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Sunday, March 20, 2016

How to Buy Coins and Medals Part II

How to Buy Coins and Medals Part II

Let's say you have an overview that suggests this is a good time to buy hard assets, and you have a particular affinity for numismatics.

Let's say you're interested in an investment and not simply the joy of a hobby.

Where to begin?

First Consideration: Historical Importance.

The first and foremost reason any hard asset has value is that it is considered to be Historically Important by some standard.  Most usually because it is associated with a Person or Event.   Anything that belonged to associated with Juilus Caesar, or John Lennon, or Geroge Washington, or Alexander the Great or Jesus Christ, to name a few.

Secondly perhaps because it is associated with a intriguing historical period.  A Civil War uniform, the Gutenberg Bible, A Corinthian Helmet,  A Tyrannosaurus skeleton etc.

Third, it may be important because the craftsmanship is second to none:  A Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, A fender stratocaster, A Patek Philippe, A Lalique Cactus Table, A Badminton Cabinet, etc.

Historical Importance confers INTRINSIC VALUE.  This is the major asset of the Hard Asset.

Second Consideration: Rarity.

If Julius Caesar wore a different helmet every day of his military life and all seven thousand of them had been preserved in a Roman Museum which existed to this day, and these were all available on the open market, A Julius Caesar War Helmet would still not be nearly as valuable as it would if only one or two existed.

Third Consideration: Condition.

To many this is as important or even more important that rarity.  Let's say there were seven thousand Julius Caesar War helmets on the open market.  The ones in the best condition would be worth many times that of those in lesser condition.

Let's say only one Alexander the Great War Helmet existed but it was in far worse condition that the worst of the Caesar helmets.  Would it be worth more than the finest Caesar War Helmet?  Probably, but not necessarily.    Condition is certainly very important to many collector/investors.

Fourth Consideration: Beauty 

Beauty is fourth only because it is by far the hardest to quantify.  Yet Beauty is terribly important because it is also confers INTRINSIC VALUE.  

In the case of the Seven Thousand Caesar Helmets, if one, for example, had been inlaid with a finely crafted scene depicting Caesar's marriage to Calpurnia with beautiful renderings of those two standing in front of a intricate temple scene, well you can imagine how much more valuable this might be than the other Caesar Helmets.

And if such a Helmet from the period existed though we didn't know whom was depicted, it still might be worth more than the finest Caesar Helmet.  Beauty, though subjective, counts.

Next - How to apply these four conditions to Numismatics

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