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Everything posted by Bimetallic

  1. Guys there's third-party shipping insurance. Never rely on carriers' insurance. Any carrier insurance you pay extra for will be more expensive than third-party shipping insurance, with worse service. Shipsurance, U-PIC, and InsurePost are the major providers in North America. You might have a different set in the UK.
  2. @LawrenceChard When you say "not only 999", contrasting this with Queen's Beasts, what's the difference? Are you meaning to contrast 999 with 9999? Queen's Beasts are 9999, but I wouldn't have thought this mattered for milk spots. By the way, did the Royal Mint remove the fineness from the Queen's Beasts design? Your image is missing the fineness. I've attached the version of the Black Bull of Clarence that I've seen.
  3. An ounce of silver is definitely not an ounce of silver, if we mean any ounce is worth the same as any other ounce. The difference in premiums refutes the equality idea. In the US, Eagles have much higher premiums than Britannias for some reason. In general, you can get spot for Eagles when selling to dealers, but not always for other coins, and certainly not for bars or rounds. As far as the two types, it's early, but long-term I doubt it will matter much. If you were selling to new stackers a couple of years from now, they might prefer the then-current Type 2 Eagles. But it's hard to say. The Type 2 is a big disappointment because it doesn't have any noteworthy security features, which as I recall were promised. The US Mint is lazy and far behind the Royal Canadian Mint, the British Royal Mint, and even the Aussies. I would probably default to Type 2 at this point. Last I saw, the Type 1 had higher premiums or was already out of stock. I wouldn't buy either right now, since the premiums are still unusually high, but once they settle down I'd prefer the Type 2.
  4. Yeah, it's disappointing that there's no real information or public research identifying exactly what milk spots are and where they come from. That's such a basic requirement for proceeding further, and yet we don't have it. It might take a motivated individual researcher to do the requisite testing and analysis, perhaps a chemist or metallurgist. @TeaTime It's not clear if you're talking about milk spots. You seem to be saying that "toning", "blooming", and "milk spots" are the same thing, but that can't be true if "toning" is synonymous with "tarnish" as seems to be the case. Tarnish is caused by sulfur in the air. It's usually a shade of brown. Milk spots are not tarnish, they have a fundamentally different whitish appearance, and they are not cleaned by the methods that clean tarnish (e.g. the aluminum foil and baking soda method). Moreover, it's not true that all silver tarnishes or that all silver develops milk spots. I've never had silver tarnish if I keep it in Ziploc bags, tubes, or capsules. And lots of silver doesn't develop milk spots. The nature and cause of milk spots are currently unknown to the public. It's a tough problem because these mints are government mints and their employees are government employees. This creates a dynamic that breeds complacency and entitlement, and a lack of accountability or the strong customer service mindset common with private-sector enterprises. The Royal Canadian Mint is the most business-like of them all, and mints coins for lots of countries around the world. They're very innovative with both their circulation coins and bullion. The (British) Royal Mint is maybe in second place on innovation, and they also compete for business minting other countries' coins. The US Mint has by far the most money/revenue of the world mints, but they don't do anything with it. They're the worst of the major mints in terms of quality and innovation – they have no security features, trail behind on purity, and their circulation coin production is extremely inefficient and uninnovative (still using precious copper and nickel as base metals...) It would help if the US Mint and others rolled up their sleeves and did some simple research on the milk spotting phenomenon, the chemistry, etc. It's not rocket science. But these organizations seem to be extremely complacent and unaccountable. They don't really communicate. They don't even respond to emails sometimes. I wonder if a private mint will do some research, like Sunshine or Scottsdale. Their products aren't collectibles though, not like the proof, ultra high relief, memorial, historical, baseball champion something or other that the government mints issue. It's just so hard to get real communication from the government mints. Even major dealers like Chards don't get much of a response, and we live in a culture where it's normal for organizations like this to have people on staff who issue nonsense answers to questions for a living, PR people and so forth. Clear communication is increasingly rare.
