Coin Community Family of Web Sites
Like us on Facebook! Subscribe to our Youtube Channel! Check out our Twitter! Check out our Pinterest!
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?


Welcome Guest! Need help? Got a question? Inherit some coins?
Our coin forum is completely free! Register Now!

The World Coin Market And The End Of Numismatic Narcissism

 
To participate in the forum you must log in or register.
Author Previous TopicReplies: 15 / Views: 358Next Topic  
Valued Member
United States
389 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  08:41 am Show Profile   Check beem's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add beem to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
It's six o'clock in the morning and I'm already on my third cup of coffee, so bear with me. These are my opinions and nothing more. It's pretty darn obvious we're in a bubble, whether we're in the early part, middle, or end of it, is unknown as of yet. We'll find out, eventually, because all bubbles go pop. No exceptions. That said, I'm not here to type up a bunch of words regarding the short term market, more so, I'm trying to look much further ahead. I feel like I'm not predicting anything, much of what I see is already happening. But the opportunities are so great, this is absolutely worthy of discussing.

For most US coin collectors, and by this, I mean people in the US who essentially only collect US coins, their first exposure to foreign coins was after WW2, when service members returned home with coins from Europe and elsewhere. Every grandmother seems to have a jar full of 1940's coins from Italy and France, etc. But by then these countries were so poor due to the wars, the coins were all copper/nickel, maybe 50% silver if they were lucky. And they weren't rare and they weren't exciting. And for the hundred plus years Americans have collected and invested in coins, they did so exclusively with US coins. Silver dimes, half dollars, gold eagles, and Morgan dollars, Lord have mercy, do American coin collectors love their Morgan dollars.

Now if you could just step back and think about this entire paradigm, it's pretty easy to see how the coin market started out so broken. The United States has the wealthiest population, and they have, by far, the largest pile of cash to throw into numismatic coins. And so there's this huge mountain of money that has poured into this tiny market of US-minted coins. One country, 229 years of coins. And they have, for the most part, financially ignored the rest of the world's 2500 years' worth of coins. I like to refer to this as Numismatic Narcissism, but it didn't really start this way. For most decades it wasn't narcissism which drove Americans only to American coinage. It was a total lack of exposure to foreign coins. But then something happened, something big. The internet. The internet made is so easy to communicate with the rest of the world. The sharing of pictures, videos. Ebay! Someone in Japan can buy a German coin from someone in the United States simply by clicking a few buttons on a cell phone in the comfort of their own living room. Finally, Americans don't have to associate foreign coins with 1940's copper junk, but instead, beautiful gold and silver coins issued from ancient times to the 18th century. The majority of them, issues from well before the US Mint was created in 1792, and many of them, much rarer than the US coins they have been collecting and investing in since the hobby began.

And here is where the numismatic narcissism comes into play. There are no more excuses. You cannot blame a lack of exposure now. All the information and opportunities are fully and easily available. It's nothing more than a choice at this point. And yet, Americans are still paying ridiculous amounts of money for US coins. Morgan dollars, pre-1933 gold eagles, even modern silver eagle bullion coins, especially if they're graded MS70. Foreign coins? Pffft, they've never been as valuable as US coins! Stick those things in the far corner of the big coin show! History began in 1792! I'm putting my money into CC Morgans! Walking Liberty half dollars are the next big thing!

Numismatic. Narcissism.

But it's coming to an end. And look, I'm not suggesting US coins will become worthless, not at all. They have their place in the big world of numismatics. Absolutely. But they're being dethroned. As I type. Younger American coin collectors and investors are pouring money into foreign coins. The Asians are, too. Some of these older American coin collectors are very happy their Morgan dollars have essentially doubled in value during this current bubble, yet meanwhile many foreign coins have tripled, quadrupled. This is the very beginning of a big change in the global numismatic market. And it's not a fad, not at all. It's a correction. And those who continue to hoard US minted coins will be the losers. Those who have been hoarding the best foreign coins will be the big winners.

