Why rare coins?People collect rare coins for the same reason people collect art, says Ilya Zlobin, ancient numismatic coin expert, dealer and enthusiast of TrustedCoins.com. “Rare coins, especially of the ancient Greeks and Romans capture the feel and the art of the time period [like] statues and architecture that have long been lost to history…” Also, says Zlobin, there is a very high upside resale potential should investors make the right buy for the right price. “…Stories of exponential growth understandable stoke investor interest in the world of collectibles,” according to a 2012 Barclay’s report. However, “Relatively few wealth individuals own treasure solely for its financial characteristics. Investors that do seek financial returns on insurance from their treasure typically favor commodity-like items, such as precious metals, coins and jewelry.” Once nicknamed “the hobby of kings“, collecting coins has become an everyman’s game thanks to a rise in numismatic scholarship, education, access to information and a growing sophistication of the general public over the last 500 years and is popularly referred to as “the king of hobbies”. For the average person, owning coins make possessing a piece of history remarkably accessible, and for those with an interest in antiquities, coins are more accessible, in general, than larger, tangible asset investments. For beginners, collecting rare coins may seem daunting. Experts and experienced collectors offer this advice:
- Specialize – Choose a particular emperor, denomination, theme or time period and use it to guide how you invest. Stay focused on a particular concentration and build within that. Financier Louis E. Eliasberg did just that and his collection got him listed among the world’s most famed collectors.
- Scrutinize – Don’t just pick randomly from your choices. Know what you’re looking for and examine coins carefully to make sure they fit with the direction you’re taking your collection.
- Study – Collectors shouldn’t just take the opinions or advice of sellers. Collectors should become experts themselves, studying up on values, denominations, rarity and other aspects of the area in which they intent to collection so as to make an informed decision when investing. Read trade magazines, talk to other collectors and learn what questions to ask. Never buy what you don’t understand. Study up on some coin collecting lingo here.
- Start Small – Buying small will allow investors to start collecting without betting the farm. Buying large quantities of coins or buying high priced coins should only come with experience. While buying rare coins or coins minted with historically importance is ideal, amateur or inexperience collectors should never spend large amounts of money on coins they don’t understand. Collector and numismatics mentor Susan Headley notes, “If you can’t afford to shell out $2,000 [per] coin to buy…high grades, then buy common coins in the finest grades you can.”
- Always try to get the best possible price – Investing in rare coins doesn’t have to break your bank. Some dealers can give you breaks as the margins are often-times sufficient for everyone to be happy.
- Be detached about the outcome of the deal – Do your best to secure a great deal, but be an investor that can also think as a collector. This way you win either way.
- Keep records of how much you paid for a coin, and all receipts – This will give you a record of the coin’s grade, and purchase information. Also, if you want to sell these investments and realize a profit, you’ll need to be organized.
- Work with dealers willing to prove themselves – Some dealers provide a lifetime guarantee of authenticity, and some will issue certificates of authenticity.
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Get It Here: “Show me the money”: A look at investing in rare coins Fascinating article about numismatic coins. An ancient coin expert published this for educational purposes.
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