How to invest in coins
Ancient coins can
fetch tens of thousands of pounds each at
auction – we tell you how to invest in them and
make the most out of your pennies
International buyers have lifted the market. The
cheapest Roman and ancient British coins trade
for less than £5, but investors generally make
their profits at the top end of the market.
Ian Goldbart, managing director of coin dealer
AH Baldwin, also in central London, says: 'There
is more wealth in India, Russia and Arab nations
and collectors there are spending some of this
repatriating their coin heritage.
Over recent years, we have seen average price
increases of about ten per cent a year in the
quality coin market.'
What the experts say
Chris Webb, founder of coin auctioneer Dix
Noonan Webb in Mayfair, central London, is
chairman of the British Numismatic Trade
Association, which represents coin dealers.
'Coin collecting normally starts out as a hobby,
but if you are a discerning investor, there's a
good chance your collection will make money over
the years,' he says.
'There has been a revival in interest recently
and this has brought new buyers into the market
and has pushed up prices for quality coins.'
Where to go
Webb recommends investing via a BNTA dealer.
'You'll get expert advice and coins are
guaranteed to be genuine,' he says.
Clem Chambers is chief executive of stock market
information service ADVFN.com. He invests in
shares, but has been an avid coin collector for
more than 20 years. 'It started as a boyhood
interest in treasure-hunting with a metal
detector and then grew and grew,' he says.
Chambers, 43, primarily buys British coins
because he feels they are undervalued in
comparison to those from America.
'I try to buy the very best quality I can,' he
says. 'If I had £1,000 to spend, I would rather
buy a single coin than five at £200 each. I want
to buy a beautiful piece and then come back in
15 years to find it has appreciated five-fold.'
Another way to speculate on coins is to buy
shares in Avarae Global Coins. This Aim-listed
company invests solely in rare coins. It raised
£6.1m from its listing last year and another £6m
was raised this month. Investors include fund
managers Jupiter and Blackrock.
The fund buys coins at the top end of the market
- with an average value of £5,000. Its star
acquisition is a Gold Double Leopard minted in
the reign of Edward III in 1344, and is one of
only three in the world. This coin was bought at
auction in June 2006, for £460,000.
One attraction of buying shares in a fund is
that investors have no storage or security
issues. But investors will have to be patient.
The share price has been flat at 12¾p so far