Understanding Numismatics

11/27/2012 7:00 am EST


Modern Commemorative Coins author Eric Jordan discusses numismatics and shares his thoughts on how one might get started in this "hobby of kings."

What is numismatics; and should you be involved in that? Today we are talking with our guest, Eric Jordan, on that topic. Eric, what is this?

Numismatics is the collection of exceptional items; basically coinage. People like to collect things, and they like to collect things that are scarce and interesting to them. Numismatics; they called it the "hobby of kings." It struck on what is money—has been money—for 5,000 years.

All that numismatics is, is people saying well, I want to collect in some type of format. Numismatics—if you look back over the last 100 years—and I did a great deal of research on this—numismatics grow the best from the generation you live in. The greatest coin opportunities are in your lifetime; you buy them while they are infants; while they are young; while they are inexpensive.

It can be as simple as getting the annual offerings listing from the United States Mint. You get that; you look through it; you pay attention to the weekly sales report that comes out and things like Numismatic News; and you pick the low mintage issues.

Now—me in particular—I like to collect proof Platinum Eagles. They are Platinum Eagles. You notice children are all collecting 50-state quarters; National Park quarters, and presidential dollars. They’ve got a stable face and a changing reverse, right? That’s what the younger generation is being taught to collect.

Well, the mint offers high-end expressions of that...for example, the proof platinum eagles. They have a Statue of Liberty reverse, and it changes reverse each year. Well, I collect that. I buy one every year. I buy them for just over the price of the metal that they are struck on, and I just wait for them to mature. They normally mature over a cycle of about 15 to 50 years.

Now if a person is looking to get into this in some kind of low-cost way perhaps, what is a good idea?

The finest way possible is the silver eagle. It is very easy to acquire. They are inexpensive. They have a full ounce of silver in them. They are absolutely beautiful. They have the fastest growing collector ranks of any coinage worldwide, other than maybe some of the Chinese issues, and there is a tremendous amount of opportunity.

The mint is offering every year now very low mintage special issues that you can buy directly from them for very low cost. They run about $60 to $70 apiece, and if they do anything like the older dollars in that mintage class, they could easily be $500 issues over the next ten to 15 years.

Very interesting; so good opportunity for appreciation here.

Excellent; and like I said, you are buying it close to the value of the metal, so your risks are very few.
Look, bankruptcy for a coin is the melt value. Bankruptcy for a stock is zero. So you are starting out; if you are buying just over bankruptcy value of the coin and you have the potential to run five, ten, 15 times melt, it is a wonderful place to be.

And it is really not hard. I mean, a grandmother that wants to buy something for grandchildren, it is a great thing to do. Unlike most of the gifts you give people that end up junk, this stuff can go on and put them through college or help them when they have financial hardship over the next 20 years. It is a life jacket.

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