This has been my theory as I have chartered my way through the waters of the numismatic market. I've been looking for the best foreign coins I can afford, focusing on coins I find to be eye-appealing, historically significant, and truly rare. This correction in the numismatic market is going to continue over the next decade, at least, maybe two. It may even over-correct, as markets tend to do. And I absolutely want to be there along the way as it happens. I feel like I already am. If you would like to sail along with me, send me a DM with your email address and I will send you a free subscription to the Wondy Report. You can call it a blog, or a newsletter, or whatever you like. For me it's a recording of my journey through the numismatic market. It's a plethora of information about the coins I like, combined population reports, images, etc. I am building it for lovers of non-US coins, but also for US coin collectors and investors who want to, and really need to, diversify their stash.
Pillar of the Community
United States
1554 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  12:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumisEd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@beem,
I agree in part with the points you are raising regarding American coin collectors. But isn't "Numismatic Narcissism" ("Numismatic Nationalism" seems like a better description) the default modus operandi in numismatics? AFAIK, Chinese collectors mostly collect Chinese coins. The same is true for the Japanese and many Europeans.
Where I fully agree with you is when you make the point about American collectors becoming more interested in foreign coins. However, this might not only be due to having easier access to foreign coins and learning about them (via the internet), but also be due to the changing make-up of the USA. As more and more peoples from foreign countries immigrate and find well-paying jobs in the US, they might be interested in collecting coins from their country of birth and not necessarily the US (such as myself). Additionally, as you mentioned, younger generations have by definition less affinity to older US coin designs and are probably more agnostic about collecting.
Pillar of the Community
United States
4181 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  12:41 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add hfjacinto to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
What Numis Ed said. I was born in Portugal so in addition to US coins and currency, I have coins and currency from Portugal. I also have a set of Large and Small cents from Canada. And while I keep coins from the places I've been to on vacation, I don't consider that a focus, its just coins I have. But I for example wouldn't make an effort to get Dutch coins like Numis Ed does.

But I also see that your post is a little self serving, you sell foreign coins on ebay, why would you not want US buyers to buy your coins.
Edited by hfjacinto
10/13/2021 12:43 pm
Valued Member
United States
389 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  1:17 pm  Show Profile   Check beem's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add beem to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Good points. And it's the same with the UK, too. But as for Asia, yes, they spend more on Asian coins than any others, but I've been shipping nice European coins to Asia, too.
Valued Member
United States
389 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  1:21 pm  Show Profile   Check beem's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add beem to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
hfjacinto,


Quote:
But I also see that your post is a little self serving, you sell foreign coins on ebay, why would you not want US buyers to buy your coins.


That's one perspective, sure, another is I put my money where my mouth is. I have coins which are not for sale. I do write about coins I do not currently have, too.
Pillar of the Community
Learn More...
United States
5047 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  2:42 pm  Show Profile   Check chafemasterj's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add chafemasterj to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
You make some very interesting points beem. Some things you mentioned I will definitely chew on for a while.
Check out my counterstamped Lincoln Cent collection:
https://www.coincommunity.com/forum...IC_ID=303507
Edited by chafemasterj
10/13/2021 2:43 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
2373 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  7:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thq to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
One of the problems with collecting those old and beautiful coins foreign coins is their scarcity.

After having lived in France for a couple years, French coinage became interesting. I was drawn to 19th century silver 2 francs coins for a number of reasons, but chiefly because of their large-ish size, between a quarter and a half dollar. These coins would not satisfy someone trying to fill holes in an album. The number of French branch mints is mind-boggling, and many of the 2 francs have no existing examples. If these coins were from Carson City or Charlotte the prices would be stratospheric. They are expensive, and they are avidly collected, but there are literally none available to be collected. There are not enough of them to support much of a collector base.
"Two minutes ago I would have sold my chances for a tired dime." Fred Astaire
Edited by thq
10/13/2021 7:12 pm
Moderator
Learn More...
Australia
13846 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  9:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I would call it "parochialism", rather than "narcissism". A narcissist looks at other things, but judges that the other is less worthy of attention than the self. A parochialist is simply never exposed to those other things, so knows nothing about them.

An expression that evolved on the internet in America in the early 2000s to describe a world coin collector was "darksider". The rationale behind this nickname was that most American coin collectors know more about the dark side of the moon than they know about foreign coins.

