Gold, silver and other precious metals have long captured the desire of cultures and people around the world. It is no surprise then, around the 5th or 6th century, various cultures turned these metals into currency. The invention of coins is still shrouded in mystery, but most credit their invention to the Kingdom of Lydia, located in modern day Western Turkey. The idea quickly took root and spread like wildfire until eventually, coins were prevalent in every society around the globe.
The first coins were made of Electrum, an alloy of silver and gold, but quickly other metals were introduced. Most of these early coins were irregular in size but were minted to a strict weight standard. From Lydia electrum coinage soon spread to Greece and then into mainland Europe, India and China. Coins quickly became the most popular form of currency through-out the world. Almost as quickly as the invention of coins about, people began to hoard coins for their value. The earliest known collection of coins was found in 1904-1905 at the Temple of Artemis. The hoard consisted of 19 coins placed in a small pot and buried alongside another 74 coins in the foundations of the temple dating back to 600 BC.
In the year 2000, the largest hoard of British Iron Age coins was discovered in southeast England. Named the Hallaton Treasure, due to its location near the village of Hallaton, over 5,000 ancient silver coins were found. One of these coins dated back to 211 BCE, which makes it the oldest coin ever found in Great Britain.
One of the rarest coins in the world is the Persian Daric. First introduced to the Persian Empire by King Darius l, the Daric was a thick gold coin which equaled the value of 20 silver coins. The coin was made of very high quality gold, having a purity of 95% and it bore the image of a great Persian warrior armed with a bow and arrow. The use of the Daric ended after the invasion of Alexander the Great in 330 BC. Most of the Darics were rounded up and melted down to be remade into coins for Alexander. This is believed to be the main reason that the Daric is so rare, in spite of their widespread usage at the time.
Although coins are going out of favor in today’s world for everyday use in most transactions due to the emergence of paper money and, even more recently, credit or debit cards, they still offer an amazing link to our past in the form of collections. Rare coins can add excellent value to any portfolio and make for a great hobby for any individual or family. There are many advantages to coins like their tangibility, possible metal value, ease of transportation, how easy they are to transfer from one party to another, and the ability to collect and purchase them without having to report them to the government. Rare coins have many more benefits, but sometimes it may seem hard to find a place to start a collection.
The first thing you need to know are the two ways in which a coin’s value is measured. Coins are measured by their bullion value and their numismatic value. The bullion value is measured by the physical value of the metal content of the coin. For many this is the simplest and best way to start collecting coins. Buying coins with a higher precious metal content in bulk can help grow your collection quickly and often the coins are quite good looking too, such as American Gold Eagles or Canadian Maple Leaf Silver Coins. Numismatic value measures the value based on collector value, this is harder to measure and varies on factors such as number of coins minted, coin condition, and buyer’s sentiment. In many cases a coins value can be measured by both bullion and numismatic value.
Starting your collection with bulk bullion coins is a great way to jump start your collection. You can also start out with some mix value coins that have both numismatic and bullion value, such as American Silver Dollars or Pre-1933 Gold Coins. These have both antique and metal value that add to the coins’ overall value. Our website has several bullion options to look over in both gold and silver, add a few of these to your collection to help it grow.
Perhaps the best way to grow your collection is to do your research and look for a good buy. You can buy bulk sets of ‘junk silver coins’ from online retailers that occasionally have extremely rare coins included in them as their sellers are interested in the bulk silver value more, after looking through the coins you too can sell the rest for their bullion value. Often times rare coins that also have a high silver bullion content can be found such as the 1950-D overmintmark Franklin half dollar or the 1961-D doubled die reverse Roosevelt Dime. The 1942/1-D Mercury dime has even gone for over $400 after being picked from a junk purchase. There are other great places to look for coins at great value such as, estate sales, auctions, antique stores, and swap meets. Estate sales and home auctions are often an excellent place to find antiques and old collection items. People often hold on to items of significance such as coins from ancient times passed down through generations or even entire coin collections that end up at auction when there is no one left to pass them on to. Depending on the auction, sale, and area, amazing deals can often be found. Often there are a low amount of bidders and several items creating a large amount of distraction and caution for buyers. With the right strategy and knowledge of the coins these can be great avenues for to grow your collection economically.
Another great way to decide what coins to collect first is based on your sentiment. Many collectors collect based on a coin’s numismatic value and start with collecting one type or series of coins. Perhaps you enjoy the look and historic appeal of the wheat pennies. Starting by collecting all years and mints of wheat pennies would then be an excellent place to start your collection. This is referred to as collecting a series of coins, the simplest form being one coin from every year the series was issued. Perhaps you just like old coins or a specific date, you could then collect every style of coin from that specific year or mint date. Many collectors also collect by theme, for example you could collect all coins from a specific country or region, or all American coins featuring the Eagle. There are so many ways collectors choose to form their collections, it is important to know there is no wrong way as long as the collection brings you joy and you have a system.
A system of storage for your new coin collection is also an important aspect of your new collection. If not properly stored your coins can begin to deteriorate very quickly for several reasons. The biggest enemy to a coin is humidity. Copper and silver are two commonly used metals in coin production and both also react chemically with water. Temperature, acids, and improper handling can also cause major damage and deterioration to your coins. This deterioration can lead to significant loss in value of the coins. Proper storage of any valuable item is key to maintaining its value. Coins can be stored easily in cases or even in folders with specially designed pockets. Individual air-tites and plastic slip covers are a great way to individually store your coins and keep them safe. Be sure to check that the materials you are using for storage are designed for coins and are not made with any harmful chemicals or acids. Acids found in the production of common products like cardboard can be extremely harmful to many coins, check your storage products and make sure they are designed for coin storage. It is important to remember to handle coins with care and touch only the edges when handling as your hands contain damaging oils that can compromise the integrity of the coin. Wearing a pair of cotton gloves when handling coins, or again only touching the coin’s edges is highly recommended. Coins should never be cleaned or washed as it detracts from the coins’ historic value and could damage the coin further.
Collecting coins can be a fun hobby and great way to diversify your investments. Here at Tangible Investments, we can help with everything from appraisal of your new coins, to advice on buying, to selling your collection. We offer a wide variety of extremely rare coins, currency, and bullion for sale. Our services include coin grading by the world’s most prestigious service, consignment and auction sales at the top places in the country, and free appraisals. We are founded by Silvano DiGenova, world-renowned coin collector and creator of the Professional Coin Grading Service. With the highest rated coin collector at the helm, we employ only the best to meet such high standards. You can insure that when you come to us for your coin collecting needs you are in the best of hands. Tangible Investments Inc. is the highest rated coin dealer and we are here to help you with all your coin collecting needs!