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Bimetallic

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  1. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Moocher in Automated coin grading   
    Hi all -- I've been thinking about the prospect of automated coin grading. Slabbed coins from PCGS and NGC seem overly expensive, and people here have been reporting problems with them (e.g. the recent red spots thread).
    Would you personally prefer an automated solution, if it was cheaper? By automated, I mean computerized, using machine vision and perhaps various multispectral scans of the coin beyond human vision. I know a bit about machine vision, and an automated solution to coin grading seems inevitable. I think it would be a somewhat easy task for machine vision experts, relative to the kinds of problems they solve currently, like understanding what's in an arbitrary photograph (faces, people, sky, balls, grass, cars, etc.). Coin grading would be a smaller, more delimited problem for them – the software would always know what coin it was grading and what it's supposed to look like at various levels of quality. It wouldn't have to worry about arbitrary objects in an image.
    I'd be all for it if it cost a couple of dollars. It would also be nice if a service offered a more careful slabbing process, using a nitrogen atmosphere or vacuum sealing.
  2. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from intelinside in Which silver is best to buy when price is so low?   
    You won't get such a large premium back on Silvertowne bars. They're usually the cheapest bars at a lot of dealers, since they're ugly and poorly made. You might get a premium on Scottsdale bars – they're more prized, but also people have more concerns about fakes. A number of fake Scottsdale bars have been floating around, probably from China. Just look it up on YouTube.
    I'm not sure on Monarch. More broadly, all of this depends on who you envision selling to in the future. You won't even get spot if you sell these bars to a local coin shop, since they have to sell them at a profit at at least spot. The only way to get your premium back is if you sell to an individual, maybe from a forum like this one. eBay commissions will eat your margin if you sell there and silver hasn't increased in price.
  3. Thanks
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Ablist in EU, UK, US, CA tax laws   
    Taxes are about to get more complex in the US. JM Bullion, one of the leading US dealers, recently posted this update:
     
    That said, to answer your second question at least, the US does not levy import tariffs on precious metals bullion. The applicable chapter of the US tariff schedule is here. (PDF. It should come up as Chapter 71 by itself.)
  4. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from FFkook in How to remove this tarnish   
    The aluminum foil and baking soda method will easily clean that tarnish, and it's much cheaper than buying a dip. I made some refinements to the method, copied below:

    First, I discovered disposable aluminum foil cookware and food trays. They come in all shapes and sizes, and the small tart pans are perfectly sized for this task – the ones I bought are about four inches in diameter. This replaces both the bowl and aluminum foil with one part. (There are also small meatloaf pans that would work well for this task.)

    I like this solution partly because standard aluminum foil is pretty thin and fragile. I once accidentally punched a hole through the foil while I was lining a bowl for this anti-tarnish procedure. This can be avoided of course if you're just more careful than I was that day, but the disposable aluminum foil cookware eliminates the issue and simplifies the logistics. Also note that you can probably use the disposable pans more than once, and they're very cheap – I bought a pack of 50 tart pans for $10 on Amazon. That's 20 cents per pan, and it will be a long, long time before I need to buy more. You can find them in any supermarket or Walmart, Amazon, or Jet – just get the smallest you can find.

    A second-best solution is to use heavy duty aluminum foil. It's also available in any supermarket and Walmart, at maybe a buck or two more than standard foil.

    My second refinement was the salt. Salt is not just salt. Standard table salt has anti-caking agents added to it (2% of total weight), sometimes other minerals, and often iodine. I don't know that any of that is harmful to silver or sticks to silver even after rinsing, but my attitude is to eliminate those variables if possible.

    I discovered canning and pickling salt. Never heard of it before, but it turns out to be awesome because it's pure salt. No anti-caking agents (which are apparently undesirable for canning and pickling) and no iodine. It's just salt. Even better, it's very finely ground, so it dissolves quickly.

    It's also incredibly cheap. You can get a 4 lb. box of the Morton's brand at Walmart for less than two bucks. Other brands I've seen are Ball (2 lb. bags) and Mrs. Wages (3 lb. bags). They're more expensive (but still cheap), but they come in resealable bags instead of the useless cardboard box that Morton's uses (once you open it, you can't really close it or seal it, so you should probably store it inside a big Ziploc freezer bag).

