Reading between the lines on coins

A LOOK at the latest Access Economics survey on returns for collectibles leaves one with the impression that coins are anything but an attractive investment proposition.

The survey, considered a must-read for dealers promoting their wares, indicates that coin prices rose by around 30 per cent over the past five years, putting it almost on par with Perth house prices and well below the return on Australian banknotes, thoroughbreds, stamp errors and Australian art.

But Rare Coin Company consultant Tom Bishop said the Access figures should be taken in context, as they have lumped both the commemorative coins being struck by the Perth Mint and others with rare, historic coins.

Mr Bishop said that, when viewed in isolation, rare coins performed just as strongly as banknotes. Banknotes were the best preforming asset class over the past decade, according to the Access report.

“They [the Perth Mint] are putting new coins out every five minutes. There is an overabundance of them at the present time,” Mr Bishop said.

While commemorative contemporary coins are not rising in value, Mr Bishop said it was a different story for other coins, which were averaging annual growth of between 13 per cent and 17 per cent.

According to Barrie Winsor of rare coin dealers Monetarium, older pre-decimal and pre-Federation coins would continue to perform well as the interest from investors and collectors increased while the pool of available coins remained constant, if not diminished.

According to Monetarium, an 1813 Holey dollar 5 shilling is fetching up to $42,500 today compared with $900 just 30 years ago.

A 1930s penny and halfpenny proof could be bought for $130 in 1970, but now fetches around $12,000.

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