The Diamond Jubilee has led to record demand for historic gold coins, according to the Scoin Shop, the gold coin retail chain. Sales of historic coins from circa 1840-1910 from both Britain and the old South African Republic are up 50 per cent on 2011, according to Scoin shop sales figures.
Scoin Shop founder Alan Demby said: "We've reached a new direction of consumer interest not seen before, where it appears that sales of gold coins commemorating some of the UK's most recent major events, such as the Diamond Jubilee and the Royal Wedding, are turning the attention of customers to historic, rare and valuable coins. It’s almost as if these modern day events, which people can closely identify with, are creating interest in historic coins which are predominantly higher in value because of their scarcity."
Note that Mr Demby is referring to historic gold coins as opposed to bullion coins, which go up and down with the price of gold and the exchange rate. "All bullion collectors have seen their collection price increase two-fold, from the gold price and the dollar exchange rate," he says.
MOST SOUGHT AFTER COINS
Una and the Lion
British Royal Mint coins leading the demand include the 'Una and the Lion' - a gold £5 denomination Sovereign designed to commemorate the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign, widely considered one of the most beautiful British coins ever struck.
Mr Demby says the interest in the Una and the Lion coin was as a direct result of interest created from the Diamond Jubilee. The depiction of the young Queen as Lady Una (a character from Edmund Spenser’s poem The Faerie Queene, from 1590) was seen at the time as a bold design decision as it was the first occasion when a British monarch has been depicted on a coin as a fictional character. The same Latin inscription appears on the 2012 Royal Mint £5 Crown, minted to commemorate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee.
A proof coin can cost £30,000- £40,000. Proof coin is a coin that was struck by the Royal Mint using a special labour intensive, high quality minting process. Proof coins are made solely for the purpose of being collectable and hold value both for their intrinsic fine gold content, and as a collectable. Modern day proof coins have mirror-like fields and frosted devices, although proofs struck before the mid twentieth century are often distinguished by their high quality surfaces. Proof coins should never be seen in circulation due to their quality and are struck in an entirely different part of the mint.
The most sought-after coins include the 1902 'Veldpond' minted by hand by the Boers in the North Eastern wilderness of South Africa during the final months of the Anglo-Boer war. Only 970 coins were minted. Today a Veldpond is worth between £50,000 and £70,000 depending on its condition.
HOW TO BUY COINS
Always go to a reputable coin dealer. To buy straight off the internet is not a great idea. Many coins are being graded by independent coin grading companies. Public and coin dealers are relying on them.
Diversify your portfolio. You should not only diversify your overall portfolio of assets, but look at your gold bullion coin portfolio as its own world, diversifying by date and country. .
MODERN COINS THAT COULD BECOME HISTORIC PIECES
The Royal Set was issued earlier this year by the Royal Mint to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It comprises three gold coins from the Australian, British and Canadian royal mints, with the Canadian coin featuring a diamond. Mr Demby says this could become a piece of numismatic history. This coin set had a limited mintage of 375 sets. The launch price was £8,000 but it is already worth £8,950.
Graded historic coins will come in a perspex box which serves a dual purpose of being tamper proof and protecting the coin. Many modern coins have certificates and are boxed. Your coin dealer may be able to store coins for you. Alternatively you need your own safe deposit box at a bank. Keeping coins in your house should be a last resort.