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- What are interest rates? Interest rates are the benchmarks or rates at which money is either borrowed or loaned. It is normally expressed as percentages or amounts. In short: Interest rates determine the cost of money and credit. The most important interest rates Federal Discount Rate: The federal discount rate is the interest rate at which commercial and private banks borrow money from the Federal Reserve. Money loaned via this “discount window” helps banks to maintain minimum reserve levels as determined by law. Changes in the federal discount rate affect the prime rate, which in turn affects consumer spending, inflation expectations and more. These two rates normally move in the same direction. Prime Rate: The prime rate is in essence a benchmark for lending rates. This index is used to determine interest rates when it comes to personal loans ...Read more »
- Although owing physical gold appeals to many looking for the ultimate protection against financial calamity, others are quite interested in the pure investment potential for gold. Taking delivery of actual gold coins can be expensive when considering shipping, insurance and storage. There are also security risks to be considered when handling physical gold. Even a handful of gold coins now represent thousands of dollars. Many individuals have chosen gold exchanged traded funds for investing in gold. Others have picked gold stocks or perhaps actual contracts on the commodity exchange. Investors have poured billions into these investment vehicles in the past few years. Many wonder if someday they might be able to invest in generic United States gold coins that are traded in an exchange trade fund (EFT). You can be sure that this has been explored by many of the large players in the gold coin market. With the premiums for most generic United States gold coins trading at histori ...Read more »
- The average American citizen doesn't put too much thought into how their pocket change is made. However, coin collectors and numismatists are very interested in the minting process. So, assuming you hope to advance in the numismatic community – or maybe you just want to gain some interesting facts to surprise your friends with – you should learn more about how coins are made. Here are some key terms to remember before you begin: Minting: process of creating coins Coin die: one of the metallic pieces that strike each side of the coin Striking: method of pressing an image into the blank metal The process of manufacturing coins has been around for thousands of years – since around 700 B.C. There have been hundreds of different minting techniques and technologies over the years, along with many different leaders' and prominent figures' images gracing the coins. Initially, coins were made with ...Read more »
- The concept of collecting coins was developed way back when coins were first minted. Archeological studies have shown that even in ancient Rome and Mesopotamia, citizens were likely collecting coins as a form of portable and affordable artwork. Alexander the Great himself gave the gold staters struck under his reign as gifts to his friends, and centuries later, Augustus Caesar followed suit with old coins and coins struck by foreign countries. During the early Renaissance, European nobility and even royalty grew fond of collecting the ancient coins of the Romans or the Greeks, earning coin collecting the nickname, the "Hobby of Kings." Today, there are more reasons than ever to become a coin collector, and an important aspect of the hobby is understanding the value of coins. This can be found through the coin’s condition, history, supply and demand and even your personal preference. Let’s take a look at these key elements of a coins value, to see if you would lik ...Read more »
- Everyone has heard the popular saying: "you have to start somewhere," and many times, that's exactly how the process works when you begin your coin collecting journey. Maybe your uncle has always collected coins, but you never really got into it, or perhaps your friends like to share their collections with each other and you're tired of feeling left out. Whatever the case, there's really no specific path to take when you initially decide to become a coin collector. Since it can be difficult to figure out where to begin, here’s some helpful numismatic information. 1. Background knowledge. First and foremost, do enough research to at least be aware of the different coin collecting possibilities. For example, most people are aware that collecting state quarters is a popular hobby. However, many people aren't aware that collecting American Silver Eagles has also been a popular hobby f ...Read more »
- Purchasing precious metals can be a smart investment, but it's important to understand exactly what you're buying. Most minted gold and silver comes in three different formats: coins, bars, or rounds. There is something unique about each one, so it’s important to know the difference and find a solid stacking strategy that makes sense for you. Gold and Silver Coins While most currency in the world is made from common metals such as nickel and copper, sovereign governments also create currency made from precious metals. While each piece is assigned a low face value, its intrinsic value is much higher. As you can guess, these types of coins aren't used in daily circulation, but are instead stacked by investors or acquired by collectors. The intrinsic value of this type of bullion coin is based on the coin's precious metal content. Take the ...Read more »
- The issue of counterfeit coins has been around for a very long time. For years, the numismatic industry has dealt effectively with the problem of counterfeit rare coins. Just to be clear, the issue of counterfeit coins has been around for a very long time. You can read numismatic journals from the 19th century and realize that collectors were dealing with the problem even then. One interesting case involved the extremely rare 1822 Half Eagle. An example was offered in the 1873 sale of the famous Parmelee Collection. The coin was sold and later returned after it was determined that the date had been altered. Several examples of the rare 1804 Bust Dollar that turned up in the late 1800s were also determined to be counterfeits. As long as collectors have been willing to pay a premium for rare coins, there have been unscrupulous individuals trying to take advantage of the unknowing. In the late 1970’s I was working for a large coin company in the Tampa Bay area. My ...Read more »
- The average age of the ANA membership is 59 years old and rising. This is not a terribly attractive demographic for growth. One only needs to look at what has happened to the interest in stamp collecting to become alarmed for the future of numismatics. Age is Only a Number Many are concerned about the lack of collecting interest in young people these days. Most are consumed by some sort of electronic media and getting their attention has become much more difficult. There is no doubt that social media is impacting the behavior of young people in very significant ways. The numismatic community cannot beat social media, so it will have to join them. In the future, any strategy to attract young people will need to include all forms of electronic media. The internet is an obvious channel, but no stone should be left unturned in our battle for the attention of young people who may, one day, become coin collectors. The ANA has committed considerable resources ...Read more »
- Grades In coin collecting, the numerical grade of a coin can be a vital factor in determining its value. However, there is a huge difference in the importance of grading between precious metal coins for the investor market and precious metal coins for the collectible market. To state it in the simplest terms, the condition of a bullion coin is not a factor in the investor market. It's all about the precious metal itself. A coin is silver, gold, or platinum...or it's not. The value is based entirely on its precious metal content, not its numerical grade. Essentially, it's irrelevant whether a coin is in pristine condition or not. For example, the Gold Eagle and Silver Eagle bullion coins from the U.S. Mint are made for the investor market. Gold coins are struck in one-ounce, half-ounce, quarter-ounce, and tenth-ounce sizes, while the silver coin is made only in the one-ounce size. The value of each coin is based solely on its amount of gold or silver ...Read more »
- In July of 2011 Congressman Ron Paul asked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke a simple question: "Do you think gold is money?" His answer: "No." For a person like me, who has spent their career studying the history of money since the beginning of civilization, his answer struck me like a brick to the head. Yet part of me was unsurprised. His answer is part and parcel of the mythology, carefully crafted, to turn bits of official-looking paper into "money" in the minds of the public. To admit to the obvious fact that gold is money would be to admit that the emperor has no clothes. The Gold Standard for the dollar The founders of our nation would be astounded and appalled by Mr. Bernanke's declaration. When they created the dollar, they went to great lengths to define its value in silve ...Read more »