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(25 April 2012) Every day, over 250 collectable and investment coins and bank notes are sold on South Africa’s online marketplace and auction site bidorbuy.co.za. During the last thirty days, more than 8000 coins and notes were bought by about 1300 buyers, indicating a renewed interest in this field.
“We are very pleased to see that more people are interested in collecting and investing in coins. However, it is important for them to do their homework beforehand to ensure they have realistic expectations regarding the investment value of coins”, says bidorbuy Operations Manager Cuan Akal.
One of thirty-three categories on the site, Coins and Notes has been one of the stalwarts since the launch of bidorbuy.co.za in 1999.
“Coins and notes are currently in second spot according to the gross value traded, second only to Jewellery and Watches”, says Akal and points out that coins are far more popular than the notes section: for every bank note bought on the site, seven coins exchange hands.
“The coins traded on bidorbuy range from special edition commemorative sets and bullion coins to all currency associated with every period of South Africa’s rich history, from ZAR (Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek) and Union coins to Republic of South Africa coins.
“A distinct South African phenomenon is the popularity of the mass circulation R5 coins linked to South Africa’s first democratically elected President, Nelson Mandela”, says Akal and explains:
“It is unusual that contemporary mass circulation coins, minted in the millions, become collectors’ items. However, that is what has happened with some of the R5 coins commemorating former President Mandela including his Inauguration and his 90th birthday coins. According to reputable coin grading service, NGC, the South African Mandela issues are among the most widely collected coins in the world.” The figures available on bidorbuy.co.za reveal that more than 300 Mandela coins get sold on the site every week.
“It is important to note that even though these coins have a collectable attraction, they may not necessarily be investment coins,” says Cuan Akal.
When it comes to investment and collectable coins, the darling of the collector’s world are certain limited edition coins and ZAR coins.
“The investment value of limited edition coins is rather straight-forward”, says the bidorbuy Operations Manager. “They are usually minted from precious metals or in a specific manner, for a specific occasion, in small numbers, with the express purpose of being investment pieces.
“As for ZAR coins”, he continues, “their value to both collectors and investors is their age, history and rarity. Some of them were minted for a specific area only and were in circulation for a very short time."
Every now and then, a very special ZAR coin gets sold on bidorbuy for an amount that goes into several hundred thousand Rands. Granted, that is a rare occurrence, but even in an average week five to seven out of about 120 to 150 ZAR coins sold go for between R10,000 to R40,000.
“The bottom line is”, says Akal, “while coin collecting is an absorbing and potentially rewarding hobby, newcomers to the numismatic field need to do a lot of research. Luckily, we have a very active community of coin dealers and collectors on the bidorbuy Forum, who are always happy to help a newbie with advice.
“Potential coin collectors should not be put off by the price tags occasionally attached to coins. With a lot of patience and research, it is possible to put together an enviable collection of coins on a shoe-string budget. Every kind of collecting, and especially coin collecting, is a long term endeavour, pursued with an eye on the future”, concludes Akal.