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Cold Sea

Why do we collect coins?

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Cold Sea

The old South African Republic flag has been in the news lately with a court judgment pending on whether the display of the flag should be discouraged or even declared a form of hate speech. Bidorbuy has made a pre-emptive move by removing items, including stamps, carrying images of the flag from their listings, thereby discouraging these listings.

E-bay has a similar policy for Nazi memorabilia which excludes coins and stamps.

I agree wholeheartedly with the affidavit filed by The Mandela Foundation, that “Gratuitous displays of the old flag, which serve no genuine journalistic, academic or artistic purpose in the public interest, are not about remembering but about forgetting our painful past.

I wonder then whether profiting from coins, which was used as a powerful propaganda medium depicting the apartheid heads of state and symbols, should also be discouraged and rather be displayed in museums, or do we carry on collecting them.

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Pierre_Henri

As an Afrikaner I was convinced from an early age that Apartheid was wrong and a disgraceful policy. 

I studied Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch during the 1980s and my stance against the National Party during those days is well-known to my peers. 

I served in the Government (House of Assembly Administration) and SA Army and continued my anti-apartheid stance during those days. I thought it better to reform from within than shouting from the outside. When the ANC government came to power in 1994 I went to work in the private sector. 

Like most South Africans today, I am shocked by the alleged corruption shown by those in power and some Parastatals (State-owned Enterprises) that are only keeping their heads above water because of massive state funding at the expense of the tax payer (people like me and you). 

Regarding numismatics, I am all free-market – let the collector collects what he wishes – leave him be.  

If you ban Adolph Hitler’s face on collectable items because he was a mass murderer, then you must also ban Joseph Stalin’s effigy likewise. And that of Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro… 

Where do you start and where do you stop? 

So what about banning flags?  

If you ban the old SA flag on websites like BidorBuy and EBay, then surely the current Zimbabwe flag (due to Robert Mugabe’s horrible legacy) must also be banned? And also that of Iraq and Cuba and many more countries? 

Let the collector decide – he / she is actually the one keeping websites like EBay and others afloat.

Keep the free-market free.

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Mike Klee

I think that what was in the past was in the past. Apartheid had a horrific effect on the majority of the population, with the bitter fruit being that the pendulum has now swung the other way and today post-apartheid has seen the legal marginalisation of the minority. To my mind, two wrongs have never made a right. The old South African flag is meaningless to me and many others, and I do not see any reason to either defend it or to obliterate its presence everywhere.

However, this flag was the symbol of the State of a time which is now history.

One cannot teach the children of today regarding the terrible wrongs that were done under apartheid if facts and features of that era are hidden in a fog of Orwellian knowing-ignorance and forgetfulness. 

Re coins and notes (and stamps), they do not harm anybody. Add the presence of the old flag on such numismatic material and you have a simple curiosity, a symbol of a dreadful past out of the ashes of which rose the hopes of an entire nation for a bright new future - free of the shackles of racism and discrimination and a wish for prosperity for all.

So  "no" - I do not see anything wrong in collecting such numismatic material.....

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Cold Sea

This banning of the flag made me wonder who collects this type of thing. And at the same time, who collects apartheid era coins. Why would the majority of black South African collectors even be remotely interested in collecting these.

The Mandela coins for example are accepted by the majority of South Africans for sentimental reasons and that fictitious profit of course. The same must be true for the other post 1994 coins which come naturally for most.

That then begs the question, is it still worth collecting the scarce coins from the apartheid era. Social engineering aside, do they still have a place in a collection that will be passed on in the future. Who is the future collector, and where will the demand for these coins come from?

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Mike Klee

Collecting coins is done by choice. I have a passion for shipwreck coins and patterns, Cold Sea enjoys Spanish Colonials and other numismatists collect whatever they want. There is no apartheid in numismatics and never has been, so whatever coins of whatever themes people choose to collect simply doesn't come into it. Choice and the freedom to indulge one's whims without hurting or offending the majority of fellow humans is the true hallmark of freedom and the promised fruit that all South Africans were supposed to enjoy post 1994. Whatever coins I collect, it is ultimately of no interest or relevance to me re whatever colour fellow South Africans might think of such coins today or in the future.

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jwither
On 5/10/2019 at 12:38 PM, Cold Sea said:

This banning of the flag made me wonder who collects this type of thing. And at the same time, who collects apartheid era coins. Why would the majority of black South African collectors even be remotely interested in collecting these.

The Mandela coins for example are accepted by the majority of South Africans for sentimental reasons and that fictitious profit of course. The same must be true for the other post 1994 coins which come naturally for most.

That then begs the question, is it still worth collecting the scarce coins from the apartheid era. Social engineering aside, do they still have a place in a collection that will be passed on in the future. Who is the future collector, and where will the demand for these coins come from?

