We take Mandela Coins

epa01407052 Nelson Mandela holds a coin minted in his name, to celebrate his 90th birthday during a ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa, 07 July 2008. Mandela will be turning 90 years old on 18 July. The coin is being minted by the South African Reserve Bank and will be used by the nation as normal tender. EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

“SA Coins started out mainly dealing in ZAR coins (coins from the Boer republic and Kruger era), then incorporated the Mandela coins,” he says.

“We are leaders in especially the R5 market.”

In June 2010, the following prices on NGC-graded R5 Mandela coins were realised on Bid or Buy:
* R2 900 for an MS60;
* R20 075 for an MS61;
* R3 500 for an MS62; and
* R51 600 for the MS69 mentioned above.

Prices have come down to earth from those heady days. In October 2011, the average price realised for an MS61 was about R900, while MS62-graded coins sold for between R100 and R145.

If the Bid or Buy market has come off the boil somewhat, the market is still hot elsewhere, according to Glenn Schoeman, the president of the South African Association of Numismatic Dealers and the chief executive of Gold Reef City Mint.

“A client phoned me and said he had struck a bargain. He had been offered 50 NGC-graded MS66 Nelson Mandelas. The seller only wanted R25 000 a piece. The guy told me they are worth R40 000 each,” Schoeman says.

“I asked him: ‘How rare can they be? The guy is offering you 50 of them’.”

Schoeman says there are people who are on the telephone all day trying to sell the coins – “and they do sell them”.

Another way the average person could end up being enticed to buy is through discount coupon websites such as Groupon. (These websites disseminate news of discounts offered by businesses to consumers. But the savings kick in only if a certain number of people take up the offer. The intention is that buyers encourage family and friends to take up the offers as well.)

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Earlier this year, another dealer, Coin Invest, offered MS66-graded Mandela 2008 R5 coins for sale through Groupon with the following sales pitch: this is an “extremely valuable coin that will only become more valuable over time”. The coins were on sale for R1 232, which was described as a “discount of 56 percent” and a “saving of R1 568”. Coin Invest sells them on its website for R2 800 each.

A total of 439 people bought the coins.

If they had spent 30 minutes looking on the internet, they would have seen that MS66-graded Mandela R5 coins sell on Bid or Buy for about R90.

In October 2011, the Coin Invest site was offering an MS67 for R4 669. Coins with the same grade were selling for R300 on Bid or Buy at the time.

Personal Finance could not track down any person associated with Coin Invest or any physical address.

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