Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
GROOVIE COINS

Uncirculated Protea rand series

Recommended Posts

GROOVIE COINS

Good day

The early 90's saw equal mintages on uncirculated proteas in comparison to proofs, and only saw a decline in unc mintages from 97 onwards (I'm assuming due to decline in demand). From then onwards we saw higher mintages on proof coins even though those numbers were also much lower to the Protea series hey day.

So why aren't uncirculated protea rands from the early 90's traded as regularly as their proof counter parts? You hardly ever see them listed on bob and if you do, they the same coins that have always been listed.  With proofs you see new listings quite regularly.

Have all these unc proteas been lost to melting? And if they were melted, surely it would have been at a loss. Today uncirculated protea are sold for less than their proof counter parts but still sold at a premium above melt value. Were uncirculated coins not sold at premium over melt value back in the 90's as well?

regards Robert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jwither

No direct knowledge either way but I doubt most of the UNC were melted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GROOVIE COINS
14 hours ago, jwither said:

No direct knowledge either way but I doubt most of the UNC were melted.

The problem is with people who are not collectors, is that they melt anything regardless of worth. Once I had a conversation with a bullion dealer and he informed me when he gets mint packs with silver rands, he removes them for melting and discard the nickel and bronze. If it is the case that commemorative coins such as the protea series have been melted over the last twenty years or so, it would be a great injustice to numismatics. Less isn't always best as it put coins out of reach of future would be collectors. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jwither
10 hours ago, GROOVIE MOVIES said:

The problem is with people who are not collectors, is that they melt anything regardless of worth. Once I had a conversation with a bullion dealer and he informed me when he gets mint packs with silver rands, he removes them for melting and discard the nickel and bronze. If it is the case that commemorative coins such as the protea series have been melted over the last twenty years or so, it would be a great injustice to numismatics. Less isn't always best as it put coins out of reach of future would be collectors. 

Well, it depends upon what price a buyer can acquire it for, the retail price, the value of the metal content and how long it takes to sell it to a collector as a collectible.

In the US, I have read accounts of the First Spouse (a commemorative series complimenting the Presidential dollars) being melted.  The difference though with Protea Rand is that the coins contain about a half ounce of gold making each one worth around $650 at today's spot price and the entire series includes around 43, as I don't recall the exact number since living persons aren't permitted on US coinage.

So the metal content of the series is valued at over $25,000 while the collectible is around maybe $30,000 to $35,000 USD; this is a guess.  The mintages range from (I believe) less than 2000 to somewhat over 10,000.  I'd have to check as I don't remember.

The problem is, there aren't anywhere near enough actual collectors for the supply.  This I know as fact.  The numismatic appeal for most of the coins is effectively nil and most of the demand almost certainly comes from speculators who have been fooled or willingly believe (in error) that the low mintage makes it a decent "investment", just as so many buyers in your country believed with any number of SA coins.  Since there aren't enough real collectors for the supply, it sometimes makes more sense for the dealer buyer to send it to the refiner if they can make a profit off an increase in the metal price, instead of waiting long enough for a retail buyer.

If the reports you have heard are accurate or you know it first hand, this is probably what is happening with the Protea Rand.  Somehow though, I have the sneaking suspicion that the supply will be more than sufficient for the number of real collectors who will want it as a collectible, indefinitely into the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GROOVIE COINS
7 hours ago, jwither said:

Well, it depends upon what price a buyer can acquire it for, the retail price, the value of the metal content and how long it takes to sell it to a collector as a collectible.

In the US, I have read accounts of the First Spouse (a commemorative series complimenting the Presidential dollars) being melted.  The difference though with Protea Rand is that the coins contain about a half ounce of gold making each one worth around $650 at today's spot price and the entire series includes around 43, as I don't recall the exact number since living persons aren't permitted on US coinage.

So the metal content of the series is valued at over $25,000 while the collectible is around maybe $30,000 to $35,000 USD; this is a guess.  The mintages range from (I believe) less than 2000 to somewhat over 10,000.  I'd have to check as I don't remember.

The problem is, there aren't anywhere near enough actual collectors for the supply.  This I know as fact.  The numismatic appeal for most of the coins is effectively nil and most of the demand almost certainly comes from speculators who have been fooled or willingly believe (in error) that the low mintage makes it a decent "investment", just as so many buyers in your country believed with any number of SA coins.  Since there aren't enough real collectors for the supply, it sometimes makes more sense for the dealer buyer to send it to the refiner if they can make a profit off an increase in the metal price, instead of waiting long enough for a retail buyer.

If the reports you have heard are accurate or you know it first hand, this is probably what is happening with the Protea Rand.  Somehow though, I have the sneaking suspicion that the supply will be more than sufficient for the number of real collectors who will want it as a collectible, indefinitely into the future.

