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Certified Silver Coins
Whether you’re an investor or collector interested in the purchase of silver coins, there is more to the value of a product than simply the mint that produces it or design on its surfaces. Silver coins have inherent value due to the metal, but also value that arises from the condition of the coin itself. When that condition is certified, the value of your purchase can increase even more with time. Learn more about Certified Silver Coins available from JM Bullion.
What are Certified Silver Coins?
Certification from the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC) or the Professional Coin Grading Service, the world’s preeminent authorities on coin certification, adds inherent value to the silver coins you are considering purchasing. For those who are new to the precious metals industry, Certified Silver Coins often come with terms that are unfamiliar. In the following paragraphs you’ll find all the information you need to decipher the terminology and value of coins that have received certification before you make the choice to buy silver.
What is the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation?
The Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, or NGC for short, was founded in 1987 as a third-party coin grading service that is independent of any private or sovereign mint. Currently, the NGC employs 30 full-time coin certifiers who are prohibited by contract from buying or selling coins commercially to ensure they remain impartial graders of coins. The NGC holds the distinction of being the world’s largest third-party coin grading company, having certified more than 33 million coins in total. The American Numismatic Association and Professional Numismatists Guild both use the NGC as their official grading service.
NGC Coin Grading Process
When you see NGC Certified Silver Coins listed in the JM Bullion catalog, you are viewing and considering for purchase coins that have gone through an extensive and highly regarded grading process. There is a general three-step process included in the NGC grading process, and are broken down into the following categories:
- Receiving Coins: The NGC’s receiving department accepts coins from authorized dealers and collectors alike, and opens new shipments every morning. These coins are verified by number according to the packaging invoices, and then a detailed comparison process takes place to ensure the date marks, denominations, and mint marks match up to the actual coins.
- Grading Coins: The NGC uses a collaborative team effort to grade each of the coins it receives. Coins that include various designations are examined by NGC numismatists who specialize in those various attributions and designations. Each is compared individual against published references, and appropriate descriptions and numbers are added to the record as necessary. From there, at least two numismatists grade every coin, and when necessary supplemental information is added to provide the most thorough description of the coin’s condition.
- Encapsulation Process: After coins are graded by the NGC, all certified coins are taken to the encapsulation department where labels are printed to identify the condition and designation of each coin, and the product is encapsulated in a transparent plastic shell to protect the condition of the coin for decades to come.
What is the Professional Coin Grading Service?
The Professional Coin Grading Service was formed by a small group of the nation’s leading coin experts in 1985 following the realization that the rare coin industry needed to address problems in the verification of coins in order for the hobby of coin collecting and investing to truly reach new heights. Prior to the formation of the PCGS, market participants were forced to assess the value of rare coins using divergent definitions of what precisely qualified as valuable.
The PCGS use of the Sheldon Scale in assigning grades to PCGS Certified American Silver Eagles and other coins helps investors and collectors rest assured that the coins they are purchase meet the standards and grading requirements of a coin of that particular grade. The PCGS stands behind its certifications, offering the following guarantee on its website:
“The PCGS Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity is fundamental to our concept of third-party grading. The cash-back policy ensures the accuracy of the grade assigned to any PCGS coin as long as it remains in its tamper-evident holder. As the owner of a PCGS-graded coin, the customer will have the benefit of PCGS’s Guarantee of Grading Accuracy and Authenticity and each PCGS Authorized Dealer will accept the grades assigned to the coins by PCGS.”
In order to ensure that the coins PCGS Certified Silver Coins you receive when buying silver arrive in their promised condition, the PCGS encapsulates all coins it certifies inside of protective plastic slabs that not only protect the coin from damage, but preserve it for decades to come.
Evolution of Coin Certification
Before the NGC and PCGS formed formal certification process, it was generally agreed upon that physical condition, or grade, of the coin was important to the value. However, there was not a universal system for grading or even a universal standard that could be applied. Prior to the 1980s, rare coin collectors had only three broad categories to place coins into based upon their condition. These included:
- Good: to qualify, these coins had to maintain most of the details of the design intact.
