Real Wealth #104 05/21/2007
Shipwreck Salvage Yields Enormous Colonial Treasure: Is this an investment you should be buying into or avoiding like the plague?
There's a great deal of excitement being generated over news of what may well be considered the richest recovered shipwreck in history.
While details about the ship itself are being held in extreme secrecy, it is believed that they are bringing home 17 tons of colonial-era silver and gold coins from somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. The project itself was conducted by the Odyssey Marine Exploration a publicly listed Sea Salvage and exploration company which has titled the project "Black Swan".
The reason for the secrecy is pretty obvious, as when you find a treasure of this size, it is important to make sure that poachers don't come along to make a similar claim. According to Odyssey co-chairman Greg Stemms, more than 500,000 pieces were extracted from the wreck and are expected to fetch an average of $1,000 each from collectors and investors.
This morning I received and email offering coins from this shipwreck graded and certified by Numismatic Guarantee Corporation which is one of the two very best coin certification and grading services in the world.
In addition to, grading and certifying NGC has a sister company that is capable of professionally cleaning and recovering coins from the ocean. The only problem is the silver and gold coins from shipwreck like these even when professionally curated, and cleaned still exhibit damage from the sea water.
I've had the opportunity to examine coins from this shipwreck last year and while they are wonderful collectors coins THEY ARE NOT RECOMMENDED AS AN INVESTMENT.
With over 40 years of rare coin collecting, investing and being a dealer as experience I can tell you the coins I've seen offered from this shipwreck are way overpriced.
The $500 million value that's being touted based on $1,000 a coin is an ultra-retail figure and is for coins that have ALL been impaired by seawater and as a result are damaged.
If you're thinking of buying some of these shipwreck coins, you should know that if you decide to ever sell these coins you may wind up with as little as 25% of the purchase price. These are cool coins but not investments.
Buy a coin or two if you like them and get a kick out of this kind of stuff. As an investment however --- please don't. Please don't.
Editor and Publisher
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Update on our Dow 13,000
Gold Subscription and Renewal Offer
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