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Why are British Indian silver rupees so expensive?

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nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
There were literally 1 billion silver rupees minted between 1912 and 1945, most of them remained in pristine shape, yet they go for 5x melt value or more. Certain dates have a mintage of 220 million!

At the same time, if you want to get some silver European coin with 1 million mintage, you can get it close to melt value. What is happening here?

It's rather annoying, since I'm a date collector and getting all the George V+ Indian rupees seems like an impossible dream. Sad.
VieillePile Numista team, Moderator
Joined: 5-Mar-2016
Posts: 538
Hi Nucleus,

Frankly speaking, I have no clue .....

But we have the same issue in France for at least two kinds od coins....

1 Franc coins dated mid XIXth century: they were made of 900/1000 silver; The 1865 Latin Union Monetary Treaty modified it in 835/1000..... Many coins have been melted and remaining quantities are not possible to assess.

The same issue occured during Louis XIVth tenure (and others') when the trasury was short of cash (bankrupt) and called back all previous mintage to melt them into the new types.

India is known / told to be keen on silver metal. It might be an explanation; searching for historical reasons might help as well...
Vieille Pile
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "VieillePile"​Hi Nucleus,

​Frankly speaking, I have no clue .....

​But we have the same issue in France for at least two kinds od coins....

​1 Franc coins dated mid XIXth century: they were made of 900/1000 silver; The 1865 Latin Union Monetary Treaty modified it in 835/1000..... Many coins have been melted and remaining quantities are not possible to assess.

​The same issue occured during Louis XIVth tenure (and others') when the trasury was short of cash (bankrupt) and called back all previous mintage to melt them into the new types.

​India is known / told to be keen on silver metal. It might be an explanation; searching for historical reasons might help as well...
​Sounds absolutely terrible:) Thank God i only collect 20th century coins, so my life is slightly easier.

Regarding india's love for precious metals: sure, they must have melted some of the coins, but many of the rupees have more than 200 million mintage for a single year. eBay is always full of these coins yet they still go for unreasonable prices. I don't think they are rare at all.
VieillePile Numista team, Moderator
Joined: 5-Mar-2016
Posts: 538
The complete story is worst but I do not entirely master it.

Due to new sources (California or Siberia, I do not remember), huge quantities of gold have been mined, letting the prices drop.
By these times, France and several other countries had a bimetalic system, with 1,2 and 5 silver francs and 5, 10 and 20 gold francs. 5 silvers and golds were overlapping, freezing the exchange rate between the two metals.

Great-Britain was in need for silver, in order to pay for the peace treaties in India. Gold prices were dropping..... UK bankers bought gold 5 Francs and exchanged them for silver ones, melted and exported them. Coins from this period are very difficult to find now ....
Vieille Pile
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "VieillePile"​The complete story is worst but I do not entirely master it.

​Due to new sources (California or Siberia, I do not remember), huge quantities of gold have been mined, letting the prices drop.
​By these times, France and several other countries had a bimetalic system, with 1,2 and 5 silver francs and 5, 10 and 20 gold francs. 5 silvers and golds were overlapping, freezing the exchange rate between the two metals.

​Great-Britain was in need for silver, in order to pay for the peace treaties in India. Gold prices were dropping..... UK bankers bought gold 5 Francs and exchanged them for silver ones, melted and exported them. Coins from this period are very difficult to find now ....
​Very interesting. Thank you for your input.
And the bankers who melted silver coins... well I hope they are also getting melted.... in hell.
CassTaylor
Joined: 30-May-2014
Posts: 1990
Most of the 19th century French 1 and 2 Franc types sell for x5, x10 or even more of silver value, despite having reasonable mintages.
Une Franglaise; ♪ je brosse ma chevelure ♫
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "CassTaylor"​Most of the 19th century French 1 and 2 Franc types sell for x5, x10 or even more of silver value, despite having reasonable mintages.
​Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the 1850-1900 french 1 and 2 frank coins have a mintage of a few million only. Thats everything but reasonable. Pre 1850 ones are below 1 million

On the other hand, certain Indian rupees have 220 million PER YEAR

you can't even compare them
sarikanair
Joined: 30-Nov-2017
Posts: 31
It is true that British Indian Silver rupee was minted in large quantities and many of them were probably melted as well for their silver content. Even then, their pricing on online portals is much higher.

