CHI­NESE COINS

The Peak (Malaysia) - - Art Attack -

Coin col­lect­ing prob­a­bly be­gins more as a hobby than an in­vest­ment. But the right col­lec­tion could garner sig­nif­i­cant re­turns in time. “The world of coins com­prises an enor­mous field and it’s im­por­tant to con­cen­trate on spe­cific pe­ri­ods, coun­tries, cat­e­gories and de­nom­i­na­tions,” ad­vises Jo­hann Leib­brandt, Se­nior Valuer, Spain Bon­hams.

It is also im­por­tant to note the dif­fer­ence be­tween nu­mis­matic coins and reg­u­lar bul­lion coins. Bul­lion coins are typ­i­cally made from high­grade pre­cious met­als like gold or sil­ver, and are pur­chased pri­mar­ily as an in­vest­ment as their value is based on their gold or sil­ver bul­lion con­tent. How­ever, “nu­mis­matic coins are essen­tially rare or valu­able coins with more ex­ter­nal value above that of the pre­cious me­tal”, ex­plains Leib­brandt. “If you’re go­ing to buy rare gold or sil­ver coins for their nu­mis­matic value, it’s im­por­tant to con­sider qual­ity and rar­ity. You may want to hold them for at least 10 years be­fore sell­ing.”

How­ever, there are in­stances when one doesn’t al­ways have to hold on that long to see re­turns, with the right col­lec­tion. New grow­ing economies like China see huge dif­fer­ences in prices in very short pe­ri­ods of time, says Leib­brandt. “We see more and more Asian in­vestors look­ing into coins for big re­turns. In fact, Chi­nese coins have gone up very much in terms of value and that’s sim­ply be­cause there are more and more wealthy Chi­nese peo­ple. How­ever, the coin in­dus­try in Asia still has a long road to ma­tu­rity com­pared with the US mar­ket, given the fact that col­lect­ing started only in the last 20 to 30 years.”

To start a col­lec­tion, Leib­brandt sug­gests look­ing at old de­nom­i­na­tions, in par­tic­u­lar classical Chi­nese coins which are “on fire”. The Zhou dy­nasty (c. 1056BC-256BC), which reigned for 700 years, was the first to mint coins. Those bronze and cop­per coins are China’s ear­li­est forms of cur­rency. Mod­ern panda-era is­sues such as a se­ries of panda-themed sil­ver and gold bul­lion coins is­sued by China, are also gain­ing steam, says Leib­brandt.

Less is also more. “Go for qual­ity rather than quan­tity,” says Leib­brandt. “Even if it’s just one or two coins. It would be far eas­ier this way to de­fend the value of your in­vest­ment and to make a good profit out of it af­ter­wards.”

FURRY CON­TIN­GENT China’s na­tional an­i­mal graces this 2006 set of panda bul­lion gold coins.

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