I have commented on this subject before.  The majority population in your country will never have an affinity for ZAR, Union or likely most pre-1994 RSA coinage anymore than African Americans will for "classic" US coinage.

I have made similar comments about other demographic groups on US coin forums.  Nothing but "crickets" in response because this opinion is contrary to what most US collectors want to hear due to the negative implications on the price level and their hugely inflated opinions of the merits of the highest quality and most expensive US coinage, most of which is common and has limited if any distinction.

It's a lot less relevant in South Africa for a variety of reasons (primarily the much lower participation rate) but to obtain an indication, look at demographic forecasts in your country.  In the USA, the US Census Bureau projected in 2014 that the non-Hispanic white population will decrease from 196MM to 160MM by 2060.  Since the vast majority of US collectors are Caucasian men, this is undoubtedly going to be a negative for US collecting generally and even more so for collecting of US coinage.  Women of all demographics and currently defined minorities have a much lower participation rate which isn't because they can't afford it but because they have no interest.

As to whether scarcer Union and RSA will be collected in the future, the answer is undoubtedly "yes" for as long as it will matter to anyone reading our comments.  It will come from the same people who fit the existing collector profile now.  However, I already know that practically everyone reading these comments is really interested in the future price level, not how "popular" recreational collecting will be in the future.  If political correctness run amok reduces the future collector base, you can look for a return to the price level which existed prior to the preference for TPG.

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Pierre_Henri

 

The apartheid era only started in 1948, so all the SA coins minted since 1874 till 1947 are technically from a non-apartheid era. 

It does not matter if we are talking about a Paul Kruger Shilling, a Union Shilling or a 10 cent piece minted last year in terms of those who are coin collectors are those who are not (pre- or post 1994) ...

There are virtually no black people collecting coins - i would guess that less than .001%  are coin collectors or interested in the hobby. 

For the colored community the percentage is more but not much more.

For the Indian and white community, the  "contest" is neck to neck - but in my personal opinion, I would say that the Indian Community in SA forms the largest "block" in terms of the % they form of the total collecting community.

So it has nothing to do with the color of your skin or apartheid or whatever ...

Some communities just love coin collecting more than others, and some enjoy the game of soccer more than others - or rugby or deep sea angling or opera...

It is just how it is.

 

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jwither
54 minutes ago, Pierre_Henri said:

 

The apartheid era only started in 1948, so all the SA coins minted since 1874 till 1947 are technically from a non-apartheid era. 

It does not matter if we are talking about a Paul Kruger Shilling, a Union Shilling or a 10 cent piece minted last year in terms of those who are coin collectors are those who are not (pre- or post 1994) ...

There are virtually no black people collecting coins - i would guess that less than .001%  are coin collectors or interested in the hobby. 

For the colored community the percentage is more but not much more.

For the Indian and white community, the  "contest" is neck to neck - but in my personal opinion, I would say that the Indian Community in SA forms the largest "block" in terms of the % they form of the total collecting community.

So it has nothing to do with the color of your skin or apartheid or whatever ...

Some communities just love coin collecting more than others, and some enjoy the game of soccer more than others - or rugby or deep sea angling or opera...

It is just how it is.

 

No, it doesn't have anything to do with race.  I wasn't aware that the Indian community constituted the largest proportion of collectors in South Africa and it isn't something I would expect either.

There is undeniably a cultural component to collecting and from the information available to me, it is the dominant one whether it can be explained or not.  Above a minimal financial level, it certainly isn't due to economic constraints.

Culture is the best explanation for why collecting tends to be more prevalent and widespread in some places versus others.  There is no evident numismatic infrastructure in most of the world.  No research or publications, no coin clubs, no coin dealers...nothing.  A disproportionate proportion of all numismatic research is written by American and British authors. 

Presumably, there are some people who collect in most or even every country but the scale is irrelevant.  However, most people don't have access to anything other than their (predominantly) local circulating coinage in their home market.  To the extent they collect, it has to be out of pocket change and wouldn't be what most long term collectors consider to be actual collecting.  My now deceased aunt in Bolivia was one such person.  She had an accumulation of coins (mostly from my father's travel) but isn't someone that I would consider to be a collector at all.

The more important question for collecting in your country is, do these Indian collectors predominantly have an interest because of the coins or is it more financial?  If it is mostly financial, then it should be evident that this group won't care about any connection to apartheid as the "investor" doesn't care whether it's "widgets" they are buying.

If it's mostly evident since the TPG era (about 2002), I can infer that the chances are high that it's mostly financial.  I knew one of them who would have been considered a moderate to bigger budget collector by your local standards.  I haven't communicated with him in awhile but it's evident he lost interest with the price crash.

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Pierre_Henri

Sorry, I did not make myself clear - probably because my home language is not English.

