Reading latest news you could see titles like Sale of Russian Ruble Paves the Way in Goldberg Coins Pre Long Beach Auction, Russian Ruble (1714/3 PCGS EF-45) fetching $46,800 and going through Russian Coin forums, you will see topics, such as Russian Coins Prices are MAD and This hobby is becoming too expensive.
Russian Coin market has exploded this year! The prices for most quality Imperial Russian Coins (pre 1917) has grown 100% and keep going up. Coin Dealers are confused and if you call most of them you will hear the same answer: We dont have any Russian Coins in the inventory right now. Russian Coin Market is hot. So, who is buying Russian Coins and how it can be possible for the coins prices to grow 100% in just 1 year?
We believe, to understand what happened you will need to go back in the history. Russia went through very difficult times in 20th century; people struggled to feed their families and had little interest in expensive hobbies, such as collecting coins. A lot of silver and gold coins were melted down or converted to jewelry. We know how many Russians coins were minted, but no one knows how many coins survived through all these years of weak economy. Even now all Imperial Russian Coins can not be exported from Russia, so there circulation of such coins outside of Russia is limited to Russian coins smuggled illegally or Russian coins kept by generations of Russian immigrants.
You could see that demand for Russian coins started to grow 5 years ago when Russian economy just started to recover. Its easy to conclude that the recent growth in Russian coin prices is related to booming Russian economy. In fact, if you compare results of coin auctions in Russia with Russian coin auctions outside of Russia, prices for the same Russian coins outside of Russia are 10-30% below than inside of Russia! The demand is coming from Russia itself where more and more people find investing in coins to be very rewarding. Russian coins on European and North American auctions are bought through proxies and coming back to Russia and western Russian coins inventories, which were not very good from the beginning are depleting. There is a huge demand, which drives the prices up and with quality Russian coins going to private collectors and investors you can find that some rare coins sold in the auction in January are selling for twice as much in June. This is unbelievable 100% Return on Investment in 5 months!!! And, people were saying stock market brings highest returns. The one million dollar question is for how long the prices for Russian Coins can growth and would this market overheat and crash one day.
We know that every market has its ups and downs and 100% growth is not sustainable in the long term. From the other hand, if we compare coin prices for British and American coins to Russian coins, we can still see that rare Russian coins are still selling for much less than British or American coins of such rarity. For the largest country in the world with, such an interesting history, Russian coin market is still in the developing stages and we believe it will be booming while Russian economy is doing well and a lot of experts suggest that Russia might finally have a bright future.
If you are interested in taking a part of this rally and have little or no knowledge on Russian coins, following are some suggestions, which you will need to consider. As in any growing market there are people, who are trying to exploit and profit from it in a fast way. There are more and more fakes of Russian coins, which are coming to the market, which are worthless, but can be sold to inexperienced collectors or investors for thousands of dollars. People looking for bargains are ending up buying these fakes without realizing that they were cheated. Our advise it to stick to the coin dealers, who specialize in Russian coins. Avoid auction sites, such as Ebay, where (dont be surprised) a lot of Russian coins sold as original will end up to be copies! Buy coins certified by NGC, ANACS or PCGS. Apart from certifying that coin is genuine, certified Russian coins are graded according world standards. When you buy raw (uncertified) Russian coins, which is a high possibility they are overgraded or can end up to be cleaned or worse – fakes. You pay a premium on certified coins, but its worth it. The fact is that even experts cant tell if the coin is fake by looking at the picture and without certified agencies, coin market would be doomed. Do some research to learn about coin grades, clean coins, coin toning and coin varieties. For example, Liberty Gold Dollar of 1879 would cost you around $350 in (AU) About Uncirculated grade and $7000 in Uncirculated MS-67 grade and if you havent seen a lot of these coins you wont even tell the difference between the 2. Our advice, that you should buy VF-30 XF-45 1700-1810 Russian coins and AU or MS-65 1810-1917 Russian coins. These experienced the highest market value growth in the recent years and we believe will keep going up. Russian Gold Coins and Platinum Russian Coins were appreciating fast because of the recent growth in Gold prices, so if you believe the price for gold is going up and can afford such coins, you might find to look at Russian Gold Coins a bit closely.
To summarize, Russian Coin market is still maturing and although 100% increase in price in 1 year seems crazy, it can be explained that Russian coins were overlooked in the past and were very cheap before and just start to get appreciation and demand they deserve in the recent years.