This is mainly because some random collector must have hosted his or her coin online for an unreasonable pricing. And many others follow suit, thinking that they would also get that amount. This is how fake pricing gets floated into the market.
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "sarikanair"​It is true that British Indian Silver rupee was minted in large quantities and many of them were probably melted as well for their silver content. Even then, their pricing on online portals is much higher.

​This is mainly because some random collector must have hosted his or her coin online for an unreasonable pricing. And many others follow suit, thinking that they would also get that amount. This is how fake pricing gets floated into the market.

Pricefixing is probably true. But at the same time, it's as if collector drive up prices too. Many 0.01 dollar auctions end up at unreasonable prices.

I've done some research and the Krause catalog prices might be the culprit behind it. 50% silver content indian rupees (~6 grams pure silver) are listed at 24 dollars IN WORST GRADE. You can't even find them in bad grade because XF + UNC is so common. It's absolutely stupid to pay 24 dollars for a silver coin that has 3.50$ worth of silver content AND 220 million mintage.

There's literally not enough coin collectors in the world to sell all the rupees to. Even in 200 years, there will be indian rupees flooding the market.
Rkwitmer
Joined: 20-Feb-2015
Posts: 77
Someone who knows the culture better might contradict me, but it was explained to me this way: silver coins are traditional gifts at wedding times. This puts people in the market for the coins who are not experienced about the values (and purchasing based on emotion). As in the U.S. many with the "silver bug" have a clear preference for coins traditionally seen and presented. So in short, there is a ready market for the coins even at inflated prices. increasing affluence mixed with some preference for real liquid assets of known quality also plays in the value.
Rob
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "Rkwitmer"​Someone who knows the culture better might contradict me, but it was explained to me this way: silver coins are traditional gifts at wedding times. This puts people in the market for the coins who are not experienced about the values (and purchasing based on emotion). As in the U.S. many with the "silver bug" have a clear preference for coins traditionally seen and presented. So in short, there is a ready market for the coins even at inflated prices. increasing affluence mixed with some preference for real liquid assets of known quality also plays in the value.
​Interesting.
But as a liquid investment, they are pretty bad, since you can buy pure silver bullion coins at melt value with very little premium. And with bullions you can realise real gains when silver prices go up, while rupee silver prices are independent from silver market values. I guess people are just dumb
neilithicman
Joined: 22-Nov-2017
Posts: 158
The answer is...they're not expensive. If you can't get them for close to melt then you're not looking in the right places.

https://www.trademe.co.nz/antiques-collectables/coins/asia/auction-1510587816.htm?rsqid=240f6e99e67b461ea1747c3decf8dcb8
https://www.trademe.co.nz/antiques-collectables/coins/asia/auction-1510585514.htm?rsqid=3cb6a70c43424e81940d1ff6afc4d12a
https://www.trademe.co.nz/antiques-collectables/coins/asia/auction-1509528929.htm?rsqid=3cb6a70c43424e81940d1ff6afc4d12a

If the auctions go for more than that then the answer is supply and demand.
What? Me Worry
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "neilithicman"​The answer is...they're not expensive. If you can't get them for close to melt then you're not looking in the right places.

https://www.trademe.co.nz/antiques-collectables/coins/asia/auction-1510587816.htm?rsqid=240f6e99e67b461ea1747c3decf8dcb8
https://www.trademe.co.nz/antiques-collectables/coins/asia/auction-1510585514.htm?rsqid=3cb6a70c43424e81940d1ff6afc4d12a
https://www.trademe.co.nz/antiques-collectables/coins/asia/auction-1509528929.htm?rsqid=3cb6a70c43424e81940d1ff6afc4d12a

