Pre-1965 90 percent silver U.S. coins are especially hot, while silver U.S. coins that aren't so familiar to buyers — such as post-1992 Proof 90 percent silver coins from Silver Proof sets — are trading at discounts to melt value.
For example, on March 28, one dealer advertised on a trading network a bag of 4,000 Proof 2010-S 90 percent silver Washington quarter dollars — $1,000 face value — for $26,300, lowering it later in the day to under melt value at $25,999.
Another dealer was offering $1,000 in face value of modern Proof 90 percent silver coins for 99 percent of the melt value.
At the same time, market makers were paying $26,200 for $1,000 face value 90 percent silver bags.
The current market is allowing for a slight premium for all 90 percent half dollar bags, and a slightly greater premium for Walking Liberty silver half dollar bags.
It is discounting 40 percent silver bags slightly along with Roosevelt 90 percent silver dime bags.
Prices for Proof American Eagle silver bullion coins have exploded in the last several weeks. As of March 28, several wholesale dealers were advertising buy prices of $60 each for examples with original Mint packaging.
This quick price advancement has effectively removed premiums for the Proof 1993-P, 1995-P, 1996-P and 1997-P issues. These dates always enjoyed substantial premiums over the more common dates, but not anymore.
The sole issue that now trades for a premium — excluding the rare Proof 1995-W American Eagle silver dollar — is the Proof 1994-P silver American Eagle, which still enjoys a $20 to $30 premium over the common dates.
According to its Web site, the U.S. Mint is scheduled to release Proof 2011-W American Eagle silver dollars on June 30, meaning that the existing supply won't be increasing for at least three months.
Even Proof 2010-W American Eagle silver dollars are now trading at the same level as the rest of the 1986 to 2008 Proof issues.
Proof 2011-W American Eagle gold coins are scheduled to be released April 21, and several market makers have reported a softening of demand for Proof gold American Eagles in anticipation of a flood of 2011 issues.
Steve Roach is a Dallas, Texas, based rare coin appraiser and fine art advisor who writes the world's most widely read rare coin market analysis each week in the pages of Coin World. He is also a lawyer and helps create estate plans for collections. Visit him online at http://www.steveroachonline.com, join him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevenroach or follow him on twitter @roachdotsteve