- Fine: to qualify, these coins had to exhibit clear detail and some of its luster on the surfaces.
- Uncirculated: to qualify, these coins should never have been in general circulation and still exhibit their full mint state condition.
The problem that was created by this system of definitions is that collectors and dealers eventually realized that some Fine coins, for example, were finer than others. In 1948, renowned numismatist Dr. William Sheldon had developed a scale for assigning grades between 1 and 70 to coins. In theory, his Sheldon Scale posited that a grade 70 coin was worth 70 times the value of a grade 1.
In refining the Sheldon Scale and applying it to modern NGC and PCGS Certified Silver Coins, the two certification houses found that many buyers were often taken advantage of because of the difficulty in telling the difference between coins of the same category. For example, a Mint State 65 coin has a market value (in most cases) that is greater than the same coin with a Mint State 64 coin, but the differences are nearly undetectable by an untrained eye.
Today, the NGC and PCGS use the 1 to 70 Sheldon Scale to certify the condition of all coins it grades. Each grade starts with a strike type, which includes the following options:
- MS: Stands for Mint State, and identifies a coin struck in the same format as circulation issues and applies to grades 60 through 70.
- PF/PR: Stands for Proof, and identifies coins struck in a special format to attract the eye of collectors.
- SP: A Specimen coin is one that has a hybrid strike type between Mint State and Proof.
Each of the different certification levels indicates a different level of wear and tear, or conversely perfection, to the coin’s surface, design features, and markings. The most common Certified Silver Coins you’ll find in the JM Bullion catalog include many of the following designations for both bullion and proof options:
- Mint State/Proof (PF/PR) 70: These coins are considered perfect specimens with no post-production imperfections when viewed under 5x magnification, and include their full, original mint luster.
- Mint State/Proof (PF/PR) 69: These are considered near-perfect coins with nearly imperceptible imperfections. Though they maintain full, original mint luster, there are a maximum of two minor imperfections on the coin such as miniscule hairlines.
- DCAM/UCAM: Deep Cameo or Ultra-cameo is a term reserved only for proof Certified Silver Coins. These terms refer to a proof specimen that has a strong, frosted finish on the design set with a contrasting deeply-mirrored, clear background field. This effect gives the impression that the design is floating above the surface area of the coin.
- FS/ER: Short for First Strike or Early Release, these designations are used for coins that arrive at the PCGS or NGC depository or approved third-party depository within the first 30 days of the release date set by the production mint for a given coin. These coins ship with special First Strike or Early Release Labels courtesy of the PCGS/NGC.
Examples of Certified Silver Coins
There are countless certified silver coins for sale on the JM Bullion catalog. Among them you will find coin programs such as the American Silver Eagle, Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, British Silver Britannia, and the America the Beautiful Collection, just to name a few. The following has a brief on each of these major coin programs.
About the American Silver Eagle
Introduced in 1986, the American Silver Eagle was authorized by Congressional passage of the Liberty Coin Act of 1985. The program features only a 1 oz. coin, and was originally available in the bullion and proof versions alone, with the aforementioned burnished coin added specifically for collectors in 2006.
On the obverse of all coins you’ll find the image of Walking Liberty. Created in 1916 by Adolph A. Weinman, this image is considered one of the finest in American coinage history. It appeared on the Walking Liberty Half Dollar from 1916 to 1947. In the design, Liberty is featured walking toward the setting sun with the American flag draped across her shoulders. Her outstretched hand reaches for a brighter future, while her left arm clutches the oak and laurel branches representing the nation’s civic and military accomplishments.
The reverse of all Certified American Silver Eagle coins include the heraldic eagle of the United States. First used on American coinage in 1794, the heraldic eagle design has been modified several times during the course of American history to modernize its appearance. This latest design of the bald eagle with its wings spread wide, clutching arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other, is set behind the nation’s heraldic shield and was created in 1986 by John Mercanti. At the time, Mercanti was the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint.
