Sunday, May 24, 2015

High Plateau Drifter: "Portrait of a baby boom mania"

Price of an XF 1873 Carson City $5 gold piece in year 1974: $200 (Handbook of United States Coins with Premium List, 1974, R.S. Yeoman)

High Plateau Drifter sale of an XF 1873 Carson City $5 gold piece: $21,000.00 in 2014.

A 105 bagger in 40 years!!
That is 12.3% compound rate of return for 40 years.

Over the same period, the S&P 500 did 11.2% compounded, assuming reinvestment of dividends (which would have actually been taxed). That ends up being a 68 bagger.

However, people are paying 10x the value of the gold content of these coins. It's a bad bet. They would make a great short, because the coins obviously do not generate any income, hence no negative carry.

Baby boomers are hoarders. Their formative experiences must have involved scarcity of material goods, which are now ubiquitous. See Paul Graham's essay on Stuff. Also, rising asset prices have conditioned them to hoard things that they think are investments - houses and cars - but are really consumables.


Mr. Gotham said...

Baby boomers were raised by children of the Depression who hoarded a lot of things because you never knew when hard times might return. Seems like it has been passed down.

High Plateau Drifter said...

The U.S. was a different world back in the 1950s when I was growing up. We had silver coins and those blue whitman coin holders. Kids collected pennies and nickels of varying dates and mint marks. Silver coins were too dear to horde.

It was not until middle age, and serious collecting that I noticed a narrative displayed by our coinage that was wildly at odds with the narrative of the average American. One piece stands out, the fugio cent, minted during the Articles of Confederation and prior to the adoption of the Constitution. It said "time flies" and "mind your business." The constitution put and end to that sort of thing.

Thereafter, our U.S. coinage contained images of "Lady Liberty" borrowed from the French Revolution on the obverse and, curiously, the imperial eagle on the reverse. Our coinage during the 19th century screamed militant and expansionist egalitarian revolution. Even more curiously, at the very same time Indian massacres of Whites were occurring from 1850 onward throughout the frontier, (rural routes throughout Texas are replete with stone markers of these events) the powers that be placed busts of Indian Princesses on our coinage, and especially the gold coinage, throughout the final half of the 19th century.

Images of white males were never allowed to appear on our coinage until early in the 20th century. Our coinage screams that the U.S. identity has been married to an aggressive ideology, and not to a people. In short, our coinage for over one and a half centuries was a perfect predictor of the events that began in the 1960s as improving technologies of control empowered the imperial state, free of any allegiance or sense of obligation to its inhabitants as individuals or as a people, and bathed in sense of moralistic superiority, to dominate the world and level the living standard of U.S. citizens to the average of the rest of the planet.

It was all coined long in advance.

Anonymous said...

Here’s a list of commemorative American Indian coins which honor and recognize Native Americans:

The Arkansas Centennial half dollar, which was struck from 1935 through 1939, commemorates the 100th anniversary of Arkansas’ membership in the Union. On the reverse of the coin is a double profile of 2 figures: a European American woman clothed in the local fashion of 1936, and an American Indian chief representative of 1836. Arkansas Centennial half dollars are typically worth between $75 to $110.

The Daniel Boone Bicentennial half dollar, struck from 1934 through 1938, honors the famous American pioneer Daniel Boone. On the reverse of this half dollar is an image of Daniel Boone standing with Chief Black Fish. The Daniel Boone Bicentennial half dollar can be had for $110 to $125.

The Long Island Tercentenary half dollar, issued in 1936, celebrates the 300th anniversary of the European American settlement of Long Island. On the obverse of the coin are the profiles of a Dutch colonist and an American Indian. The Long Island Tercentenary can be purchased for $80 to $115.

The Missouri Centennial half dollar, struck in 1921, has an image of a frontiersman and an American Indian on the reverse. The coin sells for between $350 and $700 in typical grades.

The Oregon Trail Memorial half dollar was issued by the U.S. Mint from 1926 through 1939. The coin was struck to honor the many lives lost along the 2,000-mile trail. This half dollar was designed by James Earle Fraser (of Buffalo nickel fame) and his wife, Laura Gardin Fraser. On the reverse of the coin is a Native American (American Indian) man in feathered headdress standing proudly before a borderless map of the continental United States. The Oregon Trail half dollar is valued from $150 to $200 for higher-mintage dates.

The Providence Rhode Island Tercentenary American Indian half dollar was struck to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the New England city. The 1936 coin shows an image of Roger Williams being greeted by a Native American. This half dollar can be bought for $90 to $110.

The 2001 Buffalo “Indian Head” silver dollar is another recreation of James Earle Fraser’s 1913-1938 Buffalo nickel. This popular commemorative silver dollar can be had for $160 to $175.

The 2007 Jamestown 400th Anniversary silver dollar marks the occasion of the founding of Jamestown, Virginia. This coin honors the historical town with an image of 3 figures which represent 3 groups of people who helped build early America:

European American settlers
African American laborers
Native Americans
The Jamestown 400th Anniversary silver dollar coin can be purchased for $35 to $40.