I have $50,000 to invest. What can I do, other than buy property or stocks?

$50,000 may not buy you a money-making property without a substantial mortgage, which limits your profits and increases your risk if the market drops.  Stocks also carry a lot of volatility, which could make you nervous.

If you don’t need the money right away, consider investing in coins, which have collectible value and smelt value based on the coins composition.  They will never be worth less than the value of the base metal.  For silver coins: U.S. Silver Coin Melt Value Calculator.

American Silver Eagle coins are available on Amazon and Ebay, or your local coin dealer.

Coins can also be a great hobby, and you can give them as gifts and pre-inheritance to your heirs.  You can also tell people that you are training to be a numismatist (coin collector).  Many people carry a “lucky” coin with them, as a talisman of good fortune.

The Morgan silver Dollar is the most collected US Coin. Available on Amazon,

Or on Ebay.

I used silver coins here as an example.  You can get gold coins as well.  with $50k you can get approx. 2000 1 ounce silver coins, or about 40 one ounce gold coins.  If you keep them at home, 2000 coins weigh a lot (approx 125 lbs) and are harder to steal (try running with a pillowcase filled with over a hundred pounds of coins);  you can also diversify more with 2000 coins vs. 40 coins.  4 pounds of gold coins are easier to manage than 2000 silver Eagles. In either case you may need a safe -You can get a good one for your collection on Amazon.

You can also display your coins, and take some pleasure in their acquisition.
A type of coin I enjoy collecting is the Silver Strike, a Casino $10 token that is highly collectible – and most casinos no longer distribute them.  I get them from casino’s I have visited in Las Vegas,  or on EBay.  Newer ones ar clad in silver; older ones have a silver center that is .999 silver, weighing approx. .6 troy ounces.  There are many available from casinos that have been demolished or bought out, making them even more valuable.  Here is the web site of the Silver Strikers Club – Home Page.

Sam’s Town .999 Silver Strike, Many collectors trade them on Ebay. Newer ones are “clad”, and the centers are no longer .999 silver.

Aladdin Casino Silver Strike.

The Aladdin has closed, making this a nice piece  of “old” Vegas to have in your collection! (The Aladdin is now Planet Hollywood).  Aladdin Strikes on Ebay.

Coin Collecting supplies and Books on Amazon


Black Silver Strike Display Insert for 12 Silver Strikes Casino Coins (Not Included)

silver strike casino coins and display cases

(they tend to be heavy, so be careful when hanging them on the wall)

Best of Luck – These are just a few options for you – find coins you enjoy and have fun with it!  You can even get coins with Koalas and Elvis! (Links to eBay) Also post a comment letting us know what you did, and how it is working out for you! Repost and share with your investing friends! – Alan

The Last Word:

Vegas Baby! Silver strikes in the land of Bugsy and Elvis!

On my First trip to Las Vegas, Nevada (aka: the world’s playground, or Sin City), I stumbled upon a a Silver Strike slot machine.

Silver Strike Slot machines dispense a $10 casino token, which most winners save as a genuine collectible souvenir of their visit to Las Vegas (or any one of the casino’s that have a Silver Strike machine.  There is even a “Silver Strikers Club” with members devoted to the collecting of the strikes.  My first Silver strike was won at the Venetian (Machine since removed).
Every time I returned to Las Vegas, I went on a “Strike Run” to try and win more collectible Silver Strike coins. On this last trip I won 11 coins and a Flattened penny from the container park.
All from the El Cortez and 4 Queens casinos!
Until the late 2000’s,Silver Strikes had a solid silver (.999 pure) center, and most recent ones have silver clad centers inside a brass ring.  The rising price of silver plus the cost of minting made the coins worth more than $10, and a losing proposition for the casino.  If the casino discontinued the coins, or was imploded (a popular way to raze a casino in Las Vegas), the silver Strikes become bona fide collectibles.  As of this writing, only the 4 Queens and the El Cortez casinos have silver strike slot machines.  (Tip – The machines get crowded on weekends and nights, try to get there in the off hours, when the casino’s are not crowded, like weekdays or mornings).
While you may not consider Casino tokens “pocket change”, they are prized for their collectible value, and make a nice addition to your coin collection.  They drop out of the machine encased in a plastic holder (although not the best holder for a coin), and are ready for a cigar box or wall display.  Some of mine are in a display case in my man cave:
Silver Strikes at Grandpa’s fabulous man cave hotel and casino (sic).