    (All links are to the manufacturers' sites, not to stores. Ball brand is under Jarden Brands, which is under some other company, and their website is freshpreserving.com for some reason.)

    Baking soda is baking soda – sodium bicarbonate – so just get the cheapest. I've never seen a brand that added anything to baking soda.

    To prevent tarnish, I recommend storing silver in Ziploc snack bags. These were a recent discovery as well. I was using sandwich bags, but snack bags are much smaller, more right-sized for storing 1 - 10 oz. rounds and bars. I especially like the double-zipper or double-seal kind, which Walmart sells under its Great Value house brand. They're super cheap. Flatten the air out of the bags before you zip.
  5. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from intelinside in Which silver is best to buy when price is so low?   
    No, the premiums don't change the rule to buy low and sell high. Don't buy anything when silver is at $50.
    The reason Eagles seem to have a $3.00 premium whatever the spot price is that the US Mint sells them to its Authorized Purchasers for exactly $2.00 over spot per coin. The volume purchased doesn't matter – a firm could order 100,000 Eagles and it's still $2.00 over spot per coin.
    You shouldn't be paying $160 for a 10 oz bar right now. You can get new ones for $153-156 from places like Silver.com and SDBullion.com. You have to buy from the cheapest dealers. Don't overpay for metal.
    Good bars right now would be Royal Canadian Mint, Sunshine, Perth, Royal Mint (British) and A-Mark.
  6. Thanks
    Bimetallic reacted to Bullionaire in Kangaroo, Koala, Kookaburra – Which is the main Australian silver bullion coin?   
    I see the bullion kangaroos as the main aussy bullion coin, with the kook and koala being semi-numismatic bullion (with better quality and a higher premium)
  7. Thanks
    Bimetallic got a reaction from MintageSeller in Silver Shot   
    Rio Grande might be good for this. Usually silver shot is called casting grain by these sorts of sellers. Rio Grande has the 999 stuff and also the modern anti-firescale and reduced tarnish alloys like Sterilite and Argentium, which I like better than pure silver.
  8. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from SILVERFINGER in Order has been stolen   
    Why do people think it's unethical to label the package as medical supplies? I understand that it might not be the smartest cover, what with junkies and all, but why is it unethical?
    In the US, dealers usually use machine parts or something along those lines as their cover identity for shipping.
  9. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Attilio in What Should I do About This?   
    Terrible answers. And "just a Brit"?? Britannias are gorgeous bullion coins.
    DO NOT POLISH. To restore your Brits to their normal, perfect form, use the baking soda and aluminum foil method.
    Boil some water. Line a plastic or glass bowl with aluminum foil, or use a disposable aluminum foil food tray (pie tarts, single-serving meatloaf pans, etc.) Toss in a tablespoon of baking soda, and a teaspoon of salt (preferably pure salt if you have it). Then pour in the water. Place one coin in, let it rest on the aluminum foil at bottom. Flip it after about 20 seconds, wait another 20, then remove. Your tarnish will be gone. Rinse with water, towel dry, let them air out for a bit before putting them in capsules or Ziploc snack bags (smaller than sandwich bags – ideal). You might be able to work in the second coin at the same time depending on the size of the bowl. If not, you might need a fresh batch of water, baking soda, and salt.
  10. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from MancunianStacker in What Should I do About This?   
    Terrible answers. And "just a Brit"?? Britannias are gorgeous bullion coins.
    DO NOT POLISH. To restore your Brits to their normal, perfect form, use the baking soda and aluminum foil method.
    Boil some water. Line a plastic or glass bowl with aluminum foil, or use a disposable aluminum foil food tray (pie tarts, single-serving meatloaf pans, etc.) Toss in a tablespoon of baking soda, and a teaspoon of salt (preferably pure salt if you have it). Then pour in the water. Place one coin in, let it rest on the aluminum foil at bottom. Flip it after about 20 seconds, wait another 20, then remove. Your tarnish will be gone. Rinse with water, towel dry, let them air out for a bit before putting them in capsules or Ziploc snack bags (smaller than sandwich bags – ideal). You might be able to work in the second coin at the same time depending on the size of the bowl. If not, you might need a fresh batch of water, baking soda, and salt.
  11. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from kimchi in 2019 kookaburra.... what have they done to the poor queen   
    You should have cast off the royals centuries ago like we did. Anyway, the new Kooks do make the Queen look bad – she looks like she needs to blow her nose, bit of a drip showing. That's an odd design choice.
