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  1. Bimetallic

    Shortage of privately minted silver?

    Yeah I guess I can see that. Maybe I was too gullible reading it the first time.
  2. Bimetallic

    Storage system for my collection/ stack?

    As far as coin capsules are concerned, they're sure to be cheaper on Amazon than from APMEX. APMEX prices aren't competitive for anything, so I recommend avoiding them in favor of dealers like SD Bullion, Silver.com, and BOLD Precious Metals (see my article comparing North American dealer prices for different bullion order scenarios). Air-tites.com also has lower nominal prices for capsules, typically 55 cents for small orders, 50 cents each for 100 capsules, and 36 cents each for 250. However, they overcharge for shipping, so I'm not clear how their true prices compare to Amazon. You'll have to do the math for your specific volume. The applicable links are: Small orders: https://www.air-tites.com/Air-Tite_Direct_Fit_Coin_Holders.htm "Wholesale" orders (100, 250, etc.): https://www.air-tites.com/Wholesale_Direct_Fit_Air-Tite_Coin_Holders.htm Their shipping charges are alarming, especially this message near the top of their site: "$9.95 Promo Shipping on orders $50 and over!" Ouch! That's pretty much the opposite of a shipping promo, and it makes me wonder what they charge for orders under $50.00. In any case, they're overcharging because it doesn't cost anywhere near that much to ship what they're shipping, especially if they use USPS First Class Package Service. Again, you'll have to do the math for your scenario and compare their total price (in their checkout screen probably) with what you find on Amazon.
  3. Bimetallic

    Quantitative easing and where did all the money go to

    A lot of it is still in the reserve accounts of the banks.
  4. Bimetallic

    Storage system for my collection/ stack?

    If you use slips or flips, or an album with the same, you'll want to put them or the album in an airtight container like @SouthCoastInvestor does. And anti-tarnish strips or bags work well. For small numbers of items, ziploc bags are quite adequate. I especially like the "snack bag" size, which is smaller than sandwich bags and therefore less flippy-floppy for 2-3 rounds. You could throw an anti-tarnish strip in the bag for good measure, but so far I've found that the bag's seal is enough to keep the contents pristine. When you think about storage, I recommend thinking about security as well. It would suck if a burglar stole your stack. Here's a brilliant video on how to securely store your stack.
  5. Bimetallic

    Best quality silver

    I think he means bars too, since he said "...silver bullion/bar...". I don't know how to assess a coin or bar's durability or "finesse", but I assume the latter was supposed to be fineness. For coins, as others have noted that the Canadian Maple Leaf is compelling. It has lower premiums than American Eagles, but it has two advantages. It has greater fineness at 9999 vs. 999. And it has that new MintShield process or finish that prevents milk spots. For bars, I recommend three: Perth Mint kangaroo bars (swan on the front, roos on the back). They're 9999 fine, and usually a great value, especially if you get them as low as possible. In the US, SD Bullion has the best prices, but I'm not sure about UK dealers. Royal Canadian Mint bars. They're simple but gorgeous and are also 9999 fine. British, er, Britannias. Gorgeous bars, and perhaps the lowest premiums of the three. Only 999 fine though, but I doubt this will ever matter.
  6. Bimetallic

    My North American dealer price comparison article

    Also, GovMint and ModernCoinMart are sister companies, both owned by Asset Marketing Services. Those two aren't competitive on price though.
  7. Bimetallic

    My North American dealer price comparison article

    Thanks. SD Bullion is independent. Silver.com is a subsidiary of JM Bullion, and they both use A-Mark for fulfillment.
  8. Bimetallic

    Shortage of privately minted silver?

    I don't know if they have leases. It sounds like a high overhead, low margin business. Mining is a whole other ball of wax. Maybe this means that mints like Sunshine, Scottsdale, and Silvertowne will have more demand. There also seem to be some anonymous mints out there for the generic rounds – I've never understood how that works, or why they're anonymous.
  9. Bimetallic

    Shortage of privately minted silver?

    Good point. It will be interesting to see if inventories dry up on some of the private rounds and bars. Those two refineries did indeed close, so I guess we'll see what happens.
  10. Bimetallic

    Shortage of privately minted silver?

