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Investing in Coins

Collecting, Investing: Box of Twenty - The Idea

Several years ago a well known professional coin dealer proposed the idea of putting together a Box of Twenty key coins as vehicle for good potential in the future. Twenty coins spread over different series are diversified enough so that if one does not perform well, the others can make up the difference. It’s well known that not all rare coins appreciate in value at the same time. Some remain dormant, some depreciate in value, some increase modestly, and some rocket into the stratosphere. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew the rockets in advance? Since we only know them in retrospect, it makes sense to choose a group of pieces that are fundamentally or conditionally rare so that any downside risk is outweighed by the upward movement of a few of the superstars in the group. Now is an excellent time to compile your Box of Twenty.

A fundamentally rare coin is one that had a very limited mintage. All regularly issued business strike and proof coins with mintages under 10,000 pieces are fundamentally rare in any condition obtainable. This category includes all early gold and silver coinage as well as some copper and nickel pieces. For example all of the quarter eagles of 1796 to 1807 are in this category. The largest mintage was in 1807 with 6,812 pieces. Both PCGS and NGC have certified 254 pieces in all grades, and these numbers do not account for crossovers or resubmissions. Obviously no more than 254 collectors could have one of these certified coins, making them always in demand. Yet mintages of other years are significantly lower. The next highest, 1804, is less than half at 3,327. Both services have 147 combined including both 13-Star and 14-Star reverses. All early date quarter eagles are fundamentally rare and would make an excellent choice for a box of twenty.

A conditionally rare coin is one that has a large mintage but saw much circulation and is common in circulated grades but rare in uncirculated or almost uncirculated condition. An example is the 1861 half eagle. It had a mintage of 688,084, making it a fairly common date. In circulated grades it retails for less than $600. Yet in Mint State 65 it lists for $37,050 and in MS66 a whopping $71,500. Clearly upper mint state grades of this coin are desirable because they are conditionally rare. NGC has certified 1456 in total but only 8 in MS65 and 2 in MS66. PCGS has 715 in total with 7 in MS65 and 1 in MS66. While these examples are sufficient to make the point, there are numerous other examples one could choose.

Some coins appreciate slowly in value and others jump up quickly. For example, the 1860-O silver dollar increased from $5,560 to $6,940 since July 2005; however, if we look at the 1860-O in MS65, we see an increase from $16,880 to $35,930 in that same period of time.

The foregoing are isolated examples of the kinds of changes in value that quality selected coins can undergo over time, and these examples are taken only over the past five years. A box of twenty well chosen pieces held over time will yield some spectacular results, and the time to begin with your twenty might never be better than it is now.


Box of Twenty Proof Coins

Box of Twenty CAC Colonial Coins

US Rare Coin Investments 2003 - 2015 U.S. Rare Coin Investments

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