  12. Thanks
    Bimetallic got a reaction from nadiasilver3 in silver shot   
    Sterling and pure (fine) silver. See for example: http://www.ottofrei.com/Sterling-Silver-Casting-Grain-Fine-Silver-Casting-Grain-Argentium-Casting-Grain?custcol_of_xc_type=339
    (You click different buttons there for different purities.)
  13. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from SilverGentleman in How to best store silver   
    The best and cheapest way I've found is to keep them in the coin flips they came in, and then put them in a Ziploc snack bag. These bags are smaller than sandwich bags, therefore they hold less air (and you should flatten out the air in the bags before sealing them). This is the product I'm talking about:
    https://ziploc.com/en/products/bags/sandwich-and-snack/snack-bags
    https://www.target.com/p/ziploc-snack-bags/-/A-15357042
    (In the US, Target has the best price per bag that I found in a cursory search: 3 cents)
    When you say the "small plastic bags you get them in", do you literally means bags, or flips? Flips are somewhat more rigid than bags, and critically, are open on one end and unsealable. In the US, I've only ever received flips in my orders, for both bars and coins.  If yours are resealable plastic bags, then you might already be set, though I'd still consider double-bagging them with Ziplocs or similar.
    As BYB said, dessicant can't hurt, but I'm not sure it's necessary. I've thrown in the dessicant packs I've received in other random shipments, like clothing, or the ones that come in medicine bottles. I never buy any.
    Milk spotting is poorly understood, and the Royal Canadian Mint has not divulged its solution to the problem. The most common threat to your silver will be sulfur-based tarnish from exposure to open air.
  14. Thanks
    Bimetallic reacted to BleyerBullion in Who are the leading British online dealers?   
    *cough*  *cough* 
  15. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from augur in Ways to triple the hardness of pure silver   
    By struck, do you mean the stamping of the coin or bar features? I would definitely harden before that step. I don't know how to preserve the strike while putting it through ECAP or similar.
    Hardened silver could wear out the striking equipment sooner, so that would be a cost, in addition to the cost the hardening itself, ECAP,  etc.
    What I'd really like to do is start over, clean-sheet, and develop a new refining and minting process. I think ultrasound could be used to good effect. And possibly lasers. A really awesome thing would be to establish the fine grain structure / hardness while the silver is in its molten state, which should require less energy, and even "strike" it or mark its artwork and fine details while it is still molten or semi-molten, and then freeze it in place. (Kind of like carbonite and Hans Solo...)
    It makes a lot more sense to me to manipulate metal when it is in its weakest and most agreeable state – molten – rather than when it is hard and brittle. This would take a lot of research and development though, and probably brilliant engineering.
  16. Thanks
    Bimetallic got a reaction from PansPurse in Ways to triple the hardness of pure silver   
    There's a fair amount of research on copper where they can increase its strength and hardness without losing ductility (which I assume is the opposite of brittleness). The most noteworthy methods I've seen have a cryo component where they used liquid nitrogen to cool the copper and put it through severe plastic deformation like ECAP at those temperatures. One of the seminal papers is available for free here: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7856/a1f495145c28970e5a8e4a2da35aec897b44.pdf
    I think that method could be applied to silver, and there might be a paper on it.
  17. Thanks
    Bimetallic got a reaction from PansPurse in Ways to triple the hardness of pure silver   
    Hi all – Thought this paper was interesting. Silver is pretty soft by default, but severe plastic deformation (SPD), usually by equal channel angular pressing (ECAP), can double or triple its hardness level. It would be cool if a mint or refinery offered hardened silver. It would be much less scratch-prone.
    The quenching method they also cover reminds me of Flash Bainite Steel, which seems to produce much stronger steel via a careful quenching process.
    There have been amazing and similar results (PDF - full paper) for gold as well, using ECAP. Basically ECAP forces a billet through a pipe with a 90-degree turn or something, which creates a finer grain structure. I think that ECAP requires several passes.
    (I can't find a full, free copy of the paper, but the abstract gives the key numbers.)
    @BackyardBullion
  18. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from jultorsk in How do you make any money on silver given the VAT?   
    I'd be moving for a job, potentially. London.

