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If scratches on your bullion coins do not bother you, you are in the minority. For most, a small little surface abrasion can be rather off-putting. Niki Taylor once wrote, ‘I always hated my mole growing up. I even thought about having it removed. At the time I didn’t do it because I thought it would hurt, and now I’m glad I didn’t.’ I often consider small abrasions and scratches that appear on silver bullion coins and bars to be like a large unattractive mole. However, unlike Niki Taylor, silver bullion stackers don’t usually relinquish their dislike of these perceived ‘imperfections’.

If you are a collector of numismatic or even semi-numismatic silver bullion coins, surface scuffs and scrapes will almost certainly affect the value of the coins. But what about silver bullion coins like the American Silver Eagle, or the Canadian Silver Maple? Do minor surface abrasions on these coins (and bars) affect their value?

The tentative answer is no, it ‘should’ not. Most silver bullion coins that we sell do not have numismatic value over and above its silver value, and are not sold for their beauty and rarity per se; they are sold for its silver content. Therefore, even if the coin or the bar may have minor surface abrasions, you are still purchasing one troy ounce of pure silver. Generally, all bullion coins will have some slight abrasions on them, since they are simply stacked on top of one another in tubes of 20 or 25. It is my view that it is unreasonable to expect perfect condition coins in a classic bullion tube of even Brilliant uncirculated condition coins.

For those who fall somewhere between the two extremes, we stock semi-numismatic silver bullion coins which are sold in capsules. Coins like the Australian Kookaburra and Koala, and the Chinese Panda, are just three coins which are typically in just about perfect condition. These coins usually carry an additional minor premium over its non-capsulated cousins (e.g. the Eagle, Maple, Libertad, Philharmonic, and so on) not because they are perfect and come in capsules, but rather, because the design on the face of these coins changes yearly. It is this aspect that makes such coins attractive to investors who wish to go beyond merely stacking tubes of Maples and Eagles, to collecting each release. Over the years, these coins do accumulate additional value.

So, do minor imperfections on typical bullion coins something devalue the coins? If you are an investor, the answer is no because the bullion coin was presumably purchased for its silver content, not for its perfection. Deep scratches and dings however would affect resale value negligibly. For example, I would sell silver bullion coins with major imperfections for about R10.00–R15.00 below the price of average condition coins.

If you are a collector of perfect condition bullion coins, then purchase graded coins that have been certified to be in perfect condition (i.e. graded MS70—perfect in every way with no distractions on the surface of the coin). These would typically carry very hefty premiums, and thus, go beyond the controls of purchasing the most amount of silver for the least amount of Rands. Bullion coins that have been graded and certified to be in perfect condition by a reputable grading company (e.g. Professional Coin Grading Service

[PCGS]) can carry a premium of over 100% of the value of the coin’s silver content. Such graded coins are usually collected by numismatic collectors rather than silver bullion investors.

At Silver-Sphere Trading, all of our coins are sold in Brilliant Uncirculated (BU) condition, meaning that they have not been pre-owned or circulated, and retains all of their original mint luster. Visit our website to view our range of bars and coins.