​If the auctions go for more than that then the answer is supply and demand.
​You got me excited for a moment. Then I saw its New Zealand shipping only, also, those prices are still 2x melt value. But thanks for your input. Maybe there's still hope for affordable (common) silver coins outside of eBay, haven't found it yet.
neilithicman
Joined: 22-Nov-2017
Posts: 158
Quote: "nucleus"
Quote​​You got me excited for a moment. Then I saw its New Zealand shipping only, also, those prices are still 2x melt value. But thanks for your input. Maybe there's still hope for affordable (common) silver coins outside of eBay, haven't found it yet.
​The prices are not 2x melt. The sale price of $11.50 is in New Zealand dollars. The melt value of $5.86 is in American dollars, which equates to around NZ$8.20 so the price is about 1.4x melt. Pretty reasonable for coins that are over 100 years old I would say.

Again, the reason they're more than melt is supply and demand. I daresay that many of the billions of coins have been melted down, there are lots of collectors of Indian coins, they have attractive design and a decent silver content so are popular and so the price goes up.
What? Me Worry
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "neilithicman"
Quote: "nucleus"
Quote​​You got me excited for a moment. Then I saw its New Zealand shipping only, also, those prices are still 2x melt value. But thanks for your input. Maybe there's still hope for affordable (common) silver coins outside of eBay, haven't found it yet.
​​The prices are not 2x melt. The sale price of $11.50 is in New Zealand dollars. The melt value of $5.86 is in American dollars, which equates to around NZ$8.20 so the price is about 1.4x melt. Pretty reasonable for coins that are over 100 years old I would say.

​Again, the reason they're more than melt is supply and demand. I daresay that many of the billions of coins have been melted down, there are lots of collectors of Indian coins, they have attractive design and a decent silver content so are popular and so the price goes up.
​You're right, I calculated with american dollars silly me. Those lucky new zealand collectors are spoiled with cheaps coins, lucky bastards! 1.4x melt is almost perfect.

I have no problem buying coins over melt, but when it comes to exremely common coins (with a lot of dates) like indian rupees I usually draw a line.

India is still developing, more and more people start doing eBay so buying on today's inflated prices sounds like a bad investment. I really hope all those hundreds of million hidden coins will surface one day.

decent silver content

nope, coins after 1939 have 50% silver content (and still have extremely inflated prices)
neilithicman
Joined: 22-Nov-2017
Posts: 158
sure, but the pre-1939 coins are 91.7% which is the highest circulation silver percentage apart from the Sterling silver of many of the British commonwealth countries. It's more than the 83.5% that most European countries seemed to be in the shilling sized and smaller coins and more than the 90% from the larger European coins, US and South American countries.
What? Me Worry
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "neilithicman"​sure, but the pre-1939 coins are 91.7% which is the highest circulation silver percentage apart from the Sterling silver of many of the British commonwealth countries. It's more than the 83.5% that most European countries seemed to be in the shilling sized and smaller coins and more than the 90% from the larger European coins, US and South American countries.
​I agree. pre-1939? Ha-ha! I wouldn't even dream about them. This whole rant is about mass-produced post-1939 rupees. Completing post-1939 rupees / half rupees feels like I want to complete British Honduras silver date runs in UNC.

I just got some really low mintage european silver coins (off eBay) for melt value in decent condition. Why would I overpay for those damn rupees if I can spend the same amount on 3x rare, 3x more EU silver coins.

It just hurts a little. I like those damn rupees.
HarmonyCoins
Joined: 16-Dec-2017
Posts: 12
Quote: "nucleus"​There were literally 1 billion silver rupees minted between 1912 and 1945, most of them remained in pristine shape, yet they go for 5x melt value or more. Certain dates have a mintage of 220 million!

​At the same time, if you want to get some silver European coin with 1 million mintage, you can get it close to melt value. What is happening here?

​It's rather annoying, since I'm a date collector and getting all the George V+ Indian rupees seems like an impossible dream. Sad.
​I think its the demand for the coins.

