To Buy or Not to Buy? A Coin Collector’s Guide to Timing

Those new to coin collecting and precious metal investment eventually run across commemorative coin sets. These collections of coins, often made of silver or gold, are specially designed just for a specific event, person, or organization. They look like a terrific way to purchase precious metals.

If you’re thinking of buying some sets, though, take note. There are times when buying commemorative coins makes a lot of sense, but other times when you should hold off.

First, a Serious Note

Any commemorative coin sets you buy should come from a mint or a reputable coin dealer. You’ll see sets for sale on TV or online from random advertisers, and while you’re free to purchase these, be aware of what you’re getting.

Not all of these coin sets use high-grade materials, and some may even be regular coins grouped together based on a theme, according to The Spruce. If you want gold or silver coins that are as close to pure gold or silver as you can get, stick to sets from a government mint or look at pre-owned sets at a good coin shop.

Also check out the price carefully. As Which? News pointed out leading up to the coronation of King Charles, sometimes these sets have prices that are above and beyond the value of the metal.

Yes, Buy Them

Commemorative sets can have wonderful designs and be a neat way to show your kids a memento from a historical event. If you’re teaching your kids about coin collecting or even learning about it yourself, these can be fun purchases. Prices, especially for silver sets, aren’t that expensive comparatively speaking, although you will want to keep an eye on metal prices.

Assuming you get a coin set made from actual silver or gold—and not an alloy that barely contains either of those metals—you’ll also have several coins that do offer precious-metal value. Historically, these metals go up in value, despite the occasional dip.

So, if you see a set that’s linked to an event you’re interested in, and you can afford to buy it, go for it! Contact a coin shop to see if they have the sets in stock or order them directly from the government.

Maybe Think About It First

If you’re hoping to build up a collectible metal reserve that will command a pretty price when you finally sell, commemorative coin sets may not be the optimal investment. This is especially true if you’re hoping that the set itself will rise in collectible value. The metal price will likely rise, as gold and silver usually do. If you purchase a commemorative coin set, however, you must approach it as a nice way to remember an event or person.

You never know how the future will go. A seemingly common silver commemorative set could suddenly skyrocket because of a mint error or historical event that turns the set into a rare item. Maybe the mint stopped production early, turning the set into a limited edition.

You can’t rely on that happening, though. Your set may be one of many, or there may not be that much demand for it at all—in terms of collectors wanting it, not in terms of the metal value—when you try to sell.

If you want a commemorative coin set because of the event itself or because you think it’s a neat way to store some precious metals, then absolutely buy them. These coin sets are lovely items that are well-packaged and secure. If you want a collectible item that will skyrocket in value and be in high demand, you should approach commemorative sets carefully.

It always helps to speak with experienced coin dealers—like those at Rocky Mountain Coin—before you commit to buying.