Even if you went to Vegas specifically to try your hand at winning some silver strikes, Many gift shops and pawn shops have silver strikes for sale.  If you are unlucky at the machines, you can reduce your risk of not winning by buying vintage strikes.  I must confess that at least half of mine were bought on EBay, or from friends who won them in Vegas – and knew I would buy them from them!

When you find yourself in Vegas, Make sure you do things that are fun and don’t stay cooped up in a casino the entire time.  The Las Vegas landscape is changing, and becoming more focused on experiences, wine, restaurants, shows, and parks.

Here is a short list of cool things in Las Vegas:

The First Friday Arts Festival,  Held on the First Friday of the month in the Arts District.
The Container Park, on Freemont St.
Park on Freemont Gastropub (try to hangout in the back, it’s really nice)
The Mandalay Bay Casino has a glass enclosed 4 story wine cellar
The Excalibur Casino has free Craps lessons at noon (many casinos offer lessons, I had fun brushing up on Craps)!
NYNY casino has, among other things, a statue of Liberty made of Jellybeans.
The Flamingo Casino has a flamingo Habitat. it’s very cool.
Both the Bellagio and the Wynn Casino’s have amazing floral decorations.
The Venetian has a replica of the grand canal in Venice
There is a street between the Linq and Harrah’s that leads to the “High Roller” ferris wheel, and it is lined with bars, shops, and restaurants!
Not to mention the Stratosphere Casino Hotel, with their amazing tower over 1,000 feet above the desert floor.
Did you know there is a Las Vegas Speedway? And you can ride a genuine NASCAR Race car there? (At racetrack speeds, with a real NASCAR driver).
Not to mention the Hoover Dam, Red Rocks, and Helicoptering to the Grand Canyon.
…And there is more!  -When you go, find something unique and share – I will review it on my next trip!
Here are some things you may want to see on your next romp through Las Vegas:

Atomic Liquors on Freemont st., Longest continuously operating bar in Vegas!

 

Flamingos at the Habitat at (where else?) the Flamingo Hotel, Bugsy Siegel’s place.

Pool scene at the Flamingo, great place to cool off.

 

The lake in front of the Bellagio hotel, where music and water shows happen all evening!

 

This heart is covered with lover’s locks, like the bridge in France.  it’s at the entrance to the container Park.

 

Neon Cowboy on the strip near Freemont st.

 

 Carousel of flowers at the Wynn

 

Montgolfier Balloon in Flowers, also at the Wynn
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Welcome to Pocket Change Riches

Valet tray (coins not included) from Amazon

By Alan Chenkin, who jingles his coins…

With Credit cards and smart phone payments we hardly need to carry cash anymore.  While it makes me a bit of a throwback, I will miss the bulge and jingle of change in my pocket.  For example, slot machines Have been using paper money, credit cards, for wagering and paper slips for winnings when you cash out.  They used to have big trays to catch the players winnings, and the noise of all the coins dropping was like a siren call to all the nearby gamblers.  Casinos used to distribute sealed towelettes to slot machine players because of the dirt that would accumulate on their hands from handling coins while playing.  And kept coin cups nearby to hold the winnings of the lucky players! 

In my man cave, I have always been in the habit of throwing my loose change in a cup on my dresser every evening.  every so often I will sort it out, and hunt for coins of value;  old silver coins – the odd foreign penny or farthing; sometimes a Euro – so I can celebrate my “find” and put them aside.  For the older silver and well preserved coins I have “Coin Flips”, for keeping the coins clean after I wipe them with a cotton sock, er, “coin cleaning rag”.

Coin Flip Assortment - Cardboard 2x2 Holders - 25 each of 6 Sizes
2×2 coin flips from Amazon
Collecting coins is almost a passive hobby in this way – seeking finds in pocket change (ergo “Pocket Change Riches”) and finding fun collectible coins in stores, on EBay, or yard sales.  We all have need for money, and what painless way to accumulate coins and potential wealth, just by emptying your pockets!
 
I hope you will join me in this journey of coin collecting and enjoyment as I answer questions from my readers and post them.  feel free to comment or share, and I will respond to any requests or queries to the best of my ability.
 
 Welcome and thanks for reading my blog! – Feel free to repost and share!

How much are US wheat pennies (Lincoln cents) worth?