What I meant was that, in  my opinion, the Indian community have the largest % of coin collectors in terms of the % they represent of the SA population as a whole. 

I use my monthly sales as a reference. The Indian population constitutes something like 2.5% to 3% of our total population, but I would guess that approx. 10%+ of my sales are to Indian people.

On the flip side, the black community constitutes approx. 76% of the SA population but my coin sales to them are few and very far between. I would guess that close to half of them that do win some of my listed items, do not pay and are rated negative by me.

They simply do not have a good track record as coin-buyers on BidorBuy but this is probably due to historical reasons and not a color issue.

Black people are certainly "new to the numismatic game" and I hope and pray that a culture of coin collecting and trading/buying/selling coins on internet sites will take root big time in the foreseeable future.  

That would be an enormous boost to the coin trade in SA and it would be an incentive for numismatic societies (or even better the South African Mint) to attract  black people to this wonderful hobby.    

I have previously suggested that a fund should be started for this purpose, and I am more than willing to contribute to this.

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jwither
5 hours ago, Pierre_Henri said:

Black people are certainly "new to the numismatic game" and I hope and pray that a culture of coin collecting and trading/buying/selling coins on internet sites will take root big time in the foreseeable future.  

That would be an enormous boost to the coin trade in SA and it would be an incentive for numismatic societies (or even better the South African Mint) to attract  black people to this wonderful hobby.    

I have previously suggested that a fund should be started for this purpose, and I am more than willing to contribute to this.

I'd rate the chances of this happening at near zero.  Sorry if it's a negative opinion but it's what I believe with overwhelming reasons to expect it.

For cultural reasons, I see no reason that hardly any of them (literally) will have any interest in ZAR, Union and most RSA prior to 1994.  This equally applies to banknotes and exonumia (tokens and medals) during the same time period.

I hold the same opinion for African Americans here in the USA and don't believe other currently defined minorities will ever approach the current participation rate of Caucasian men either.  I doubt the participation rate for Orientals and "Hispanics" is even half of Caucasians here, likely far less.  Other ethnic groups and nationalities from other regions?  Probably near zero. 

Caucasian women?  I understand it's somewhat more than it used to be and I see some opportunity here, but not enough to replace future attrition in the existing collector base.

The combination of what I wrote, it concurrently means that I expect the US collector base to shrink in the aggregate.  Even if Caucasian male participation increases somewhat, at most I think the net change will be about zero, neither an increase or decrease.

The most compelling factor for an increase I see being the future "bull market" in gold and silver which at some point I expect to be massive.  I think this will have a positive effect but only during part of the advance.  The last metals advance ending in 2011 did not occur during actually adverse economic conditions and it didn't really help most (US) coin prices either.  The next one at least during the  last part of it I believe, inflationary this time.  But after the deflationary crash in (financial) asset prices and coinciding with an economic depression.

The primary distinguishing factor between what I described for the USA and South Africa is that, since the collector base in your country is so much smaller, it could increase among the black population by random chance and still be (somewhat) noticeable, even for Union and ZAR.  For post apartheid RSA, well I don't think existing collectors find this coinage particularly interesting and see no reason to believe that blacks in your country will find collecting pocket change interesting either.

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GROOVIE COINS
15 hours ago, Pierre_Henri said:

Black people are certainly "new to the numismatic game" and I hope and pray that a culture of coin collecting and trading/buying/selling coins on internet sites will take root big time in the foreseeable future.  

That would be an enormous boost to the coin trade in SA and it would be an incentive for numismatic societies (or even better the South African Mint) to attract  black people to this wonderful hobby.    

I have previously suggested that a fund should be started for this purpose, and I am more than willing to contribute to this.

To add to Jwither's comments. I'm inclined to agree that though pre-94 numismatics is on the decline from which it probably won't recover. That being said numismatics has a very bright future in South Africa and the number of coin collectors is far larger than anybody realizes. The only problem is people do not know how to access information about numismatics and are ignorant to what they collecting, but they are collecting nevernevertheless. 

Conventional means of learning about numismatics is no longer where the modern generation goes to for information. You'll be hard pressed to find millennial's in libraries, reading through books (the paper kind) and attending coin shows. That's not to say they do not read at all, the books are just battery powered these days. That is why I felt the need to promote South African coin collecting on social media platforms to bring awareness and encourage the hobby.

In the US, coin collecting transferred from books and coin shows to social media like the facebooks and youtubes with great success and it's been attempted in SA as well with one major flaw. The majority of young South Africans don't want to know about ZAR or even Union coinage that they do not have, they want to know about Mandela R5, or R2, or any other pocket change that they have in jars.

