The Game of Monopoly is the textbook or blueprint that provides individuals with a plan to become financially free. Since most people only see Monopoly as a game, they may miss many of the real life lessons it can teach. For example, what does Monopoly teach you about your salary and money? The first space in Monopoly says, “Collect $200 salary as you pass Go”. The question is, “how should you view this money and what should you do with it?”
Coin collecting is something that dates back to when coins were first issued for trade. It was only in the Middle Ages that people turned this into a hobby because of the art work and the historical value.
Coin collecting today is still a hobby that many people enjoy. One of the most precious and most expensive collections that anyone can ever have are gold coins. The most expensive gold coin ever bought was worth around eight million dollars. This was the American 1933 Gold Eagle. This is why the collecting of gold coins deserves to be called the hobby of kings.
Gold coins were one of the oldest forms of money, later followed by silver coins. Gold coins were in circulation in the United States from 1838 to 1933. The design was the Liberty Head bust made until 1907. The design was then changed to the Indian Head and Saint Gaudens motifs and was used until 1933 when the Great Depression began. This prompted the recall of gold coins which makes them very difficult to find today.
Since these coins are no longer in circulation, the price for one of them can reach quite high. Gold is also now used for other things such as jewelry or bars that people retain as an investment.
South Africa minted its first gold coin called the Krugerrand in 1967. This coin has no face value but merely stands as a symbol. It is made of 1 ounce of gold and can be purchased for investment purposes.
Since then other countries also minted bullion coins. Canada made the Gold Maple Leaf in 1979 and Australia made the Nugget in 1981. These two are much more popular than the South African coin because of its 24 carat purity.
The American Eagle gold bullion series debuted in 1986. The obverse was originally designed by Augustus Saint Gaudens for the 1907-1933 $20.00 U.S. Double Eagle. The reverse features a nest of American Eagles, signifying the strength and security of American families. Its stately appearance and proud symbolism make the Gold American Eagle one of the world’s most popular gold coins.
A lot of people retain gold today as an investment because they speculate that the demand will cause its market value to increase. Others hold it as a form of insurance should the financial situation become worse. As more paper money is printed by the FED, each of those Federal Reserve Notes looses more of its value and the value of gold and silver soars. Since the U.S. closed its gold window in 1971, the FED has produced more and more paper currency without regard to the value of gold.
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Numismatics is the study of money, medallions, banknotes, token coins, and stock certificates. It is believed to have been established in the time of Julius Caesar who wrote the first book on the subject. It is a very interesting topic because every medal or coin signifies a different era, culture, economy and/or politics.
Numismatists or the people who study the history and over all appearance of the above mentioned forms of currency are different from coin collectors. Unlike numismatists, coin collectors are only interested in collecting coins and the prestige that goes along with it; a numismatist may also be a coin collector and vise versa.
Over the years, coin collection has been very popular. The most common designs are famous people and animals to depict the era when the specific coin was released.
Numismatists are generally interested in use of money, its origin, appearance, variety and production. They aim to explore the role of the different kinds of currency in our history using mint information. Mint refers to the place or facility where the coins are manufactured. They also grade or authenticate coins to determine their market value. To facilitate this, coin grading system facilities were established.
At this time there are three major third party facilities that authenticate coins and/or paper money. These are: the PCGS or Professional Coin grading system located in Newport Beach, CA; the NGC or Numismatic Guaranty Corporation in Sarasota, Florida; and Paper Money Grading (PMG).
PCGS is a third party institution that was established in 1986, which grades and authenticates coins primarily for commercial purposes. They are an independent body providing expert opinion in rating a coin. NGC is also a third party institution offering services solely to numismatists. It was established in 1987. On the other hand, PMG is solely for authentication of paper money and a smaller department of PCGS.
When coin collecting was not as popular as it is now, there were only 3 categories into which a coin could fall: 1. Good – which means that the coin has all of the details intact; 2. Fine – which means that the coin has all the details intact and still has a bit of luster visible; and 3. Uncirculated – which means that the coin was never put on the market thus maintaining its original appearance.
However, today coin grading has evolved and is becoming more definite. They use a combination of letters and numbers that corresponds to the quality of a coin. The coin grading system of United States of America is the most comprehensive and recommended for beginners. An example of USA grading system: MS-60 to MS-70 which means that the coin is blemish-free and has good color and strike. In short it’s perfect!
Knowing how to grade a coin properly is not only a gift, it’s an art. It requires knowledge, exposure and obviously skills. For coin collectors, ability to grade a coin is a must because the value of a coin largely depends its grade.
Here are some components Numismatists use in coin grading
- Luster – it is a determining factor whether or not a specific coin has been circulated. To have a higher grade, a coin must be technically intact and free from any form of imperfection or blemish.
- Surface preservation. Abrasion on the surface of the coin and its location is a huge factor in grading a coin but it does not necessarily mean that abrasion can lower the grade of a coin. For example, if a good-looking coin has a severe abrasion on the back that is unnoticeable it will not count against the coin, but the issue may not be the same if the abrasion is located on the front or focal point.
- Strike. It refers to the coin designing process wherein the coin is being stamped onto a planchet. In overall grading, strike does not weigh a great deal.
- Coloration. For some coin collectors, preservation of original color of the coin has a huge impact on its value especially if it is a copper or silver coin.
- Eye appeal. Some coins may not be perfect but collectors may find them attractive, however, it still requires expert opinion to conclude that a certain coin is excellent in all aspects mentioned.
If you have no background in grading coins, you have no business in coin collecting and numismatics without employing help from the experts. Coins have been playing vital roles, not only in the lives of people who love collecting and studying them, but in society as they represent different eras in history. Whether you are selling, buying or collecting coins, you must acquire the necessary basic knowledge or information; so that you can be assured that it is accomplished properly.