You can speed/narrow a search on ebay by searching for - Rupee George V (date, date, date) under Category World/India/British for the all the dates that interest you. Save this search with email notification. I often go from there to "advanced search" and check the "sold" box to see what prices are being paid vs the dream price listings often seen for the many type coins that interest me... Happy hunting :)
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "HarmonyCoins"
Quote: "nucleus"​There were literally 1 billion silver rupees minted between 1912 and 1945, most of them remained in pristine shape, yet they go for 5x melt value or more. Certain dates have a mintage of 220 million!
​​
​​At the same time, if you want to get some silver European coin with 1 million mintage, you can get it close to melt value. What is happening here?
​​
​​It's rather annoying, since I'm a date collector and getting all the George V+ Indian rupees seems like an impossible dream. Sad.
​​I think its the demand for the coins.

​You can speed/narrow a search on ebay by searching for - Rupee George V (date, date, date) under Category World/India/British for the all the dates that interest you. Save this search with email notification. I often go from there to "advanced search" and check the "sold" box to see what prices are being paid vs the dream price listings often seen for the many type coins that interest me... Happy hunting :)
​thanks for the advice! I didn't know you could search for several dates at once on eBay
Oklahoman
Joined: 20-Dec-2015
Posts: 1446
Hi Nucleus, I do not know if this is necessarily true. But it is a logical explanation. When a nation has a booming economy than you will find patriotism's fire lit by those with money to spend. Here in Oklahoma at shops so have worked in, national shows I have visited, and collectors I have talked to we try to guess the next boom. The first I ever really heard of was predictions about Scandinavian numismatics. I never really saw it come to fruition. But I remember intimately the predicted Russian boom. And that boom happened. Prices were sick. We would load things on APMEX websites that would sell in minutes to collectors in Russia and eastern Europe. At seemingly ever increasing prices! Same thing when Poland boomed. And China. I think India is booming. Scads of folks are here to research and identify Indian coinage...worldofcoins.eu have pages and pages of Indian collectors interacting and educating themselves. I just think we are in the middle of the Indian boom. What will be the next one? South American maybe...maybe if the euro goes away a boom of pre euro coins...but just observe the action in the hobby. UK is a bit boomy at the mo with all these low mintages that are not really low mintages. This may not be a boom actually but a bubble. Thoughts? PNIGHTINGALE?
nucleus
Joined: 28-Feb-2012
Posts: 33
Quote: "Oklahoman"​Hi Nucleus, I do not know if this is necessarily true. But it is a logical explanation. When a nation has a booming economy than you will find patriotism's fire lit by those with money to spend. Here in Oklahoma at shops so have worked in, national shows I have visited, and collectors I have talked to we try to guess the next boom. The first I ever really heard of was predictions about Scandinavian numismatics. I never really saw it come to fruition. But I remember intimately the predicted Russian boom. And that boom happened. Prices were sick. We would load things on APMEX websites that would sell in minutes to collectors in Russia and eastern Europe. At seemingly ever increasing prices! Same thing when Poland boomed. And China. I think India is booming. Scads of folks are here to research and identify Indian coinage...worldofcoins.eu have pages and pages of Indian collectors interacting and educating themselves. I just think we are in the middle of the Indian boom. What will be the next one? South American maybe...maybe if the euro goes away a boom of pre euro coins...but just observe the action in the hobby. UK is a bit boomy at the mo with all these low mintages that are not really low mintages. This may not be a boom actually but a bubble. Thoughts? PNIGHTINGALE?
Thank you ​Oklahoman that's a pretty decent theory. Actually spot on, I agree there's an Indian boom going on. But as stated earlier, they were produced in the millions, actually billions, and there's just not enough coin collectors on this earth to have an effect on the prices, yet they are climbing higher and higher away from spot prices. I just checked the APMEX site you've mentioned. They are selling canadian circulation coins barely over spot prices. Canadian circulation coins were also mass produced (in regards of mintage numbers) yet there are way less of them out there compared to indian rupees. Can lo and behold, shops are selling them barely over spot prices.

