Identifying US Coins with Bullish Futures
Okay, let's get something straight? I do not advocate the
purchase of United States coins strictly for investment purposes.
Like most traditional collectors, I believe coins are to be
primarily appreciated for their artistic beauty, historical
connections, and the joy of pursuing them. However, it should be
no secret that a significant number of us do add to our
numismatic holdings while simultaneously peeking at the payback
In truth, there are probably substantial numbers of
traditional collectors who prefer to acquire coins destined to
increase in esteem and value over time; treasured heirlooms and a
source of pride to be passed from one generation to the next. On
the flip side of this equation, it seems implausible that anyone
would buy a coin with the hope or expectation to see it stagnate
or decrease in value. Indeed, any commentator who suggests the
words "investment" and "coins" should never appear in close
proximity to one another is ignoring a heavily populated segment
of our hobby.
Now that we've established that it's not numismatic heresy to
seek coins with strong upside possibilities, let's get down to
basics. The guiding principle is simple: Any coin that has
demonstrated solid, consistent gains over a long period of time
is likely to show continued growth in the years ahead. Easily
said, but as we shall soon see, not so easily put into
So exactly how does a one identify coins with a potentially
bullish future? The best clues are revealed by analyzing the
retail value trends over a long period of time for a given coin.
Observing current prices alone does not yield enough information
to correctly evaluate prospective price movements. What was the
coin selling for two or three years ago compared to today? Dig
deeper, and find the market price for the same coin 5-10 years
ago. While you're at it, get something from 20-30 years or more
in the past, too. The more good data researched, the more
reliable will be your final conclusions. Now whip out your
spreadsheet and chart the numbers, or compute annualized rates of
return. Flat or negative trends are bad. Positive trends are
good. Steep positive trends are best. Any coin displaying a
proven annualized growth pattern of at least 5-10% over a span of
many years qualifies as an attractive option for the collector
desiring coins headed for much higher price levels a few years
down the road.
During the course of my lengthy numismatic career, I've
researched the long term value trends of most collectible US
coins. Thanks to my trusty computer, I've calculated annualized
compounded percentage return rates and honed in on a handful of
coins that have consistently beaten the overall coin market
averages. Unfortunately, the blue-chippers are scarcely
encountered. Perhaps it is this fact that explains why so many
well-intentioned hobby purists scorn the idea of blending coin
collecting with the profit motive.
Individuals whose objective is to satisfy their numismatic
pleasure by assembling a collection certain to be the envy of
tomorrow's collectors must do their homework today. Remember to
research historic value trends and evaluate growth potential
based on previous performance. One last word of advice? never
loose sight of the fact that you are handling artifacts of
America's past, and that all of us are merely their temporary
custodians. Respect these coins and the history they represent,
and you'll always discover new avenues of adventure not found in
most other investment opportunities.
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