This is exactly what I've been trying with my youtube channel, talking about pocket change as well as commemorative and pre 94 coinage. The idea behind it being that the thousands watching videos on old R5 with new coat of arms will be introduced to other collectors coins that they would not normally have been aware of. The first question that everybody asks naturally is where they can change their Madiba R5 and how much it's worth, and my responds always SA coin headoffice...lol (no that's not true). I take care that my response is informative and encouraging. "Your coin is worth R5 because its a normal circulation coin, but instead of spending or selling it. Why don't you see if you can start a collection or pass it to your kids" or "Try looking for these years to complete a set". 

It's eye opening to see the age group and male to female ratios who watch these video and express an interest. Most of which are watched from mobile or tablet devices I must add.

 

Demographics.jpg

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jwither

Robert,

I don't know whether collecting of pre-apartheid coinage is on the decline.  I don't live in your country and have only had limited contact with local collectors.

What I can tell you is that post apartheid coinage won't be preferred over Union and ZAR  for as long as it will matter to anyone reading my comments.  There is a difference between "popular" measured by the size of the collector base and an actual preference.  This distinction seems to confuse a lot people, including those who post on US coin forums.

Most collectors do not actually buy the coins they prefer the most due to budget limitations. You are correct though that they concurrently overwhelmingly aren't interested in discussing coins they don't collect but it's substantially because they cannot afford to buy it and likely won't ever own it either.  Most collectors also don't care about trivial numismatic minutia reflected in TPG holder labels, except as it impacts the price.  The differences between proximate TPG grades are usually actually either marginal or irrelevant.

The other reason collecting of Union and ZAR may appear to be in decline is because of the price trend since YE 2011.  However, much of the prior buying was never collecting but speculation.  Many never were collectors though likely, a noticeable proportion still own some or many of the better coins that they are "buried" in today.

Lastly, what I can tell you is that most of the current collector base (whether in South Africa or the USA) probably doesn't really care about the future prospects of the hobby, except as it impacts the value of their collections and their ability to sell it later.  And if this isn't true of the collector generally, it's overwhelmingly evident on this forum, NGC and PCGS.

The reason I can know this is because the health of the hobby is overwhelmingly measured by the price level and price trend, not actual indicators of collecting such as the size of the collector base, number of coin clubs or volume of numismatic research.

Edited by jwither

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GROOVIE COINS
4 hours ago, jwither said:

Robert,

I don't know whether collecting of pre-apartheid coinage is on the decline.  I don't live in your country and have only had limited contact with local collectors.

What I can tell you is that post apartheid coinage won't be preferred over Union and ZAR  for as long as it will matter to anyone reading my comments.  There is a difference between "popular" measured by the size of the collector base and an actual preference.  This distinction seems to confuse a lot people, including those who post on US coin forums.

Most collectors do not actually buy the coins they prefer the most due to budget limitations. You are correct though that they concurrently overwhelmingly aren't interested in discussing coins they don't collect but it's substantially because they cannot afford to buy it and likely won't ever own it either.  Most collectors also don't care about trivial numismatic minutia reflected in TPG holder labels, except as it impacts the price.  The differences between proximate TPG grades are usually actually either marginal or irrelevant.

The other reason collecting of Union and ZAR may appear to be in decline is because of the price trend since YE 2011.  However, much of the prior buying was never collecting but speculation.  Many never were collectors though likely, a noticeable proportion still own some or many of the better coins that they are "buried" in today.

Lastly, what I can tell you is that most of the current collector base (whether in South Africa or the USA) probably doesn't really care about the future prospects of the hobby, except as it impacts the value of their collections and their ability to sell it later.  And if this isn't true of the collector generally, it's overwhelmingly evident on this forum, NGC and PCGS.

The reason I can know this is because the health of the hobby is overwhelmingly measured by the price level and price trend, not actual indicators of collecting such as the size of the collector base, number of coin clubs or volume of numismatic research.

I was a bit unclear, but I wasn't really referring to the current collector base, but the potential in the hobby being taken up by the majority of South Africans not exposed to collecting. As Pierre mentioned, it is a hobby, even a speculative investment driven by predominantly white and Indian people, leaving out a vast potential market in the black community.

It will be post 94 numismatics that resonates the most with the majority of would be South African collectors, and ultimately where future of the hobby lays if it's ever going to be adopted by all race groups.

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jwither
42 minutes ago, GROOVIE COINS said:

I was a bit unclear, but I wasn't really referring to the current collector base, but the potential in the hobby being taken up by the majority of South Africans not exposed to collecting. As Pierre mentioned, it is a hobby, even a speculative investment driven by predominantly white and Indian people, leaving out a vast potential market in the black community.

It will be post 94 numismatics that resonates the most with the majority of would be South African collectors, and ultimately where future of the hobby lays if it's ever going to be adopted by all race groups.

I wasn't referring to the current collector base either but that of the future,

In terms of the proportion of those collecting, what you say would be true if black participation turns out to be substantial.  I don't need to be an omnipotent fortune teller to predict it won't happen but even if it does, these people won't be paying any noticeable premiums for pocket change which is what the "industry" actually cares about. 

