Classifying Numismatists on Silver: Investors or Collectors?

“Classifying Numismatists on Silver: Investors or Collectors?” by Jack Topping.

[22 May 2016]

As of today (May 22) the spot price for silver is $16.58 USD per ounce (Source: APMEX). This fluctuating number, always associated with bullion coins, defines the price of this precious metal for investors, specifically those who prefer silver as their commodity of choice. For investors, this is what they need to perform their transactions- they use the spot price to know exactly what they should expect when buying and selling, and to monitor long term growth, should they invest for long periods of time. For collectors of different silver coins, this price can hurt them, as the spot price often puts a limit on the collector. By seeing the spot price of silver, what was a very valuable coin sentimentally could become a low value coin financially. If they’re collecting for posterity, collectors will want to know what the lowest acceptable price is for their silver coins, should future generations need to sell them at the melt value, which also fluctuates depending on the spot price of silver.

However, these limitations or expectations of value ultimately depend on the status of the numismatist. Are they a collector, whose goal is to preserve living history through numismatics, or are they an investor, who sees coins solely as a medium for individual wealth? Or are they both, someone who breaks the definition of either investor or collector, someone who wants to both invest for the future financially, and invest in preserving history, for all generations to enjoy?

In many ways, it is very hard to classify a numismatist in any of these different types. I for one, would be both an investor and a collector. I collect for history, constantly trying to advance my knowledge of different numismatic subjects, but I also fit the role of an investor- I know that silver coins hold value in virtually any economy. Speaking quite simply, I invest for the future, but I collect for the past.

As the reader of this piece, ask yourself where you stand on this topic. Are you an investor, a collector, or both?