Couple those two facts together and you get a poor return financially. Numismatic items have their return in personal enjoyment, not financial unless you are a dealer typically.
Lots of great thoughts on this thread OP. Now, put a gun to me head and make me answer it, I would say a superlatively high grade ancient silver coin. My choice would either be a superb Alexander Tet from an unusual mint, (maybe Babylon), or a superb example of a nicer, (not too nice as $1000 would not cover it), Roman Republican denari. Ancients have been going up stronger than US coins for quite a while now, and superb condition coins are always popular with new collectors.