I'm not familiar with the "industry's" current marketing efforts.  But whatever the extent, it's overwhelmingly financially motivated and there isn't ever going to be any meaningful profit in promoting this coinage, except to the SA Mint.  As in the USA, the "industry's" actual motivation is to promote post apartheid coinage to the majority population now in the hopes that enough of them will transition to more expensive coinage later.  This "more expensive coinage" is overwhelmingly Union and ZAR, not RSA.

In the USA, there is also some scale in selling coin supplies and periodicals.  In the internet age, I don't believe this will have much more appeal in your country than it does in the US.  Coin folder sales must have collapsed in this country since the peak of this type of collecting in the 1960's.  The rest of the coin holders are too expensive for low budget collectors.

Recent circulating coinage isn't remotely interesting enough to maintain long term interest as the primary collecting focus.  Except under contrived US standards using the five specializations I have mentioned, it's far too common and isn't sufficiently challenging.  (This is TPG "grade" rarities, "special designation strikes", errors, toned coins and die varieties.)  In the US, all five are niche collecting, not mainstream.

In countries with long term traditions of collecting, the lopsided proportion of the collector base transitions to obsolete coinage as soon as their budget permits it.  In the USA, I'd say this applies to close to 99%, except the lowest budget collectors.  This 99% will collect currently circulating coinage but only as a supplement.  It isn't their primary interest.

The other reason I can make this claim is because I am aware of exactly one country where something like this has happened.  In China, the TPG population data make it evident that PRC (1955 and later) coins are widely collected.  However, ethnically these collectors presumably have the same profile as those who collect the predecessor coinage. 

Additionally, I presume that, given China's cultural tradition and the existence of other art objects dating back a long time, that the Chinese do have a propensity to collect things even if not coinage. A practice which was interrupted by their communist political system from about 1949-1989. I've never heard of any collecting tradition in sub-Saharan Africa for anything, just as in Bolivia with the majority indigenous population where there is equally no reason to believe collecting will ever achieve any scale either.

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Cold Sea
On 5/17/2019 at 10:37 AM, GROOVIE COINS said:

To add to Jwither's comments. I'm inclined to agree that though pre-94 numismatics is on the decline from which it probably won't recover.

I have read parts of the Griqua Royal House website, and could not find any reference to the LMS coins. These coins are commemorated by the Reserve Bank as our first indigenous coinage, yet the Royal House does not acknowledge an important part of their own cultural and our national history, in effect "banning their own flag". I would expect a body like this to raise funds and collect as much historical cultural items as possible. Also, can it be true, as jwither suggests, that sub-Saharan Africa has no collecting tradition other than to make a profit. I take my hat of to Robert and others who is still promoting the hobby of kings.

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jwither
24 minutes ago, Cold Sea said:

Also, can it be true, as jwither suggests, that sub-Saharan Africa has no collecting tradition other than to make a profit. I take my hat of to Robert and others who is still promoting the hobby of kings.

To be clear, my claim is that there is no native tradition of collecting in Sub-Saharan Africa, not that it never occurred by colonists. 

Sub-Saharan Africa is a big place with many cultures but if it ever happened, I would really like to know when and where.  I have never even heard of writing, much less art (as in paintings and sculptures) which was produced for sale.  Same applies to literature.  I would expect both first before I would expect anything which indicates that these people would remotely have an interest in collecting coins.

As I mentioned in my comparison with the indigenous populations of Bolivia, the Inca culture (the most prominent) was far more "advanced", yet I have never heard they collected anything, even though they did produce some objects which could have been collected, such as jewelry since silver was so common.  Never heard of any Inca writing or literature either.

The South African Coin Company has (or did have) an article on their website describing the collecting habits of the Randlords who apparently collected everything except South African (ZAR and maybe Union) coinage.  Given that the whole purpose of this article was part of their marketing efforts to hype this coinage and sell it at an inflated price, I presume that if collecting had occurred by indigenous populations prior to the Dutch and English arriving in South Africa, they would have mentioned it.  Same applies if the majority population did so after colonization.  Now granted, either few or none of them could have afforded to do so in any colony but absent this prior tradition, what I am trying to tell everyone here is that the very idea of collecting coinage (or anything else) is foreign to societies which never did so, especially if they never even produced the objects themselves.

Why would they ever want it, except to make a profit?

Also to be clear, I am not trying to convince or discourage anyone from promoting the hobby in your country or anywhere else.  Just be realistic and don't expect ethnic groups which have no tradition to have any interest, without a cultural change occurring first.  This applies even more to the trivial numismatic minutia reflected in TPG holder labels which is reflected in the existing illogical price structure.

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jwither

A follow-up on my prior post.

