By Robert Taylor
Quite often I’m asked, ” What should I collect for myself or my children?”
In today’s stamp and coin hobbies, there are two answers to that common question.
The first answer is if you want to “collect”, then find areas within stamps and coins that appeal to you personally. Perhaps it is some of the beautiful mint and proof coin sets sold by the U.S. Mint. Or, it may be all the new stamps created each year and sold by the U.S. Government Postal Department or the local post offices.
Unfortunately, your financial investment into that type of “collecting” may not prove beneficial. Today I see many issues of mint and proof coins sold in the mid-1980’s selling for less than their issue price. The same can be said for stamps. Many familiar with that market know that stamps post 1940 have very little financial value but always have a collection value to some people. Within auction sites such as Ebay, sheets of real postage stamps can be bought for about 80% of their face value. That to me is quite amazing indeed. Even 100 stamp rolls of Liberty Bell 50 cent “forever” stamps can be purchased for $45 and includes free shipping!
Okay…..that’s the bad news. What’s the good news?
The second and recommended answer is that If you want to “collect” stamps and coins, then purchase investment grade material. Both coins and stamps have issues where prudent purchases can not only give you solid “collecting” satisfaction but an added dimension of an investment comes into play.
Collecting semi-rare or rare material should allow you grow your investment and at the same time, give you that extra added satisfaction of collecting well regarded coins or stamps. You don’t have to go back to 19th century items to obtain investment grade material.
In coins, you can purchase 20th century key numismatic material. A caution here. Be sure to purchase third party professionally graded encased coins by firms with the names of PCGS or NGC which are the two largest and most respected. Several coins that you can look for and invest in are:
1942/41-D Mercury Dime
1937-D 3 Legged Buffalo Nickel
1932-D Washington Quarter
Any high grade Standing Liberty Quarter (1916-1930)
1955 Double Die Obverse Lincoln Cent
These above 20th century coins have always maintained their investment rarity. However, one drawback is the above coin recommendations do not come cheaply.
Now, an investment in stamps can be accomplished in well regarded single stamps but a common investment practice is to purchase high quality sets of stamps such as:
The Panama Pacific Commemoratives of 1913 -15 (9 stamp set)
The 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition Commemoratives (9 stamp set)
The 1901 Pan-American Commemoratives (6 stamp set)
The 1893 Columbian Commemoratives (16 stamp set)
None of these 4 stamp set recommendations are inexpensive but they are exceedingly beautiful to collect and admire plus they should grow in your investment portfolio. In addition, you can purchase any of these stamps singly if you prefer.
Another common question I’m asked…..”what about gold and silver”?
My next article will cover that area along with my recommendations.
My only comment and caution today is …..be careful out there. There are numerous ads, particularly for gold purchase, running on the television today.
Always remember the old adage taught to us by our parents and still true today (and especially to the gold ads on television)…..”If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
Happy collecting (and hopefully meaningful investing).
If you have questions, you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org