A reader inquires about the value of his Franklin Mint Bicentennial sterling silver (.925 fine) ingots. The current silver value of the pieces has far outpaced their original issue price of $19.50 each.
I have a collection of 70 Franklin Mint Bicentennial silver ingots commemorating the 200th anniversary of the American Revolution. I am trying to determine the value of these ingots.
Many years ago, I spoke with someone at the Franklin Mint who told me that each ingot contains 885 grains of silver. I also learned that a little over 19,000 sets were minted originally. Whether they all sold or not wasn’t revealed.
If the ingots have any intrinsic value today I would imagine that it would be largely due to the silver content as opposed to numismatic value.
Do you have any knowledge or information about the collection that would help me to establish its current market value?
According to The Dealer’s Guide to Franklin Mint Issues, the reader owns what was a series of 70 Bicentennial-themed sterling silver (.925 fine) ingots, each packaged in a postmarked cachet, or envelope, with a total mintage of 19,312. These figures adhere closely to the numbers Mr. Wallon mentions. The ingots were originally issued from 1973 to 1981 at an issue price of $19.50 each.
These were sold via subscription. A person would subscribe, then as each one was issued, it would be addressed and affixed with a postmark based on the date of the ingot’s historical significance. For example, the cachet containing the ingot commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence was postmarked July 4, 1976 (as illustrated above).
According to the Dealer’s Guide, each ingot contains an “average” of 900 grains of sterling silver, so that too is close to the 885-grain number quoted by the Franklin Mint. At 900 grains of sterling silver (.925 silver), each ingot would conceivably contain about 1.90 ounces of silver. At the recent silver spot price of $43 per ounce, this would give each ingot an approximate silver value of $81. For up-to-date silver spot prices, visit www.coinworld.com.
Though many people enjoy collecting Franklin Mint products for numismatic reasons, with today’s historically high silver prices, Mr. Wallon is correct that more people would take an interest in the ingots’ silver value.
If silver hits $50 per ounce, like it did briefly in 1980, or if it goes even higher, it isn’t hard to imagine a lot of Franklin Mint pieces will end up being melted, as many were 31 years ago.
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