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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Coins (Moderator: Severus_Alexander)  |  Topic: #3 - ca. 1984 Roman Coin marketing - "quite literally...boundless!" THE COINS 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: #3 - ca. 1984 Roman Coin marketing - "quite literally...boundless!" THE COINS  (Read 971 times)
Sosius
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« on: September 28, 2011, 04:06:01 pm »

This is message 3 of 3...

OK, we've heard the exclamation mark-covered pitch!  How about the investment?  How did the lucky guy who bought the coins make out?  

Well the seller said the price was $295 in 1984, which is $618 in 2010 dollars.  I bought it for $51.50 cents.  Not the greatest return.  

Fortunately, Joe is a much more level-headed and honest seller than the Ancient Coin Society! 

And the coins?  Not bad, actually.

Regards,
Cliff
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Sosius

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renegade3220
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2011, 04:26:13 pm »

Not for that price! How could they be bad.
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Sosius
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2011, 04:32:12 pm »

Actually, I have bought a couple of prepackaged coins like this that were really pretty crappy.  Just barely identifiable coins that I would grade as "good" or maybe "very good." A couple of times I have taken the packets apart and thrown the coins into my slug jar!  These were better, but buying coins like these is a gamble!
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Sosius

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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2011, 04:32:22 pm »

What a steal!

Well done!

mz
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renegade3220
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2011, 04:35:28 pm »

Actually, I have bought a couple of prepackaged coins like this that were really pretty crappy.  Just barely identifiable coins that I would grade as "good" or maybe "very good." A couple of times I have taken the packets apart and thrown the coins into my slug jar!  These were better, but buying coins like these is a gamble!

Did you not have photos of them? I find it fun buying from bad photos and no info. Lol. Just got one in from small photo, but it has cleaning scratches all over it I couldn't see. Smiley

Oh well.
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Sosius
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2011, 04:47:52 pm »

No, I just saw the very first picture on my first post showing the presentation folder.  The coins were tiny little specks...

Anyway, the point of the post wasn't to brag about my deal, it was to poke fun at the "investment-style" marketing, where the coins were overpriced and sold to people as "can't lose" investments.  There is no way the coins are worth $618 dollars in 2010 (the $295 paid in 1984 plus inflation).  The only people who made money on these investments were the people who bought the coins in 1984 for $25 or so, then packaged and marketed them for tidy profit!  

Sadly, right now there are gold coin sellers that should be in prison for taking this kind of "investment" marketing to a whole new level--playing on people's fears and charging them 2 to 3 times what the coins are really worth.  

I like to think that my ancient coins are an investment of sorts, but I am the first to admit that I'm fooling myself.  

Cliff

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Sosius

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curtislclay
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2011, 06:36:31 pm »

 There is no way the coins are worth $618 dollars in 2010 (the $295 paid in 1984 plus inflation).

On the other hand, the purchaser did obtain membership in the Ancient Coin Society, which qualified him for first choice on future bargains!

Seriously, it wasn't the worst ripoff I can imagine. Say the three coins were worth $50 in 1984; the price required was only six times as much!
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2011, 10:03:53 pm »

Anyway, the point of the post wasn't to brag about my deal, it was to poke fun at the "investment-style" marketing, where the coins were overpriced and sold to people as "can't lose" investments.  There is no way the coins are worth $618 dollars in 2010 (the $295 paid in 1984 plus inflation).  The only people who made money on these investments were the people who bought the coins in 1984 for $25 or so, then packaged and marketed them for tidy profit!  Sadly, right now there are gold coin sellers that should be in prison for taking this kind of "investment" marketing to a whole new level--playing on people's fears and charging them 2 to 3 times what the coins are really worth.  

I like to think that my ancient coins are an investment of sorts, but I am the first to admit that I'm fooling myself.  

On your first point, my view is that far from being an imprisonable offence, I would congratulate these coin marketers for bridging the gap to consumers who wouldn't ordinarily buy coins. What does it matter if $295 was a good or bad price? These are not being sold to real "investors" or even to collectors, but to grandads who would - just once - like a few old coins. Most will be happy with their purchases and never be the wiser that they were priced higher than wholesale. Indeed they may even guess that to be the case and don't care. Anyway who can really say what a coin is "worth". The same people buy sets of decorative plates with Christmas themes, or pictures of presidents or whatever, also sold as an "investment". It's ok. These are legitimate entertainment and educational  and decorative purchases. Such "coin marketing"adverts first hooked me into old coins when my age was in single digits - this was without even buying any. A bit of market froth is ok.