Wheat pennies are fun to find in your pocket change
These websites will guide you to the specific values of different years and grades of wheat pennies:


Lincoln Pennies (1909-1958) – JM Bullion
Wheat Pennies (1909 to 1956) Values – Cointrackers
Find Out How Much Is Your Lincoln Wheat Penny Worth? – The Spruce

If you sort your coins, you can collect pennies in many forms:

Lincoln Wheatback Cents Album, 1909-1958 P, D & S (Cornerstone Coin Albums)1c Lincoln Wheat Cent Penny Album/Book/Kit & 200 Random Coins Included #53303^
Lincoln Wheat Penny Starter Album Collection Kit; Great for Beginner CollectorsBCW Peel-N-Seal Self-Adhesive 2x2 Coin Flips for Pennies 100ct
Wheat pennies, because of their minted volumes, are easy to collect and fun.  Kids like them, because they can understand the value of a penny.  
 
You can even buy Wheat Pennies on-line if you don’t have any, or need specific years:
 
coin collecting does not have to be fancy.  A cardboard box or a cigar box, a magnifying glass, and an old sock (to wipe any fingerprint oil or dirt off the coins) is almost all you need.  You can almost feel history when you hold a 100 year old coin in your hands!
Coin Collecting - Newbie Guide To Coin Collecting: The ABC's Of Collecting - Including Gold, Silver and Rare Coins: What Every Investor Must Know
Thank you for reading my blog – I hope you enjoy it and find it informative! – Feel free to share!

 

How can a currency become worthless?

Most currencies are Fiat Money, not backed by a commodity (like Gold and Silver) but backed by the government that printed it.
Fiat money is a currency without intrinsic value established as money, often by government regulation. It has an assigned value only because the government uses its power to enforce the value of a fiat currency or because the exchanging parties agree to its value.
It was introduced as an alternative to commodity money and representative money. Commodity money is created from a good, often a precious metal such as gold or silver, which has uses other than as a medium of exchange (such a good is called a commodity). Representative money is similar to fiat money, but it represents a claim on a commodity (which can be redeemed to a greater or lesser extent). From Wikipedia

If the government behind the Fiat currency becomes insolvent, or acquires extensive debt, their currency may be devalued (relative to other Fiat currencies), their ability to borrow money will be affected (lenders will demand higher interest rates because of the risk), and prices will climb as the currency loses value. At present, Venezuela, Argentina, Zimbabwe, and other countries are suffering due to the inflation they are experiencing. Venezuela is even considering making their own cryptocurrency, the “Petro”, as a solution to their problems.

Some related websites:
What would you do if your money became worthless? – Prosperous Way Down website
A worthless currency – The Economist (Article on Zimbabwe)
11 Times Currency Was Rendered Almost Worthless (and Why) – Ranker
What Happens When Your Money Is Suddenly Worthless? – Cracked (article on India)

The Greek Crisis Explained – (Infographic) – from Gainesville coins

Many people invest in Gold and Silver as a “Hedge” against devaluation. This can be done with collectable coins and jewelry, or bullion.  Gold and Silver bullion – on eBay.

Here’s hoping your value is strong!
Thank you for reading this heavily referenced piece!  Please enjoy your money and share this with friends!

How is the value of bullion coins determined?

Bullion coins have, at their base, the smelt value of their base metal (e.g. Gold, silver, etc.).  Even though we consider Bullion to be Silver or Gold, Copper, Platinum, and Palladium are all used in coins.  You also have to consider the purity of the product – 24 karat gold? .999 Silver?  Alloys are often hard to spot, unless you use a test kit . (link to Amazon)


Smelt values for US coins can be found here: U.S. Silver Coin Melt Value Calculator – Coinflation

Bullion prices are based on weight (usually ounces or Troy ounces) and  subject to are supply and demand, based on market forces.

Bullion Values – Bullion Values website

 

Many coins are considered “Culls” or rejects because of circulation marks and wear. These can usually be bought at near melt value because they have diminished value as a collectible coin.

Coin Speak: 10 Coin Terms You Need To Know (And They’ll Help You Sound Like A Real Numismatist!) | The U.S. Coin Guide

How To Invest In Gold And Silver: Buy Gold And Silver Bullion The Easy And Safe Way

The Gold Book: What’s It Worth? A Guide to Commonly Traded Gold Bullion Coins, Bars and Karat Gold Jewelry

One of my favorite places to buy Bullion coins is eBay, especially if you like Bullion coins with Elvis or Koalas.

US Money, Even Bills, were backed by gold (on the gold Standard), until 1933:

You can purchase Gold certificates on eBay. They are popular collectors items.

