Silver Coin

With proper treatment, you can get rid of these little devils in less than a minute.

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If you are an experienced stacker you already met them. If you are new to the game better be prepared. Holding physical silver is always the best option. Right now in terms of paper claims we are up to numbers as big as 500 paper claims for each physical ounce of silver. These are just staggering numbers. In another article, we will cover how this is even possible. Right now we have to discuss one of the inconveniences of holding physical – please let us introduce you to the silver milk spots.

You probably already found out that this has nothing to do with a tasty breakfast and a glass of delicious milk spilled all over the table. These annoying spots occur in an entirely random and unpredictable way. They may appear right after the coins are struck, or develop over time, and they may be anything from a single spot, multiple spots crossing the field and devices, or in large blotches consuming significant portions of a coin’s design.

The Coin World piece discusses the views of then–quality division chief at the U.S. Mint, Stacy Kelley-Scherer, who said the problem has plagued American Silver Eagles virtually since their inception in 1986. In the article, the Mint acknowledges the problem of spots but said they have not found a way to prevent them from occurring. When interviewed mint spokesman Michael White said, “We are examining our process thoroughly and are committed to producing the highest quality coins.”

These spots also occur on coins produced by other major world mints. Moreover, sometimes milk spots are only visible with magnification such as magnifying glass. And while mints have concurred that they cannot prevent them, it does appear that good storage methods (such as using plastic capsules and storing your coins in as inert an environment as possible) can help to reduce the chance of spots from developing.

Silver is well known to react chemically in response to the environment, especially in humid conditions, and many collectors work hard to try to keep their coins protected against the elements as much as possible. The wide variation in views on milk spots probably has something to do with the prevailing weather and levels of humidity where the coin buyers live, and with how they store their coins. But no matter how you store them, it is almost impossible to entirely prevent the spots from developing.

While some have questioned whether there is a connection between silver purity and milk spots, the general consensus instead is that the spots result from the production of silver planchets before coins are struck. In particular, the cause of the spots is believed by many to be “detergent residue that isn’t rinsed off before the .999-silver planchets hit the annealing furnace. As the cleaned silver planchets get heated to scorching temperatures exceeding 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, any leftover detergent solution is inadvertently baked into the surface of the coin, and the chemical reaction from the detergent on the coin may take weeks, months, or even years to surface.

And now the most important question: ‘How to defeat them?’ There a lot of products on the market which treat this condition. A lot of them are really good but since we are not affiliated partner with such a company we wouldn’t advertise it here. It is a lot like writing in space. Faced with the fact that ball-point pens would not write in zero-gravity, the Fisher Space Pen was devised as the result of millions of dollars developing costs. The Soviet Union took the simpler and cheaper route of just using pencils. Having that in mind in the video below please find one of the easiest ways of doing things – a simple pencil eraser:

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