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US Mint touts cost savings in .999 silver switch
Coin World ^ | Feb. 27, 2012 7:37 a.m. | By Paul Gilkes

Posted on 02/28/2012 7:19:31 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin

Switching the fineness of silver in the annual Silver Proof sets and America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof set to .999 from the current .900 would produce significant savings in refining and manufacturing costs for the U.S. Mint, according to spokesman Michael White.

The move would also open the pool to additional blank vendors, White said.

President Obama’s proposed Fiscal Year 2013 federal budget includes a provision to amend Title 31, Section 5112, so that the dime, quarter dollars and half dollars in the various Silver Proof sets would be required to be composed of no less than 90 percent silver, rather than precisely 90 percent silver.

“The big picture is that fabricators that work with .999 fine silver blanks must charge us more to refine to 90/10 fineness,” White said, referring to the current 90 percent silver, 10 percent copper alloy used for the dime, quarter dollar and half dollar in the sets. “We expect minor cost reductions from consolidating purchasing, die life improvements and freight savings, but, most importantly, the change would give us the opportunity to expand our supplier base. Of course, prices will reflect the increased silver content of the coins.”

Mint officials are not only searching for cost savings, but more uniformity in the annual silver products, according to White. Currently, American Eagle silver coins are .999 fine as mandated under the authorizing Title II, Liberty Coin Act, of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Commemorative Coin Act, Public Law 99-61, enacted July 9, 1985.

The 5-ounce silver versions of the America the Beautiful quarter dollars are .999 fine as mandated by law (the 24.3-millimeter coins in the Silver Proof sets are .900 fine).

Commemorative silver dollars are .900 fine, as mandated under the authorizing act for each respective commemorative coin program.

The Silver Coins Proof Set Act of 1990, Public Law 101-585, authorized the production of annual Proof sets with .900 fine silver coins in denominations from the dime and higher. The cent and 5-cent coins would remain in their respective copper-plated zinc and copper-nickel compositions. The highest denomination struck for circulation at the time was the half dollar.

The last .900 fine silver coins struck for circulation were dated 1964.

The first Silver Proof sets stemming from the 1990 act weren’t produced until 1992 because of the Mint’s difficulty in obtaining sufficient .900 fine silver blanks.

The 1990 act was amended Nov. 6, 2000, by the United States Mint Numismatic Coin Clarification Act of 2000, Public Law 106-445, sec. 2(a), to eliminate the requirement that dollar coins in these sets be composed of 90-percent silver. The Sacagawea dollar coins from 2000 to 2008, the Native American dollars of 2009 to date, and the Presidential dollars of 2007 to date have all been composed of manganese-brass clad.

The Mint has offered multiple different Silver Proof sets since the program began in 1992.

Proof .900 fine silver quarter dollars were sold in State Quarter Silver Proof sets from 2004 through 2008; in the Silver Proof set for the 2009 District of Columbia and U.S. Territories quarter dollars; and beginning in 2010, in the Silver Proof sets for the America the Beautiful quarter dollar series.

In addition, the U.S. Mint has offered the standard Silver Proof set every year since 1992.

While the U.S. Mint has not conducted any trial strikes on .999 fine silver blanks in circulating coin sizes, Mint officials are confident that production of the coins would not cause problems. “Since we have experience striking some 40 million silver [American] Eagles every year in .999 silver, we would not anticipate any issues,” White said.

The Mint has also not produced silver test strikes in conjunction with the Mint’s contracted alternative materials study with Concurrent Technologies from Johnstown, Pa., since that study is limited to circulation coinage alternatives.

White said the sourcing of blanks, blank availability and production scheduling would determine when the Mint could implement the silver fineness change should the proposed FY 2013 federal budget pass with the revision intact. ■


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government
KEYWORDS: coins; silver; usmint

1 posted on 02/28/2012 7:19:34 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin
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To: DeaconBenjamin

I recently read The Tudors. This is exactly what Henry VIII did to finance his extravagant lifestyle and ill-advised wars. We have learned nothing in 500 years.


2 posted on 02/28/2012 7:22:53 PM PST by iceskater (I am a Carnivore Conservative - No peas for me. (h/t N.Theknow))
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To: iceskater
And roman emperors 1500 years before Henry.

Politicians have been crooks since the beginning.

/johnny

3 posted on 02/28/2012 7:29:04 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Debasing the currency is one of the major warning signs of a collapsing economy.


4 posted on 02/28/2012 7:32:20 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: iceskater

He made coin of higher purity silver?


5 posted on 02/28/2012 7:33:46 PM PST by null and void (Day 1133 of America's ObamaVacation from reality [Heroes aren't made, Frank, they're cornered...])
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To: Lurker
You are only saying that because every time in history a government debased it currency, it collapsed.

We've been told it's different this time. ;)

/johnny

6 posted on 02/28/2012 7:35:15 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: iceskater

I think it’s the opposite. More silver makes the coin a better investment.


7 posted on 02/28/2012 7:35:34 PM PST by palmer (Before reading this post, please send me $2.50)
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To: Lurker

Not debasing, the opposite.


