Investing in Coins
By Eric Hammer
For most people, investing in coins is just a hobby, not a
profession. However, that doesnt mean that your hobby cant
become a profession. As with anything else, those who collect
coins do need someone to purchase their collections from and
you could easily become that someone. The key is to gain tremendous
knowledge in the industry and thus become the go to guy for people
who are looking for specific coins that they happen to need to
complete their collection.
You will also need to start learning where to purchase wholesale
coins. The key here is to find out about the places that sell
them to the dealers, where you get the raw, untouched piles of
coins that have been dug out of the ground (if you are dealing
in ancient coins more on that in a moment). You then sort
them and grade them in order to sell them to the collecting population.
Of course, the above applies to ancient coins, mostly from
places like Rome, Greece and the Byzantine Empire. There are
however also people who make a living investing in coins from
more recent periods of history, including early American coins
and medieval and Renaissance era European coins.
In all cases, youll want to work with professional coin
appraisers to get the coins graded and authenticated.
How Much Can You Make?
The majority of people who work in the world of coin collecting
do so not because they view it purely as a job but because they
happen to be fascinated by coins. Therefore, while there are
some dealers who end up earning high six figure salaries, most
people who deal in ancient coins earn much more modest salaries,
in the range of $20K-50K per year with many people working in
the field part time.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Dealing in ancient and collectible coins often leads people
naturally into other areas of collecting. Stamps and paper money
are popular things to consider working with as these are also
commonly traded and tend to fit naturally when you start a store
which deals in coins. Others branch out even further, dealing
in other antiques and antiquities, including such things as ancient
glass and pottery and more recent medieval trinkets and the like.
Another good place to look for additional income when working
in coins is jewelry; in spite of the fact that a coin may be
two thousand years old and date from the time of Jesus, it may
not be a particularly valuable coin, since it is common and made
of bronze rather than silver or gold. However, that same coin
can fetch many times its worth when made into a fashionable piece
of jewelry that a woman might wear as a pendant or that a man
might wear as a pair of unique cuff links. Medallions and commemorative
coins are also popular options for investors.
Take the time to read industry magazines on coin collecting
and be sure to purchase books with pictures that will help you
in identifying coins. As someone who is involved in investing
in coins for a living, you will often need to be able to identify
a coin exactly and you will need to be able to help people to
Another idea to consider, though few coin dealers do this
since they need to become truly well known as experts is to specialize
in a specific era of coins. For example, there are some deals
who make money investing in coins from the time of the American
Revolutionary War and only from that time period, ignoring everything
else. The trouble is that you have to be truly expert in the
field in order to make a living specializing only in one particular
area of coin collecting, though if you do become known as such
an expert, you can often earn much more than someone who is a
generalist in the field.
Qualifications / Requirements
While no formal training is required to deal in coins, it
helps to have a background in numismatics and ideally to have
a degree in the subject or at least in a related subject such
as art history. You can also take some formal courses in appraisal
which will help you to identify and grade coins. In addition,
you may take courses to become certified as an appraiser by the
American Numismatics Society so that you can earn money not just
from investing but also from appraising.
Start by visiting coin dealers and asking questions. Most
coin dealers are also collectors and experts in their fields
they will generally enjoy discussing their hobby with
people who are interested in it and will be happy to help you
get off the ground in your own business.
- Overview of investing in coins.
- A collection of articles on the subject.
- Coin collector magazine.