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Many Collector Coins are Going Home
By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News
March 10, 2014

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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They come from far and wide to attend the annual New York International Numismatic Convention held each January at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Dealers with tables on the bourse floor at the 2014 event were from Austria, Bermania, Canada, England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Collectors came from Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Ancient coins appear to dominate the numismatic landscape, but many relatively modern foreign coins are also available. Some modern foreign coin dealers specialize in a specific geographic region, while others sell any coin, medal, or token that did not originate in the United States.

What became obvious at the show held this January is what many collectors already thought might be true. Due to the expansion of the global economy, the growing affluence of the middle and upper classes in many foreign countries, and the Internet many foreign coins previously collected and traded primarily within the United States are now finding new owners who live in the country from which these coins originated.

The Jan. 10 Bloomberg news expressed it nicely, saying: “Never mind the bitcoin craze. Gold and silver coins starring Russian czars, Chinese leaders, and Roman emperors are igniting bidding wars as numismatic buffs compete with investors and wealthy collectors from emerging economies for the tiny relics.”

Several dealers at the 2014 NYINC said many of the better and more expensive foreign coins are now in “strong hands” overseas. The dealers attributed this both to the exchange value of the US dollar on the world market and to the easy global access to coins being sold on the Internet.

An example of this are the Swedish coins in the Eric P. Newman coin collection recently offered through Heritage Auctions based in Dallas, Texas. Many of the rarities had been off the market for a lifetime. In the past these coins would likely have entered the collection of another collector in the United States following their sale. According to several U.S. dealers, their colleagues in Sweden were aware of the auction and were prepared to bid substantial amounts to acquire the coins for their domestic clients.

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Coins of China, Germany, Poland, and Russia are among the many that are now being purchased by collectors in those countries as the domestic middle class in these countries expands. Dealers who usually sell these coins in the United States are becoming increasingly challenged to buy fresh material for stock. Collectors seeking these coins at auctions are finding their opponents are often collectors from the countries where these coins originated.

There is no home market for coins of the ancient world, although in some situations the country in which the coins were discovered may be demanding the coins be returned as that nation’s cultural patrimony. Coin dealers attending the NYINC said the value of better quality Roman coins, especially early Roman coins, has been appreciating dramatically. Roman gold coins were said to have noticeably increased in value recently. Coins of the Twelve Caesars prior to the reign of Vespasian (the first nine caesars) were noticeably missing at most dealer’s tables.

The NYINC isn’t all about buying and selling coins. Meetings held in conjunction with the 2014 show were conducted by the Ancient Coin Collectors Guild, Association of Dedicated Byzantine Collectors, Bermanian Guild of Numismatics, Medal Collectors of America, New York Numismatic Club, Oriental Numismatic Society, Société Américaine pour l’Etude de la Numismatique Française, and the US Mexican Numismatic Association. The NYINC sponsored a talk as well.

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