Throughout history, many coin collections have produced substantial long-term profits for their owners. This is particularly true for coin collectors of this century. Indeed, Harold Bareford reportedly purchased a collection of U.S. gold coins for $13,832 in the early 1950s which was resold at auction in 1978 for $1.2 million. A more substantial collector, Louis Eliasberg, built a collection that cost about $300,000. In 1982, it brought $12.4 million at auction.
This investment performance has been well documented by sources as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, Consumer Reports and a host of industry periodicals and guidesheets. What these reports have shown is that carefully selected portfolios of rare coins have had a high rate of long-term appreciation.
Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results and investments in rare coins do involve risk. While the market performance of different coins varies substantially and no representation can be made that an individual investor’s portfolio will enjoy results similar to those that have been documented in the various independent reports and surveys, those reports and surveys illustrate the impressive returns that carefully selected rare U.S. coins can produce.
Capital gains on coins can only be taxed at liquidation, when the profits are actually realized. There is no taxation on phantom or undistributed profits as there are with some investments. And unlike most other investments, there is no federal income tax liability on so-called “wash sales” or like-kind exchanges which enable investors to trade their rare coins for other rare coins of equal or greater value
Unlike paper investments, rare U.S. coins have real tangible value you can feel each time you hold one in your hand. Therefore, they offer two ways to build wealth. Carefully selected coins truly offer the best of bullion and numismatics in one investment. They contain the intrinsic security of bullion and can also offer extraordinary profit potential regardless of what precious metal spot prices do. Still, precious metal content is only a relatively small factor in determining the value of many rare U.S. coins whose value is almost solely based on condition, demand and rarity
Historically Significant Beauty
Rare U.S. coins are a part of our history–direct links to America’s rich heritage–as timeless and valuable as history itself. For two centuries, U.S. coins have been symbols of American stability, as well as reflections of national pride. Throughout our nation’s history, coins have spotlighted our national heroes, paid tribute to our great achievements and commemorated significant events. These truly historic works of art commemorate past sacrifices made in the name of freedom.
Rare U.S. coins acquaint investors with historical figures and events, no matter how far removed by time. The satisfaction of actually owning a piece of history from a bygone era makes investing in rare U.S. coins truly unique. Each coin has traveled a different path through history. As a result, each is a unique embodiment of the hopes and dreams of our founding fathers
The overwhelming majority of U.S. coins ever minted were circulated. Many coins were lost through attrition and others were damaged by use, thus eliminating any potential for numismatic value. The few surviving uncirculated coins are in a much more pristine condition.
Investment quality coins are primarily those coins rated in the 11 uncirculated grades, 60 and above, on the American Numismatic Association’s 70 point grading scale. A coin’s grade is a measure of its condition or state of preservation. The higher the grade, the better the condition.
Uncirculated coins fall into two broad categories: Proof (PF or PR) and Mint State (MS). Mint State coins were originally meant for circulation but never were circulated, so they remain in the same condition today as when they were minted. Proof coins were never meant for circulation, thus they received very careful handling and were specially struck at least twice on highly polished planchets.
The beauty of a coin can attract collectors as well as investors, and hence increase demand for a particular coin or set. This increased demand can result in rising values. Eye appeal is affected by several factors including the beauty of a coin’s design, the minting process used, the fullness and sharpness of its strike, the toning, the brilliance of its luster and the amount of wear and number of blemishes on the coin’s surface
Portfolios or Collections?
The age-old description of coin collecting as the “Hobby of Kings” is both accurate and misleading… accurate in conveying the outdated perception that coin collecting is restricted only to the very wealthy, misleading in that the number of collectors has steadily increased and has been estimated by the American Numismatic Association to include as many as 7-10 million coin buyers in the United States alone. Typically, the coin collector collects coins for their rarity and historical value. Collectors view their coins as rare art and as the tangible remnants of the cultural and economic forces that created them.
The investor begins from a different starting point–the fact that coins of proven rarity have shown remarkably high rates of appreciation. He sees the economic results of the pleasures of collecting and makes his original purchases with profits as his only motive.
However, we have found that the line between those of our clients that are collectors and those that are investors has become increasingly blurred. Collectors can’t help but be pleased when coins that they sell bring an attractive profit. Investors begin to see their coins as works of art and become knowledgeable about the circumstances of their minting and the era in which they were circulated.
Both collector and investor come to realize that their intellectual curiosity, aesthetic sensibilities and enjoyment in our country’s past can be used to create a collection that becomes an important store of value, a way to accumulate wealth that can be passed on to future generations–or used to fund their own retirements.
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