I am desperately trying to purchase some of the Russian silver
coins for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Has a U.S. distributor been named? Thanks very much for any help
you can give me!
For the 2014 Winter Games, the Central Bank of Russia and the
Russian mints (Moscow and St. Petersburg) have organized a program of
at least six circulating base metal coins, 21 silver and 13 gold
collector coins, and nine bullion coins in silver or gold.
An issue with Olympic coins is licensing fees. Besides the
national organizing committee desiring tribute, any official
distributor selling the coins in the United States must also be
licensed through the United States Olympic Committee.
That process can dissuade dealers from carrying the coins, whose
costs reflect the licensing fees.
Distributors also usually wait to market the coins until nearer
the time the Games are held, when attention begins to build, thus
compressing the sales window.
Electronic commerce (eBay, for instance) has made licensing
strictures less inhibiting, and collectors can often acquire the
coins, rightly or not, without going through official channels.
For now, no known distributors are serving the U.S. market.
For Morgan dollars I have seen the acronyms VAM and GSA. Could you
explain these terms?
Morgan dollar die varieties, or VAMs, are cataloged in a system
originating in a reference by authors Leroy Van Allen and A. George
Mallis. The acronym VAM comes from the combined initials of those
author’s last names. A reference such as VAM-1A is shorthand for a
specific marriage of obverse die and reverse die.
GSA stands for “General Services Administration,” and references
silver dollars that were sold to the public by this government
organization in the 1970s. The coins were the last of the Treasury
Department’s silver dollars, stored in vaults in since the late 19th century.
These coins were encapsulated in distinctive hard plastic holders.
When third-party grading came into vogue, many of the coins were
broken out of their GSA holders and slabbed in the grading services’
Today, though, a resurgence of interest in silver dollars in their
original GSA holders has led to premiums for some of the pieces above
values for the same coins and die varieties not still in GSA holders.
Advertisements and listings for Morgan dollars in Coin World’s
U.S. Coin Values that bear the GSA acronym are for those coins
still in their original holders.
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