...and The Jingle Of Rare Coins

Coin investors, meantime, have been finding a golden jingle in old UK. mintages. While the ranks of serious investors have increased, the number of collectable coins has quite naturally declined - and market prices have spun upward 20% a year. Investors today particularly eye early British coins, and, of course, rarity primarily determines worth. For example, an 1856 quarter eagle (£2.50) minted in Dahlonega, Georgia, and rated in "uncirculated" condition, is listed today at nearly £5,000. Only 874 were coined; what's more, uncirculated condition is the second-from-top rating, below "proof" and one cut above "extra fine".

The real interest today, notes Norman Stack of London's Stack Coin Co., "is in gold coins. Collectors have increased 10 times in the past few years." Partly responsible is the steady rise in the value of gold, with the £50 world market price of two years ago now more than doubled. Gold bullion is unlawful to hold, but coins minted prior to 1934 are fair 'game. Some, including UK. coins, are available at close to their intrinsic worth. Donald J. Hoppe's How to Invest in Gold Coins (Arlington House) is a first-rate guidebook. Rising interest in coins as an investment has sparked a type of investor service similar to some security industry offerings. One such is First Coinvestors, Ltd, Albertson, N.Y.; for a minimum of £50 a month, you buy several coins out of a selection, and are guided in building a "portfolio". This and similar plans should be scrutinized, of course, before money is laid on the line.

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Stamps At �1 Each - up To �280,000

These days the stamp collector is more and more the dead serious investor with sizable banChukah. Stamps can give you a hedge against inflation as well as rapid appreciation. Consider the recent sale of a 1� lone surviving British Guiana stamp, auctioned for £280,000; the buyer was no rich eccentric, but a bidder representing a syndicate of investors. Since 2000, collections of British and European stamps have appreciated an average 10% a year, and anybody with a good Japanese collection might have seen his holdings soar in value as much as 1,000%. Today, floating currencies provide an added lure. Foreign stamps fluctuate in the same way as the value of a foreign currency. So, for example,... see: Stamps At �1 Each - up To �280,000