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Pierre_Henri

Being Black and Collecting Coins in South Africa

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Pierre_Henri

I understand fully that this is a hobby forum and not a political platform.

 

But where else must I express my frustration regarding race and collecting coins in South Africa?

 

Under the horrible apartheid system, all non-whites suffered, but for some strange reason, our Indian community lifted themselves up, and are currently running proudly with our RSA numismatic flag with many whites lagging behind.

 

But alas, my selling radar shows very few if any buyers of coins sold to our coloured community and virtually no blacks in sight.

 

Why?

 

Apartheid has ended 20 years ago – WHY has our esteemed black (middle class) community not picked up on our wonderful hobby?

 

I understand fully that most black people in South Africa have been disadvantaged and have not much money to spend on “nice-to-haves” hobbies like coin collecting.

 

But I am talking about those hundreds of thousands of middle class blacks in South Africa – why don’t they collect coins?

 

Pierre

Edited by Pierre_Henri

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MiemsJewels

apartheid.jpg.a755382e9923e3811042b6c269f763cf.jpg

 

Sorry Pierre.....I just had to :angel:

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jwither

We discussed this question on this forum a few years ago. I also brought it up on the NGC Message Boards recently. It is a question that interests me because I am actually a lot more interested in collector behavior than I am in most coins since I don't collect them or pay much attention to them.

 

The answer to your question is primarily culture. It isn't economics because if it was, the huge economic gains which have been made by these populations not just in South Africa but also in the United States would have translated into more collectors a long time ago.

 

Yes, I am aware that these populations are still economically disadvantaged but there are still plenty of them (in absolute numbers) everywhere who have both the income and "wealth" to collect, just as those of us who participate here.

 

The same is true of the collecting culture in countries where there isn't any organized collecting at all, such as Bolivia which I have mentioned many times in my prior posts both here and on NGC. Not only do the indigenous people not collect there, nobody does.

 

In the United States, it isn't just minority groups, but also women. The ratio of male to female collectors is almost as lopsided as it has always been to my knowledge, even among whites.

 

There are more white woman in numismatics but its still economically irrelevant to my knowledge. Among minorities, I have never heard of even one African-America coin dealer. "Hispanics" (a politically correct term if there ever was one) and Asians collect coins in far greater proportion in the US than African-Americans.

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kyle2

All the above being said, there was one black chap at the coin conference in 2012 who was very geared up and very enthusiastic. I was pleasantly surprised at his knowledge of his chosen profession. He was well mannered, well dressed and spoke with authority on numismatics. He apparently made a living buying and selling coins. He raised the Fact that the SA Mint made it difficult to buy certain collectable items due to their elitist attitude.

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jwither

By chance, what did he buy and sell? Somehow, I doubt he is doing as well now as he was then given what has happened in the last two years.

 

The other point which needs ot be made is that you provided no evidence that he was an actual collector. To make a living, it really doesn't make a difference if you sell coins or widgets. I am sure he was enthusiastic if he was making a good living off of it just like anyone else would be. As I have said before, I don't expect anyone to ignore financial considerations altogether when paying any price of consequence. There is a difference though when financial considerations are a lot more important than the collectible aspects which is overwhelmingly true from my experience here, is evident in the price structure and accounts for most of the differences I have pointed out between your market and the United States. In the USA, prices are disproportionately absurd but its evident that most collectors don't mind collecting coins that I (and I believe others here) find mediocre. This indicates that interest in actual collecting is a lot more widespread.

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wayjen

This sounds like a story I read about the start of Freemasonry and the sort. Whilst most uppercrust people joined these "clubs", it was not a closed society and everyone could join but it would have been very awkward had the slave joined the same club as his master so maybe it was the same in this case. Where black folk barred from dealing in coins, maybe yes, maybe no. Was it the fault of apartheid maybe yes, maybe no. Did some folk, who were displaced because of apartheid, sit back and just do nothing or did some see an opportunity and seize the moment and better themselves, OH YES FOR SURE!!