    I own one firearm, a handgun. I assume I can't bring it. It's strange to me that a nation that was once a world-spanning empire full of hardy men and women seems so...obedient...now. Maybe I just don't know the relevant history and context for all these laws.
  19. Thanks
    Bimetallic reacted to BackyardBullion in What are your typical silver purchase volumes or sizes?   
    Considering I have just placed group orders for nearly 1300 Oz in the last few weeks and likely to be doing another 300 - 500 this weekend I have great vision for order sizes.
    A lot of people take up full rolls or tubes. I would say the average person ordering in the group order spends about £200, some less, some considerably more!
    Hope that helps!
  20. Haha
    Bimetallic reacted to Professor in What are your typical silver purchase volumes or sizes?   
    6, 11, or 21 ounces at a time (usually)
    Wanting to buy my first 100 ounces sometime this fall
    Why not just 5, 10, or 20?  Because if you add just ONE MORE ounce it really adds up over time. 
  21. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Mark10110 in Michael Maloney   
    The summary on Amazon says "How the U.S. government is driving inflation by diluting our money supply and weakening our purchasing power"
    The gold and silver bugs have been saying that for more than a decade, and it hasn't come true. We've seen very little inflation. There's a lot about central banking that the bugs and Austrians don't seem to understand, and there are a lot of phenomena that they can't explain, like why quantitative easing (QE) didn't cause much inflation, if any.
    I don't understand some of these things either. Obama exploded the national debt like no other president in history, and yet we seem to be fine and doing well. Maybe it's just a matter of degree – the CBO said the debt was going to shave a few tenths of a percent off GDP growth for many years to come. Compounded, that matters.
    If you do get the book, I'd be sure to get the second edition, since the original was published ten years ago and the second edition came out in 2015. I don't know what country you're in, but the American link is here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1937832740
  22. Thanks
    Bimetallic got a reaction from Mark10110 in The Attraction to Silver Unboxing videos   
    I'm a social psychologist, and my read on it is that the motivations are different for different unboxers. Some I've seen are clearly bragging when they pan over their entire "stack", with hundreds of ounces of different products. But bragging can be mixed with genuine pride and excitement about silver bullion as such.
    I've seen a couple dozen at least, and I find them helpful when it's products I don't own or have never seen close up before. I'm also fascinated by packaging and shipping details since I'm interested in maybe starting an e-commerce business myself at some point, possibly PM-related. I prefer unboxings to be true unboxings, where they start with an unopened shipping box and proceed from there, not the kind where they already opened the box and have the product out.
    (When making a video, it's important to conceal the false name used by the PM dealer on the shipping box, since it's a security measure. We wouldn't want everyone at the post office to know that Silver.com ships as Mike's Machine Parts or some such. A black marker would work.)
    I also prefer that they be somewhat proficient, if not professional, in the videomaking, since it's not easy to do well without setting up the lighting and camera properly. @BackyardBullion seems quite competent and polished in that regard. Another I've seen is CyberCurtainTwitcher on YouTube (I have no idea what the name is all about). His are well done.
    As for the knife to use, I've often thought it would be awesome to use a sword, perhaps a katana. It would be so great if someone could cleanly slice the cardboard lid off a box with one swift sweep of their sword, then proceed as if nothing unusual had just happened. ?
  23. Haha
    Bimetallic got a reaction from PansPurse in The Attraction to Silver Unboxing videos   
    I'm a social psychologist, and my read on it is that the motivations are different for different unboxers. Some I've seen are clearly bragging when they pan over their entire "stack", with hundreds of ounces of different products. But bragging can be mixed with genuine pride and excitement about silver bullion as such.
    I've seen a couple dozen at least, and I find them helpful when it's products I don't own or have never seen close up before. I'm also fascinated by packaging and shipping details since I'm interested in maybe starting an e-commerce business myself at some point, possibly PM-related. I prefer unboxings to be true unboxings, where they start with an unopened shipping box and proceed from there, not the kind where they already opened the box and have the product out.
    (When making a video, it's important to conceal the false name used by the PM dealer on the shipping box, since it's a security measure. We wouldn't want everyone at the post office to know that Silver.com ships as Mike's Machine Parts or some such. A black marker would work.)
