Coin World provides the Wall Street Journal with a
“Classic U.S. Rarities Key-Date Investment Index” for use in its
annual investment scoreboard.
The 2012 scoreboard was published in Journal’s Jan. 2 year-end
review of markets and finance.
In 2012, Coin World’s rare coin index registered a very
modest 0.5 percent loss overall, compared with a 4.98 percent gain in
2011, a 10.3 percent gain in 2010, a 7.9 percent loss in 2009, and
gains of 15.8 percent, 31.9 percent and 8.8 percent in 2006, 2007 and
This year, collectible coins represented the lowest performing
investment on the board, showing the only loss of the eight broad
For comparison, money market funds yielded 0.03 percent,
residential real estate gained 4.04 percent and the Dow Jones
Industrial Average showed a 10.24 percent gain.
Gold increased just 0.06 percent during 2012, compared with
increases of 7.13 percent and 8.68 percent for silver and platinum,
respectively in 2012.
Coin World’s index features 82 rare, high-grade coins: 15 copper
coins, five copper-nickel pieces, 39 silver coins and 23 gold coins.
In 2012 the 82 coins in the basket had a total value of $13,629,825;
their value represented a substantial leap over the portfolio’s
initial 2005 value of $7,722,435.
The relative position of rare coins on the scoreboard has changed
each year. In 2008, rare coins were among the few investments that
registered a gain on the scoreboard, while in 2009 rare coins as
measured by the index were among the scoreboard’s worst-performing
investments as the housing and investment markets rebounded.
In 2011 coins were in the middle of the scorecard.
For rare coins in 2012, the copper segment posted a 1.82 percent
gain and silver coins showed a 0.1 percent gain, while rare gold coins
showed a loss of 1.1 percent.
Part of the reason for the near steady holding pattern of rare
coins in 2012 as measured by the index has been the varying swings in
price between coins grading the same but having different levels of
quality in the grade. While prices for exceptional coins have been
soaring, those of the same grade but with less attractive
characteristics have been lagging, providing wide variances for
seemingly similar coins. ■