Can't wrap my head around this. What's the secret of rupees?
neilithicman
Joined: 22-Nov-2017
Posts: 158
I think I said earlier, I daresay that most of the silver was probably melted down again, probably after they shrugged off british rule in 1947. hundreds of millions may have been minted but how many remain?
What? Me Worry
pnightingale
Joined: 27-Jul-2011
Posts: 4855
My thoughts? Well immediately I notice that were going down several rabbit holes of fallacy.

Let's try to clear up a few, at least as far as we're able....... What's all this talk of "melt" and fretting over the relationship between a coin's worth and what you could get out of it by melting it down? Are we numismatists or silver stackers? I don't know about you guys but when I'm buying a car I choose a model based on several factors, but none of them include what it's worth at a scrap yard. I apply the same thinking when choosing coins.

If folks are upset over a difference in "melt value" and numismatic value of silver coins, you should spare a though for those of us whose first love is copper! I'd be overjoyed to find early Victorian coppers at 10, 20 or even 100 times their scrap value. Why do so many fall into this trap of viewing silver coins differently? The price of scrap silver should have no impact on numismatics except that it provides a theoretical floor below which prices can't fall.

Don't get me wrong, I love junk silver. I'm always happy to accept it in lieu of cash, in many ways I prefer it. It doesn't have to even be in the form of worn coins, sterling silver watch straps, candlesticks... I'd probably pass on dental gold for reasons which should need no explanation but just about anything else is good. The point of course is that I don't consider this to have any connection to my coin collection.

With regard to price fixing, yeah it's possible and given the rather dubious character of many coin dealers I have no doubt that it goes on, especially in the US market. I believe however that it's only possible in cases where due to rarity of mintage or condition, i.e. the tip of the numismatic pyramid if you will, the demand matches the supply. For coins with mintages in the many millions, many of which as quite rightly stated above are available in pristine condition, it just impossible. It would require collusion on a massive scale and an unrealistic willingness of thousands of dealers to hold the line, and not be tempted to boost sales by undercutting the market. It just can't be done.

All of which brings us to the mysteries of the Indian coin market which I confess perplex me just as much as you. I absolutely agree that late issue Rupees seem very much overpriced, but this is even more true of William IV and Victoria silver coins. I don't believe that it's entirely due to a flowering of collecting passions in India. The entire series of equally beautiful 1/12 Anna coins can be snapped up in UNC grades for just a dollar or so each. I guess this is true of most non PM coins but I'm familiar with the 1/12 Anna prices as the Florida coin market was flooded with them 5 or 6 years ago. I snapped them up as often as I found them for prices I'm too embarrassed to share and they were eagerly swapped as fast as I could list them.

I think it's fair to say that the numismatic future is Indian. Not to mention Cricket and the world economy. The briefest of glimpses at the stats produced by Cerulean should convince anyone of this. It's very noticeable to me that among my own circle, many of those I hold in the highest regard are Indian or of Indian origin. Quite what the impact will be on the world coin market is beyond my meagre understanding and I would defer quite happily to one of these gentlemen. Perhaps there's some cultural endearment for silver which makes those coins so firm while the market for humbler metals remains soft.

I would say though the the impact on prices will be a positive one. High prices really only suck when you're the buyer! We're actually going through what I think will be looked back on as a golden age of coin prices. You can buy US silver dollars from the 1800's for under $20 all day long here. A price correction is long overdue, but whether it will be driven by renewed interest among collectors or something as tedious as rising silver prices is the important question. The former would indicate a healthy market with some sustainability, the latter.... well that's just depressing so I'm not going to talk about that!

If the price of silver coins put them outside your comfort zone, why not complete the final issues in nickel which are in my opinion far superior designs? Or better yet, snap up all those KGV coppers while they are cheap.
Non illegitimis carborundum est (don't let the bastards wear you down). Excellent advice for all coins.
Supreme Ruler and Dictator for Life of the 6th Avenue Coin, Stamp  & Rice Puller Club. President, Boss & Top Dawg for Hutt River.
CassTaylor
Joined: 30-May-2014
Posts: 1990
Quote: "nucleus"
Quote: "CassTaylor"​Most of the 19th century French 1 and 2 Franc types sell for x5, x10 or even more of silver value, despite having reasonable mintages.
​​Correct me if I'm wrong, but most of the 1850-1900 french 1 and 2 frank coins have a mintage of a few million only. Thats everything but reasonable. Pre 1850 ones are below 1 million

​On the other hand, certain Indian rupees have 220 million PER YEAR

​you can't even compare them
​'Everything but reasonable'

A few million only? To me that seems more than common, expecially since there's no record of 19th century French coins being recalled and melted/recoined. I purchsed my 1867, 1887 and 1918 2 Francs all in beautiful condition, for less than €15 each.