I covered this once before but look at the most widely collected objects in the recent past.  Today, much of what is collected I'd describe as surplus garbage from a materialistic consumer oriented society.  That's why I expect most of it to become effectively worthless in the future.

All of the most widely collected items share(d) one common linkage.  They served a functional purpose, primarily to decorate the homes of the middle class and "rich".  This applies to paintings, sculptures, archeological artifacts, jewelry, coins, books, furniture stamps...I think you get the idea.

European culture was the primary source for it.  Some of it was produced elsewhere, such as in China, Japan, India, parts of North Africa, and the near east but less so.  These objects have been preserved at least somewhat in these locations but I don't know how much it is collected.

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GROOVIE COINS
13 hours ago, Cold Sea said:

I have read parts of the Griqua Royal House website, and could not find any reference to the LMS coins. These coins are commemorated by the Reserve Bank as our first indigenous coinage, yet the Royal House does not acknowledge an important part of their own cultural and our national history, in effect "banning their own flag". I would expect a body like this to raise funds and collect as much historical cultural items as possible. Also, can it be true, as jwither suggests, that sub-Saharan Africa has no collecting tradition other than to make a profit. I take my hat of to Robert and others who is still promoting the hobby of kings.

I have no in depth knowledge of the Griqua Royal House so I can only speculate without doing much research. The question I would ask is does the GRH embrace the history of the LMS and the role it played in their society at that point? It is a thorny subject because there is a growing trend of opinions that wants to see all what would be considered connected to a colonial past be disregarded. 

With regards to the tradition of collecting from a South African point of view (I don't know about other Southern African countries) I would say there is a tradition of collecting and not necessarily for profit. South Africans like hoarding stuff, especially old stuff from glass bottles to the little pokemons that came in chips. I recall there being many Van Riebeeck replica tokens at home growing up and was told they came in the coffee tin back in the day (scary considering these tokens were lead based with a thin copper or bronze plating). Remember animal cards on the weatbix boxes in the 90s or the Telkom phone booth cards? Everywhere you look some or other company is handing out some type promotional material and people are collecting it, you need only look at how popular the Checkers minis have been over the last three years... 

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GROOVIE COINS
13 hours ago, jwither said:

To be clear, my claim is that there is no native tradition of collecting in Sub-Saharan Africa, not that it never occurred by colonists. 

Sub-Saharan Africa is a big place with many cultures but if it ever happened, I would really like to know when and where.  I have never even heard of writing, much less art (as in paintings and sculptures) which was produced for sale.  Same applies to literature.  I would expect both first before I would expect anything which indicates that these people would remotely have an interest in collecting coins.

As I mentioned in my comparison with the indigenous populations of Bolivia, the Inca culture (the most prominent) was far more "advanced", yet I have never heard they collected anything, even though they did produce some objects which could have been collected, such as jewelry since silver was so common.  Never heard of any Inca writing or literature either.

The South African Coin Company has (or did have) an article on their website describing the collecting habits of the Randlords who apparently collected everything except South African (ZAR and maybe Union) coinage.  Given that the whole purpose of this article was part of their marketing efforts to hype this coinage and sell it at an inflated price, I presume that if collecting had occurred by indigenous populations prior to the Dutch and English arriving in South Africa, they would have mentioned it.  Same applies if the majority population did so after colonization.  Now granted, either few or none of them could have afforded to do so in any colony but absent this prior tradition, what I am trying to tell everyone here is that the very idea of collecting coinage (or anything else) is foreign to societies which never did so, especially if they never even produced the objects themselves.

Why would they ever want it, except to make a profit?

Also to be clear, I am not trying to convince or discourage anyone from promoting the hobby in your country or anywhere else.  Just be realistic and don't expect ethnic groups which have no tradition to have any interest, without a cultural change occurring first.  This applies even more to the trivial numismatic minutia reflected in TPG holder labels which is reflected in the existing illogical price structure.

With regards to people collection prior to colonial periods, Africans had a different concept to ownership than Europeans or Asians. I can't think of any form of consumerism and my understanding is people used what they needed and moved on when supplies where short. I remember reading something to the effect that Khoi tribes would only settle in a specific region as the pasture lands would permit, then would move along. 

One could take the glass beads as an example that was highly sort after and supplied by Arab merchants, but even these were used for jewellery or currency purposes. The same with sea shells and other copper and iron trinkets. 

Mapungubwe comes to mind as an advanced African civilization approximately 1000 years ago who were knowledgeable in metal works and produced beautiful gold pieces that would be considered ornaments. These were undoubtedly traded for glass beads all of which could be considered collectibles. 