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jwither
This sounds like a story I read about the start of Freemasonry and the sort. Whilst most uppercrust people joined these "clubs", it was not a closed society and everyone could join but it would have been very awkward had the slave joined the same club as his master so maybe it was the same in this case. Where black folk barred from dealing in coins, maybe yes, maybe no. Was it the fault of apartheid maybe yes, maybe no. Did some folk, who were displaced because of apartheid, sit back and just do nothing or did some see an opportunity and seize the moment and better themselves, OH YES FOR SURE!!

 

 

What you described is cultural.

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EWAAN Galleries
I understand fully that this is a hobby forum and not a political platform.

 

But where else must I express my frustration regarding race and collecting coins in South Africa?

 

Under the horrible apartheid system, all non-whites suffered, but for some strange reason, our Indian community lifted themselves up, and are currently running proudly with our RSA numismatic flag with many whites lagging behind.

 

But alas, my selling radar shows very few if any buyers of coins sold to our coloured community and virtually no blacks in sight.

 

Why?

 

Apartheid has ended 20 years ago – WHY has our esteemed black (middle class) community not picked up on our wonderful hobby?

 

I understand fully that most black people in South Africa have been disadvantaged and have not much money to spend on “nice-to-haves” hobbies like coin collecting.

 

But I am talking about those hundreds of thousands of middle class blacks in South Africa – why don’t they collect coins?

 

Pierre

 

 

Hi Pierre

 

We have had a black Dr. who purchased decent coins from us. A Really nice guy and now a personal friend of mine

 

See links:

 

Ponde - 1892 ZAR GOLD POND NGC GRADED MS62 | PERFECT UNC | Hern's Price UNC - R80 000 | FUN SUNDAY | was sold for R33,010.00 on 25 May at 21:31 by EWAAN Galleries in Johannesburg (ID:147210525)

 

Ponde - 1893 ZAR Gold Pond NGC Graded AU55 | Hern's Price UNC is R80 000 | KEY DATE | FUN SUNDAY | was sold for R20,700.00 on 27 Jul at 21:31 by EWAAN Galleries in Johannesburg (ID:153164220)

 

Half Penny - 1955 SA Union Half Penny NGC Graded Proof 65 RB | SUPERB GEM | VERY HIGH GRADE | was sold for R406.00 on 10 Aug at 21:31 by EWAAN Galleries in Johannesburg (ID:155836961)

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Colin_P
But I am talking about those hundreds of thousands of middle class blacks in South Africa – why don’t they collect coins?

 

I think the answer lies in the reasons that you (and other coin collectors) started collecting. I suspect that (like most hobbies) there was someone in your life, a parent or an uncle or friend of the family who was a collector and being exposed to that sparked your interest. I suspect that the fact that there were no (or very few) black coin collectors a generation ago is the reason why there are still very few of them now.

 

In other words, it's not been part of their culture as they grow up.

 

Of course, that's just yet another white guy's opinion, and I'd be happy if someone with a more concrete theory came along.

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Pierre_Henri

 

Yes a bit off topic but he has also bought from me in the past few weeks and I have had also no problems with payment from him.

 

But I have not realized that he is a doctor in the proverbial bundus (an outback hospital in far-far-a-way-land) and only charged him R70 for courier fees whilst it costs me R270 for delivery.

 

I did that twice..

 

Save a country with dumb-**** whiteys like me...

 

Pierre

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EcigSmokeOnline
I think the answer lies in the reasons that you (and other coin collectors) started collecting. I suspect that (like most hobbies) there was someone in your life, a parent or an uncle or friend of the family who was a collector and being exposed to that sparked your interest. I suspect that the fact that there were no (or very few) black coin collectors a generation ago is the reason why there are still very few of them now.

 

In other words, it's not been part of their culture as they grow up.

 

Of course, that's just yet another white guy's opinion, and I'd be happy if someone with a more concrete theory came along.

 

Yeah...I agree. From my understanding most people whom collect coins do it for the fact (or hope) that it will increase in value, thereby creating their own golden nest egg...blacks in particular especially from the elder or previous generation would rather invest funds in live stock, it is a thing coming from generations ago...nowadays with the younger generation I suspect that they are not interested in collecting coins because they are not informed as you should like them to be.

 

Also I can add that I am selling electronic smoking devices like my username states, and I have the same question about this...from all the orders I had there were only 2 black guys who bought from me, for some reason black people are not very well informed about things going on the world, if anybody can get them informed enough BoB will be overwhelmed by the volumes...that's my opinion anyway.

