There are three things to consider when investing in collectibles. We like to refer to them as, The Keys to the Kingdom. Whether it’s purely for pleasure, to gain status or prestige, or for potential long-term profit, these three keys should be considered if you’d like to have success with your collection.
The number one thing we recommend is to buy well-known collectibles. If you buy coins that no one has any interest in but you, they won’t have any value to anyone but you. Buy coins that other people are collecting – coins that the demand is high on. Let’s say you’ve decided to collect, for example, movie posters. Many people collect vintage movie posters, and you’ve found two vintage movie posters in mint condition. The first, is a Gone with the Wind poster, and the second illustrates how to drive a military tank. Which poster might fetch a better price at auction for you? Obviously, the Gone with the Wind poster. It is much more well-known, so the demand will be higher and you’ll likely profit more with little time or effort on your end. So, you want to buy well-known collectibles, that’s number one.
Number two is quality. We always say, buy the highest quality that you can afford. Coins are graded on a scale of 1-70; 1 is like a penny you put on the railroad tracks and the train runs over, and 70 is the absolute flawless, finest example known. For this example, let’s talk automobiles instead. Let’s say you’ve got a ‘57 Chevy that’s sitting out in the farmer’s field, and there’s really nothing left but the rust bucket. There’s still some value – it’s a ’57 Chevy! It can be restored. But if you’ve got a ’57 Chevy that’s still underneath the tarp on the dealer’s show floor, that’s never even been taken out on even one single ride… that’s got a lot more value that the same one out in the farmer’s field! Various grades of a coin (1-70, as mentioned earlier) can dramatically affect what the average selling price on that coin would be. Sometimes there will be a 65-grade, Mint-state coin, and it can have an average selling price of $10,000! But a Mint 64-grade of that same coin, just one grade lower, can list at only a thousand dollars. There’s a HUGE swing in the pricing of a coin with just one grade point difference, in many instances. If you’ve found a coin you like –it’s got the things you’re looking for, it’s a well-known collectible, lots of people are interested in that coin– and you can afford to purchase the highest grade available coin, buy it! It’s a great piece to add to your portfolio. But if you can’t afford the highest grade available coin, buy the highest grade that you can afford. It’s still a great coin to own. So always try to buy the highest quality that you can afford.
The final thing we talk about in the Three Keys to the Kingdom, is changeovers. Changeovers can be a little tricky. What the heck is a changeover? A changeover is when something changes within a series of coins. For instance, take the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle. From 1849-1907, the $20 gold coin maintained the same design, with no part of the coin changing besides the date on the bottom. The obverse had a portrait of Lady Liberty, and the reverse had the flag-chested Eagle. But in 1907, Teddy Roosevelt had been the president for a while, and he was sick of those Liberty-style designs. He commissioned a private sculptor by the name of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and their goal was to create the most beautiful gold coin in the world. 1907 is the only year that the United States Mint struck two different $20 gold coins. It was the last year of the Liberty-style design, and the first year of the new Saint-Gaudens design, which is absolutely beautiful. It features Lady Liberty marching down the trail to freedom. She’s holding the liberty branch in one hand, and she’s got the torch in the other hand. So that’s a changeover. Collectors love the “first of” and the “last of,” as well as special anniversary edition. When something changes with a coin it can become a huge opportunity. Collectors love firsts and lasts!
With over 30 years of numismatic experience and knowledge, our full-time specialists have earned a solid reputation for customer satisfaction throughout today’s complex market. This is not a journey to be taken alone. We love to help our clients expand their success, and gain insight in the world of collectibles. Contact one of our experts today!