When investing in precious metals, there are two primary categories that it is important to understand the fundamental difference between:
Bullion, whose value is primarily driven by its underlying precious metal content, and
Numismatics, essentially insider speak for collectible coins, whose value is primarily driven by intangible factors such as age, rarity, year of issue, design, and the mint at which they were struck
Which to choose depends on your goals, of course. However, it is critical to understand that they fundamentally differ as investments, with very different costs and risks. We cover those in detail below. But, let us also quickly cover the basic conclusion.
For the vast majority of precious metals investors, the answer is simple and clear: Yes, you should invest in bullion and no, you probably should not invest in collectible or numismatic coins unless you understand the details of that very specialized market. Why not?
Simple and fair vs. complex and convoluted:
Bullion offers a straightforward value proposition — own a historically reliable and stable store of wealth, in a form whose cost is very transparent and minimally different than that set by the giant global market established for such metals
Purchasing numismatics, especially as a new investor, means you are putting yourself at an instant disadvantage by purchasing little-known coins (the value of which are subject to countless subjective variables) from sellers who are usually coin experts
Poor resale market:
Bullion is widely recognized and highly liquid; when it comes to resale you will not have any trouble finding significant demand for them at a fair, universally recognized price. You can easily compare offers (‘bids’) and choose the best one
The market for numismatics is tiny by comparison. You may have a...