On your second point, my experience in selling coins has not been a happy one. One either has to price them so low (or sell on ebay at 99c start price) that you get perhaps a quarter back from your investment, or you price them at "normal retail" and only a quarter of the coins sell even after a year or two (and you can't predict in advance which those would have been or else you might have adjusted pricing). So whichever tactic you try you still lose most of your "investment". So long as you know this when you buy coins all will be ok.
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2011, 12:46:40 am »

These were priced pretty far above RETAIL in 1984, let alone wholesale!
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Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2011, 02:48:02 am »

Quote from: commodus on September 29, 2011, 12:46:40 am
These were priced pretty far above RETAIL in 1984, let alone wholesale!

Yes. And it doesn't matter. The purchasers got some genuine ancient coins and were presumably happy with the outcome. And as said above, they probably understand that anything bought from a mass-marketing advert campaign in a Sunday magazine glossy is likely to be more expensive than a well-researched purchase requiring years of careful learning from a small specialist store.

We accept these sort of trade-offs every day. When I buy something I know nothing about, I understand that I generally pay much more than an expert at a specialist vendor. Say for example I buy a pretty old-looking china plate for $100 in a fancy emporium. Perhaps the "correct" retail price was $15 if I searched out a specialist seller of old china. I don't care. I'm happy with the plate and I'm happy that the fancy emporium allowed me to buy it. Likewise those who buy from newspaper-advert campaigns are probably generally satisfied, regardless of likely markups compared with some theoretical retail price (that they don't know about and don't have access to). I suspect virtually all such adverts have similar huge markups, in part to compensate for the expensive and risky marketing campaign, which brings stuff that people want to their attention. An almost virtuous act.
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2011, 04:07:49 am »

And let's not forget that there was also a fair amount of "value-add" with these coins. 
For the uninitiated consumer, there is a lot of professionally prepared detail that has been put together with the coins, and whilst it may not be of use to many here, it may have made fascinating reading to them.  In 1984, paperwork like that would not have been desktop published, but printed at a print shop, and that costs money. (Especially if it was small print runs!)  Also factor in copywritten detail on three emperors, design that in 1984 would NOT have been done on a home computer, a "free" book that appears to be reasonably big, a magnifying glass, as well as membership of a society that probably sounded like it had a pretty cool name.

So given the design time that would have gone into this pack, the copywriting time, some research time, the book, the magnifying glass, shipping charges, cost of materials, and at the very least administration of the coin society membership details, I don't think that it was such a bad deal as some here are making out.  Certainly not 6 times what the complete package actually cost, and far more than the $50 retail that has been quoted for just the coins Smiley

regards

Mark
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2011, 04:33:22 am »

Anyway, the point of the post wasn't to brag about my deal, it was to poke fun at the "investment-style" marketing, where the coins were overpriced and sold to people as "can't lose" investments.  There is no way the coins are worth $618 dollars in 2010 (the $295 paid in 1984 plus inflation).  The only people who made money on these investments were the people who bought the coins in 1984 for $25 or so, then packaged and marketed them for tidy profit!  Sadly, right now there are gold coin sellers that should be in prison for taking this kind of "investment" marketing to a whole new level--playing on people's fears and charging them 2 to 3 times what the coins are really worth.  

I like to think that my ancient coins are an investment of sorts, but I am the first to admit that I'm fooling myself.  

On your first point, my view is that far from being an imprisonable offence, I would congratulate these coin marketers for bridging the gap to consumers who wouldn't ordinarily buy coins. What does it matter if $295 was a good or bad price? These are not being sold to real "investors" or even to collectors, but to grandads who would - just once - like a few old coins. Most will be happy with their purchases and never be the wiser that they were priced higher than wholesale. Indeed they may even guess that to be the case and don't care. Anyway who can really say what a coin is "worth". The same people buy sets of decorative plates with Christmas themes, or pictures of presidents or whatever, also sold as an "investment". It's ok. These are legitimate entertainment and educational  and decorative purchases. Such "coin marketing"adverts first hooked me into old coins when my age was in single digits - this was without even buying any. A bit of market froth is ok.

On your second point, my experience in selling coins has not been a happy one. One either has to price them so low (or sell on ebay at 99c start price) that you get perhaps a quarter back from your investment, or you price them at "normal retail" and only a quarter of the coins sell even after a year or two (and you can't predict in advance which those would have been or else you might have adjusted pricing). So whichever tactic you try you still lose most of your "investment". So long as you know this when you buy coins all will be ok.


