Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coin Collecting

I continue to appreciate collecting coins and have been attending more shows recently with an interest in purchasing gold bullion. I consider these coins to be investments as the coinage has a significant commodity value in addition to its numismatic value. To understand the difference between the two consider an 1889 silver dollar produced at the New Orleans mint versus one from the Carson City mint. With silver at around $30/ounce, one could purchase the New Orleans coin for the price of silver ($27), but the Carson City coin would cost over $500 as only 350,000 were minted versus 11,875,000 for the New Orleans coin.

Similarly a half ounce gold eagle will cost around $730 based on the spot price of gold at $1380. The gold value is only $690 and there is a $40 premium for coinage. The premium for an early gold coin or proof coin would be higher as the result of higher numismatic value.

One fun way to collect modern coins is to purchase them directly from the mint in proof or uncirculated condition. I started collecting again about 10 years ago with annual coin sets and the occasional proof silver dollar. However in 2010 the US Mint produced over 100 unique coins once one considers the Denver and Philadelphia mints in Proof and Uncirculated condition, commemoratives, silver, gold and platinum coins. A complete set would have cost over $18,000.

As a result, I know longer collect all coinage. Instead I prefer coins with high aesthetic appeal along with some base value. I may one day regret not investing in coins from the mint, however I prefer to balance my investment between modern coins and early U.S. issues.

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