You may be right about 1800-1860 ones, though.

About Indian rupees, I've never really seen them overpriced; I completed my type set a year ago. I even got a William IV 1835 Rupee at €15, a pretty standard price compared to what I see on Ebay.
Une Franglaise; ♪ je brosse ma chevelure ♫
halfdisme
Joined: 6-Oct-2017
Posts: 235
I have a few theories to share regarding the markets for Indian and French coins:

Indian :
From my experience in the American market, it appears that the prices for Indian coins have actually fallen in recent years--particularly for Proof sets and for the Portuguese colonial coins. Market for the British silver rupee coins has been very sluggish, and many of the issues have been in bulk silver groups priced very near melt value (in VF or lesser grades).

A few years ago, there was a sharp increase in the demand for Indian silver coins, and this was explained as an offshoot of the Chinese coin market, which had exploded. It had swept the Chinese and Japanese silver coins from the market, so they had turned to Indian silver to maintain the run. This has now cooled down somewhat, but there is still a healthy demand for the British Trade Dollars in VF to Uncirculated grades.

French:
For the coins that I have seen, it seems that the French silver of the mid-1800s which survives, has stayed in circulation for a long time--most of them are in lower grades.

Remember that German forces occupied part of France in the 1870s and in World War I, and occupied much of it during World War II. I doubt that the Germans had much respect for keeping French coinage intact.

Second, France changed from empire to republic after the Franco-Prussian War, so I suspect that there was a massive melting of imperial/royal coinage after the abdication of Emperor Napoleon III.

Even more importantly, which was discussed openly in the 1960s and 1970s, but is rarely mentioned now, American troops served in Europe during and after each of the world wars, and many of them returned with large collections of European coins. In the 1960s, European dealers routinely came to the US to acquire coins of their home nations--more of them were available here!
CassTaylor
Joined: 30-May-2014
Posts: 1990
Quote: "halfdisme"​I have a few theories to share regarding the markets for Indian and French coins:

Indian :
​From my experience in the American market, it appears that the prices for Indian coins have actually fallen in recent years--particularly for Proof sets and for the Portuguese colonial coins. Market for the British silver rupee coins has been very sluggish, and many of the issues have been in bulk silver groups priced very near melt value (in VF or lesser grades).

​A few years ago, there was a sharp increase in the demand for Indian silver coins, and this was explained as an offshoot of the Chinese coin market, which had exploded. It had swept the Chinese and Japanese silver coins from the market, so they had turned to Indian silver to maintain the run. This has now cooled down somewhat, but there is still a healthy demand for the British Trade Dollars in VF to Uncirculated grades.

French:
​For the coins that I have seen, it seems that the French silver of the mid-1800s which survives, has stayed in circulation for a long time--most of them are in lower grades.

​Remember that German forces occupied part of France in the 1870s and in World War I, and occupied much of it during World War II. I doubt that the Germans had much respect for keeping French coinage intact.

​Second, France changed from empire to republic after the Franco-Prussian War, so I suspect that there was a massive melting of imperial/royal coinage after the abdication of Emperor Napoleon III.

​Even more importantly, which was discussed openly in the 1960s and 1970s, but is rarely mentioned now, American troops served in Europe during and after each of the world wars, and many of them returned with large collections of European coins. In the 1960s, European dealers routinely came to the US to acquire coins of their home nations--more of them were available here!


​Very interesting theories!

Particularly, I don't think that German soldiers went around melting down French pocket change left and right out of spite for their 'ennemi héréditaire', but about regime change in France...

