Monetary Memorabilia: A Good Investment?

If you find yourself enticed by those ads for collectible “limited edition” coins or bills, Carmen urged you to make sure you know what’s up first. The images of shiny money put out as a collector’s item might make you think of these things as investments; items that will appreciate in value.

They’re not.

As Carmen explained on Monday’s show, there’s a very important difference between an investment and a collectible and rarely can you have both.

The collectible money you see in television commercials is almost never manufactured by the U.S. Mint. It’s more likely that coin or bill you’ve seen comes from the U.S. Collector’s Mint. The only legit way to have collectible U.S. money is to purchase coins made from the U.S. Mint but there are premiums associated with these purchases.

Another easy way to tell if a collectible is of any real value is by looking at the description. If it says it’s non-circulating or “Liberian” currency, that means you cannot exchange it for anything of value.

One popular collector’s item you’ve probably seen is the 9/11 Commemorative Coin. The only real value of this item is the amount of silver in it. It is made with “silver leaf,” meaning there’s a very thin layer of silver that coats whatever is underneath. Based on the current price of silver at $10.37 per ounce, the coinis worth around 88 cents and will not appreciate in value. Not much of an investment at all.

If you buy collectible money to display or to give as gifts, Carmen says by all means. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s an investment, because it will not rise in value under any circumstances.

Carmen’s not telling you to steer clear of collectibles – she’s just telling you what’s up.