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Silver Coins, Small Gold Coins Are Popular Items For Holiday Gift-Gifting This Year

By Debbie Carlson of Kitco News
Wednesday November 26, 2014 9:55 AM

(Kitco News) - Holiday shopping is ready to get into full gear and coin dealers say numismatic silver coins and smaller gold coins are among top gift items.

Silver coins, bars and coin sets are usually popular gifts around the year-end holidays, said coin dealers, and this year silver is particularly hot because of the drop in prices late in the year.

Terry Hanlon, president, Dillon Gage, said from the wholesaler’s perspective, “what’s hot is what’s not available.”

Specifically he said the U.S. Mint’s silver Eagles and Royal Canadian Mint’s silver Maple Leafs “are what everyone wants, but they’re both on allocation.”

Photo courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint: The Royal Canadian Mint's MapleGram is becoming a popular holiday gift this year, according to some coin dealers.

That means the sovereign mints are only sending so many coins to the dealers they work with to try and ensure fair distribution.

The holiday season also sees the numismatic coins and coin sets sell faster than bullion, Hanlon said. Numismatic coins are popular at two times of the year, when they are first released and during the holiday season.

Daniel Kedem, director of product development at Gainesville Coins, said at their business, coin sets are popular gifts grandparents give to grandchildren. The seasonal coins, such as winter scenes, also usually move at this time of year, he said.

Hanlon said the numismatic coins have become more sophisticated, so buyers don’t have to choose just Christmas or winter scenes any more. The various sovereign mints have stepped up their numismatic items, too, he said.

“They do more per year than they used to do. The products are absolutely spectacular. They’re doing a lot more creative things and more precise minting so they look fantastic,” he said.

The colorized coins from the Royal Canadian Mint are popular, and another very popular product is the “MapleGrams,” he said.

“They’re really neat,” Hanlon added.

These are one-gram bars or coins that are connected to each other in a packet and they come in packets or 30 or 50 bars and can be kept together or given away separately. PAMP and the Royal Canadian Mint are two producers of these items, he said.

“They’re hot, whether it’s Christmas or not. I’m not sure they’ll be able to keep up demand.  As soon as we get them in, zoom, they’re gone,” he said.

Kedem said buyers are returning to coins and bars from well-known sovereign mints, rather than purchasing some of the products made by private mints which was popular a few years ago, he said.

“Really, the market got saturated the past couple of years, all these private mints making their own series. People are consolidating their collections into things that can be tracked. You get that with government-issues coins. Our customers (are now) less apt to purchase the privately made odds and ends. How do you determine collector base on a privately minted coin? … Twenty years from now, who is going to be wanting that?

Most of the sovereign mints will have their 2015 coins available by December, Hanlon said. However, the U.S. Mint won’t have their 2015 coins ready until next year because of Congressional mandate to only sell coins dated in the same calendar year.

At this time of year, the Perth Mint’s limited-edition Chinese Lunar New Year coins are popular gifts, Kedem said. The one-ounce silver coins are the most popular, he said. 2015 is the year of the goat, but he said buyers will also choose other years that correspond with the gift recipient’s birth year.

Aside from silver, Peter Thomas, senior vice president, Zaner Precious Metals, said in gold the fractional-sized coins, or “teenies,” will move.

“We’re seeing a lot of demand for the stocking stuffer, the teenies. All the holiday gold, the small gram bars, all of that starts to get gobbled up now,” Thomas said.

Regarding the current big demand for silver, Thomas said he believes the mints were caught off guard by the late-year silver demand because the algorithmic calculations they use to buy metal to stamp into coins were probably thrown off after the slow demand earlier in the year.

“When silver went from $50 to $15, people came out of the woodwork saying $15 silver is not bad. So it skewed that demand picture. All of a sudden there’s a shortage of metal because people decided to pick it up again,” he said.

While silver demand is hot, he said gold demand has been OK.

“You know, $1,110 is not bad number for gold considering where we were. If people have a couple hundred bucks to spend on a small object, they’re doing it because that same object a few years ago was $400,” he said.

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By Debbie Carlson dcarlson@kitco.com
Follow me on Twitter @dcarlsonkitco



Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.

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