I think successive governments (Ancien Regime, 1st Republic, 1st Empire, Bourbon Restoration, July Monarchy, 2nd Republic, 2nd Empire, 3rd Republic- this is all in the 80 years of 1790-1870!) might have had incentive to melt down any coins of previous governments still circulating, due to political reasons (e.g. supporters of a Republic would have probably hated to see the 'fat pig' Louis XVIII's face on coin of the realm).

Can anyone find evidence of such recalls and melting?
Une Franglaise; ♪ je brosse ma chevelure ♫
halfdisme
Joined: 6-Oct-2017
Posts: 235
As far as the German forces are concerned, I was not thinking about individual soldiers' pocket change. On a higher level, exporting silver bars would be simpler and less traceable than bags of French coins.

The U. S. Mints did some levels of routine remelting/recoining in the late 1800s; there was a huge remelting of silver dollars in 1918 (270 million coins); the government remelted huge volumes of silver coins after 1965; and, even now, they are remelting bronze Lincoln cents (it is illegal for citizens to melt the cents.)

A glaring example of an occupation force destroying a country's coinage is Manchuria/Manchukuo, after the Japanese occcupation began in 1931. Japanese representatives recalled the silver coinage, and replaced it with bronze and copper-nickel; as the war progressed, these were recalled and replaced with aluminum; then those were recalled and replaced with coins of red and brown fiber!!
Monninen1
Joined: 23-Oct-2017
Posts: 442
Same thing for:
Russian empire older roubles than 1890s
1 penni coins Finland, (copper) 1864-1870 (ones with fat text)

I cant understand why in USA its illegal to mint coins.
Long live the Tsar.
VieillePile Numista team, Moderator
Joined: 5-Mar-2016
Posts: 538
Hi Monninen,

The point is that US money belongs to the US government. It is only at citizen's use. The dollars you have are not yours. They represent a part of the federal debt.

As the metal content of the cent coin is worth more than one cent, it could be worth to melt it down for reselling. But this is a federal offense, as it would be to burn a US note for fun, as did one french singer....

It normally means 6 month jail max.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/333
Vieille Pile
Monninen1
Joined: 23-Oct-2017
Posts: 442
Quote: "VieillePile"​Hi Monninen,

​The point is that US money belongs to the US government. It is only at citizen's use. The dollars you have are not yours. They represent a part of the federal debt.

​As the metal content of the cent coin is worth more than one cent, it could be worth to melt it down for reselling. But this is a federal offense, as it would be to burn a US note for fun, as did one french singer....

​It normally means 6 month jail max.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/333

​Interesting.
But if I burn down a small hut of my own that has a pile of dollar notes in it, is it a crime? Or if I have a bucket full of pennies and throw them into a toilet? (I see no reason a person would try either but just asking) Even if its a accident?
Long live the Tsar.
VieillePile Numista team, Moderator
Joined: 5-Mar-2016
Posts: 538
Easy ;-)

"with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both."
Vieille Pile
pnightingale
Joined: 27-Jul-2011
Posts: 4855
It's ironic that the US Treasury is one of the biggest criminals in this regard. The Pitman Act did permanent damage to the population of silver dollars and their avaricious seizure of gold over the years has destroyed countless numismatic gems.

During the silver price boom of the 70s a rushed piece of legislation was introduced to ban the melting of silver coins. When a similar measure was brought in in the mid 2000s in response to a rising commodity market it was specific to cents and nickels only. I guess that's a pretty good indicator of the decline in the number of silver coins still circulating.

An interesting side effect for collectors is the part about it being illegal to export 1c and 5c coins except for those carried on your person while travelling. I wonder how many of us have committed a technical felony every time we swap such items with overseas collectors. The same government which prohibits this is just fine with allowing those countries which have destroyed their own currency to use US money!

Of course there's nothing to worry about, the US Government would never exceed it's authority or use quasi legal targeting to punish those it sees as deplorable. Lois Lerner was just misunderstood.