I wasn't clear in my original post, as I was actually referring to the silver series and not the gold. With the gold series I can understand coins being melted as you more likely to get a melt price closer to your original cost price on the coin.

I'm not sure what silver proteas sold for in the early 90's, but in recent years unc proteas have sold for about 6 times spot value (remember these coins are half ounce silver). But as you mention, if as a dealer you have obtained these coins from hardup sellers for next to nothing, then sending it away for melting wouldn't bother you in the least especially considering the length of time it might take to get a collector sale. 

Silver proteas started the decade out with mintages of around 8 to 10 thousand, then levelled off to 4000 mid 90's. By the end of that decade and into the new millenium mintages averaged around 2500 for proofs and uncs dropped down to anything from 600 to 1000 with the exception of one of two years where they saw higher numbers. Since then proofs in the series have stagnated at 2500 annually and uncs average very low at around 500. And outright indication that the series has lost steam and demand has fallen.

I don't know if this is a indication that collecting has fallen since the 1990s or if it is a result of the SA mint outpricing collectors. R500 - 600 for a half ounce unc coin is costly, even though the mintages are low and I think the SAmint has finally seen the light with last year's Mandela unc protea selling for R375. Hopefully this type of more affordable pricing will continue with the series.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jwither

I understood your post.  I was using the USA First Spouse as an example (though not a close one due to the price) because it's the only one I know.

It's a reasonable possibility that the higher mintage coins have been melted, somewhat.  Most likely, it would have happened during the last run-up in silver spot up to 2011.  The lower mintage dates, I doubt it other than minimally.

You need to keep in mind that the collector base in your country is not that large.  So even the lower mintages you list aren't really that low for a coin few real collectors really want.  In the past, I have guesstimated that maybe 10,000 hobbyist collectors exist within your country to which could be added others elsewhere but who mostly buy your coinage randomly at low price points.  If this is "ballpark accurate", a mintage of 500 to 1000 is NOT that low because these coins are still more common in high quality versus the vast majority of coins collectors in your country actually want to buy the most, ZAR first and Union second.

In the USA, the mintages for US Mint products have mostly collapsed in the last few decades.  So what you see for this series in South Africa is not isolated.  I view it as a combination of five factors:

One:  The number of non-collectors buying coins as gifts has declined substantially.  Look at the mintages of annual proof sets and mint sets.  These are much lower now than in the 60's, even though the USA population is much larger.  Also much lower than in the 70's, 80's and even 90's.  Silver proof sets have held up much better than base metal.  NCLT (commemoratives and bullion) have also mostly declined, though non-collectors generally won't buy gold as a gift; only for speculation.

Two: The themes and designs are overwhelmingly viewed as uninspiring if not mediocre.  I live here but in my opinion, the appeal of this coinage is overwhelmingly low or very poor.  The only reason I can see that any collectors even buy it is because of financial reasons to speculate on the "low" mintages, collectors have a tendency to favor their home country coinage and because the silver is an easy and relative cheap (by US collecting standards) series to complete.

Three: The US Mint produces so much "product" that most traditional buyers cannot remotely afford to all of it.  In the past, the US Mint only issued annual proof sets and mint sets at nominal premiums to FV, like $2.10 around 1968 though this was worth a lot more then.  Today, the ASE and AGE have multiple versions.  The AGE comes in four sizes.  There are platinum and recently, palladium bullion coins.  Commemoratives were reintroduced in 1982 for the first time since 1954.  Since 1986, at least one theme (minimum of a silver dollar and $5 quarter ounce gold in "business strike" and proof) is issued EVERY SINGLE YEAR.  It's a shameless money grab as it was from the late 1930's onward which is why the program was abandoned in 1954.

Four: In the internet age, US Mint products have to compete with world coinage and especially NCLT.  The AGE is not affordable to most collectors (being gold) and though the ASE is the most popular NCLT in America, the other issues have also been substantially displayed by world NCLT such as from China, Canada, the UK and Mexico.  This is probably mostly at the expense of commemoratives.

Five:  Many of the buyers aren't collectors but speculators.  When a "hot issue" is released that is perceived to be a profitable opportunity, there is a mad rush to buy it (often in quantity) on the US Mint website as soon as it becomes available and then dump it in the secondary market (usually after it is graded by NGC or PCGS) as soon as possible and before too many other sellers can do so.  Overwhelmingly, the mintages for these coins vastly outstrip collector demand, especially for gold.  The worst example was the 2014 gold 3/4oz Kennedy half dollar and a mintage of 75.000.  (Maybe somewhat less after returns.)  At an issue price in the range of $1200 USD, there aren't remotely this many collectors who can both afford the coin and actually want it as a collectible nor will there be for as long as anyone reading my post will be alive.  If you haven't heard of it, you will find entertainment reading the fiasco at the 2014 Chicago ANA convention where the US Mint stupidly decided to release the coin.