    I also prefer that they be somewhat proficient, if not professional, in the videomaking, since it's not easy to do well without setting up the lighting and camera properly. @BackyardBullion seems quite competent and polished in that regard. Another I've seen is CyberCurtainTwitcher on YouTube (I have no idea what the name is all about). His are well done.
    As for the knife to use, I've often thought it would be awesome to use a sword, perhaps a katana. It would be so great if someone could cleanly slice the cardboard lid off a box with one swift sweep of their sword, then proceed as if nothing unusual had just happened. ?
  24. Like
    Bimetallic got a reaction from ZatStackz in Hello, I’m a new stacker.   
    Greetings. If you're buying from APMEX, you're overpaying. It's important to be disciplined about the margins you're paying because they eat into your return, if any, down the road. I have an article coming out soon comparing the prices of all the major online dealers (in North America). (I use a few different purchasing scenarios, not just one item or product.)
    The best prices tend to be at Silver.com, BGASC, SD Bullion (for large orders since they have high shipping charges), and maybe Gainesville Coins. You can get significantly lower prices from those places than from APMEX. They're all major dealers who have been around for at least a few years – you don't need to worry about getting what you paid for or something. JM Bullion is another large dealer (they own Silver.com), and they almost always beat APMEX on price. Buy from APMEX when they have some kind of promo or sale, sometimes on eBay. But most of the time you're wasting precious money – remember, it's the same exact product whoever you buy it from (e.g. 2018 Eagles), so buy from whoever is offering the lowest price.
  25. Thanks
    Bimetallic got a reaction from ZatStackz in How do you guys protect you bars   
    I too was surprised by how quickly pure silver bullion tarnishes. I've done a bit of research and streamlined the tarnish-removal and prevention steps.
    Tarnish removal:
    First, forget about polishing your bars. Avoid any method that involves rubbing the silver – it's unnecessary and removes silver.
    Use the method Mcgrimes mentioned. Conventionally, the procedure is to line a bowl with aluminum foil, pour boiling water into it, add a tablespoon of baking soda and a teaspoon of salt, then drop the coin or bar in and watch the magic happen. The sulfur-based tarnish disappears. (Your tarnish is sulfur-based.)
    Perfectionist that I am, I've streamlined the method. First, I discovered disposable aluminum foil food trays. They come in all sizes and shapes, and the small tart pans are perfectly sized for this task. I ordered these from Amazon – they're 20 cents a pan (50 pans for ten bucks), and you can probably reuse them. You can get similar aluminum foil pans from any supermarket or Walmart. You'll want the smallest you can find. With these, you no longer need a bowl or aluminum foil sheets – two birds with one stone.
    A good fallback is heavy duty aluminum foil, which all supermarkets sell. I've found that regular aluminum foil is easy to punch a hole through when shaping it inside a bowl, but that might just be my clumsiness or something. Anyway, if I was using foil sheets, I'd get the heavy duty. It's less than five bucks for a roll.
    Baking soda is baking soda (sodium bicarbonate). I've never seen a brand that had anything added to it, so just get the cheapest store brand.
    Salt, however, is not just salt. It typically has anti-caking agents added to it, sometimes other minerals, and often iodine. If you want the purest reaction possible, get pure, fine-grained salt (fine-grained so it dissolves fast). There is one kind of salt that meets this criteria – canning and pickling salt. It's pure, and fine. The only brand I know of is Morton's version, and you can get a big box of it at Walmart for less than two bucks. It's a black and green box, distinctive from all the other Morton's salt.
    (Canning and pickling salt is pure because anti-caking agents settle on the bottom and might cause other problems.) Once opened, I keep the salt box, and the baking soda, in ziploc freezer bags to prevent them from caking, and protect them from moisture, contamination, etc.
    Protection/prevention:
    As for protecting the bars, Ziploc bags are a good solution. You currently have your bars in unsealed flips, which is what I used to do and which almost guarantees tarnish.
    I found sandwich bags to be a bit oversized and flippy floppy for one or two bars or coins. What I discovered instead was the Ziploc snack bags, which are significantly smaller. I recommend the double seal kind to maximize the protection, and be sure to flatten out the air in the bag just before sealing it. (A kitchen vacuum sealer would be even better, but might be overkill.) They should have them at Walmart and most supermarkets.