The Curse of the Mountain of Light

There are some who believe the diamond we now call Koh-i-Noor (Mountain of Light) has been around for more than 5,000 years. Although there’s no proof of that, we can trace the enthralling history of this magnificent stone for certain from the 14th century. It was then that the first mention of its curse appeared in a Hindu text: “He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.” 

The Secret to Finding Great Deals on Fine Jewelry

The Secret to Finding Great Deals on Fine Jewelry

Were you left uninspired by the latest necklaces you saw at your local boutiques? Are you looking for something different, something with a bit more character? Well, West Seattle Coins and Bellevue Rare Coins have an outstanding collection of heirloom and contemporary jewelry—handpicked from the items we’ve purchased locally or from jewelers across the country. In addition, many items are rare or one-of-a-kind pieces that come from the huge estate liquidations we’ve handled for over 30 years. 

Why You Should Own Krugerrands, One Of The World’s Most Popular Bullion Coins

Why You Should Own Krugerrands, One Of The World’s Most Popular Bullion Coins

Produced from one of the world’s largest gold mines in South Africa, the Krugerrand is the original and most recognized one-ounce gold bullion coin. First minted in 1967 from Rand Refinery, it was developed to internationally promote South African gold by making it easy for anybody to invest in gold. It’s been legal tender since it was created, which means that you can take your investment with you wherever you go—and sell it pretty much anywhere in the world for cash.

If you’re thinking about buying Krugerrands as an investment, here’s what you need to know about the most popular gold bullion coin in the world:

How To Make A Bundle Buying Bullion

How To Make A Bundle Buying Bullion

The word “bullion” may conjure up images of pirates pillaging treasure chests or the military patrolling the golden bunkers of Fort Knox — but bullion isn’t just for the criminal class and the government. In fact, buying bullion is a great way to diversify your portfolio and (often) realize a great rate of return.

How exactly do you buy bullion? Let’s start at the beginning.

Is it Time to Scrap the Penny?

Is it Time to Scrap the Penny?

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.

In February 2013, Canada stopped producing its penny, deeming it a waste of money. Countries like Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the Netherlands have done the same with minimal outcry. Are we reaching the point where it’s time to say good-bye to the U.S. penny? It’s a debate that has been going on for some time, but it wasn’t until 2006 that the cost to manufacture a penny topped the coin’s actual value. Even with today’s pennies being made of only 2.5% copper (to 97.5% zinc), the U.S. Mint reports that each coin costs almost 2.5 cents to make because of recent spikes in the prices of metals.
 

What You Need To Know Before You Sell Your Gold

What You Need To Know Before You Sell Your Gold

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: 

The Local Connection To The Sale Of A Rare 1796 U.S. Half Cent

1796 US half cent auction
Recently, it was widely reported that a very rare 1796 U.S. half cent fetched a whopping $357,000 at a European auction held by Wooley and Wallis of Salisbury, England. Also known as the Liberty Cap Half Cent, this coin was certainly a prime offering as there were only 1,390 ever minted by the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
 
Untouched for the past 50 years and remaining “very much in its original condition,” the coin was found by the seller by complete accident. The original owner was Mark Hillary, an Oxford scholar, who died in a mountain climbing accident in Greece in 1963. He kept this coin in a cabinet he constructed out of glued-together matchboxes, and this is where it sat for the past half century. While housecleaning, Mark Hillary’s brother found his coin collection. Originally thinking the coins were junk, he brought them to the auction house for appraisal. While the actual value of the half cent would ultimately be determined by the open market, the coin was originally estimated to be worth between $40,000 and $47,000. Not bad for some old junk!
 

How To Get Your Gold Appraised For The Most Money

How To Get Your Gold Appraised For The Most Money

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:

 

How People Are Finding Buried Treasure

How People Are Finding Buried Treasure

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! 

Why Silver Prices Are So High And How You Can Cash In

Why Silver Prices Are So High And How You Can Cash In

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:

 

How To Mint A Trillion-Dollar Platinum Coin

How To Mint A Trillion-Dollar Platinum Coin
So we know the proposed $1 trillion coin made of platinum was ultimately rejected by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Treasury. And no, the proposed coin was not going to contain $1 trillion worth of platinum, but let’s consider for a moment, what it would look like if it did…
 
Thanks to a quirky law still on the books, the United States government can mint a platinum coin worth any amount. This is how supporters of the proposed coin planned to turn one ounce of platinum, worth about $1,675 today, into a trillion dollars. But were they to use the same dimensions as a U.S. silver dollar, the measurements of a $1 trillion platinum coin would be roughly 80 feet wide and 6 feet thick. Now that’s a lot of platinum! Weighing in at 42,778,918 pounds, this hypothetical numismatic giant would occupy 31,947 cubic feet.  In everyday terms, that’s the volume of about 239,000 gallons of milk!

Get The Most Diamond For Your Money With These Tips

Get The Most Diamond For Your Money With These Tips

 

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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Why Are Gold Prices So High?

why are gold prices so high

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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