8 posted on 02/28/2012 7:36:35 PM PST by palmer (Before reading this post, please send me $2.50)
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To: null and void
This article describes moving from .999 fine silver to .900 silver for SILVER coins that the US mint produces.

/johnny

9 posted on 02/28/2012 7:37:15 PM PST by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Lurker

In this case, they aren’t debasing the currency, they are moving from 90 percent silver to 99 percent silver.

The cost savings comes because 99 percent silver is a commodity item, while 90 percent silver has to be specially alloyed for the mint.


10 posted on 02/28/2012 7:37:45 PM PST by MediaMole
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To: palmer

Um, they’re putting less silver into these coins, not more.

.90 is less than .999. Just sayin’.


11 posted on 02/28/2012 7:38:04 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: null and void

Henry VIII never read the article either.


12 posted on 02/28/2012 7:38:13 PM PST by palmer (Before reading this post, please send me $2.50)
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To: JRandomFreeper

No, you read it wrong, they are going FROM .900 TO .999.


13 posted on 02/28/2012 7:38:35 PM PST by MediaMole
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To: Lurker
Just sayin’.

I have superior knowledge since I read the article.

14 posted on 02/28/2012 7:39:57 PM PST by palmer (Before reading this post, please send me $2.50)
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To: JRandomFreeper; palmer
Switching the fineness of silver in the annual Silver Proof sets and America the Beautiful Quarters Silver Proof set to .999 from the current .900

My mistake. Palmer is correct.

15 posted on 02/28/2012 7:39:57 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: iceskater
Sorry boss, this is running the opposite way. Silver quarters will be minted at 99% silver, not the historical 90%. But they are not being minted for circulation, as the historical coinage was.

As for Henry's debasement and Gresham's law (Gresham lived under QE I; his law says bad money chases out good); any pre-65 coin obtained in normal commerce is a windfall. A silver dime has $2.67 in silver; a silver quarter $6.69; a silver half $13.37; and a silver dollar $28.59.

Why does a silver dollar have more than 10 times the value of a silver dime? It all started in 1853.....

16 posted on 02/28/2012 7:40:16 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin (A trillion here, a trillion there, soon you're NOT talking real money)
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To: Lurker

Now we are even. Either coin is better than clad.


17 posted on 02/28/2012 7:42:04 PM PST by palmer (Before reading this post, please send me $2.50)
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To: Lurker

The backing of fiat currency lies in the willingness of the government to take substantial amounts of it back in payment of taxes. In fact, the federal government collects and recycles more than twice the total circulating currency each year.

This would not work in a low-tax environment or one without a steady stream of transfer payments because so little would be needed.

In the 1800s, the U.S. accepted payment of taxes only in gold which limited its ability to create credible paper currency or silver. (Silver thereby caused inflation which was popular with debt-burdened western farmers championed by William Jennings Bryan at the turn of the last century.)


18 posted on 02/28/2012 7:49:47 PM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (REPEAL WASHINGTON! -- Islam Delenda Est! -- I Want Constantinople Back. -- Rumble thee forth.)
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To: palmer
Either coin is better than clad.

Very, very true.

19 posted on 02/28/2012 7:50:16 PM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Why don’t they use old chewing gum wrappers. Imagine the savings.


20 posted on 02/28/2012 8:05:57 PM PST by DManA
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To: JRandomFreeper; Lurker; iceskater

OK People not reading the article before posting is bad enough, but when the original poster does it too ....


21 posted on 02/28/2012 11:49:38 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in religion -Sup. Chalmers)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Stop digging!


22 posted on 02/28/2012 11:51:07 PM PST by Oztrich Boy (Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in religion -Sup. Chalmers)
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To: palmer

Do any of you lollypops ever actually read these articles before you add your ignorance to the comments section. All of you idiots should STFU until after you actually read an article. You’re an embarrassment to yourselves, your families and FR.


23 posted on 02/29/2012 5:41:14 AM PST by STD (It Doesn't Take a Real Political Panjandrum to Cut Taxes & Cut Spending Stupid!)
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To: Oztrich Boy

OK. I misunderstood the article. It happens. Rarely, but it happens.

However, if Obama is for it, there must be something wrong with it and must ultimately screw us. Just sayin’.


24 posted on 02/29/2012 6:02:53 AM PST by iceskater (I am a Carnivore Conservative - No peas for me. (h/t N.Theknow))
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Could this effect the price of silver as will there be a bigger demand for it since more will be used in our silver coins?


25 posted on 03/14/2012 11:17:29 PM PDT by Bellflower (The LORD is Holy, separated from all sin, perfect, righteous, high and lifted up.)
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To: MediaMole

Correct.

Traditional American Silver coins are .900 fine

The proof sets of those coins are also .900 fine

Yet most bulk bullion silver on the market from the refiners is .999, and the mint incurs costs to take it down to .900 and turn it into blanks and then strike them.


26 posted on 03/14/2012 11:39:28 PM PDT by djf (http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2801220/posts)
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