Saturday, June 4, 2011

Coins as an Anti-Investment

There are many pundits writing about gold and silver as an investment.

I find that coins are better understood as an "anti-investment."

The reason to buy coins is because you want to take some money off the table to be held in physical form.

As the proud new owner of two silver dollars (one just happens to be in the coin pocket of my jeans at the moment) I've determined that coins are something different from a typical investment.

Perhaps it is better to think about coins as an anti-investment. My two coins are an asset that I am holding off the active market.

Pulling money out of the market is a good thing. Disciplined investors routinely pull money out of risky investments into cash positions when they feel uncertain about the market. Taking a cash position when the market appears overheated is not an investment. It is a decision to back away from investments.

Buying physical coins is like a cash position twice removed. One buys physical coins to pull some assets out of the active trading market.

I am now bullish on precious metal coins, but I am not thinking of them as an investment. I think of the coins in a more fundamental way. I see them as something that I own which retains more value than the other things I own. My jeans will grow old and wear out. The coin in the coin pocket was minted in 1879 and will likely be holding value as a silver coin in 2079 ... when my jeans are decomposing in the landfill.

As I hold this coin, I am thinking at a more fundamental level than I think of other investments. This precious metal coin holds value through time as it is traded, hoarded or carried about.

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