April 2013 Archives

Coin Collecting Tips for Hobbyists and Investors

coin collection
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Whether you are a hobbyist or a serious investor, there are some coin collecting tips that help ensure the quality of your collection. Shared by experts, these tips also help you sell your collection for the right price at the right time. But, whether or not you envision a time when you will be selling your collection or parts of it in the future, applying these tips diligently can enable you to make good buys that adds to the overall value of your collection.

Keep your Tools Handy

A coin collector’s tools should always be ready in case an opportunity comes up to acquire a good piece. These tools include white cotton gloves, coin folders, envelopes, a storage box and a good magnifying glass. Some collectors keeps a loupe to use when they want to view a coin’s details clearly.

Keep a good copy of a grading guide book. This provides you with an explanation of the numerical grading system, with detailed photographs of coins and how they are graded.

Apart from the grading guide, an essential part of your tool assembly is a good guidebook. One example of a guidebook you can keep is A Guidebook of United States Coins which is better known as the Redbook would be a good source of information on US coins. This guidebook, updated annually, includes descriptions and basic grading criteria for each coin design.

A serious collector keeps abreast of coin prices by regularly looking at price guides which list the prices of coins. Price guides are available online from the PCGS and the NGC. Apart from these, Coin World and Numismatic News also publish price guides in addition to their weekly coin papers.

Simple Ways to Prepare for a Purchase

It is never a good idea to invest money in a purchase without investing time and effort in preparation. Here are some simple coin collecting tips to make sure you get a good buy:

  • Do your research. If you have the chance to buy a coin you like, find out how details about it including how many of that coin were minted, its grade, how rare it is and who is selling it.
  • Compare prices using at price guides from reliable grading services. Do not rely on websites or TV programs that are trying to push their own items.
  • Muster your self-control and buy only if you are certain that this coin is a good investment.
  • Examine the coin carefully with a good magnifying glass and a loupe before you write your check. Scratches and dents are not always immediately visible so take care that you have made a detailed inspection of the merchandise. There is no way this can be overemphasized. Even experts have made mistakes by taking for assuming that a coin is all that it seems.

Once you have made the purchase, it is important to store it appropriately, arranged with other coins in an order or design that makes it easy for you to view it both as an individual piece and as part of a bigger collection. Again, it is important that you keep abreast of prices so you know if the value of your acquisitions is going up or down.

Make sure that the quality of your coins remains as good as it was on the day you bought them. Taking care you do not damage your coins when you handle them. Always hold a coin by the edges while wearing gloves. Have a soft cloth ready to catch the coins in case you drop them during handling and most of all, never, never clean or polish them.

Whether you are want to be a serious investor or you just want to start a hobby, these coin collecting tips can be useful for you. Following them helps you make sure that your coins remain valuable regardless of whether you bought them for profit or for fun.

What is a Recession

Dollar
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A recession happens when there is a significant decline in the economy which usually lasts for a short period of time. You can tell there is one when consumers don’t spend that much, a lot of people are unemployed, companies have to make job cuts, industrial production is down and lately, there is a housing crisis as people have to foreclose their homes.

By that definition, it would seem the U.S. has been in recession for the past couple of years. Many mainstream media pundits claim we are not in recession but a slow recovery.

Does it seem that way to you?

The technical indicator which tells you that the country is in a recession is when there has been 2 consecutive quarters of negative growth which is measured by the country’s GDP or gross domestic product.

Experts say that this is bound to happen because it is part of the business cycle and things usually improve within 16 to 18 months.

What is a business cycle? It is considered to be a periodic but irregular up and down movement in a country’s economic activity which can be measured by fluctuations in the GDP as well as other macroeconomic variables.

Things are going up when the economy recovers and expands. The situation goes the opposite direction when the market experiences a slowdown until it eventually reaches a recession.

In my opinion, the only reason our economy has not slipped into a full-blown depression is because the privately owned FED continues to print more fiat paper money to bail out the financial industry and keep them afloat. Because of all this cheap money, the stock market value has been inflated to appear it’s hitting new highs. Those highs, however, are masked by the flooding of the market with cheap money.

In the US, building permits are down… and foreclosures are up. There is no renaissance happening in manufacturing. Only half of the new jobs expected showed up in March. Retail sales are down, and consumer confidence is off. The US economy is growing below the Fed’s own “stall speed” indicator. Half a million people fell out of the workforce in March. Retail sales fell in March. So did manufacturing.

Ron Paul recently said on on Bloomberg TV, “You will not see economic growth until you liquidate the debt and liquidate the malinvestment out there.” He goes on to say, “Inflation is when you increase the supply of money. Bond prices go up. Stocks are going up. Housing prices are starting to go back up again. Education costs are going up, but the gross distortion is the effect that the inflation of the money does on the price of money and interest rates and how it causes economic problems and why you don’t get economic growth.

You have to look at the malinvestment and destruction that occurs when you mess around with the price of money. It’s not just the CPI because the CPI is not reliable. The government fudges that as well. They change the way they measure it. Free-market economists say it is going up about 8%. A lot of deception going on out there. I was just talking to someone on getting social security, they’re not happy with the purchasing power of the dollar and you can’t tell me there is no inflation.”

The recession in the United States has affected other countries and drastic steps have been taken to prevent it from getting worse. Britain has injected up to 50 billion pounds which is equivalent to $90 billion into its biggest retail banks. Japan has ordered its ultraconservative Bank of Japan to flood the world with freshly created currency.

Legendary investor Jim Rogers is worried about unprecedented money printing around the globe. Rogers says, “We have never had every government debasing their currency at the same time. . . . This is the first time in recorded history where you have most of them doing it all together. These are perilous times . . . one way or another, this is going to end badly.”

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? The answer is yes but it is going to be some time before anyone will see any improvements. Whether it’s tax cuts or tax increases as the politicians propose, this crisis will continue on for some time until we start to deal with the real issues.

Until somebody comes up with a plan to put people back to work, the current current state of the economy will not improve. It is something that the American public should insist their political leaders solve.