  5. Tubes in large part because the economics of silver sort of mandate that stackers deal in tube quantities. I might have obscured that. That reality makes capsules somewhat moot, unless you wanted to use capsules for each coin or bar in a tube, but I don't imagine anyone would want that expense. Capsules are expensive and hard to open, especially Air-Tites, the flagship brand out there. I think there's probably some non-zero number of stackers who have cut themselves trying to pry open a capsule with a knife or scissors at some point. Not a huge percentage, but an easy to imagine scenario if you assume thousands of people out there trying to open capsules. Capsules are only relevant for stray pieces, anything not purchased in tubes. For those stray pieces I just use Ziploc Snack Bags, because they're smaller and less flippy-floppy than the sandwich bags. If I ever want to add some silver to my stack, maybe a specific coin, I order a tube to get a better price per ounce. For example, last year during the dip before the pandemic, I ordered a tube of silver Kangaroos, which I've always wanted. The tube is free and the price is lower than singles, so it's a double-win! The economics of silver bullion require a lot of discipline in controlling costs, so I never buy stuff like Kangaroos piecemeal. Then you also have to buy a capsule if you were going that route. I never pay sales taxes on bullion, shipping to my parents if I have to in order to avoid tax, and I never buy capsules or containers beyond the Ziploc bags. All that helps to improve profitability and reduce the extent of losses if silver goes down after I buy. I also only buy during dips or lows, never during the frenzies.
  6. Is "capsuals" some sort of Royalist English spelling? Here in the Land of the Free it's capsules. We use Ziploc snack bags for loose ounces. Capsules are a needless waste of money for silver bullion. The thing silver needs protection from is the air, especially the sulfur in the air which causes tarnish. You just need a decent seal, and so far a Ziploc bag serves well. I've never had any tarnish with them. Capsules don't do anything useful unless you want to throw the coins at walls or something that requires impact resistance. Tubes are for tubes, meaning 20 or 25 coins or rounds, depending on the mint. They're free when you order those quantities, and they prevent tarnish so they're great. I almost always order tube quantities because retail silver premiums are too high on small quantities. There's no significant scratching because the tubes aren't being filled piecemeal – they come already full, so there shouldn't be any messing around with coins going in and coming out. To make money on retail silver, what a lot of you call "physical", you need to be very disciplined about costs. Or even if you just don't want to lose money, you need to be disciplined. Lots of people lose lots of money on retail silver bullion. A good way to lose money is to buy piecemeal, one ounce here and there, small quantities. And then to buy fancy capsules, antitarnish strips, etc. You really shouldn't buy anything but the silver – your margins are too precarious already with the premiums. For knee-benders in the UK you're already in a hole because of your VAT tax on investment precious metals. Until you people do something about that VAT, contact your reps, etc. there's just no margin for stuff like capsules. Just buy tubes and don't pay VAT and you have a fighting chance of profiting.
  7. I also wanted to comment that the thread title is false. This guy wasn't banned from Reddit. He was banned from that creepy Wall Street Silver subreddit, by some weirdo. I sympathized with this Speg character, and was appalled by the Reddit creep's behavior. However, I thought it was poor form for Speg to mock the Reddit guy's physical appearance in his initial video. That's crossing the line. Speg's behavior overall is a bummer. He totally failed to document and investigate the issue properly. There is no closure, no real explanation. He just gave up and acted strange, claiming results but not saving those results or reporting them. To raise the issue and then mishandle it so badly, failing basic empirical standards, is so disappointing.
  8. This is frankly absurd, and hard to understand. He raised the issue of possibly bad bars, and when he has the chance to document a second bar he doesn't keep the results? Why would anyone make such a bad decision? And then he says he didn't bother with a fire assay simply because SilverGoldBull reported that all its tests were good? What? This is so bizarre. Why did he raise the issue if he was just going to punt in such a craven way? His behavior is hard to understand. Burying all the info in ridiculously long videos is also perplexing. Who is going to watch an hour-long video? The parts I saw had far too much meaningless filler content, a lot of non-substantive fluff about the "community" this and that. It's like he just enjoys talking. I can't imagine watching an hour-long video about a possibly bad bar. Five minutes is plenty of time to provide the info.
