Investors are always searching for new ways to grow their wealth. Sometimes new products can offer new opportunities for profits, other times opportunities come from old items such as antiques and even older coins. Coin collecting is the collecting of coins or other forms of minted legal tender. People have hoarded coins for their bullion value for as long as coins have been minted. However, the collection of coins for their artistic value was a later development. Evidence from the archaeological and historical record of Ancient Rome and medieval Mesopotamia indicates that coins were collected and catalogued by scholars and state treasuries.
Coins of interest to collectors often include those that circulated for only a brief time, coins with mint errors and especially beautiful or historically significant pieces. Coin collecting can be differentiated from numismatics, in that the latter is the systematic study of currency. A coin’s grade is a main determinant of its value. For a tiered fee, a third-party certification service like PCGS or NGC will grade, authenticate, attribute, and encapsulate most U.S. and foreign coins. Over 80 million coins have been certified by the four largest services.
A frequent reason for collecting coins is as an investment. As with stamps, precious metals or other commodities, coin prices are periodical based on supply and demand. Prices drop for coins that are not in long-term demand, and increase along with a coin’s perceived or intrinsic value. Investors buy with the expectation that the value of their purchase will increase over the long term. As with all types of investment, the principle of caveat emptor applies and study is recommended before buying. Likewise, as with most collectibles, a coin collection does not produce income until it is sold, and may even incur costs in the interim.
It is not a simple task to invest in rare coins that can be mastered in a short time. The coin market has drastically changed over the last few decades, if not the previous century. In 1986, third-party grading services levelled the playing field by verifying the authenticity and defining standard coin grades. Relying on third-party grading services does not replace the study of a particular coin series, but it does remove much of the risk involved in the purchase of rare coins.
It will take more than access to a range of resources and people to become a great collector of coins. A wise collector of coins will be searching for a mentor who can lead him on his journey of collecting coins. Many people have already learned a great deal of experience and are willing to share it with the next generation of coin collectors.
Collecting money to gain money? Sounds weird but collecting old and rare coins is one of the best ways to make a profit and improve your portfolio’s value. Of course, you will need to study in order to be sure what are you buying and which coin you should target in a market or an auction. However, opportunities will be there and you will have to grab them!