During recessions when stock markets are falling, investors flock to tangible assets. Having a few ancient coins in your pocket will not only provide financial security but also diversify your investment portfolio. Like gold, ancient coins are a store of value in recessionary times. Yet different from gold, more factors affect the value of ancient coins.
Ancient Coins as a Store of Wealth
Take, for example, two ancient Greek coins that sold at record prices in 2012. In the U.S., a Pantikapaion Greek coin went for a record-smashing $3.25 million, when the U.K. economy was in a recession. Across the pond in the U.K., another rare ancient Greek coin, the Decadrachm, sold for $2.5 million. Although the silver Decadrachm is the holy grail of Ancient Greek coins, the first coin is gold and dates about 100 years earlier (300–350 BCE).
One of these coins alone is worth more than the value of a Brinks truck stacked full of U.S. dollars. When the value of money is falling, ancient coins are an even more attractive investment.
A Good Time to Buy
During recessions, people tend to clean out their attics, safety deposit boxes, and storage lockers and put more antique coins on the market for sale. For this reason, low-to-mid priced ancient coins tend to fall slightly in value during a recession, making it a good time to scoop in and buy on the dip. Over time, ancient coins have steadily increased in price. Unlike currency and stock markets, they are less volatile and hold their value. The value of rare coins grows even faster.
When to Sell
If you have rare ancient coins, on the other hand, recessions are a good time to sell. Ancient coins are the Old Masters of recessions. Although fine art sales at auction fall during a recession, the Masters draw record prices. Similarly, rare coins are valued higher during an economic downturn. Like gold U.S. coins, ancient coins can serve as a store of value — meaning an ounce of gold could be melted down and turned into jewelry or another object with value. Ancient coins, however, store value as both a precious metal and art object. Realistically, though, a collector would never melt down an ancient gold coin, in which case our $3.5 million Pantikapaion Greek coin would be worth 9.12 ounces of gold, or $15,887 (at $1,742 a Troy ounce).
All things being equal, ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins cast in gold could fetch more. Rarity, however, is valued higher. A rare Byzantine silver coin, for instance, is currently on auction for more than double the value of a gold coin equivalent. Unlike other ancient artifacts, trading in ancient coins has generally not been affected by restrictions on the movement of cultural heritage goods. An exception is import restrictions on Egyptian coins as part of a crackdown on the auctioning of ancient Egyptian artifacts.
If you want to buy or sell any ancient greek coins, visit a rare coin store near you.