Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by ancient coin hunter, Sep 6, 2019.
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All collectibles are a horrible investment. Wide buy/sell spread, lack of liquidity anywhere near real value, special collectibles tax rates, etc. For my sanity and to ensure I keep myself in check, I tell myself ALL money spent on coins is GONE. Its a current expense for my enjoyment, NOT an "investment". I buy land, houses, stocks, bonds, etc for investments, I buy coins for my fun, and the money is simply wasted on me, (not a bad thing, as long as your family is taken care of). If they wish to either keep my coins or sell them when I am gone, that is up to them.
I do have a list of dealers suggesting who to ship to if they want to sell in the SDB.
But I digress. Earlier this year I began having auctions to liquidate some of my collection. In general, I did not make any profit off the auctions, but I sold off about 30-40 coins. Having auctions is one way to remove coins, but I found it very time consuming and not a labor of love. I hated getting rid of most of the coins I sold. My thought was to do something like @jamesicus and just keep a few cherished coins. For many reasons, I have not had an auction for several months even though I keep telling myself it's necessary since none of my relatives are interested in continuing when I have passed over. Giving my coins to a museum is not an option for me.
The bottom line is that it's never been about investment for me. Just natural curiosity about history. I don't buy many top shelve coins, so my collection will never be considered as an investment.
Any hobby has its expenses : consider horse riding or yachting, how much it would cost you, and the return, if any, when you quit.
At least, you, or your heirs, can sell the collection and get some money, if not all the money. With the occasionnal good surprise of some of the coins fetching a good price at auction
Will it appreciate more than my wife's Lularoe legging collection? Definitely.
I collect for my own enjoyment, but it is comforting to know that coins aren't an asset that approaches $0 value over time, like my friends whose hobbies are cars and computers. As I upgrade pieces in my Roman collection, I sometimes get to observe whether a particular coin I bought years ago sold for higher or lower - Sometimes they go for much higher, usually they go for about the same, sometimes I get taken to the cleaners. I do however enjoy the process of hunting for coin job lots to buy and flip for a profit - If I really wanted to get a maximum return from my coins, I'd probably be better off buying, flipping, and investing the profits in the stock market.
In the big picture I view it in the same way many of you probabaly do. To illustrate I'll pick on avid golfers. They spend big bucks on clubs, related equipment/clothing, green fees, sometimes country club membership fees and/or pro golf lessons, plus in many cases travel. A 2009 survey by Golf Magazine showed the average golfer spent $2,776 per year (in 2009 dollars). That means at the end of a decade they would have spent nearly $28,000 and have in-hand assets of maybe $2,000 in clubs and related equipment/clothing.
Had that $28,000 been spent on wise/knowledgeable coin purchases, one could expect a wholesale value of at least 50%. I'll take $14K over $2K any day.
2009 survey of the American golfer conducted by Golf Magazine
p.s.: Some of my best friends are avid golfers. One is also an avid ancient coin collector. He has more money than I do. ;-) Point being: I'm not dissing golf. It is a great way to get hours of entertainment and physical exercise. But ancient coin collecting is a great way to get hours of entertainment and mental exercise -- along with growth in knowledge of numismatics, history, ancient languages, and more! :-D
Golf is not one of my favorite hobbies. When I worked in management at a large Fortune 500 company playing golf with the big boss was obligatory. I get your point about an "investment" in golf - definitely an expensive pastime and not at all an investment.
My general rule is to never pay more for something than I am sure I can sell it for after fees, with just a few exceptions involving items I couldn't live without. Obviously the preference is to locate sleepers listed poorly and win them for peanuts, which is way easier with antiquities versus coins for me. So accounting for the fakes, losses and mistakes/bad gambles I'm quite certain that I could liquidate every coin and artifact today and at least double my money after fees. Not sure if that constitutes an investment but that's the tale I spin for the wife. We'll see in my next 32 years if values appreciate any.
That said, I do have a plan for selling written up that stays with my coins in my SDB. It includes contact emails for a few collectors and notes about who has expressed interest in particular coins as well as a storage device with photos and information about the entire collection including all provenance, IDs etc and all the coins are stored with all the info a dealer or auction house would need to list them. At the end is contact info for a trusted dealer who has offered to sell what's left at a reasonable commission and is familiar with the collection(and has promised to keep provenance, tickets and notes with all coins). I think it's very important to have a disposal plan of some sort. I'm young and will likely have to update mine multiple times in the future but it's important to me that my coins find new homes and that it's as easy as possible for my wife to sell them if something happens to me. To me that's more important than making sure they get sold for top dollar.
Collecting coins will always retain some value, the only question will be how much at the time and place one decides to sell.
I have aways been open with my opinion on the matter of investing in ancient coins. It’s generally a bad idea for the majority of collectors. It can be done (and very easily) but it takes a lot of time, education, research, etc. Most people are not willing to put in what it takes to make it work. One major factor is risk, which is much higher than traditional investments. Another which is hard to bypass is emotion. As collectors we often get obsessed about coins we are buying. This can lead us to pay entirely too much for a particular coin or coins.
My collection is made up primarily of coins that I was able to purchase well under average retail. A lot of times I decide to keep a coin rather than resell it because I know that I will never see another one that cheap in my lifetime. Without question when I do sell they will probably realize 5 times what I paid on average (I too have some coins I got emotional about and paid 5 times too much, but had to have).
So, yes, I think one can invest in coins and turn a very good profit, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Often one has to troll each and every auction in the world, week after week, year after year to spot the coins that will appreciate in value. Add to that searching fixed price dealers, coin shows, etc. Its time consuming and a full time job. Its one reason few do it.
Ancient coins have appeared in the market before. Anyone remember the Athena Fund? It was a disaster!
No! Perish the thought! Not me! Never, ever!!!
* wink-wink * nudge-nudge * if-you-know-what-I-mean *
Yea. I think we all know what you mean! The coin I bought this week I was prepared to pay double for. Luckily I didnt have to!
1.) I've never considered my collection as an investment and would never advise anyone to view their collection that way.
2.) If I were to sell my collection, in the appropriate auction with sufficient lead time, I would expect to do exceptionally well.
3.) In general, focused collections of ancient coins, formed over a few decades or more with taste and expertise, have performed quite nicely as "investments." Note the emphasis on "focused"; in my experience, collections built around a fairly narrow theme, especially those which can be considered to be the definitive exposition of that theme, have done much better as "investments" than have more general collections.
In my entire life of playing golf, I'll admit that I've never met anyone, golfer or non-golfer, who considered golf an investment. I certainly don't. Golf is an activity, like hiking, or traveling, or even gourmet dining, and while the expenditures for such activities are real, the benefits are pretty much intangible and I've never met a golfer who expects a financial return on his/her golfing activities or purchases.
Coin collecting, on the other hand, can qualify as both an activity and an investment.
If you regard your collection as an investment, you'll be subject to the collecting whims of the current and future tastes of coin collectors, with the concomitant volatility in prices and value if you ever need to liquidate those assets.
If you regard your collection as an activity to be enjoyed and make your life richer in an intangible sense, you'll come out ahead no matter how much your collection eventually sells for.
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