Good luck with your bullion – know your values!

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share!

What is the proper way to clean coins?

By Alan Chenkin, Novice coin collector.
The general rule of thumb is to never clean coins. Ever.
This is particularly important with valuable coins, because a speculator might clean the coin to improve it’s worth – but most cleaning actually is visible to coin graders, and such attempts actually reduce the coins value. But there are times to clean a coin, and consider the best way to handle them – look at this from the internet:
How to Clean Coins – Wikihow
If you are considering selling the coins, definitely do not clean them; store them separately and bring them to a dealer for appraisal. If your coins have sentimental value, souvenirs of a trip, or a gift from a friend, preserve them in a holder or frame, and clean them if necessary – the sentiment is worth far more than the coin.
There is nothing wrong with wiping your coins with an athletic sock or polishing cloth, as these do minimal invasive damage to the coin. You may also want to polish a coin that is deteriorating due to corrosion or oxidation – consider it’s value before attempting this, cleaning can actually diminish the collectible value of the coin if done harshly or with strong chemicals.
After you polish your coins, reduce any further damage by keeping them in plastic holders or traditional coin flips.
A fun thing to do with some coins is to use them as jewelry. In that case, having a clean finish will be necessary, and the finished piece may be worth more than the coin itself.
Here is how you can put an amazing shine on a coin:

He uses Mothers Metal Polish and a Dremel tool with a buffing wheel. (Links to Amazon)

If you are unsure as to clean your coins or not, bring them to a coin dealer and ask! Most are helpful professionals, and have a wealth of knowledge. You can also get an idea from these sites on coin grading, especially when dealing with a coin you suspect has value:
How To Grade Coins Using the Coin Grading Scale – Coin collecting guide for beginners
The Westin St. Francis Hotel washes it’s coins.  Read about it on  NBC news  and cointalk. Hotel ruins millions of coins for collectors
Remember to have fun with your collection! Clean or not, sort your pocket change, and see where your coins have traveled from in the world!
Of course, if you don’t want to mess with those nasty, dirty, coins, just send them to me and I will “take care of them for you”.  Honest.
Thanks for reading my Blog! – Feel free to share!

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

 

Why do coins smell so bad?

By Alan Chenkin, Novice coin collector (numismatist) and hobbyist
The bane of any coin collector is the smell that can haunt some of your coins.  No one wants smelly coins, but there must be a way to manage it.  Not wanting to suggest you Fabreeze your coins (Don’t do it), I did some digging on the web:
Coins Don’t Smell, You Do – Live Science
There also may be a reaction between the coins and your hands that creates an odor, related to the conductivity of the coins and their PH[1] .
Best suggestions here are to wear gloves, keep the room well ventilated, and wash your hands before and after. In the “Old days” of coin operated slot machines, your hands would be black from the dirt on the coins, and every casino would have a cup of moist hand towelettes for cleaning it off your hands.
Don’t use this with rare of collectible coins! –  EZEST Coin Cleaner Although it is ok to clean dirty pocket change or novelty (not highly collectible) coins.  Cleaning collectible or rare coins will actually diminish their value.  If you want to clean coins without harsh chemicals, consider an ultrasonic coin cleaning kit, under $75 at Amazon, Or from eBay.
I use these when handling coins in my collection:
If you can’t wait for the gloves to arrive, use a special coin cleaning tool, like this:
old sock for coin cleaning
Also known as an old sweatsock.  usually there are a few near the dryer, that you can recommission as coin wipers.
And if the smell is persistent, try a little aromatic spray:
The old method of using a clothespin on your nose may work for you too….
Thanks for reading my blog! – Feel free to share!
Footnotes

Where are some places to buy coins for collecting?

by Alan Chenkin, Novice coin collector and hobbyist
Coin dealers, EBay, Craigslist, and from friends and acquaintances are great sources. Let people know you are looking for coins, and you may be surprised.
If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is. consider buying a test kit if you are buying gold and silver; GOLD TEST KIT
When you acquire and store collectible coins, just wipe any dirt off them with  special coin cleaning cloth (an old sock), and put them in a “flip”, coin book or folder.  If you want to get a child or teenager into collecting, you can get them a whole kit from Amazon or eBay.
Coin collections start to grow quickly, so you need to keep them in an orderly fashion.
Best of luck!
Oh, and you might need one of these:
Keep in mind that coins can get heavy, make sure the safe is on a floor that can support the weight !
Thanks for reading my blog, and feel free to share!