Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why Clad Bars Make Great Gifts

Liberty-Indian-Silver-GACC-reflectionIf you are looking to purchase a collectable or novelty item, clad bars are for you. Clad means that the item is not fully silver or gold. Generally speaking, clad is any metal covering a core of usually copper or nickel. Clad bars come in a variety of sizes. While clad bars are not recommended for investment purposes, they do make great gifts!

What is a clad bar?

Not to be confused with bullion – clad bars are not solid gold or silver, but consist of base metals overlain with either 24k gold or .999 silver. Clad typically means silver or gold plate. These bars are not designed to be melted down into actual silver or gold. Clad bars are created for collectible or novelty purposes, they are not meant for investment.

Why to buy clad bars?

Clad bars are inexpensive and make great gifts. Whether you’re rewarding a young child for getting good grades or just looking for a great stocking stuffer, clad bars make perfect gifts for your loved ones. They make great prizes too. Depending on your event or gathering, several companies produce silver and gold clad bars specifically for commemorative reasons.

Where to buy clad bars?

Great American Coin offers a wide range of gold and silver clad bars in sizes from one troy ounce to four troy ounces. The majority of our clad bars come in hard plastic covers for added protection. These bars make for great birthday, Christmas and graduation gifts!

If you are ever confused about a clad item there are inexperienced sellers, like Great American Coin, who understand the difference between a silver clad bar and silver bullion. Please feel free to contact us with questions!

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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The Jolly Roger Flag, Pirate Coins and More!

Jolly Roger Pirate Grunge FlagDespite what you may think, pirates were much more than people who committed robbery at sea. Pirates were free men and women who thrived for independence and adventure! They directed their ships where they pleased and stayed for as long as they wished.

The Golden Age of Piracy was active from 1650-1720. During this time, piracy flourished in Caribbean cities such as Port Royal and Tortuga, due to the lack of legal structure in these English and French settlements. Legendary pirates like Blackbeard and Bartholomew Roberts left us with many fascinating items including the Jolly Roger flag, the eye-patch and pirate coins!

What is a pirate?

Pirates today are seen as cool, rum drinking, peg legged, scoundrels. In reality, pirates were hardworking and skilled in boat construction, sailing and hunting. Also called corsairs or buccaneers, pirates have existed since the ancient times. Most pirates targeted ships and some attacked coastal towns. For years, pirates threatened the trading routes of Ancient Greece and seized cargoes of grain and olive oil from Roman ships. In the Americas, pirates openly traded smuggled goods with the colonies. In return, merchants made money by selling crucial pirate items, like flour.

The pirate culture

A pirate ship was like a thriving democracy. The captain was hand picked by the crew and could be disposed of for poor performance, including not finding adequate treasures. If disposed, the captain might be lowered in status to first mate or forced overboard to find his way to shore. In a world full of class structure and segregation, a pirate ship was considered a multi-cultural society. With a mixture of English, French, Dutch, and Portuguese seaman, there was essentially no discrimination. Even blacks were allowed aboard.

Pirate coins

SilverPirateCoinsB-GACCThere is much evidence that pirates in fact carried coinage. The majority of pirates bartered with ancient Spanish or Dutch gold and silver coins. One particular pirate coin was the “pirate piece of eight,” also known as the Spanish colonial Pillar Dollar. The profit acquired by being a pirate made it a successful line of business. Wealthy businessmen were notorious for financing this legitimized piracy in return for a piece of the pie. For a poor man, there were few other promising career choices at the time apart from joining a pirate ship!

While much has been written about pirates, it was only over the last 40 years or so that salvaged ships have began to surface, exposing different kinds of coins that may have been looted. From a numismatic perspective, the uncharted seas only make pirate coins more fascinating!

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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Introduction to Modern Commemorative Coins

1982GeorgeWashingtonCommemorativeHalfDollar1reverse

Commemorative coins have been around since the Ancient Greeks and Romans. In the beginning, these coins were used to record and honor historical events. Due to the absence of newspapers, coins were created and passed along as important news of the time.

However, it wasn’t until 1982 that the Unites States began minting modern commemorative coins. These special coins tend to commemorate memorable events, honored institutions and personnel of national or international importance.

The Washington Coin

In 1982, the U.S. Mint released commemorative half dollar coins to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of George Washington. The Washington coin was the first to be considered a “modern” commemorative coin for a couple reasons: First, the cause of the commemoration was truly of national significance. Second, its design by U.S. Mint engraver Elizabeth Jones featured a striking depiction of Washington on horseback. While the reverse, also designed by Jones, featured a view of Washington’s Mount Vernon home. These factors, in combination with the long break in commemorative coinage, made this particular coin popular among coin collectors.

Types of Commemorative Coins

Modern commemorative coins are unique in that they are produced in clad, silver or gold. These coins are also produced in collector proof and uncirculated qualities. Over the years, modern commemorative coins have been issued in five different sizes. The first coin issued was a 90 percent silver half dollar. The U.S. Mint later issued most 90 percent silver commemoratives as silver dollars. There have also been $10 and $5 gold coins stuck in 90 percent gold. Lastly, clad half dollars have been issued by the U.S. Mint with a composition of 92 percent copper and 8 percent nickel.

While modern commemorative coins are of legal tender, they are not minted for general circulation. For this reason, the U.S. Mint and most retailers sell commemorative coins to the public at prices higher than the face value of the coin. This price often includes a commission to the event, institution or person to which the coin is commemorated for.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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The History of Gold

GoldThe history of gold is long and extensive. The oldest pieces were discovered in tombs of Ancient Egyptian kings and queens. The first gold coins were struck in Lydia around 700 BC. In the Americas, pioneers made the long trek west to find gold in the new frontier.

Throughout the years, gold has been used as a means for monetary exchange around the world. Between 1970 and 1879 many countries embraced the gold standard. The gold standard was a monetary system in which the amount of money produced was based on a fixed quantity of gold. Gold is, and will always be, a hot commodity.

Price of gold

Like other precious metals, gold is measured by its troy weight. When referring to jewelry, gold is measured in grams. The price of gold is determined twice each business day on the London market. The price of gold is driven by supply and demand as well as speculation. Gold price has a long-term correlation with crude oil. For this reason, gold is often sold off during times of economic hardship.

Gold jewelry

The term karat is used to indicate the purity of gold. Pure gold is stamped 24 karat and lower ratings are proportionally less. Because pure gold is incredibly soft, the metal is often alloyed with base metals for use in jewelry. The most common karat stamps for jewelry are 10K, 14K and 18K. Buying gold jewelry can be an expensive endeavor. The price of gold jewelry depends on weight, karat and labor that goes into the piece. Where you purchase gold jewelry is also a contributing factor. For instance, jewelry stores tend to have higher gold prices than pawn shops.

Gold as an investment

Gold is a very popular investment. Investors generally buy gold as hedge against economic crises. When the economy is unhealthy, the price of gold rises. A common way to invest in gold is to buy coins or clad bars. Bullion coins struck from gold are kept as an investment. These coins are not used in daily commerce. Rather, they have an aesthetic value. The price of gold can fluctuate over time. For almost 200 years, gold price has remained steady. Today, gold is at a two-year low. There is no guarantee that gold will increase, only speculation. But, for those looking to invest long-term, gold is very popular at the moment.

Gary Dyner is the owner of Great American Coin Company. Connect with him on

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