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December 16, 2011


Collecting-Investing: A Box of Twenty – The Idea
By Mike Sussman



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.


One compelling reason to get started is that on October 31st it was announced that four new rare coin investment funds will be formed by a management company that will add $250 million to the rare coin market. It is believed that this infusion of new investment capital will encourage the market to reach new levels. It has also been speculated that the presence of institutional investors will allow individual rare coins to break the $10 million barrier.


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. Of course they do not include the influence of the new coin investment funds. 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.



Mike can be reached at mikesussman@usrarecoininvestments.com or call us at 1-800-624-1870.


Happy Hunting
,

Tom Pilitowski
www.usrarecoininvestments.com
Toll Free:
1-800-624-1870
Email: TomPilitowski@yahoo.com

 

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