EDIT: There's an exemption clause allowing the export of up to $100 face value, my anti government paranoia sometimes gets ahead of me.
Non illegitimis carborundum est (don't let the bastards wear you down). Excellent advice for all coins.
Supreme Ruler and Dictator for Life of the 6th Avenue Coin, Stamp  & Rice Puller Club. President, Boss & Top Dawg for Hutt River.
halfdisme
Joined: 6-Oct-2017
Posts: 235
Quote: "pnightingale"​It's ironic that the US Treasury is one of the biggest criminals in this regard. The Pitman Act did permanent damage to the population of silver dollars and their avaricious seizure of gold over the years has destroyed countless numismatic gems.


​I doubt that the U. S. Treasury holds a candle to what the Spanish Crown has done. As I understand it, for nearly 350 years, they melted down nearly every Spanish Colonial coin that made it to Spain (much of it sent to Spain as the King's 1/5).
HarmonyCoins
Joined: 16-Dec-2017
Posts: 12
This thread is getting more interesting with each post!
CassTaylor
Joined: 30-May-2014
Posts: 1990
Quote: "pnightingale"​It's ironic that the US Treasury is one of the biggest criminals in this regard. The Pitman Act did permanent damage to the population of silver dollars and their avaricious seizure of gold over the years has destroyed countless numismatic gems.

​It's a two-way street; US Government melting, or for that matter any large scale recoining/melting of a coin, has sometimes created numismatic gems, out of what would otherwise have been a fairly regular mintage. The most famous example would be that 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, which I believe is technically illegal to own since they were never released for public use (like VieillePile said).
Une Franglaise; ♪ je brosse ma chevelure ♫
halfdisme
Joined: 6-Oct-2017
Posts: 235
Quote: "CassTaylor"​=1em The most famous example would be that 1933 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle, which I believe is technically illegal to own since they were never released for public use (like VieillePile said).
​The story of the 1933 Double Eagle is a little cloudy. It is believed that people who visited the Mint before the melt order was received, were able to purchase the coin for face value.

One classic example is the 1964 Peace Dollar, which was struck but withheld before any were supposed to be released. There are rumors that a very few were swapped at the Mint.

Other large redemptions/remeltings would include the redemption of the 1883 Hawaiian coinage by the U. S. government, after Hawaii was annexed--but this remelting CREATED rarities, rather than destroyed them.
VieillePile Numista team, Moderator
Joined: 5-Mar-2016
Posts: 538
During the morning surf, I found this speech given in 1900, statting that 2 thirds of the french XIXth century coins had disapeared for a long list of reasons.
nfortunately in french...




http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k667070/f8.image.r=pi%C3%A8ce%20c%C3%A9r%C3%A8s%20oudin%C3%A9
Vieille Pile
Monninen1
Joined: 23-Oct-2017
Posts: 442
One pretty rare coin is also the civil war communist 5 penniä. I own this, got it for 65€. Mintage: 35000, but very many "disappeared" when the civil war ended. Old communists probably kept them, never to be seen again in circulation. Many were melt(ed). The catalog price is many times lower than the real price. You cant get a VG one with 30€.
Long live the Tsar.
jokinen
Joined: 10-Feb-2013
Posts: 1507
I always wanted to find one but it's not that easy. It's one of the few Finnish circulation coins (next to silver 1&2 markkaa) that has a legend in Finnish. Most coins only note the denomination and the country name. I guess that the bilingual situation in Finland, where Swedish has an official status as well, has always limited the possibilities for using more elaborate legends.
halfdisme
Joined: 6-Oct-2017
Posts: 235
Two German types that I have found to be much tougher than catalog values indicate are the Allied Occupation issues of 1945-1948 (eagle without the swastika), and the Military issues of 1940-41 (large swastika and hole in the center).

I hunted for the Military issue for about 16 years, then found six in the same year!!

The Finnish Communist Civil War issue was very tough, also, but I did finally get one.
Numismatist uk
Joined: 2-Jan-2018
Posts: 555
Good for sellers:)
Bad for Buyers :(
Coin collector and Silver stacker
'We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.'
Sir Winston Churchill

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