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jwither
Yeah...I agree. From my understanding most people whom collect coins do it for the fact (or hope) that it will increase in value, thereby creating their own golden nest egg...blacks in particular especially from the elder or previous generation would rather invest funds in live stock, it is a thing coming from generations ago...nowadays with the younger generation I suspect that they are not interested in collecting coins because they are not informed as you should like them to be

 

I don't believe financial considerations are the primary reason most become collectors but if this is remotely true in South Africa, this explains why collecting in your country is not very popular not just among blacks, but in general. Yes, it is understandable that anyone would like to get their money but eventually but most people who buy coins end up losing money over their entire life, though because of the depreciation of the ZAR (Rand), this needs to be measured in purchasing power and not nominal prices. And there isn't any reason to expect or believe anything else either, whether in the United States where I live or in South Africa for all of you.

 

Those who are actually interested in real collecting and buy at the right time in the market cycle can increase their chances financially but nothing more. Traditionally, coin collectors have also generally lost money because the dealer who was usually sold them their coins and then bought them back has to make a living.

 

Most who buy coins as "investments" are almost always going to be better off "investing" their money somewhere else.

Edited by jwither

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SADiamondsrus

A very good question, if you look at the population percentage of every race, at least 1% of the 83% (The remaining 17% being other races) black population should have "joined" the hobby in freedom.

I met a black diamond dealer (my trade) and he reckoned that black people tend to stay away from "collecting" in fear of losing.

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EcigSmokeOnline
I don't believe financial considerations are the primary reason most become collectors but if this is remotely true in South Africa, this explains why collecting in your country is not very popular not just among blacks, but in general. Yes, it is understandable that anyone would like to get their money but eventually but most people who buy coins end up losing money over their entire life, though because of the depreciation of the ZAR (Rand), this needs to be measured in purchasing power and not nominal prices. And there isn't any reason to expect or believe anything else either, whether in the United States where I live or in South Africa for all of you.

 

Those who are actually interested in real collecting and buy at the right time in the market cycle can increase their chances financially but nothing more. Traditionally, coin collectors have also generally lost money because the dealer who was usually sold them their coins and then bought them back has to make a living.

 

Most who buy coins as "investments" are almost always going to be better off "investing" their money somewhere else.

 

That might be the case in the USA, in SA it's another story you can't compare apples with bananas it just not the same. The mentality about these kind of things especially when it comes to investing funds are worlds apart within SA's races. I have also invested in different coins but not for the purpose of collecting, I will only buy certain coins because I know they will increase in value over time i.e Kruger coins, Mandela coins etc.

 

And with that said, blacks in SA won't invest funds via collecting coins(that's how they will interpret it) because they will rather stash it under their mattress because they are scared of loosing money.

Edited by EcigSmokeOnline
update

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jwither
That might be the case in the USA, in SA it's another story you can't compare apples with bananas it just not the same. The mentality about these kind of things especially when it comes to investing funds are worlds apart within SA's races. I have also invested in different coins but not for the purpose of collecting, I will only buy certain coins because I know they will increase in value over time i.e Kruger coins, Mandela coins etc.

 

And with that said, blacks in SA won't invest funds via collecting coins(that's how they will interpret it) because they will rather stash it under their mattress because they are scared of loosing money.

 

I know the culture is different in South Africa than in the United States, not just with blacks but generally. That was part of my point. Blacks don't collect hardly at all in the USA either.

 

In the future, I don't expect blacks to collect in the USA in any numbers and I don't expect them to in South Africa either. I know that at least some in your country would like them to so that it will increase prices, but there isn't any reason to believe that they will except maybe for some of the post-1994 issues but even then, I don't think it will happen in any large numbers. Why would they? There certainly is no reason to believe they will have any affinity for ZAR or Union.

 

The comments Colin made are true of many collectors today. They were exposed to collecting through someone they knew or in a country like the US, from the culture generally since numismatics is a lot more prevelant here. But it has to start somewhere. For some reason, the US inherited its collecting culture from the UK while South Africa did to a much lesser extent.

