The rare coin business is a wonderful blend of art, history, artifactual amazement, treasure seeking, precious metals, trading and . . . cutthroat business. To engage in the rare coin marketplace, you must understand the complex world of numismatics. Below is the first part in a series to inform you how to approach rare coins and semi-numismatics to make, and not lose, money. We will explain the bonds that exist in the rare coin marketplace and how to leverage this knowledge to your advantage.
Part I: What Is It That I Want?
Finding enough time to learn every area of numismatics to be proficient in trading, buying and selling coins is difficult, even for professionals. The universe of coins is huge and this business has been around for a long, long time. So if your interest in coins includes making (and not losing) money, you need to go to coin shows, look at auctions, research the internet and find a general area that interests you. Examples of mainstream areas that people collect are:
- Morgan Dollars
- U.S. Type Coins (Mint State or Proof)
- U.S. Branch Mint Gold
- Proof Gold
- Early Half Cents/Large Cents
- Barber Coinage
- Territorial Gold
- Shipwreck Coinage
- Roman Gold and/or Roman Silver by Emperor
- U.S. Seated Coinage
These are just a few examples; the list of mainstream areas could easily pass 100. People are drawn to different areas for different reasons and that is fine. It’s similar to stocks– never buy anything on a tip, do your own homework and come to a final conclusion with which you are comfortable. One of the key things to understand about collecting rare coins is that you can have a great time doing it, become an expert in the process and make a handsome return if some basic guidelines are followed. “Knowledge is power,” and we all need it to have a chance of success.
The process of deciding what you want to collect will be a major factor in the next step of building your numismatic empire. In this beginning stage it is important to talk to reputable dealers, review auction catalogues, attend shows, go to local coin shops and possibly local coin clubs. All of this information will help you to pick an area, or areas, of interest. Never shun the potential of specialization; I know a guy who makes seven figures annually because he knows the numismatic information and market prices for U.S. mint errors. I also have a client that is building the world’s finest collection of Dong….Vietnamese Dong that is. The possibilities are endless!