Why do people keep thinking they are going to be rich because they have some foreign coins? Why do people think they are going to be rich in the future because they are investing in worthless “collector” items?
There is a HUGE misunderstanding the public has that needs to be corrected…
Collector items are only valuable if they are EXTREMELY RARE!
The reason some action figures, comics, toys, etc are worth a lot of money is because there are a lot of people collecting them and very few of them out there. The reason so few of them are available is because no one knew anything about collecting back then. No one thought to save toys or keep them in the original packaging.
Now days, everyone knows that keeping toys in the packaging might be worth something to someone in the future so tons of people do it. There will be a handful of collectors and thousands of people trying to sell what they are collecting. Therefore, none of it is worth anything.
The reason coins and stamps are worth anything is either because they are made of a precious metal, or because they are rare.
American coins from dimes up to silver dollars made before 1965 are made of 90% silver (pennies are copper and nickles are made of nickle). Silver has become more valuable since the first half of the 20th century, therefore those coins are worth more than their face value. A dime will fetch you a couple of bucks, and a silver dollar could get you as much as $20.
If you are a coin expert, then you know that certain years of certain types of coins from certain mints are, for various reasons, really hard to come by. Those coins might be worth something to collectors. And if there’s a misprinted coin, then it could be worth quite a bit of money. The same is true of stamps. The really expensive items are the mistakes!
The real money is in gold coins. Coins made of either 22k or fine gold are worth a lot of money because the price of gold has skyrocketed! A 1 oz coin can get you around $1,500-1,700. These coins (along with silver eagle coins) are being used as bullion and are being traded back and forth all over the world.
But, if you are buying proof sets of coins thinking that someday they are going to be rare…think again! Some really really old coins are hard to come by because no one was saving them. They weren’t giving out proof sets back then, all the money was being used. The use of the coins slowly damaged them and would eventually be melted (I’m assuming). That’s no the case anymore. Even 200 years from now, anyone who wants a mint condition 1999 proof set will be able to snag one for cheap on eBay (or whatever the future version of eBay is).
And, for goodness sakes, foreign coins might be unusual for us, but they are the currency for an entire country! There are billions just like them! Why would anyone want to pay more money than they are worth? If you want to know what people would pay for them, just check the exchange rate!
Most people believe that if they bought a $2,000 ring that the ring is actually worth $2,000. The harsh truth is that as soon as you bought it, that ring became worth about $100-200. There is pretty much ZERO resale value of jewelry. If you don’t believe me, just try to sell your jewelry on eBay or Craiglist!
The stones in your ring are worthless. If you have a diamond that weighs at least a carat, then you might get $50-100 for it. All other stones are worthless. They’re just rocks.
And the gold in your ring is pretty minimal. Even a 14k ring is only about 58% gold, and will weigh just a few grams. There’s usually only about $50-200 worth of gold in an average gold ring. You’ll get more money selling your class ring for gold than your wedding ring.
Do you have a really old ring from the 1800′s? Doesn’t matter. It just means there’s less of a chance that someone will want to buy it.
What makes things even worse, is that only about half of the jewelry out there is actually the gold value that it’s marked. When I was a gold buyer I tested a LOT of gold jewelry and half the time the marking was wrong. We’ve even caught fakes from top respected jewelers like Zales.
Now, if you can find a solid gold item in a garage sale for less than a dollar (which is actually fairly common) you can sell it for a decent profit. There are a lot of people who do just that! The trick is knowing the real gold from the fake so the fakes don’t eat up your margin.
If anything says “collector’s edition” or anything with the word “collector” in it STAY AWAY! These are traps. They will be worth the least because you can be sure there will be a ton of them preserved, and any collectors that want them will buy them. But, collectors don’t really care about “collector’s editions” anyway.
When I was a gold buyer people tried to sell me collectors edition silver rounds, but they were always worth less than the standard silver bullion. When people go to buy something, they want the real thing!
Antiques aren’t worth a lot of money because they are old, they are worth money because it happens to be something that a lot of people collect and is rare. 99.999% of antiques are just old. You might get an antique store to buy it because people like to buy nice looking antiques for decoration, but it’s not going to be a lot of money.
In my experience, the rule of thumb seems to be – “If you are hoping to make a fortune, you are going to be horribly disappointed. If you think what you have is worthless, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that someone might actually buy if for a modest amount.”
Beanie Babies and other hot items
Our culture likes to go through these short-lived trends that get red hot for a year or two before burning out. They will always burn out. Always. Nothing is good enough to keep people that excited for that long.
(Although, physical items like Beanie Babies, pogs, and pokemon cards now seem to have been replaced with online viral trends.)
I’ve always been confused as to why people bought Beanie Babies – or whatever the hot item is – for hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars thinking they are getting an investment. That makes no sense. That Beanie Baby you bought for $1,000 will never ever be worth anywhere near that much money again.
Things are worth a lot of money when there are a lot of collectors, demand is high, and the availability is low. There will never be more collectors, nor that high of a demand, for those items than there is at the peak of that trend. If someone is dumb enough to want to buy your toy for more than you paid for it, SELL IT! Those are the times to sell, not to buy.
If you want to hold off for a few months because you think the peak of the trend is still a few months away, then go for it. But, don’t put it in your safety deposit box so you can sell it and get rich 30 years from now.
Don’t buy anything (other than Gold, land, or stocks) with the sole purpose of making you rich in the future. If you get lucky, something you buy will be worth money someday. But, it won’t be worth more than the price you paid for it. Those days are over.
If anything right now will be worth a fortune in the future it will be something that no one realizes has value, and no one is buying or saving them. If you think it might be worth something someday, then a lot of other people will be thinking the same thing…which means it will be worthless. So, if you think it might be worth saving, it’s automatically not.