About the America the Beautiful Collection
There are five new designs released each year by the United States Mint in this beautiful silver collection. Starting in 2010, the US Mint began its full release series for the ATB coins with the initial offering of coins. All silver coins from the America the Beautiful collection on JM Bullion have the same obverse design, but not the same reverse. As each coin is representative of a particular jurisdiction within the country, the reverse side features imagery from a national park, national forest, or monument found only in that particular area.
Design sets featured on the reverse side of each coin were selected using a collaborative decision-making process. The governor or chief executive of each jurisdiction consulted with the US Department of the Interior, the Secretary of the Treasury, the US Commission of Fine Arts, and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. Although all parties were given a say in the design and location, the Secretary of the Treasury held the right to approve all final designs.
On the reverse side of each coin is the standard left-profile portrait image of President George Washington found on circulation quarters. The image of the president was created in 1932 by artist John Flanagan, but was based upon an original bust of President Washington created in 1786 by William Cousins. Standard phrases and mottos such as “United States of America” and “In God We Trust” are featured on this side, along with the face value of the coin.
About the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf
The official bullion coin series of the Royal Canadian Mint and the Canadian nation, the Canadian Maple Leaf is one of the world’s most popular coin programs. Introduced for the first time in 1979 as the Canadian Gold Maple Leaf, these were the first coins in the world to rival the South African Krugerrand in terms of gold bullion demand. No other gold coin, aside from the Krugerrand, had ever been offered strictly for investment purposes.
The Royal Canadian Mint produces the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf coin with a face value of $5 (CAD). Available only in 1 oz weights, this coin features .9999 pure silver, and debuted in 1988. On the obverse of all Canadian Maple Leafs, whether struck in silver, gold, platinum or palladium feature the right-profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. On the Gold Canadian Maple Leaf, three different incarnations of Her Majesty’s profile have appeared.
Meanwhile, the reverse of all Canadian Maple Leaf coins features the image of the sugar maple leaf. Used on the reverse since the introduction of the gold version in 1979, this image has never changed. The only additions have been security measures, notably radial lines and a microscopic maple leaf privy.
About the Canadian Silver Bison
The newest Canadian commemorative bullion product from the Royal Canadian Mint is the annual Canadian Silver Bison. First introduced in 2015, this coin is exclusively offered from the Royal Canadian Mint through JM Bullion in the United States. The coin series is a first-ever 1.25 troy ounce coin that includes .9999 fine silver, with a face value of $8 (CAD) fully backed by the government of Canada. The Royal Canadian Mint will produce a new image on the reverse face of these coins each.
Canadian Silver Bison coins are originally available from JM Bullion in individual flips, sealed tubes containing 20 coins, or Monster Boxes containing a total of 400 coins. Many are available in Brilliant Uncirculated condition. Certified Silver Bison coins ship inside of plastic slabs courtesy of the NGC or PCGS.
About the Mexican Silver Libertad
The Mexican Mint, also known as Casa de Moneida de Mexico, is the official mint of the Mexican government. Although it is often overshadowed by its dominant neighbors to the north, the Mexican Mint actually holds the status as the Western Hemisphere’s oldest operating facility. Founded in 1535 by Spanish conquistadors, the Mexican Mint boasts almost 500 years of gold and silver refining. Today, its single most popular product is the Mexican Silver Libertad. The coin is based upon the original gold Centenario from 1921, and features iconic Mexican imagery on the obverse, with the nation’s coat of arms on the reverse. Details include:
- Bullion, proof, and proof-like version struck annually.
- .999 pure silver content.
- Weights available include 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, ½ oz, 1 oz, 2 oz, and 5 oz. The proof-like coin is only available in 1 Kilogram.
- It is the only sovereign bullion coin with no face value.
About the British Silver Britannia
The modern-day official bullion coin of Britain, these coins feature an image of the Roman deity Britannia, who served as a protector for the British Isles. Introduced in 1997, these coins were originally available with .958 fine silver but are now produced in .999 pure silver. The 2017 release of these silver coins marks the milestone 20th anniversary for the silver version of Britain’s official bullion coin, and the modern highlights of these coins include:
- Contains 1 Troy oz of .999 pure silver in BU condition.