So now, compare the practices of your mint to this and you are likely to reach a similar though maybe not identical conclusion.  I don't keep track of all SA Mint NCLT but in a much smaller market with a much less affluent collector base, I suspect it's not that different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GROOVIE COINS
On 1/19/2019 at 2:12 AM, jwither said:

Three: The US Mint produces so much "product" that most traditional buyers cannot remotely afford to all of it.  In the past, the US Mint only issued annual proof sets and mint sets at nominal premiums to FV, like $2.10 around 1968 though this was worth a lot more then.  Today, the ASE and AGE have multiple versions.  The AGE comes in four sizes.  There are platinum and recently, palladium bullion coins.  Commemoratives were reintroduced in 1982 for the first time since 1954.  Since 1986, at least one theme (minimum of a silver dollar and $5 quarter ounce gold in "business strike" and proof) is issued EVERY SINGLE YEAR.  It's a shameless money grab as it was from the late 1930's onward which is why the program was abandoned in 1954.

Five:  Many of the buyers aren't collectors but speculators.  When a "hot issue" is released that is perceived to be a profitable opportunity, there is a mad rush to buy it (often in quantity) on the US Mint website as soon as it becomes available and then dump it in the secondary market (usually after it is graded by NGC or PCGS) as soon as possible and before too many other sellers can do so.  Overwhelmingly, the mintages for these coins vastly outstrip collector demand, especially for gold.  The worst example was the 2014 gold 3/4oz Kennedy half dollar and a mintage of 75.000.  (Maybe somewhat less after returns.)  At an issue price in the range of $1200 USD, there aren't remotely this many collectors who can both afford the coin and actually want it as a collectible nor will there be for as long as anyone reading my post will be alive.  If you haven't heard of it, you will find entertainment reading the fiasco at the 2014 Chicago ANA convention where the US Mint stupidly decided to release the coin.

So now, compare the practices of your mint to this and you are likely to reach a similar though maybe not identical conclusion.  I don't keep track of all SA Mint NCLT but in a much smaller market with a much less affluent collector base, I suspect it's not that different.

I agree, especially with your comments on 3 and 5. 

It something seen commonly with all mints globally, pushing out so much product that even dire hard collectors cannot keep up with all the varieties and series. I particularly took note of this when looking at the normal mint packs that the US releases annually that are available in unc, proof, reverse proof from multiple mints (the only difference being S, O, D etc mintmarks), and with the 50 States series (A series that I admire) it seems like 5 varieties were released annually from all three mints across proof, unc, etc if I'm not mistaken. Try keeping up with that... This can be seen in South Africa as well as the amount of product that the SA mint puts out annually can be just as overwhelming. When you get to the point where there's too much out there to remember the details off the top of your head, and have to constantly refer to books and the web, then you know there's a lot of product out there.

With regards to your fifth point, It is all too apparent in the amount of modern day coins being graded and the mad rush to get MS or PF 70 and anything below is cannon fodder. Now I'm not against coin grading, but I feel it is being blown out of per portion, especially with coins that are basically flawless to begin with. With modern minting techniques you are pretty much assured BU strikes to the point where they are common. I understand that one wants your coin to be the best it can be and it is nice to have it reaffirmed by a grade. The current trend if you look at the listings on BOB, then you see more graded coins than raw coins shortly after a new release and little interest on those slabbed coins if they are not a exceptionally high grade. 

Edited by GROOVIE MOVIES

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jwither
10 hours ago, GROOVIE MOVIES said:

I particularly took note of this when looking at the normal mint packs that the US releases annually that are available in unc, proof, reverse proof from multiple mints (the only difference being S, O, D etc mintmarks), and with the 50 States series (A series that I admire) it seems like 5 varieties were released annually from all three mints across proof, unc, etc if I'm not mistaken. Try keeping up with that... 

As far as I concerned, the reverse proof is a gimmick.  I don't know how many collectors of say the ASE buy it but my suspicion is that most don't.  If they did, the prices would likely be much higher though I don't know how much these coins sell for now.

With the mintmarks on circulating coinage in mint sets, most countries don't have more than one mint so mint mark collecting is not something collectors elsewhere generally practice and maybe understand.

The USA is a big country geographically and in the past, it would have been the most practical and cheapest method to ensure that sufficient circulating coinage was available for commerce.  Today, the US Mint has three locations or four if Westpoint ("W") which is used on NCLT is included.  Since US coinage was first issued in 1792, there have been seven (or eight with Westpoint).  It's my understanding that MM collecting first became the common practice starting in the 1890's after someone (don't remember who) published a book on it.  This is one (of several) reasons why many subsidiary mint (Philadelphia has always been primary) coins are either scarce or rare, whether in grade or generically.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...