 

Where did the UK get it? I don't know but probably indirectly from Roman or Byzantine culture. I am aware that Europeans at the time (late 18th century) had been collecting coins for centuries along with many other things. The rich did anyway. In pre-colonial Africa, there wasn't any collecting because the society was structured completely differently and there wouldn't have been much to collect anyway, even aside from coins.

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jwither
A very good question, if you look at the population percentage of every race, at least 1% of the 83% (The remaining 17% being other races) black population should have "joined" the hobby in freedom.

I met a black diamond dealer (my trade) and he reckoned that black people tend to stay away from "collecting" in fear of losing.

 

I don't believe a 1% participation in numismatics is remotely the norm in any country. There certainly are nowhere near 1% of the white population collecting coins in your country or if there are, where is the evidence of it? If the white population is approximately 5MM as I understand it to be, that translates into maybe 30,000 to 40,000 who are old enough to do so. I don't believe there are even half that number which would be about 1% of the white male population in the age group.

 

My "guesstimate" of the "serious" collector population in your country is 5,000 on the low end to maybe 10,000 on the high end. If the number is higher or a lot higher, I probably do not see it because they are disproportionately concentrated in average grade circulated ZAR and maybe UnIon. The number of dealers in your country appears to support a higher number than my estimate. The mintage figures of the more recent SA Mint issues generally not unless collectors account for most of the buying. Elsewhere such as in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, a lot of non-collectors buy this kind of stuff. Its evident in the high mintages and the generally weak secondary market pricing. But regardless of the number, most are spending nominal amounts versus the USA. In the USA, even proportionately, there are a lot more buyers spending "big money" on coins.

 

In the USA, there are maybe 1.5MM "serious" collectors out of a population of 320 million. It is a guess. Since most are white males, its probably slightly more than 2% of this group while the participation among "hispanic" and Asian males is much lower and almost zero among all others.

Edited by jwither

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Pierre_Henri

Mandela Coins

 

I will only buy certain coins because I know they will increase in value over time i.e Kruger coins, Mandela coins etc.

 

Mandela coins will (in my opinion) NEVER increase in value over time - it is a BAD investment.

 

BUT it is surely a wonderful series to collect and it will give you more than your money's worth (but not financially) building up a respectable collection over time in terms of .... well, just for the sake of collecting.

 

I believe that some of us were born with a collecting gene and if you do not know or feel it in your bones, just ignore coin collecting as a past time.

 

There is little money to be made for those who are only into coins for profiting financially.

 

Pierre

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EcigSmokeOnline
Mandela coins will (in my opinion) NEVER increase in value over time - it is a BAD investment.

 

BUT it is surely a wonderful series to collect and it will give you more than your money's worth (but not financially) building up a respectable collection over time in terms of .... well, just for the sake of collecting.

 

I believe that some of us were born with a collecting gene and if you do not know or feel it in your bones, just ignore coin collecting as a past time.

 

There is little money to be made for those who are only into coins for profiting financially.

 

Pierre

 

Yeah..maybe..maybe not. I personally think it depend on the grade and it will take a (long) while to increase we'll just have to wait and see, I don't have a huge collection of the Mandela series but they are worth something, others I have is the Kruger gold coins and I am sure they will increase in value as they are expensive to come by. Well if they don't increase their gold value will do:biggrin:

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jwither

What are current prices for Mandela coins and which ones? If anyone cares to provide them, then we can make a better assessment of their prospects.

 

Based upon what I know, I agree with Pierre. The supply is huge and the demand from real collectors (as opposed to speculators) is practically non-existant. Except for "grade rarities" most of which aren't even rare, they are either common or as common as a grain of sand on the beach. Many of them don't even deserve to sell for the slab fee. Given the supply, I don't see any reason to believe that their prospects are worth considering financially.

 

From a collectible standpoint, the problem with these coins is that there isn't much to collect. How many issues are there even coinsidering differing permutations of the surface finish? By this, I am including circulation strikes, proofs and P/L. Since I know the answer is "not many", I don't see that the limited variety is enough to maintain actual collector interest for enough of them to absorb the existing supply at more than nominal prices. Combine thsi with the lack of intereest in RSA generally and even most post 1994 issues specifically and I don't see these coins going anywhere.

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