Should I consider coin collecting as part of my retirement strategy?

In my opinion, collectible coins and bullion coins (Silver and Gold) can have a place in your retirement strategy, if you want physical wealth that has to be managed.  The collectible value is frequently much more than just collecting bullion (bulk precious metal).

For example, I like US Morgan Dollars, each one is one ounce of silver, which is   US Currency and (at a minimum) worth the value of the base metal, silver. If you have highly graded coins, they will be worth much more then the value of the the silver. and It can be fun collecting an entire set (years and mintages) of Morgans, or just a few for your modest collection.

Morgan dollars grade example

Morgan Dollar grading guide

 

This Morgan dollar was graded MS (“Mint State”) 69 by NGC, a grading organization. Higher grades command higher values. Morgan Dollar (1878-1921) Value – PCGS Price Guide  , Comprehensive Grading Guide for U.S. Coins (from Amazon)

Another personal favorite of mine to collect are Silver Strike casino coins, which are a $10 casino chips with a silver center (about .6 ounce of silver). Collecting casino memorabilia is fun to me, since I have been to many of the casinos and enjoy displaying the strikes I have won/collected.

Silver Strike Token

 

$10 face value Silver city Casino strike (Casino closed 1999)

Most casinos are not using Silver Strike slot machines, as they are mechanical machines, making them harder to find. I frequently buy them on ebay and Amazon. You can also visit the Silver Strikers Club, which has the latest news on Silver Strikes.

Some coins have no silver or gold (or any precious metal) in them; They may only have collectible value.  Some may have no value at all,  making them good for jewelry or as a memento of your visit to a foreign country.  If you have some bona fide collectibles, WONDERFUL!  If not, well, hold on to them if you enjoy owning them.  Your kids may find pleasure in owning Great grandad’s coins from his trip to Havana.

Another favorite of mine is the Silver Eagle (and Gold Eagle) US Coins. Each are 1 ounce of the base metal and are beautifully minted coins! Here again, I frequently buy them on ebay and Amazon. You may also find them at swap meets, flea markets, and yard sales. Coin dealers usually have many in stock, although they buy at wholesale and sell to you at retail. Learn values and grades, and soon you will become a shrewd buyer!

2016 silver and Gold Eagle coins, available online from  eBay and Amazon.

If you enjoy collecting coins, You will need a safe place to  keep them. Some people keep them in a safe deposit box at their bank, others in a  gun safe, if they have one. Thieves don’t like to run around with hundreds of pounds of metal coins – unless you have rare or extremely valuable coins, crooks may pass them by (or just take the shiny ones).

As a hedge on retirement, coins can be readily converted into cash.  You can easily sell most coins to a dealer or on Ebay. Pawn shops will give you a better value on gold coins (usually smelt or base metal value) than on most jewelry. This means you can use your coins like a retirement plan, cashing them out over your anticipated retirement, or saving them as a reserve fund for unexpected bills.

How To Buy And Sell Gold & Silver PRIVATELY: Must Know Strategies To Keep Your Portfolio Private, Stay In The IRS’s Good Graces, Know Your Tax Requirements, … File The Right Reports, Buy The Right Metal

You can give your coins to your heirs while you are still alive, sharing in your enjoyment and teaching the next generation about coin collecting.  Why wait until the end?  You can even get your children (and Grandchildren) coin collecting sets, and get them in the habit of looking at their pocket change, and putting old and potentially valuable coins in “flips”. I bought my grandson this collecting set on Amazon.

Coin collecting set

To recap:

  • Coins can be part of your retirement strategy. (if you don’t like coins, consider a collectible that you will like).
  • Consider the value of the coin, Base metal and collectible value.
  • You will need to track your purchases and store your coins securely.  Anticipate taxes.
  • Coins can be readily exchanged for cash from multiple sources.
  • You can pass them to your heirs without being deceased (or paying taxes, up to $14,000 in the US). (talk to your accountant).
  • Most important – you can enjoy them while you are alive!

I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I do – a small portion of my retirement is in coins that I enjoy. some are listed above (Morgans, strikes, Silver Eagles, etc.) and some are pocket change and circulated coins that have a value – above face value – with the possibility of appreciation over time. I have a modest budget for my eclectic coin collection.

If you are seriously thinking about coin collecting as a retirement option, Talk to your financial advisor, attorney, and accountant – and guys like me – to determine if  adding coins to your personal financial assets makes sense. Or you can just start collecting pocket change and the occasional coins you like. That is an easy way to start.

Consider all your options, and enjoy your retirement!

The Last Word:

Niue has a cottage business in funky collectible coins.

Niue coins also available on eBay – note the Star Wars coins! (link opens in new window)

niue coins star warsThese are legal tender on Nuie.

Nuie entry in wikipedia

I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative.  Please share it with your retiring friends.  What’s in your Pocket?

Where can I get my coin collection converted into cash?

By Alan Chenkin, Novice coin collector and hobbyist
Converting coin collections into cash is a sometimes necessary event that requires some caution, to get more than the face value of the coins.
Collectible coins have a smelt value, a face value, and a collectible value.
You have several options. I would recommend calling in a coin dealer to estimate the value of your coins. some may be valuable, some common, and some just worth their “Smelt”[1] value.
Where to Sell Your Coins – Cointrackers

Several caveats;  Don’t clean the coins, Keep them together in some boxes and handle them with white gloves or a sweat sock to keep finger oils off the coins.  Take pictures of them to send to a remote appraiser and to establish that you had them (proof of ownership).  If you are going to keep them, organize them into coin flips and tubes, and make notations on the contents, condition, and dates.  Consider getting a safe, to keep them together and secure.  (coins can weigh a lot, too – keep that in mind).

Selling to a reputable dealer, collector, (or pawn shop) is the fasted route to liquidating your collection for cash. Keep in mind that these buyers are looking for values below market, to reduce their risk and make a profit on the eventual sale; you may be offered between 10 and 70% of the retail value of your coins.

 

If you have the time and ambition, you can use the internet for valuing your coins, and sell them on your own. Craigslist, EBay, and some of the popular coin sites (forums and for sale sections) are your best options.

 

There are even books on this topic:
Many public libraries have books on coins and periodicals on prices, that you can access for free.
I buy and sell coins on EBay and from individuals, at estate and yard sales. It’s a fun hobby for me, especially when both parties feel they got a good price!
You will need to understand coin grading, as there are many valuations for coins based on condition (grade).  Circulated coins (pocket change) are not worth as much as graded and certified “Mint-State” coins.
If you have the time, and enjoy coins, sort through them and get the valuation of each coin – so you can have a good idea of what the collection is worth.
I use eBay for that a lot, especially with older coins.
Best of luck – Please post a response and let me know how you fared!
Thank you for reading my blog! Feel free to share!
Footnotes
Edited and expanded from my original answer on Quora.
The Last Word:
link to coin-swallowing piggy bank! – from Amazon