Rare coin market hot
Six years ago, New York investment adviser Robert Beckwitt was looking for an alternative to the increasingly expensive equity market. While other investors were busy scooping up real estate, Mr. Beckwitt returned to an old love – rare coins.
One of his first big purchases: a red 1909 Lincoln penny, part of the first issue of U.S. coins to include a portrait. Also featured on this particular coin was a feature that the mint removed from subsequent issues: the initials of the portrait’s sculptor.
Mr. Beckwitt paid a New Jersey coin dealer $10,000 for his pretty penny five years ago. His investment today has grown tenfold, thanks to a hot rare-coin market fueled by hungry collectors, greater transparency in the market on the Web, and the surging price of precious metals, especially gold, which earlier this year hit a 26-year high.
Indeed, the 48-year-old Mr. Beckwitt reflects growing ranks of wealthy baby boomers whose desire for alternative assets has led them to invest in a hobby they discovered as a child. Mr. Beckwitt, who started collecting coins at the age of 8, sorting for old pennies in bowls of spare change, says he owes his interest in coin collecting to his “love for the history and the idea of finding something rare.”
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