The market for trading rare coins is international in nature and significant in size. Over the last few years, there has been an increasing interest in the coin sector and its prominence as an alternative investment class is illustrated by recent increases in international activity, where record prices have been paid for certain rare pieces, especially in Hong Kong and in the US. It is reported that the world’s most expensive coin sold to date is a 1794 silver dollar which sold for a record US $10 million at auction in 2013.
In the US, over the last 62 years ending 2012, this asset category has delivered an arithmetic mean annual return (before inflation) of 10.5 per cent. with a relatively low standard deviation of 12.3 per cent. In addition, the Stanley Gibbons Rare Coin Index, which charts the performance of a representative sample of 200 rare British coins, shows an average compound return of 13.3 per cent. over the 10 years 2002 to 2012.
As with rare stamps, rare coins can be bought from dealers (online or in their shops), and at auctions. Fees and commission vary depending on the dealer or source. Dealers may charge commission on coins bought and sold but may sometimes offer free storage and insurance in return for the fee or commission they charge.