New firm to launch coin investment funds

Seeks to establish rare coins as an asset class
By , Coin World
Published : 11/08/11
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Veteran coin dealer Robert L. Higgins and Wall Street money manager Alberto Washington believe the time is right to establish rare coins as an asset class and provide investors with opportunities to diversify their investment portfolios.

With those goals in mind, the two have teamed to launch Certified Assets Management International LLC, a company headquartered  in Stamford, Conn., that will buy and sell numismatic items and precious metals, identify investment opportunities in the market, and manage numismatic investment funds.

According to a press release issued Oct. 31, one of the funds will initially seek to acquire up to $250 million worth of rare coins.

Higgins, who has been a professional numismatist since 1979, is president of Certified Asset Management Inc., Wilmington, Del. Before founding his own company, Higgins administered Rare Coin Enterprises (a rare coin fund sponsored by Delaware Valley Rare Coin), which operated for three years before a second fund, Rare Coin Alliance LTD, was established.

Washington is CEO and chief investment officer of Mercury Fund Management LLC. Prior to founding Mercury Fund Management, he worked for seven years in the asset management industry. He earned a bachelor of science in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees in systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He has been involved in numismatics, both as a collector and as an investor, for nearly two decades.

In a Nov. 1 interview with Coin World, Higgins offered that “if we do our jobs well, we can participate in markets just like everyone else.”

He observation, in part, was in reference to the fact that previous Wall Street incursions into the rare coin market have been brief and not always successful.

“It’s time for someone to do it the right way,” he said.

Higgins believes his experience in managing numismatic investment funds will prove valuable in this new venture.

From 2002 through early 2005, he and Don Ketterling managed $6 million of the State of Ohio’s Capital Coin Fund II, which invested $25 million in rare coins.

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