One year that has always been in extraordinarily high demand by Libertad collectors is the 1998 Onza/Libertad 1 Oz. Silver bullion coin issued by the Mint of Mexico. This particular year had a mintage of 67,000 coins which is one of the lowest for the entire series. To collectors, this year is considered a key date that is highly sought after, and can become very pricey in high grades.
In lieu of price, here is the most recent information which is directly sourced from the Krause Price Guide by NGC.
Ungraded examples of this coin during the first half of 2016 have been selling between a range of $140-$220 on eBay, which is above book value, and some of the examples (depending on when you are reading this) that sell on the higher end of this price range are offered by sellers in Germany.
Coins marketed by some of the German sellers are sold in a capsule, which is an after market holder, and was not issued by the mint. However, these capsules do provide a high degree of protection against any damage to the rim of the coin, and prevents clanging.
Libertads were originally issued in rolls of 20, the tube was made out of a foil like cardboard, and closed with a seal from The Mexico Mint. Bullion is extremely condition sensitive, 99.99% pure, soft, and prone to getting banged up very easily. Nowadays, Onzas are issued in plastic tubes with 25 coins per roll. Which does not solve the problem of coins rubbing against each other that are stacked.
The mint packaging doesn’t do an adequate job of preventing abrasions on the high points of the Libertad surfaces as noted. Especially the obverse which has multiple high points, but does a good job of protecting the rim of the coins. German collectors absolutely despise rim dings. If you want to piss off your German coin collecting friend, send them a coin with rim ding, and surely they will hurl it back at you quickly!
How did these coins make their way from Mexico to Germany? German coin companies marketed coins to their collectors on a “subscription basis” similar to magazines or also known as a “coin program”. For example, a collector may want to collect “World Silver Coins” that were minted in the past few years.
This particular 1998 Onza was one coin that was selected by the company for a coin program. These coin programs also had a buy back price, and would buy back the coin at a certain price from a collector at sometime in the future. I’m not sure how many of the coin programs are active today, but at one time they were very popular in Germany.
I’m making a case that some of the German sourced Libertad coins are well worth the premium as I see it. I sourced my 1998 Onza from a German dealer, and my example was one that had graded MS 69 as shown in a picture below. I thought the coin had an outside chance of an MS 70 grade.
Sourcing from a dealer in Germany doesn’t guarantee a high grade example. But it seems like their current ungraded Libertad offerings have been protected better than other offerings on eBay that I’ve seen in general.
If somebody could eventually score the coveted MS 70 grade (being the highest possible) in an NGC slab/holder. I’m gonna speculate a collector wouldn’t mind forking over $1,500+ for a pristine example.
To date there are no examples that are graded at the MS 70 level at either grading service to my knowledge for this date. NGC slabs are trading at a premium to PCGS slabs. This is an observation that I have made strictly from monitoring a few eBay sales as a venue for data, and I personally think the Onza looks more attractive in an NGC slab.
Most graded Libertads will have to be at a minimum grade level of MS 67 or higher to obtain any premium above the Krause Price Guide listed from what I have noticed. But keep in mind prices will fluctuate based on supply and demand, and can vary very greatly at anytime. An example graded NGC MS 69 that ended May 9th 2016 recently fetched $809.99 + shipping on eBay.
The above eBay linked/pictured example was sold by me, with 20+ watchers, and the listing was very active. I received a few questions, and one of the most interesting questions I received was, “Are there any tiny milk spots on any sides of the coin?” It seems bullion collectors are looking for the most pristine examples. Bullion coins in the past few years have been developing “white spots”, aesthetically they are not at all attractive, and you can read more about milk spots in the following article from Coinweek.
A growing number of the population within the United States is of Mexican American ethnicity. Many collectors like to collect a part of their heritage as I’ve noticed in the past as a dealer. Trends do come and go with all collectibles markets, and some take longer to develop as well. But this is one trend that is likely to continue for many years to come as I see it. Especially with the diversity of coin collectors in general.
If you are considering purchasing the 1998 Libertad or any coin for that matter. Do your due diligence. Make sure to check the sellers description, and pictures as well. Most eBay sellers are accurate about describing items, and offer money back guarantees minus return shipping. To avoid any grading surprises collectors may want to consider buying a coin that is already graded by either NGC or PCGS.
This bullion series has very limited mintages, a beautiful design pattern, and a growing collector base as well. Together, demand may outstrip supply for many more dates that are readily available today. With that being said, the price of the 1998 Onza/Libertad will remain a key date, and remain in high demand for many years to come by collectors. “So don’t delay act now supplies are running out” are lyrics that come to my mind by Smashmouth from a song which they sang sometime ago. But only time will tell. And so will the supply!
Thanks for reading my coin conjecture-
Stay tuned for more soon-