How to invest in ancient currencies

If you want to make a good bargain, without risk, and why not become rich like Croesus – who discovered six centuries BC tons of gold in the Pactole River – take a little trip to your grandparents’ attic. Who knows, they may have accumulated a few louis or écus of gold that could be of great value today.

The market of ancient currencies

The antique coins market took off at the very beginning of the 1980’s by attracting other profiles than enthusiasts or extremely cultured collectors. Indeed, the economic boom pushed investors to diversify.

After a speculative bubble, however, the antique currency market collapsed in the mid-1980s – along with the real estate market. The price of exceptional coins lost more than 60% of its value before rising again to reach a peak in 2017. The value of old coins is higher today than it was in the early 1980s.

“This is a reason that pushes many collectors and investors to resell their marvels rather than acquire new ones,” explains numismatist Olivier Chaponnière, who points out that this market is not at all volatile. However, there are still buyers, notably from China and Russia.

History of the piece

In addition to parentage, what also enhances a coin is its history. Ancient Greek or Roman coins are considered today as real treasures. Such is the case, for example, of a silver decadrachma from Syracuse, already collected by the Romans and considered today as the most beautiful coin of antiquity, which was auctioned last July 5 at the Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues in Geneva by the firm Chaponnière & Firmenich. This piece, initially estimated at 25’000 francs, reached 80’000 francs at the auction organized by the Geneva-based company specialized in numismatics. This was the most prestigious sale in the history of this house with only 330 lots valued at several million francs and belonging to private collectors.

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