Quote:
I agree in part with the points you are raising regarding American coin collectors. But isn't "Numismatic Narcissism" ("Numismatic Nationalism" seems like a better description) the default modus operandi in numismatics? AFAIK, Chinese collectors mostly collect Chinese coins. The same is true for the Japanese and many Europeans.

While it is true that parochialist collectors are probably the majority of collectors in every country, it's been my observation that the proportion of parochilaists is far higher in America than it is in most other countries.

Example: here in Australia, almost every coin dealer I have visited, either in shops or at coin shows, has world coins for sale as well as Australian coins. A significant proportion of them are majority world-coin dealers, with Australian coins a minor sideline to their main business line of world coins. Back in the pre-COVID era, many of these dealers made their money by travelling overseas, buying cheap coins locally, then bringing them back home to sell at a higher price here in Australia. That's not a viable business model unless there's demand here in Australia for those coins.

I'm also involved in numerous coin clubs. Virtually none of the members in those clubs are "Australian-coins-only" collectors; they are probably out-numbered by the members who don't collect Australian coins at all and only collect foreign/ancient coins. But if you walked into a random coin club in America, how many world/ancient enthusiasts would you find? You might find a few, but they'd be easily out-numbered.

Other countries are, to my understanding, similarly less parochial. Most European collectors collect "European coins", whichever country they happen to live in. Many British collectors are interested in coins of the former British Empire, and many collectors from those former British colonies are likewise interested in British coins, especially those British coins that date from prior to their own country issuing a separate coinage. Many Japanese collectors got their "spark" when they were sent overseas by the company they worked for.

In short, collectors in the rest of the world have no "darkside".

As to an explanation, my theory is that it is linked to another peculiarly American phenomenon: the unusually high proportion of the general population that would consider themselves "coin collectors". The US Mint reckons it's around 42%? That's huge. In most other countries, it's far lower (I'd reckon about 5% here in Australia, even lower in places like France). Coin collecting is much more "normalized" in America.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
Pillar of the Community
United States
1554 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  9:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add NumisEd to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In all fairness, it was orders of magnitude easier in Europe (pre Euro) to collection foreign coins. Going on vacation to France or Greece from The Netherlands? Let's bring back some French Francs or Greek Drachma and stick them in an album. At least that was what I did when I was a teenager coming back from the family summer vacation.
Americans typically do not travel further than Mexico. And many do not even have passports. How are Americans supposed to be exposed to other cultures, no to mention the coins?
Pillar of the Community
Learn More...
United States
5067 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  11:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Fun to watch this discussion from the vantage point of an American who hasn't bought a U.S. coin in 20 years.

I agree with many of the points on parochialism, and also with the points on the internet numismatic platforms removing any possible reason for continuing the parochialism.

Edited by tdziemia
10/13/2021 11:34 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
2373 Posts
 Posted 10/13/2021  11:34 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thq to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I was exposed to a lot of countries on business travel. Those trips did not spur interest in the circulating coins, which were more of a nuisance than anything because they couldn't be exchanged. The interest in the coins came later.

My interest in old foreign coins is parallel with my interest in US coins. The coins are a window on historical cultures. A Charles X 2 francs or a gold Louis is a physical connection to the world of Victor Hugo in the 1830's. A Commonwealth shilling is a connection to Cromwell and the English Civil War. A cc coin is a connection to a giant lode of silver once buried 1000 feet under Virginia City. When you touch a coin you touch history.

Do other Americans have the same interest? Not many. But in my experience, it is less likely that a French person would have that interest.
"Two minutes ago I would have sold my chances for a tired dime." Fred Astaire
Edited by thq
10/13/2021 11:36 pm
Pillar of the Community
United States
510 Posts
 Posted 10/14/2021  05:55 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add PNWType to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
The coins are a window on historical cultures
That rings true for me too. I started out as a US type collector (I'm from the US, it's what is around me) but started to get more and more into the history of world coinage because of the US Trade dollar and then because of the use of Spanish and French coinage in the colonies and early US. I then found myself wanting the Japanese, French, British, etc, Trade dollars, and the 8 reales, Ecu, and 5 francs, etc of the colonies, and that just ballooned into wanting to collect the coins of the whole world to have a connection to their historic period. I've found I'm most fascinated by eras of major trade, the "New World" of 1500-1800 and the boom of World--Asian trade of the 1870s-1930s. Looking from a lens of US coins or coins in the hands of the early US colonists quickly was no longer enough to really get at the vast history of the world and I got more into all world coins (crown sized mainly).

