Friday, July 29, 2011

Don't Miss My Latest: How To Make Money By Making Money

For some time now I've been a columnist for Joey Skagg's famous Art of the Prank web site, writing about various sorts of fakes and frauds. THE LATEST is on fake Chinese collectible coins, a multi-million-dollar racket.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rare Coin Investment: The Path to Huge Profits?

If you are among those who browse the Internet in search of coin information, undoubtedly you encounter various pitches for rare coins as investibles. Here is a comment from the newsletter of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society, from a larger piece on the current Double Eagle trial, that has bearing:

(Double Eagle trial coverage is) the kind of story, one of intrigue around the tremendous value in coins that had been sitting untouched for decades, that lures people into coins as an investment. Coin dealers like Goldine and Numis Network, which is actually a multilevel marketing outfit that deals in coins, tout the financial benefits of coin collecting.

And in a way it makes sense: What could be better than collecting money?

But here’s the reality: With the exception of exceptionally rare coins in excellent condition, they have generally proven to be an unremarkable investment. And, as’s coin expert warns readers, the more hyped up a coin is, the worse of an investment it will tend to be. One piece of advice: Please, please, please stay away from the “modern commemorative” coins — a series of “rare” coins produced by the US Mint beginning in 1982. These are made to be collector’s items and so everyone who wants them buys them and keeps them in mint condition. It’s unlikely that a powerful secondary market for them will ever develop (see, for instance, collectible plates).

The story of this lawsuit will likely be used by more than a few coin dealers hocking the dream of a family fortune from rare coin investment. But most of the value in coins comes from dealing them to unsophisticated buyers, not from buying them.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

$16-Million Worth of Mexican Silver Still Buried in Southern Virginia?

Following the surrender of Robert E. Lee, the authors tell us, there remained some gold and "39 kegs of Mexican silver dollars" in the Confederate treasury.In an article for History News Network they explained that these "were coins that the Confederacy received through the sale of cotton to Mexico. The Mexican coins had been transported to Danville, Virginia," as Confederacy President Jefferson Davis and his entourage fled south. The 9,000 pounds of silver became burdensome. "For this reason," the authors say, "the coins were almost certainly buried in Danville, and evidence suggests, they remain there today."
There is much more to the book than just the treasure tale; it chronicles a clandestine effort to keep the Confederacy alive despite the military defeat. But for those of us following the price of silver and its effect on coin collecting, those kegs of Mexican reales provide intriguing points to ponder. For instance, if the book was published in 2008 then it was written even earlier -- is $16-million still a valid guess at the value?