West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins love seeing new faces, answering your questions and giving you a solid foundation to make smart choices when it comes to purchasing coins. But most of all, we are here to inspire new collectors with our knowledge, love and unique inventory of coins and bullion. Visit one of our coin shops in West Seattle, Bellevue or Lynnwood. We speak your language.
West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins specializes in gold buying and dealing in rare coins. We are a family-owned business that was first established in 1979 and is now located in West Seattle, Bellevue and Lynnwood. We also buy and sell gold, silver, diamonds, currency and jewelry. Visit us first for a free appraisal.
Russia dominated the diamond market in the 1970s with its abundant natural resources and its partnership with De Beers, which at the time was distributing most of the world’s diamonds. Perhaps this is why Russia decided to keep its massive find secret.
The discovery of a 62-mile-wide asteroid crater called the Popigai Astroblem — said to contain 10 times as many diamonds as are currently believed to be in all the world’s reserves — was kept classified. The Popigai diamonds are said to be twice as hard as ordinary diamonds and were either present in the meteorite before impact or created upon impact with an area rich in carbon. Scientists were barred from revealing the secret, and the massive find was simply left alone. Until now.
Russia produces about ¼ of the world’s diamond output. The largest, and possibly the most well known, location was an opencast mine known as the Mirny Mine, which was over half a mile wide and half a mile deep. Perhaps the permanent closing of the Mirny Mine in 2011 prompted Russia’s declassification of their approximately 40-year-old discovery last week. Finally, the world was let in on the secret when scientists from the Novosibirsk Institute of Geology and Mineralogy in Moscow announced that a Siberian meteorite crater holding trillions of carats of industrial diamonds had been found, a discovery that could revolutionize the global market.