I like Chris Duane, and I like his message, even if I don't agree with him 100%. So when he went to offer these new silver rounds, I bought 10 of them. It was a long wait, but they arrived this afternoon.
I must confess, after all the hype on how great these medallions were going to be, I'm a wee bit disappointed.
They were advertised as "near proof" or "proof-like" and noted the manufacturer is the same that did the Lakota rounds. (The Lakota rounds are gorgeous, I have a few of those as well, and that's the quality I was expecting). The reality is:
* The edges are quite rough
* The front side with the shield and bullets is rough looking. One of them even looks a bit tarnished. Every single one has a milky splotch on the right side just above the bullets and a long milky splotch all the way around the words "SILVER BULLET".
* The words ".999 FINE AG" and "AOCS APPROVED" are so small they are nearly unreadable
* The reverse side (with "IN DEBT AND DEATH THEY TRUST" on it) actually looks better to me. It's rough, sure, but that's by design, and it actually matches what was advertised for that side.
My conclusion: I think they tried to pack too much stuff on the front of the coin, and weren't able to pull it off as well as they hoped. Oh well, they're each 1 ounce of silver, so while I paid a bit of premium, I can't complain too much. They are certainly still a good conversation piece. I was just hoping they would look "prettier" as shown in the marketing photos (which were computer generated, as they hadn't yet struck any coins). Would I buy them in a store if I were able to look at them first hand? Maybe one or two, and probably not for much of a premium. Do I feel jilted? No. I knew there was risk in the design going into it, and I took a chance. In the end, I still have another 10 ounces of silver. I've paid more money for less value in my life, that's for sure!
I do think they should probably lower the premiums if they are still selling them, and if they do another run of new design coins, I will wait to see the end product before purchase.
If I can get a decent camera shot of them, I'll post pictures later. I tried with my iPhone 4, but it's not good enough to bother.