I think for many, collecting what you have around you is more interesting as each piece holds a bit of the history of the country you know and live in, that feels a lot more personal. Then there are others who don't collect for the history or the artwork (both of which I do collect for), some are completing sets, just enjoy the hunt, get a feeling of patriotism, etc. I don't think that's narcissism, everybody joins a hobby that makes them happy for their own reason.

Beem, I certainly wouldn't disagree that world coins with a little US included are where it's at, I don't even think it's unreasonable to say that the world market may go stronger than US, but I certainly don't think it is narcissism that has kept many US collectors from world coins. I crossed the bridge, but it's not for everyone
[Custom 7070 v3.0 WIP] - - - [Custom 7070 v2.0] - - - [Custom 7070 v1.0]
Pillar of the Community
Learn More...
United States
5067 Posts
 Posted 10/14/2021  1:56 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My interest in world coins started with the small packet of coins my dad had brought home from his WWII tour of duty: Egypt, Iran, India, Netherlands East Indies, Australia, Philippines, China, Japan.
I think he gave them to me when I was 7 or 8, and had already been filling blue Whitmans.

In late grade school and high school, I started mail ordering world coins, picking up a few "older" ones (19th century!).

Then I spent a year abroad in France as a student, and everything changed ... Fast forward another 17 years, and I was posted to Brussels by my employer...another big leap in interest.

As with @thq and others, the relation of the coins to the history was key.
Valued Member
United States
188 Posts
 Posted 10/14/2021  2:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add HappyHippo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I only have US coins. It gets to be too much to try to collect everything. In fact, even for US coins, I dont really collect pennies, dimes, quarters, or modern dollars. I do have quite a few silver bullion coins from throughout the world.
Valued Member
United States
157 Posts
 Posted 10/16/2021  01:05 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add newguy22 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Another point to add that really got me interested in world numismatics was the mintage statistics. It's incredible just how scarce some of these world coins are given the prices they command. If you find an American coin with similar mintage numbers, those American coins are worth A LOT of money. However, find a coin from South America, Africa, or Asia with very similar mintage numbers and they are quite affordable.

Take for example the 1916-D Mercury dime. This date and mint mark had a total mintage of 216,000 pieces. Graded good, this coin can fetch around a $1,000. By many world standards, this is a pretty high mintage number.

Now take an 1888 mombasa 1 rupee issued by the Imperial British East Africa Company (what is today Kenya). The total mintage numbers for this piece were 94,000. These pieces can go for between $30-$100.

If you want to go for an even scarcer coin, take a look at the 1976 Togolese 10,000 Francs CFA, which had a reported mintage of only 150! You can find this coin available online right now for roughly $250-$400 if you know where to look.

Try finding an older American coin with similar mintage statistics and their prices will be exceptionally high.

In my opinion, American coins are the most expensive coins in the world given their availability. The reasons for this many people here have already stated above. Will world coins continue to go up in value? Only time will tell.


Bedrock of the Community
Australia
19086 Posts
 Posted 10/16/2021  04:14 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add sel_69l to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
As Sap has commented, only about 5% of the total value of my collection is in Australian coins.
In my case, as far as coin collecting is concerned, Australia is just another country.

My first love is ancients.
  Previous TopicReplies: 15 / Views: 358Next Topic  
 
To participate in the forum you must log in or register.





Disclaimer: While a tremendous amount of effort goes into ensuring the accuracy of the information contained in this site, Coin Community assumes no liability for errors. Copyright 2005 - 2021 Coin Community Family- all rights reserved worldwide. Use of any images or content on this website without prior written permission of Coin Community or the original lender is strictly prohibited.
Contact Us  |  Advertise Here  |  Privacy Policy / Terms of Use

Coin Community Forum © 2005 - 2021 Coin Community Forums
It took 0.56 seconds to rattle this change. Powered By: Snitz Forums 2000 Version 3.4.05