- Bears a face value of 2 (GBP) backed by the British government.
British Silver Britannia coins have had the same design concepts on the obverse and reverse faces of the coin since their introduction in 1997. The only changes ever to come to the program occurred recently with the introduction of an updated portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the coin’s obverse side. Further details include:
- On the obverse of all British Silver Britannia Coins you’ll find the newest portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty’s effigy is updated on occasion to reflect her current age on the throne. A new designed debuted on 2016 issue Royal Mint coins from Jody Clark, marking the fifth generation depiction of the Queen.
- The reverse of the British Silver Britannia includes the image of the goddess Britannia, famed guardian of Britain. She is depicted standing along the island’s southern coast, looking out across the English Channel with her trident (to control the seas) as she holds a shield in her other hand to guard the nation that bears the Union Jack insignia.
About the Australian Silver Kookaburra
Without question, the longest-running silver coin from the Perth Mint is the Australian Silver Kookaburra. A unique bird species native to the continent of Australia, the kookaburra has appeared on a proof silver coin since 1990. The collector’s value of the Australian Silver Kookaburra coin comes from its changing design. Each year, the Perth Mint selects a new design for the coin, always highlighting the kookaburra in its natural habitat.
On the reverse side of each coin is the image of the kookaburra, surrounded by engravings that include “Australian Kookaburra” and the coin’s weight, purity, and metal content. The obverse always features Queen Elizabeth II’s right-profile portrait, along with her name, the nation of issue, and face value of the coin in AUD.
About the Australian Silver Koala
Another popular Perth Mint silver coin is the Australian Koala coin. The Koala Silver coin was first introduced in 2007, and has quickly become the single most popular product from the mint. Like the kookaburra, the koala silver coin is struck in a variety of weights each year in both bullion and proof versions. The coins feature a brand-new image of the native marsupial in its native habitat each year, with Queen Elizabeth II’s image on the obverse.
About the Australian Silver Kangaroo
The Perth Mint Australian Silver Kangaroo was introduced in 1993 as a proof coin. Each year the Perth Mint produces the proof Silver Kangaroo in limited mintages. In recent years, the coin has been struck in a brilliant high-relief proof to add to the collectible value of these stunning coins. The design motif remains the same on the coins each year, but the specific design of a kangaroo is changed from one year to the next, adding value and demand to the coin.
All of the Australian Silver Kangaroo coins produced by the Perth Mint feature 1 oz of .999 pure silver. The coins are considered legal tender in Australia, and have been issued a face value of $1 (AUD) by the Australian government as a result.
Starting with the 2016 issue year, the Perth Mint introduced a new bullion coin featuring the beloved kangaroo on its reverse. Scheduled for annual release going forward, this new 2016 Silver Kangaroo is unique in that it is the newest silver bullion coin from the mint and the first to feature .9999 fine silver content. This will help it stand apart from the proof high-relief version from the mint, as well as the long-running Kookaburra and Koala programs.
Purchase Certified Silver Coins from JM Bullion
JM Bullion accepts various forms of payment for your purchase of Certified Silver Coins. You can pay by credit/debit card, paper checks, bank wire transfers, and PayPal fund transfers are also accepted by JM Bullion. Bank wire and PayPal transfers offer immediate processing, with credit/debit cards processing in one business day on average and paper checks taking 4 to 6 business days to process.
In addition to flexible payment methods, JM Bullion offers free standard shipping and insurance on all purchases. Your Certified Silver Coins will be packaged in discreet boxes to protect the identity of the products within, and delivered to you via the US Postal Service or UPS. For those interested, expedited shipping is available for an additional fee. If your packages are lost or damaged during shipping, we’ll find you a replacement product or refund your purchase price.
If you have any questions about Certified Silver Coins, JM Bullion payment methods, or our shipping policies, please feel free to reach out to us. Our associates are available at 800-276-6508, online using our live web chat, and via email. Don’t forget to visit our homepage and search for the latest spot price of silver before you buy!