American Coin Shooter

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Top Collector Cars to Buy (Part I)

Car collecting is one of the best kind of hobbies one can have. 

Thousands of Americans are interested in car collecting. The British roadster and old muscle car you got in college might still have a place of honor in your garage and used as a weekend cruiser. A restored vintage Volkswagen Beetle or suicide-door Lincoln Continental can be bought for under $20,000, driven lightly for years, and then sold for a (probably modest) profit.

But what about high-end collectibles that go for seven or eight figures? They aren’t for everyone, though high-net-worth folks can use them to make money, increase their holdings, and perhaps even drive from time and time.

The market for classic cars has done far better than other collectibles, such as coins and stamps, over the past decade and has also conquered the broad stock index. The Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI) tracks the collector’s car market with numerous indexes. 

Its largest is the HAGI Top Index, which tracks vintage collectible cars from Bugatti, Porsche, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and other brands. The Top Index was over 13.00% year-to-date through August and over 500% the preceding 10 years thanks to rising global wealth chasing a small number of very collectible cars. 

The Car Market

At the high end of the classic car market, the ones that sell for over $1 million, you’ll find somewhat little-known older brands Delahaye and Hispano-Suiza, as well as names that are still famous today, including Jaguar and Rolls-Royce. Even brands not known for top-end exotics can become collectible: Toyota’s beautiful 2000GT, constructed from 1967 to 1970, can get over $1 million at auction. A 1934 Packard Twelve 1108 Dietrich sold for over $3 million and a 1998 McLaren F1 sold for over $13 million. 

The car market reflects the market for art. It’s an investment you enjoy visually and it can also be a currency hedge since cars can be transported to countries with good exchange rates.

 



Why Do Shipwreck Coins Last a Long Time?

Recently, some deep-sea treasure hunters announced the discovery of a shipwreck with over 15 tons of Colonial-era coins worth over $500 million. The crew’s sponsors haven’t told where in the Atlantic they found the cache or which ship had all that loot. Though, they did note that the silver and gold coins were in good condition.

The exact location of the shipwreck is unknown where the coins were found.

What affects the quality of shipwreck coins?

Where the ship goes down and what sort of metal the coins are made of. Coins that have been submerged for hundreds of years can end up being corroded, scratched, worn down, covered by sea life or lime deposits, or destroyed by acid conditions.

The warm waters of the tropics and the Caribbean will create most of the damage since warmer temps accelerate oxidation and corrosion. Also, these waters are the hosts for coral and micro-organisms that can encrust the coins, reducing their value, typically permanently. Cooler northern seas, such as the ones off the coast of England, where some think this treasure was uncovered, are more likely to aid in keeping all types of coins looking good.

Also, conditions on the seafloor make a huge difference. A muddy bottom could help sustain coins by enclosing and protecting them. Though, an environment of swirling sand can wear down markings and designs and cause scratches.

The depth of the wreck also is critical. Deep waters usually have weaker currents. So, the sand at the bottom doesn’t swirl around too much. Though, in some cases, sand can be a good thing. In 1857, The S.S. Central America sank amid calcium carbonate sands that aided in making the surrounding water slightly alkaline, keeping possible damaging acidity at bay. As a result, the ship’s coins were near-pristine when they were found in 1987.

 



Coins on a Gravestone: What it Means

Have you come across a gravestone covered in coins? It’s not unusual while visiting a cemetery to see the stones covered in various coins. So, what’s up with that?

Based on the legend, the coin left is usually on the gravestones of U.S. military veterans. Visitors who want to show their respect leave coins on the headstones in various amounts. It shows their loved ones of the soldier’s family that someone has visited the grave.

Leaving a penny denotes you visited and is thanking the veteran for their service. A nickel signifies you trained at boot camp with the deceased. A dime indicates you served with him or her. A quarter denotes you were with the soldier when they died.

Turns out leaving coins on a grave is a sign of respect.

The beginning of the tradition is up for debate. Though, many folks believe it began in the US during the Vietnam War. America was in a crisis of conscience. Any discussion of the war typically devolved into a more serious discussion about politics. Leaving a coin was a way to say you appreciate the soldier’s service while avoiding an inevitable uncomfortable conversation.

Just a legend?

That’s the theory. Keeping it real, leaving coins on gravestones goes back to just 2009. The money is typically collected and donated to the cemetery’s upkeep and possible burial costs.

But humans have left tributes and artifacts at gravesites for hundreds of years. Based on Greek mythology, during the Roman empire, fellow soldiers would put a coin into the mouth of a fallen soldier to make sure they could cross the River Styx into the afterlife.

However, one United States tradition is the leaving of “challenge coins” on military headstones by fellow veterans. These coins typically have the emblem of the deceased’s military company or unit. Fellow soldiers leave them to pay tribute to them and their family members.




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