BOOK REVIEW: PROFITABLE COIN COLLECTING BY DAVID L. GANZ
The E-Sylum (11/2/2008)
Book ContentProfitable Coin Collecting by David L. Ganz is a different kind of investment book. Most books of the genre are broadly focused, and the first few chapters of Ganz' new work are similar, with charts, graphs and text showing the price performance of rare coins vs other benchmarks including stocks and bonds, silver, gold, platinum, and even Iowa farmland ($77.91/acre in 1935, $3,500/acre in 2007).
Longtime collectors would be pleased with the analysis. Where the Consumer Price Index increased an average of 4.4% annually, coin show a rate of change about 12%.
Your mileage, of course, may vary. Much depends on what coins you buy, and when you buy and sell them. Over 75 years however, Ganz' marketbasket of coins showed a negative appreciation in only ten of those years. As an example of the high end potential of coin investing, Ganz highlights the collection of Harold Bareford.
The former general counsel of Warner Brothers Pictures, Bareford built his collection of 242 choice coins from 1941 to 1954, spending a total of $13,832.15. When the collection was sold by Stack's in 1978, the coins realized an astounding $1,207,205. Few collectors can match Bareford's "Midas touch". He was very selective, choosing only the finest examples. Still, his success is something all coin collectors and investors can aspire to.
It's hard to argue with Ganz' general recommendations. One series I certainly agree on are low mintage modern commemoratives. A nicely illustrated section (p128-138) provides a good overview including handy charts listing modern commemorative gold coins with mintage under 30,000 and modern silver dollar and half dollar commemoratives with mintages under 55,000.
The remaining chapters (4 through 12) examine the stories and detailed price history of nine specific representative coins:
- 1794 Silver Dollar
- 1909-S "V.D.B." Cent
- 1838-O Half Dollar
- 1913 Liberty Nickel
- 1946-P War Nickel
- 1804 Silver Dollar
- 1894-S Dime
- 1933 Gold $20
- 1993 Thomas Jefferson Silver Dollar
Many of these are marquee rarities impractical for the average collector or investor to obtain. But some are quite accessible, and the mix provides an interesting overview of U.S. coinage and collecting. Here's where Ganz did extensive homework - to collect price history he gathered records of coin sales over several decades with the help of several researchers, including a few inquiries here in The E-Sylum. Ganz listed my name in the acknowledgements, but our readers deserve the honor.
The book's pedigree and pricing information goes well beyond what typical coin investment books provide. But despite all efforts, additional information can often be found, as illustrated by responses elsewhere in this issue regarding sales of the 1838-O half dollar. But that's all the more reason to anticipate a second edition.
For more information, or to order a copy, see: Profitable Coin Collecting By David L. Ganz (http://www.krausebooks.com/product/1011/coins_papermoney)