    Hi all -- I received a very interesting email from Provident Metals today (they're a major American dealer). It has significant implications, and instead of trying to summarize it I'm just going to share the whole thing: ----------- The bullion marketplace has two sides – and sometimes they can act very differently from each other. What do we mean by that? There are two ways to trade precious metals: physical product and paper metal. The former category is what Provident does: buying and selling bullion in the form of coins, bars, ingots, rounds, etc. When we enter into a transaction, actual metal is bought, sold, and physically transferred. In the paper market, however, bullion is traded in the form of futures contracts, ETFs, derivatives, and other promises. In theory, both the physical and paper markets involve buying and selling metal. However, there’s one major difference. In the paper world, it’s easy to lose sight of how much physical metal actually exists. Traders can (and often do) buy or sell more metal than is readily available in the physical marketplace. Exchanges like the CME publish how much metal exists in approved warehouses versus the number of open futures contracts. More often than not, traders have agreed to buy or sell MUCH more metal than is available in the physical market Why are we mentioning this today? In recent months, the supply of newly-minted physical silver has steadily declined. In fact, it appears that demand is far outpacing the amount of coins and bars available. Granted there are numerous factors in play, but there’s one major reason for this supply shock. Two of North America’s largest precious metals refiners have shuttered – and no one has filled the void. Over the past two years, Dallas-based Elemetal and Miami-based Republic Metals have both ceased operations. Private mints like Elemetal and Republic played a vital role in the bullion marketplace. While there are numerous world mints that can belt out coins, only a select few facilities are available to make low-premium bars and rounds. It’s no surprise that just a handful of companies are available to serve this role. The silver bullion market is intensely competitive with exceptionally tight margins; it requires a tremendous amount of capital, patience, and infrastructure. Consider what goes into making just one silver round. A private mint must buy raw metal, refine it to 99.9% purity, form it into thin sheets, stamp out blanks, mint the blanks, package the rounds into tubes, and then ship them to distributors. This process requires maintaining a large staff and buying extremely expensive machinery. Furthermore, it’s a cash-intensive process; all of this metal must be carried and financed while it’s being fabricated into product. All of this effort is worthwhile when the market is upbeat and healthy. During periods of strong demand, private mints enjoy an excellent flow of orders. Even though the margins are thin, they benefit from strong volume and non-stop activity. However, when conditions are quiet, mints are stuck with massive overheads and fixed costs. It’s truly a “feast or famine” existence for private mints – and this might be why so few exist in the United States. While it’s unclear exactly what led to the downfall of Republic Metals, they were one of the few refineries willing to produce low-premium silver rounds and bars. Following their departure, it’s become increasing difficult to source this product. Low-premium silver has become extremely scarce in the marketplace. While Provident is able to offer a wide variety of live rounds and bars, many refineries are quoting a 2-6 week delay for new orders! A Look Ahead There are two potential outcomes to this scenario. The first is that premiums will rise as inventories dwindle. The harder it become to find live silver, the more buyers will pay for it. Secondly, refining capacity may catch up with demand. The existing field of private mints will expand production, run more shifts, and find a way to satisfy the growing need. While it’s possible that new firms would enter the market, the massive capital and infrastructure requirement will be a barrier to entry. It seems unlikely that more private mints will open any time soon. What does all this mean for you as a silver buyer? Chances are that low-premium silver will be increasingly scarce in coming months. Refineries have been caught off-guard and did not anticipate this surge of demand. Between renewed interest in precious metals – and two major firms existing the market – a shortfall of product has developed. Mints will do their best to catch up and increase the output of supply, but in the interim, it’s more likely that premiums will head higher. The bullion market is more active now than six months ago, but it remains a far cry from what it was a few years ago. During periods of intense demand, silver bars and rounds have traded for close to $2/oz over spot. Now, today, many top-quality products can be had for less than a $1 premium. If you’re looking to add cost-effective silver to your holdings, now may represent an excellent time to lock in. Between upwardly trending spot prices and rising premiums, we see multiple reasons why silver could be more expensive soon.
  11. Bimetallic

    anyone stacking for SHTF?

    Negative, bro. Hardly anyone owns silver (or gold), which means that it won't be used as currency in a SHTF or zombie apocalypse situation. You can't trade what you don't have, and most people simply don't have it. In Puerto Rico, cash was king during their power outage. In a prolonged SHTF situation, I think clean water, food, pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, ammunition, and fuel will be the currency or barter goods.
  12. Hi all -- I finished my research on North American online dealers. The article is here. My spreadsheet with all the prices is linked an article. In the article, I also discuss what you can do to reduce your net price if you absolutely have to use a credit card. And I discuss the carrier programs that allow you to take more control over your shipments from dealers and reduce the chance of theft. Enjoy, and let me know if I should add any dealers.
  13. Bimetallic

    SHTF Hypothetical

    I doubt it would affect people's view of government-minted silver. That assumes they know anything about silver and precious metals. Most people don't care about it enough to buy any, so silver and gold won't be very useful in a SHTF situation – hardly anyone has any of these metals, so they wouldn't be currencies after a collapse. The closest things to currencies would be clean water, water filters, food, pharmaceuticals, ammunition, fuel, generating equipment, etc. People might even fall back on paper money, like they did in Puerto Rico and also in Iraq with the Iraqi-Swiss Dinar. On the latter, see Selgin's paper on Synthetic Commodity Money.
  14. Bimetallic

    Where to get cheap capsules

    I read something about PVC being bad for coins. What are Air-tites made of? Acrylic?
  15. Bimetallic

    Where to get cheap capsules

    Hi all -- After working on the silver price comparison article, I've wondered where to get capsules for the best price. Any suggestions in North America? What's the deal with Air-Tites? Are they the best or just a popular brand? Thanks.