Royal gift sells at Spink
Volume 53, Number 5, May 2016
Investing in the future WELL, OK, it’s time to bite the bullet and talk about something we rarely cover in COIN NEWS: the dreaded “I” word, Investment. . . . Already I hear dedicated numismatists across the country, indeed the world, tut-tutting and preparing to close their magazine in disgust at the thought of discussing such a thing, and that’s fine—I genuinely admire the dedicated numismatist who has no real interest in the “value” of a coin and fully understand their reticence at talking about such vulgar things as cost, but sadly not all of us can ignore the fact that if we want to be coin collectors, that comes at a price. A quick glance at this month’s “Auction highlights” will show you that, once again, there have been some phenomenal prices fetched on the rostrum and whilst it is true that the serious money is very much still going with the serious rarities, some of the “commoner” coins are also commanding pretty decent sums—particularly in the higher grades, with uncirculated coins far outstripping their estimates on just about every occasion. This being the case we simply cannot ignore the fact that there are some collections out there that are worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pounds and even the smaller collections are worth, if you’ll excuse the pun, a “pretty penny”. Faced with this situation is it right, or even sensible for the hobby to ignore the fact that there are many of you out there who are collecting with one eye on the future value of your coins? Many of you want to know what to collect and how much it will be worth in the future; you want advice on what you can buy today to “maximise your return” and frequently we at COIN NEWS, indeed most coin dealers too, are very reluctant to help out on that score. Well I’m afraid that isn’t going to change today—we can’t give you advice on what will be worth what when you come to sell, of course we can’t, nor can any reputable dealer. None of us can see into the future and none of us can know what the state of the market, or the economy at large, will be when you decide you need to sell. A good dealer will be able to tell you what the past market has been like, and a quick glance at old Coin Yearbooks will give you an idea of the value that a particular coin has been over a period of time, but none of us, not at COIN NEWS, not the best dealers in the country nor the top auctioneers around the world can categorically tell you what will go up in price/value in years to come. This is why we always say “collect for fun, collect because you enjoy it”, as that way even if your coins don’t go up at least you’ve enjoyed the experience of accumulating them and had the joy of owning them. That, of course, is the coward’s answer but one for which we cannot apologise—simply because we would be terribly remiss if we said anything else. However, we are aware that some helpful hints about what to buy wouldn’t go amiss so in the spirit of doing our best for you all, here are a few tips to maximising your enjoyment of the hobby, and if you make some money in the long term then good on you— just don’t take this as investment advice. We aren’t regulated! 1. Buy the best grade you can—no matter what you collect always strive to get your coin in tip top condition. 2. With modern coins if you’re worried about resale on the secondary market after you’ve enjoyed owning them then why not consider the precious metal versions? Even if there is no numismatic interest in the coin there will always be the metal value to consider. 3. Look after your coins, there’s no point in buying an EF coin if you’re going to mishandle it, that’s a sure-fire way to lose money 4. Buy the best you can but don’t overstretch yourself, this is meant to be fun, we don’t want you stressing over debt 5. Rarities command premiums—at least they have done in the past, we assume they will continue to do so, but again we don’t actually know! 6. And er, that’s about it, we know you would like a specific “buy this and you will make this in ten years’ time” but it just doesn’t work like that as we simply cannot guarantee anything in the future—if we could we’d be out there buying coins rather than writing comments about them! Not desperately helpful I know, which is why we will always tell you to “collect for fun”, that way no matter what happens you won’t be disappointed. It isn’t a bad philosophy to live by!!
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