Probably we are now seeing some of these coins on these boards in threads of the "grandad-left-me-a-bunch-of-old-coins-he-said-are-worth-a-lot-of-money" kind!

Regards,
Ignasi
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Sosius
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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2011, 11:08:08 am »

As always, you all make some excellent points.  Let me separate my thoughts into two areas:

1) Price of coins versus market: 

Yes, the coins were priced above market, but they were packaged and presented a very nice way, in a classy little folder, with nice write-ups, etc.  And yes, these things were all much more expensive to produce in the pre-desktop publishing era.  Given the technology available today, and the offshore printing/manufacturing opportunities available to even the smallest companies, the presentation could be better at the same pricing. 

If the same offer was made now for a lovely high-quality folder (linen, etc) with three fine to VF denarii for $600, I would not buy it, but there are many people who might buy it, and be happy to keep it on a shelf and show it to the grandkids, etc.  It might be over-priced, but it would be a lovely thing to own, especially for someone who did not plan on collecting more ancients.  If I could have scratched my ancient coin itch for a mere $600, I would have been way ahead!

I don't really have a problem with the high price of package, versus the value of the coins alone.  They made a pretty nice product that added value to the coins.

2) The investment hype:

What I do have a problem with is the way that the coins were marketed.  If you read the text of the brochure (see my first two posts) you might get the impression that these coins were a sure-fire bet, and that you could essentially treat them as valuable assets for your retirement.  I have a problem with anyone marketing overpriced items or faux-collectibles in this manner. 

A quick Google search on "Goldline hearings" will pull up a number of articles detailing how the firm and others sold gold coins to individuals as investment/retirement assets.  They even brought politics and fear of the government into their sales pitches.  The prices they charged for these coins were frequently far, far above what you could have bought them for at a coin dealer. 

Is the company that marketed these coins in Goldline's league?  I certainly don't think so.  Did they oversell a pretty nice product that a casual collector might enjoy?  Probably.  Given that I work in finance, I am always annoyed and disgusted by people misrepresenting purchases as "investments," like the car salesman who says what a great "investment" a new car would be, but I guess that's my issue to work through.

I do know one thing, they never offered anything like FORVM's great buy-back guarantee!
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/About_FORVM/Guarantee.html
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Sosius

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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2011, 11:32:35 am »

What an interesting package this was, thanks for sharing it with us Cliff!
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2011, 03:25:14 pm »

Really it all boils down to caveat emptor unless, of course, you are one of those above-described people who is happy to get ripped off.

Undecided
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Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2011, 08:25:41 pm »

Quote from: commodus on September 29, 2011, 03:25:14 pm
Really it all boils down to caveat emptor unless, of course, you are one of those above-described people who is happy to get ripped off.

Undecided

considering that most people I've shown my coins to can't believe how inexpensive they really are, there probably were not too many dissatisfied customers... unless they shopped for more coins!
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David M3
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« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2011, 01:36:39 pm »

You and I know the price of a coin is what the market will bear. I am an economics major, and a coin collector. I have paid more than coins are worth and less than they are worth. When you are looking for a coin to fill a gap in a collection price seems to take a back seat. I don't think any of us think we will get rich off our collections. I think a break even would be nice. I collect because I love the coins and the history. Maybe when I am old and grayer than I am now, I will sell them for at least what I have paid for them. Either way I have enjoyed the hunt. If you are buying coins to make money you should just buy a lottery ticket, just about the same odds.
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« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2011, 11:09:56 am »

I find it fun buying from bad photos and no info. Lol.

I thought I was the only one who was mad  Grin, I amuse myself by doing that too from time to time.
Although of course I am pleased when I end up with a bargain it doesn't bother me too much when I don't as I only do it as a fun gamble anyway and vast sums of money are not involved either.

Quote from: commodus on September 29, 2011, 03:25:14 pm
Really it all boils down to caveat emptor unless, of course, you are one of those above-described people who is happy to get ripped off.

"Caveat emptor"? What about "Una vita - vitate."  Grin

Alex.
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« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2011, 01:52:48 pm »

"Caveat emptor"? What about "Una vita - vitate."  Grin

Sounds like something someone would get tattooed while inebriated! Grin (every bit as smart as impulse buying without doing any research). Myself, I'd rather live my one life with as much money as possible, rather than blowing it unnecessarily.
That's just me, I guess. Cool
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Eric Brock (1966 - 2011)
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