  9. It's not about people wanting 999 silver – the commodities exchanges like COMEX are also basing everything on 999 silver. That's in their standard 5,000 oz. contract. The retail silver market is small. Premiums are a given compared to spot price. Spot price is a futures price, I think maybe a month out. Volume is huge and transaction costs are tiny. It's all electronic (not "paper" like a lot of people grumble about). Spot is the minimal baseline. Any kind of retail product is going to be higher, always. Retail silver introduces massive costs. Tiny volumes like an ounce or two or ten. Fancy manufacturing and finishes. Government mints, with all the standard incentive problems, excessive job security, apathy, and entitlement issues that make government organizations consistently inefficient. Shipping heavy physical products hither and yon. Losses from theft, fraud, and insurance against theft and fraud. Etc, etc, etc. A commodities market has none of those costs, and its purpose is primarily price discovery. I don't know about the "greed" idea someone posted. Market prices are driven by market conditions. Some level of greed is almost always present in individual actors at some level of analysis, but greed doesn't matter independent of market conditions. Sellers don't get to arbitrarily dictate high prices because they feel like it, because they're feeling greedy or whatever. If the demand wasn't there, all the greed in the world would be irrelevant. I'm surprised that so many humans still lack a basic grasp of markets and economics in the 21st century. Believing that simple "greed" can explain a sudden increase in the prices of a good, as though it could happen at any time just because greedy sellers feel like it, is basically believing in magic or superstition. And it's logically incoherent, since prices would just rise to some crazy, infinite level, for everything, and they clearly don't.
  10. Silver spot isn't based on 400 oz bars – gold comes in 400 oz bars, not silver. COMEX silver futures contracts are based on 5,000 troy ounces. It's nominally five 1,000 oz bars, for the rare traders who want to take physical delivery. (Silver's terminal bar size is 1,000 oz, and gold's is 400 oz.) Retail silver premiums are higher than normal, and have been since the pandemic got into full swing. Demand exploded. I'm not sure where demand is now, though Biden's fiscal policies should scare people. Premiums have come down a bit since the peak, at least in the US. Right now, we can get new Britannias for $29.90, which is a 20.5% premium over spot. This is a good baseline for new coins from a major world mint, from the lowest-priced dealer in North America, which is Silver.com. Link. Britannias tend to be among the cheapest of the major government-minted coins in the US market. Eagles are much more expensive, and Maples are usually in between. It's a good reference price for a VAT-free context. Some states will charge sales tax of 7-9% on bullion, but many won't and the listed price is before any sales tax is applied. So our premiums are much lower than in the UK probably. That's impressive since those Britannias had to be shipped across the pond.
  11. Spot price is based on trades using predefined contracts on the exchanges, not 1 oz or 20 oz retail pieces. COMEX is based on 5,000 oz contract unit. (It's five 1,000 oz bars of 999 silver according to their settlement rules.) It's a uniform unit of silver – it doesn't vary, only the number of units varies. It's the same on the gold exchanges. I think they go with the 400 oz LBMA bar specifications, or I vaguely recall some of the Asian exchanges using 1 kilo bars as the unit. Retail products are not the relevant units for commodities exchanges.
  12. You're just making stuff and going off on tangents that aren't relevant to anything here. You don't know what any dealer's feed is based on. That's an empirical question, and a specific one. You'd have to go find out, investigate. I don't know why you keep repeating these generalities. They're not useful. If you want to know what any feed is based on, you can't just guess – you'd have to go find out. The impact of volume is irrelevant to the question of what a spot price feed is coming from. The fact that businesses add margins is also irrelevant. Cars are irrelevant. The only issue here is where a feed is coming from and what it's based on. In most cases, with dealer tickers, no one knows.
  13. The issue is that no one knows which exchange a given spot price is from. It doesn't mean anything to say "the exchanges". That's not anything.
  14. The point is that we don't actually know why dealer-quoted spot prices are so inconsistent. Or why they're consistently inaccurate in the direction of inflating spot. We would have to investigate in order to know. You're just asserting that they pay for feeds and post those feeds unaltered, but you have no way of knowing that without investigating. Since their spot prices are consistently inflated, your assumption is probably incorrect.
  15. Also, it's important to note that the explanations for why dealer-quoted spot prices don't agree with each other is just speculation. We don't actually know why these dealer tickers don't match. We can't possibly know something like that without investigating it. It's the kind of thing that you just have to go find out what the causes are, and if you don't go find out then you simply won't know. Especially if the starting proposition is something like: "Different PM dealers are quoting different spot prices at the same second in time." If that's all we know, then that's not anything. There's far too little information in that observation to do anything with. At that level, we don't even know the pattern of disparity. For example, we don't know if dealer-quoted spot prices tend to err on the side of inflated quotes, compared to non-dealer sources like SilverPrice.org / GoldPrice.org, the World Gold Council, raw COMEX feeds, etc. When I checked, there was in fact a pattern – of inflation or overstating the spot price. Fraud is as good an explanation as anything, certainly as good as the speculation about random differences in latencies and feed providers. Dealers would obviously benefit from overstating the spot price in order to make their premiums seem smaller. I just did a quick check, and I see the same pattern as last year. The dealers are all higher than SilverPrice.org, and APMEX is again leading in overstating the spot price. They're consistently 6 or 7 cents higher than SD Bullion and JM Bullion, and 23 cents higher than SilverPrice.org. Note that APMEX is the most expensive of the major dealers in North America, so they would stand to benefit the most from inflating the spot price. (These should all be the Ask price, not the Bid, though SilverPrice.org is not clear about what they're reporting, other than that it's COMEX.)
