Monday, December 29, 2014
Martin Armstrong opines on Ancient coins as an investment:
A number of people have been inquiring about coins as an investment for parking money. Keep in mind that the best market for coins or stamps tend to be the country of origin. Thus, US coins will bring the highest prices in the USA just as German will bring the best price in Germany.
There are some markets that are international. That is Art where in the late 1980s, the Japanese began buying famous art at huge prices. Ryoei Saito had purchased Vincent van Gogh’s: “Portrait of Doctor Gachet”, (1890) paying $82.5 million back in 1990 (Inflation adjusted price: $146,8 million). Note: Saito lost a fortune in the Japanese Depression and the whereabouts of the painting are now unknown).
Ancient Coins are in that same category where the market is truly international. The biggest buyers these days are in China and Russia. Many famous people collected Ancient Coins from President Teddy Roosevelt but there was also the American coin collection of US president John Quincy Adams, Many American billionaires also formed famous Ancient Coin collections, notably J.P. Morgan, Calouste Gulbenkian, William Randolph Hearst, J. Paul Getty, and Nelson Bunker Hunt (whose collection was auctioned off by Sothebys shown above). King Farouk I of Egypt assembled a massive coin collection.
Perhaps the earliest known major collector was the Roman Emperor Augustus. Nearly all of the great European national collections were first formed privately by kings and nobility who were often avid collectors. Lorenzo de’ Medici, the patron of the Renaissance, was one of the most notable ancient coin collectors of his time. Even the Catholic popes formed outstanding private collections which are now the core of the current Vatican collections. And many important scientists and scholars, such as Sigmund Freud and Desmond Morris, have also formed fine collections. In our own time many famous personalities such as Buddy Ebsen, Elton John and Tina Turner, to mention just a few, have also been avid collectors. There were other collectors of stamps right down to Calvin Klein.
The Ancient Coin market is international and way under priced compared to US coins, but far broader in the scope of collectors coming from truly around the world. There will be such a gathering at a show in New York City come January. The US coin market holds the record for prices paid with a 1794 US Silver Dollar fetching more than $10 million (seek Stacks Bower Sale)..
The most expensive painting was the 2011 sale for $250 million of PAUL CÉZANNE“The Card Players”, 1892/93 (Inflation adjusted price: $258,4 million). Seller: George Embiricos. Buyer: Royal Family of Qatar.
The same trend is impacting art and collectibles.
Rare coins are becoming rarer as those who have them just hold and the supply continues to shrink. Every field is pretty much the same story. Nobody wants to sell for then what do you do with the cash?
Many emails have come in asking if we can assist in obtaining high-end ancient coins since they are an international item and movable without tariffs. I realize this may be in many respects safer than just metals and diamonds for transport. But I am not sure there is enough of a supply even available of coins $10,000+. Most seem to go to auction where they know they can get big bucks. Here is a Naxos tetradrachm, probably the finest known that would probably bring $1 million+ today. If there are any hoards that appear, I typically get a phone call.
We will keep everyone in mind since so many are looking to get “off the grid” these days and ancient coins are not likely to be confiscated as was the case with gold..