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Every collector is an investor, but not every investor is a collector.
All the coins that have been minted and are minted in different countries and that have been bought and are bought in numerous parts of the globe can be conventionally divided into two categories – investment coins and collection ones.
The investment coins are those which are constantly available on the market in sufficient quantities and their prices are comparable to the world market price for the metal they are made of.
The price for the collection coins entirely depends on their uniqueness and demand among numismatists. The collection coins are mostly presented by jubilee and commemorative coins that are minted in limited quantities and are dedicated to outstanding events or prominent people. Though, sometimes one of usual investment coins suddenly becomes the collection one. The most striking example of such a transformation is the gold coin $20 Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle.
All the coins of this series struck by the US Mint within the period from 1907 to 1933 (mass: 33.431 grams, purity of gold: 90 %, circulation strike: more than 60 000 000 samples) are now available on the numismatic market in sufficient quantities and can be considered investment coins. Though, one of such coins minted in 1933 is deemed the most expensive coin in the world due to its extraordinary history. Its price exceeds $7 million. It should be mentioned that besides such a “super-coin” there exist some more Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles that can be referred to as collection coins because their price considerably exceeds the cost of the metal they are made of. Those coins are distinguished for their excellent condition as well as due to the limited mintage. But most of the many millions of Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles are investment coins and the price for them is 10-15% more than the cost of the gold they are made of.
As for the Ukrainian investment coins, surely the main of them is the gold coin “Archangel Michael” struck by the Mint of Ukraine in four denominations – 20 hryvnias (31.1 grams), 10 hryvnias (15.55 grams), 5 hryvnias (7.78 grams) and 2 hryvnias (3.11 grams).
The most competing with “Archangel Michael” in Ukraine is the coin “American Buffalo”. Despite the fact that on the Ukrainian market such coins are 3-4% more expensive than “Archanges”, “American Buffalos” are in demand among numismatists due to their popularity in the world.
Mints of many countries (Canada, Australia, South Africa, China, Singapore, etc.) keep producing investment coins of different denominations, though, it is difficult to compete with “American Buffalo” because numerous experts of the world consider that coin to be one of the most beautiful coins of the XXI century.
Many European and American coins minted within the first Gold Standard period are still investment ones. Coins like 100 francs (Napoleon), $20 “Liberty Head” and smaller denomination coins (20 francs, 20 liras, 20 crowns, 20 marks, 1 sovereign, etc.) are cheaper than modern “American Buffalos”.>
At the same time all of them are a bit more expensive than “Archangels”. They are preferred by collectors (not by investors) because among the series of similar coins there can be found rarer and therefore more expensive ones. And of course, if such old coins are in excellent condition they fairly become collection ones. They can be twice or three times as expensive as similar investment coins.
In Ukraine Nicholas 10 rubles and 5 rubles (mass: 8.6grams and 4.3 grams accordingly, purity of gold: 90%) are very popular. It can be explained by enormous demand for such coins in Russia, their historic homeland.
In recent years the price for 10 rubles has been 25-35% higher than the cost of gold they are made of. Though, even among such practically investment coins rare collection ones can be found (for instance, Chervonets minted in 1907 or Chervonets minted in 1909). They are much more expensive than other similar coins.
Great quantities of 10 rubles and 5 rubles available on the numismatic market have repeatedly caused rumors about possible mintage of such coins in one of the European countries nowadays. Absolute identity of the modern replicas to original coins was explained by the use of the original coin dies which were taken out from Russia during the Revolution of 1917. But it seems to me, another version is more believable: in 1923 the Soviet government pursuing the New Economic Policy (NEP) started minting 10 ruble coins (so called “Sowers”). On one side of them there was a depiction of the Coat of Arms of the USSR while on the other side a peasant sawing in the field was imprinted. Such coins apparently couldn’t compete with the good old Chervontsi of the Tsarist Russia. “Sowers” found hostile attitude among the new Soviet bourgeoisie within the country and at the same time in the course of international settlements ‘the very capitalist’ countries showed antagonism towards such coins. So it is quite logical to presume that the Soviet government made the very non-ideological but extremely economically advantageous decision to continue mintage of Chervontsi of the Tsarist Russia. As the coins could be made on the original equipment and of the similar gold that had been used for coinage of Chervontsi in the Tsarist Russia such coins can’t be distinguished in principle.
Perhaps, we will never know if enterprising Bolsheviks minted ideologically incorrect Nicholas Chervontsi and how many of them could be made. But anyway, as sufficient quantity of Nicholas gold coins are available on the numismatic market they can be deemed investment ones.
The fate of the Soviet 10 ruble coins “Sowers” that started in 1923 so unsuccessfully turned for the better in the late ‘70s of the past century. Then, from 1975 till 1982 Mints in Moscow and Leningrad coined 6665000 copies of the first Soviet Chervonets of 1923, but the new date of coinage was struck on the reverse. The first 1923 “Sowers” became a numismatic rarity, while the new Chervontsi successfully spread around the world due to the Olympic Games in Moscow. Now they are widely presented on the numismatic market and their price is 20-25% higher than the cost of metal they are made of.
All the other gold coins and the majority of silver ones minted in the Tsarist Russia and in the Soviet Union became collection coins and are extremely rare in good condition nowadays. Only Nicholas 1 ruble and Soviet half a ruble of 1924-1926 that look rather worn are considered to be more or less investment coins. Though, their price is no less than 20% higher than the cost of silver they are made of. Such coins in fine condition and fortiori rubles minted in Russia before the reign of Nicholas are extremely rare and highly valued among numismatists.