  16. You're missing the point. The question is which market. Everyone knows it's based on orders. The issue is that no one knows where these spot price quotes are coming from. When I say "where", I mean which exchange or market. It has a name. It always has a name. Your statements about banks, Reuters, etc. are obfuscating the issue – banks don't generate the spot prices for PM (except for the London fixes). Reuters isn't an exchange. They don't have a spot price. They're just messengers. If Reuters wanted to offer a silver spot price product, they could, maybe called Reuters Silver or something. But they would probably have to explain what it was, what it was based on, how it was computed. Otherwise they're just reporting specific exchanges like COMEX. I don't think they have their own spot price product, something they compute or transform.
  17. What do you mean? Where is this "World Spot Price"? Which feeds does it consolidate? What does "consolidate" mean here, mathematically? Simple average? That wouldn't be smart. I'm pretty sure there is no such thing as "World Spot Price", anywhere. If it existed, it would have to be defined somewhere, and there would have to be feeds for it, but I don't think it exists.
  18. Does anyone know what spot price Bullion By Post uses? i.e. where they get their spot price? An underexposed and annoying issue with "the" spot price is that no one seems to know what price they're talking about, or where it's coming from. There is no such thing as the spot price for gold or silver, as in a worldwide spot price independent of any specific market or exchange. The only spot prices that actually exist come from specific exchanges like COMEX, Shanghai, etc. I have no idea what is normally used by British dealers. There might be an exchange in London – I'm not sure. (I mean for up-to-the-second spot price, not things like the LBMA gold fix that happens twice each weekday.) I posted about this last year, asking where people were getting their spot price, meaning which market or exchange. As I recall, no one knew. Even the owner of this forum didn't know where his spot price was coming from, the one displayed at the top of the site – he said it was the World Spot Price, but that doesn't exist. The spot price feeds on different dealer websites differ significantly, and I've never figured out why that is. There was a 42 cent difference at one point between APMEX and SilverPrice.org, and that was when silver was under $15.00 per ounce, so it was a huge disparity.
  19. This is an underexposed way to save on shipping. It makes a lot of sense for an ounce of silver or a gram of gold. In the US a big obstacle is a persistent myth that a bubble mailer is a package, or that a rigid mailer is a package. This matters because a package costs a lot more to ship than First-Class Large Envelope (or "flats" in US Postal Service parlance). Padded and rigid mailers will almost always pass the USPS requirements for large envelopes, but people repeat the myth all the time, including postal employees. They also pass Royal Mail requirements. In the US they can be up to ¾ inches thick, with no more than ¼ inch of variance in thickness. In the UK, they can be up to a full inch thick. The downside in the US is that no tracking is provided, unlike First-Class Package Service, at least not by the USPS – third parties can offer a sort of tracking based on the barcode scans.
  20. So the ultrasound tester is one-sided? I guess I thought maybe it would bracket the workpiece on both sides, maybe normalizing the opposite surface at least. Does it matter what sort of surface or material you have the workpiece on? (The silver bar in this case.) I would measure more than once with the calipers given an irregular messy object like that TSF bar. Which reminds me – variance is a property of a distribution. (I'm a social scientist and statistician, maybe too pedantic here.) The mere difference between two measurement methods, just one vs one, I would call a deviation or just a difference. Well, if one measure is viewed as correct, the benchmark, like the calipers here, I'd probably call the difference on the ultrasound its error. I wonder if there's potential for a simple device with two-sided thickness measurement. That ultrasound is far too sloppy, too far off the true thickness. Almost a half millimeter on an 8 mm object is absurdly inaccurate. It's the 21st century and this is the best they can do? I would accept maybe 0.05 mm error at most, 1/20 mm. I wonder if there's a technology that could do better if it had both sides of the object. Maybe ultrasound, possibly a different kind of inference or algorithm, like bounceback from a tailored opposite surface, or interfering signals coming from opposite sides. Maybe even audible sound waves, an advanced version of the ping test. Or a combination of radio and sonic.
