'Medal collecting: silver values are soaring - making medals even more important'

paulfrasercollectibles

2015-06-26 12:24:42

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'Medal collecting: silver values are soaring - making medals even more important'

The coin markets have been dominated by precious metals, but what does this mean for war medals?

The commodities markets are going from strength to strength, particularly for precious metals.

You might remember, last month, I wrote that spot gold prices have breached $1,500 for the first time ever.

This is good news for coin collectors. After all, scrap metal prices and coin collection values have always been linked, with the former sometimes boosting the values of coins (like pre-1920s examples).

It's great that collectors can benefit from the recent good news in the commodities markets. Yet commodities values can go up and down, much like stocks and shares.

Each war medal, like this VC, has adifferent story, placing them amongthe most unique and valuedcollectibles

Therefore, wouldn't it be greatifyou couldinvest in something which can benefit from these trends, but isn't dependent on them?

With rare medals, you have an ace up your sleeve

In my column about spot gold prices last month, I mentioned that all kinds of factors are driving global investors away from traditional assets.

Things like lofty oil prices and worriesabout the economy are driving high net worth individuals to buy art, classic cars and other collectibles...

And apparently one west coast investor has been trying to capitalise on the recent precious metals boom by amassing one million Morgan dollar coins.

So, in this rush to invest in alternative assets, how do historic medals stand out? Well, let me demonstrate by comparing medals to rare coins for a moment.

With rare coins it is primarily their condition, along with their rarity, which sets them apart.

Take, for instance, the 1795 gold small eagle five dollar which recently sold at Heritage Auctions for $125,000. It was marked out by its "High R.3" condition rating. In other words, there are other examples out there.

This is where medals have the edge

You see, each medal is unique. Each and everyone has been awarded to an individual, usually by someone important, and each has an utterly unique story to tell.

Of course, medals should also be appreciated for their aesthetic appeal - as "works of art" - just as much as coins.

But it's what medals represent that gives them the edge. Needless to say, people would still collect war medals if they were struck from the basest of metals.

Personally, I love war medals because, of all the collectors' niches, none captures history more poignantly.

Major General Sir Robert Porter medal groupWhile soaring silver prices could benefit sellers of war medals, as they have sellers of rare coins, rising scrap values make it even more important to ensure medals' safety

You can preserve our heroes' legacies - and profit

As I've said, medals aren't dependent on commodity value trends. But that doesn't mean medal collectors don't stand to benefit.

Silver has actually gone up more than gold in percentage terms (surging by about 80% in 2010). In April, it hit a 31-year high of $44.34 an ounce.

Because to this, medal sellers can profit just as coin sellers have in recent times.

For example, Mint State dollar coin values have soared after many years of near-stagnant prices. Indeed, MS-62 and MS-63 quality examples dollars have virtually doubled in value.

But there is also a flip-side...

As silver values shoot up there is a risk: that these singular specimen's of men's bravery will be melted down for their scrap value. In fact, many medal groups were split-up and destroyed in the 1970s for this very reason.

More than ever, the onus falls on collectors - whether you are experienced or just starting out - to ensure this doesn't happen again (and alsoensure that your existing medal collection is safe and insured).

The collectibilty, valued and appeal of medals lies in the fact that they are symbols of heroic action, loyal service and accomplishment. And now could be the best time for you to get involved in this most-important of collecting niches.

All the best, until next week

Paul

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