Today however is another matter. After 350 years of the introduction of modern civilization and society, culture has already changed and everybody has a concept of ownership, value and materialism. To say that societies in modern times would be foreign to the concept of collecting would be an inaccuracy. Collecting objects of high value might be subdued in certain societies, but this is only due to the fact that household incomes are and have been constrained for decades. With the growth of middle class, modern day hobbies such as collecting coins will follow, but these will be focused on coinage that appeals to the majority of South Africans. i.e. post 94 numismatics.

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GROOVIE COINS

To add to my first comments about South Africa having a bright future in numismatics.

Let us take any simple circulated Madiba R5 only worth face value. One would be hard pressed to find a smiley in circulation at any given time (I challenge anybody to go and buy something at this very moment and check your change), yet there are 5 million of them out there. The same with the 90th birthday Mandela R5 of which 10 million were struck if I remember correctly. The presidential inauguration R5? There should be millions of these coins in circulation, yet they are nowhere to be found. Who has all these coins? They most certainly not all kept by dealers or well off collectors. 

For somebody who has nothing to eat (and there are many millions of South Africans living in poverty), R5 is a lot of money. You can still buy a small basic meal or a subsidized loaf of bread for R5, but these coins are nowhere to be found. It then stands to reason that even people with very little are holding onto these coins and I doubt it's with the hope of becoming rich someday. A R5 is a whole lot more to somebody who has nothing, than a ZAR pond to somebody who is a wealthy.

This is an indication that numismatics is active among poorer South Africans, rather than inability to buy coins they can clearly not afford. That being said, if as a poor person you were passionate about collecting Mandela R5, I see no reason why you would not expand your collection to more expensive Mandela coins if your circumstances improved. 

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jwither
2 hours ago, GROOVIE COINS said:

Today however is another matter. After 350 years of the introduction of modern civilization and society, culture has already changed and everybody has a concept of ownership, value and materialism. To say that societies in modern times would be foreign to the concept of collecting would be an inaccuracy. Collecting objects of high value might be subdued in certain societies, but this is only due to the fact that household incomes are and have been constrained for decades. With the growth of middle class, modern day hobbies such as collecting coins will follow, but these will be focused on coinage that appeals to the majority of South Africans. i.e. post 94 numismatics.

I understand your point but in terms of collecting, it is contrary to the observable evidence from how people actually act.  Sure, they (the black majority in South Africa or other ethnic groups elsewhere with a similar economic tradition) now have a concept of ownership, for objects which are actually useful or have status value.  This doesn't create any affinity for coins or other similar mass produced collectibles,  which have no utility or status whatsoever except within the collector community.

I have responded to this thinking on coin forums repeatedly and the question I ask is always the same.  If the concept isn't foreign to them, why aren't they collecting now?   No one can answer this question because an answer isn't available except the one I gave you. 

There are plenty from the black majority (or any other group elsewhere with no tradition of collecting) who can afford to do so yet the evidence proves they don't.  Not where it has any impact on the price level since collecting at face value or near it is irrelevant to practically everyone reading our comments and definitely to the financial promoters of the "hobby".  Tens of thousands from the black majority have the financial capacity to collect to the same financial level as the bigger budget existing collectors in your country right now, yet they don't.  What change in culture is going to cause it to happen?  And as I explained in my last post, collecting post 1994 coinage as the future of collecting in your country means it will cease to exist as it does now even excluding financial speculation, as there will never be any financial scale to it for as long as it will matter to anyone reading our message exchanges.

There is absolutely no evidence anywhere (literally) that increasing affluence has causality with collecting, only with speculation and financial buying.  No amount of affluence will ever turn more than an irrelevant number into actual collectors, except by random chance.  The only feasible reason it has any realistic prospects to noticeably impact collecting in your country is that since the collector base is so limited, this random chance can still increase it noticeably proportionately.

Except maybe at or near face value, the price level proves it isn't happening in South Africa now and there aren't any limitations anywhere else either.  To use Bolivia as an example again, the economy has been booming since 2005 when the current government took over.  My father moved back in 2007.  The current administration is led by an indigenous president who has done a lot for the non-European population.  Based upon the limited knowledge I have, there is less evidence of collecting now than in 1975 when the country was much poorer.  In this instance, even if someone wanted to collect, there appears to be nothing available locally worth buying.

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jwither
2 hours ago, GROOVIE COINS said:

To add to my first comments about South Africa having a bright future in numismatics.

Let us take any simple circulated Madiba R5 only worth face value. One would be hard pressed to find a smiley in circulation at any given time (I challenge anybody to go and buy something at this very moment and check your change), yet there are 5 million of them out there. The same with the 90th birthday Mandela R5 of which 10 million were struck if I remember correctly. The presidential inauguration R5? There should be millions of these coins in circulation, yet they are nowhere to be found. Who has all these coins? They most certainly not all kept by dealers or well off collectors. 

