Classic coins worth a mint

November 17, 2012 in Coins, Collecting, Gold, Gold Coins, Investing, Silver, Silver Coins

Tony Glover (

Nov 17, 2012

Investing in old coins can reap good returns, especially if you know your history. But experts say novice collectors may have difficulty recognising key elements such as quality, rarity and market demand. Tony Glover reports

Anyone boarding a plane with tens of millions of US dollars worth of rare coins in their pocket while only appearing to carry a pocket full of loose change is likely to be either a successful criminal or a keen numismatist.

Numismatics is the study or collection of currencies, and the collectors of rare coins are known as numismatists or numatists. Some are wealthy investors, while others only want to hold a piece of history in the palm of their hand.

According to Rick Pontario, the executive vice president of Stack’s Bowers and Pontario, a major global auctioneer of ancient coins, rare coins have historically been a good investment over a 10-year period.

“Quality, rarity and demand are the key factors,” says Mr Pontario.

A favoured way of establishing a coin’s value without selling it at auction is called “slabbing”.

This involves having a coin valued by a professional on the grounds of quality, rarity and demand, and placed in a sealed transparent classic case to preserve its condition.

But while this service may be reassuring for the novice collector, professionals in the business of rare coins are sceptical of the true value of slabbing.

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