  21. Nah man, I'm not buying it then. You keep making excuses to hide what you told him, and I have to assume there's a reason for that. If you're the one who first used the word "sucker" in the convo, for example, then his reply would be interpreted very differently. Like if you said "I'd have to be a sucker to pay that price..." and he replied joking about you being a sucker, that's very different. I have no idea what happened – that's just one easy to imagine possibility. There's no point trashing a seller by quoting only one side of an exchange, and we'd have to be suckers to fall for one-sided reports.
  22. That's strange behavior, though I know people who would make the bad "sucker" joke in a way that wouldn't be meant as an insult. There's a personality type that would think that it was an innocent, throwaway joke, not meaning it seriously. There are all kinds of people out there, and some jokes don't do as well in various mediums, like email. He might be one of those people, thinking it was funny but not insulting, or maybe he really is a jerk. The fact that you never posted your end, or the full thread, gives me some pause, since people repeatedly requested it. From what I see, you only paraphrase your end of part of the thread, I think your first reply to his reply. We can't really know anything about this situation without seeing both sides, not just one side. On the price issue, there's no such thing as a "fair price" in the sense of someone else being obligated to agree that it's fair, much less agree to the price. Humans have a rich psychology around price and trade and sometimes this wobbly concept of "fair price" (which people use in a lot of different meanings). If someone doesn't agree to an offered price, there's no point in complaining that it was a "fair price". It doesn't add any information to our understanding of a situation or attempted transaction. This reminds me of people who talk about wanting retail silver to reach its "true" price (they usually call it "physical" silver, but they're exclusively referring to retail silver specifically, not physical as purchased by industry or anyone else). It's already at its true price, since the market price is the only true price, unless we think there's some kind of broad manipulation of retail silver, a tiny market that hardly anyone cares about. In this case, a seller's behavior is a big clue to how "fair" or "true" a price is. Since he didn't accept the price, it's likely that he's able to sell them at his listed prices (or he thinks he can, and he'll either be right or wrong about that). So it doesn't mean anything to say a price is "fair" if the market is carrying along at a much higher price. (Buyer behavior is also a clue to fair or true prices. Your rejection of his price could've indicated that it was too high if you were able to get it for your price elsewhere, or if he wasn't able to sell any at his listed price, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.) You offered more than 20% over spot, which seems like a lot for gold, even in this market, but I guess those guineas are going for much more. (They were out of stock at Bullion by Post and Chard's when I looked.)
  23. Very nice. That looks like an excellent result. I didn't know that such services were readily available. How much does it cost? I'm not familiar with that coin. Do they not have years, or is the year encoded in some of those letters? What's the composition here – pure gold or Crown gold? I didn't know that gold could have that kind of tarnish, or whatever we'd call the discoloration in the Before photos.
  24. If the range is 8 inches, why not try testing coins sideways, across their longest dimension? Silver one-ouncers are all around 40 mm in diameter, or about 1.57 inches. That way you don't have to worry about their surface features. If it can't test coins, it seems pointless, since all coins have "patterns or designs". Why can't ultrasonic testers test Crown gold alloy, e.g. the American Gold Eagle? What does ultrasound know about "purity"? It's just a velocity like any other velocity, right? Doesn't the 22 karat alloy used in the Eagle have a characteristic velocity like any other metal? Your table includes brass and stainless steel, which are also alloys, and somewhat less pure than Crown gold (stainless has at least 12% chromium and usually 8-10% nickel, among other things, while Crown gold only has 8.3% non-gold constituents). The Eagles have had the same composition of gold, copper, and silver from their inception, so I don't know why they can't be characterized for testing purposes. (It's a different alloy than other Crown golds, like the Krug, which has no silver, just copper. This is why Eagles are a much prettier color than Krugs. I don't remember if Sovereigns have any silver.) By the way, what does the Royal Canadian Mint "Bullion DNA" method do exactly? Is it just a high-res photograph/scan of unique imperfections or something, like the PAMP Suisse authentication system? It's a bummer that we still don't have reliable, simple, and affordable testing tools for bullion at this point in history. I would've thought that a smartphone could be leveraged for such purposes. I don't understand why spectroscopy isn't more affordable at this point.
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