Collecting and Investing Strategies for US Gold Coins
In previous reviews I’ve summarized the contents of each individual chapter at a time. This book has 36 chapters and weighs in at a hefty 343 pages, so I’ve opted for a shorter review process.
First off, the author, Jeff Ambio, is a professional numismatist who has been involved in the production in many of the largest rare coin auctions that have been presented to the public since the late 1990s.
The intended audience is twofold - collectors and investors. In fact, he even discusses the increased blurring of the lines between investing and collecting that he’s seen recently. The book focuses on United States regular-issue gold series struck from 1795 through 1933. These are the typical gold coins you’re likely to know about if you’ve picked up a Red Book or any other United States price guide.
The book includes a few preparatory chapters discussing the generalities of investing in gold coins: How to Use this Book, Popular Collecting and Investing Strategies, and Considerations before Buying Rare U.S. Gold Coins. These beginning sections are followed by the bulk of the book, which discusses more detailed approaches to collecting the different series of gold coins.
We open with a discussion of popular strategies to collecting and investing. These include a short type set, a complete type set, advanced type sets (rarer issues, major subtypes, or by issuing mint), proof type sets and complete set (by year, date and mint, die variety, proof or issuing mint). These specific strategies form the framework for every type of U.S. gold coin in each chapter.
In the “Considerations before Buying Rare U.S. Gold Coins” chapter, we get into the process of starting your collection. He recommends first finding a dealer you can trust, then sticking with slabbed coins (graded by a third party) and making sure to see the coin firsthand before making a purchase.
The latter chapters of the book then dive into the task of detailing each type of coin, including a color photo, year(s) issued, mints, authorizing acts, designer, weight, composition, diameter and edge type. He then discusses strategies, neatly laid out in colored boxes, to apply each of the various collecting methods discussed in the earlier chapters on the given series.
The book ends with a reasonably complete glossary, bibliography and an image index.
I’m not a collector of gold coins so it’s hard to comment on the accuracy of the book. In addition, he notes himself that much of it includes opinion, and if you were to assemble a group of expert numismatists and have them discuss this subject, you would likely get many varied responses. In short, there’s no one right answer to how to go about collecting gold coins. I like the fact that he discusses various ways of collecting, because it allows you to choose the one you’re most comfortable with (in many cases due to budget constraints).
In summary, if you’re interested in learning more about gold coins and how best to collect or invest in them, this is a useful resource to have.
You can purchase the book on Amazon for $34.95.