For somebody who has nothing to eat (and there are many millions of South Africans living in poverty), R5 is a lot of money. You can still buy a small basic meal or a subsidized loaf of bread for R5, but these coins are nowhere to be found. It then stands to reason that even people with very little are holding onto these coins and I doubt it's with the hope of becoming rich someday. A R5 is a whole lot more to somebody who has nothing, than a ZAR pond to somebody who is a wealthy.

This is an indication that numismatics is active among poorer South Africans, rather than inability to buy coins they can clearly not afford. That being said, if as a poor person you were passionate about collecting Mandela R5, I see no reason why you would not expand your collection to more expensive Mandela coins if your circumstances improved

I think you and I have a different definition of "bright future".

If your definition means hundreds of thousands or millions collecting at or near face value from pocket change, I'll concede that to you now.  In one prior instance with someone who has made a similar claim numerous times on US coin forums, I told them I would equally do so if he claimed one billion would do so globally.

This type of collecting certainly won't have any impact on the price level but even ignoring that, won't make any difference to other key metrics used to measure the actual health of the hobby either.  There isn't a single instance anywhere (literally) where there is any evidence that modern circulating coinage is sufficiently compelling to maintain long term collector interest in the aggregate, except as a supplement to collecting obsolete coins.  As I explained in my last post, except under contrived US standards, the coins are far too common and don't represent enough of a challenge, even if somewhat difficult to source from pocket change or the local bank.  Most collectors aren't really interested in numismatic literature, but even if they were, there isn't enough to write about this coinage to maintain collector interest, except maybe to the novice.

As to Mandela R5, if you are referring to the 90th BD coin, I have always assumed most are either being hoarded by those who incorrectly did or do believe it to be valuable.  Or, still stored by the South African Treasury or Reserve Bank.  The combined census is over 200,000, so there is no shortage of this coin anyway for anyone who wants to buy it.  Similar thoughts for any other 1994 and later RSA not widely found in circulation.

With your comments I have highlighted in bold, this example is an exception to the primary point we are discussing.  Someone who is a dedicated collector is certainly motivated to increase their budget given the means to do so, within the limitations of the market they operate.  This other collector I referenced in my prior US coin forum debates, he made a similar claim for collectors in Costa Rica based upon prior correspondence with someone in that country.  In this instance, there is a limited supply of the better obsolete coinage, just as there is for Union and somewhat for ZAR.  For Mandela or other 1994 and later RSA, there is no prospect that it will happen at any meaningful price level and definitely financial scale.  Due to the size of the collector base, at most I would expect it to apply to "conditional rarities" but not the other four specializations I listed.

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testrarossa
5 hours ago, GROOVIE COINS said:

Let us take any simple circulated Madiba R5 only worth face value. One would be hard pressed to find a smiley in circulation at any given time (I challenge anybody to go and buy something at this very moment and check your change), yet there are 5 million of them out there. The same with the 90th birthday Mandela R5 of which 10 million were struck if I remember correctly. The presidential inauguration R5? There should be millions of these coins in circulation, yet they are nowhere to be found. Who has all these coins? They most certainly not all kept by dealers or well off collectors. 

Hi

They say a picture speaks a 1000 words. Thats where all the circulation R5 end up.

From the NGC forums and here’s the link:

https://www.ngccoin.com/boards/topic/384890-biggest-nelson-mandela-r5-collection-by-sacoin/

 

7411DFCE-17D8-4014-BDDC-D13A20412A41.jpeg

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Cold Sea
6 hours ago, GROOVIE COINS said:

The question I would ask is does the GRH embrace the history of the LMS and the role it played in their society at that point? It is a thorny subject because there is a growing trend of opinions that wants to see all what would be considered connected to a colonial past be disregarded. 

And that is exactly the point, how can any one culture, or nation disregard the past. In our case, from pre-colonisation to colonisation, from concentration camps to apartheid to now. All of these events are portrayed by way of collectables, be it coins, beads, art , or vuvuzela's. The current mood of wanting to ban everything to do with colonialism and apartheid is naive. The next generation may not be interested in collecting pre 1994 items, but why deny them these items if someday they prefer to collect them. 

P.S. Judging by testrarossa's post, it might be the only thing left to collect, as that R5 vault looks like a hot one in Dubai.

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GROOVIE COINS
1 hour ago, testrarossa said:

Hi

They say a picture speaks a 1000 words. Thats where all the circulation R5 end up.

From the NGC forums and here’s the link:

https://www.ngccoin.com/boards/topic/384890-biggest-nelson-mandela-r5-collection-by-sacoin/

 

7411DFCE-17D8-4014-BDDC-D13A20412A41.jpeg

Oh my soul, my heart just skipped a beat. This very afternoon a listing was put up by sa coin for a bag of 90year old Madiba's for R25 000, marketed as 'potential value of R200 000' and 'collect rare notes and coins'. Now if this isn't cornering the market, then I don't know what is!

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