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Why Rare Coins Are Flourishing (Even in a Down Economy)

September 26, 2012592 view(s)

Millions of people around the world are fans of rare coins, and despite the way that global economies may be dragging, the market for these incredible pieces of history continues to be strong.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, in the United States alone the annual sales for rare coins are around $5 billion, and people are still buying coins of all kinds regardless of the economic pressures being faced today. This means that when 10 exceptionally sought after gold coins were seized by the federal government earlier this year, the news was worthy of making headlines across the nation.

These particular coins were from the 1930s; they are from a time when all gold coins were to be melted down into gold bars by order of the government. The government took the coins' owners to court, the relatives of a coin dealer that had owned them, and won.

The value of these rare coins likely attributed to the government's zeal, noted the WSJ stating, "If the $20 'Double Eagle' coins ever went on the market, they would fetch millions each. One that had passed through the collection of King Farouk of Egypt sold in 2002 at Sotheby's for $7.6 million."

Today, collectors buying coins are often purchasing far less valuable pieces for their collections, with the lower end of the market ranging in value from $500 to $10,000 each. This segment of the market dropped slightly during the recession, but those 100 coins are considered the rarest to fetch an average of more than $200,000 a piece in 2011.

This shows that the market for very rare specimens is not heavily impacted by the overall economic state. Of course, this comes as no surprise since fine art and other highly coveted items experience a similar ability to hold or even increase their value when times are tough.

The WSJ's article went on to state that specimens such as the 1787 Brasher doubloon, minted before there was a mint in the United States and resembling its Spanish counterpart, are so rare that having them can bring a great deal of prestige.

One particular coin of this type had been discovered in a Philadelphia sewer and went on to be owned by famed newspaper publishing legend William Randolph Hearst. A coin of that legendary status can fetch over $7 million, as one did at auction in 2011.

The fascinating stories behind these coins help to drive up their level of intrigue and make them more desirable to collectors, but the beauty of the coins themselves, as well as the value of the precious metals they often contain, contribute to their overall worth. 1804 silver dollars, 1913 Liberty Head nickels and more are all famed for their multi-million dollar values, making them highly prized among those in the coin collecting community.

What remains clear is that rare coins definitely have a future no matter what the economy does and can be one more part of an investor's overall portfolio. Their place in history, their incredible design and their small size make them an interesting choice for those who would like to move beyond stocks, bonds and other traditional investments.

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