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Buying minerals as an investment?
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: May 05, 2007 13:49    Post subject: Buying minerals as an investment?  

On an other topic of this Forum (Right labels):

http://www.fabreminerals.com/forum/Message-Board/viewtopic.php?p=282#282

Carles Curto published a text that contains a new idea that sounds very interesting to me. In his text we can read:
"Prices, if you sell are very different that if you buy and if you collect minerals are merely collecting, not investing (business is just for dealers, it is natural. Or not?)"

I would like to start a discussion about this topic. Investing in minerals could be promoted assuring to collectors (hypothetical) future profits?

Jordi
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PostPosted: May 06, 2007 04:30    Post subject: "Buying minerals as an investment?"  

First of all thank you for having this amazing idea and making it a reality for us the mineral collectors. Free and open to everybody! I just discovered it yesterday thanks to a friend and am sure it will become a very useful tool in the near future.

I think the thread "Buying minerals as an investment?" promises to be a great subject to talk about. I'll be watching for posts in the next days.
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Carles Curto
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PostPosted: May 07, 2007 02:58    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

About prices when you buy a specimen you can pay for it, depending the circumstances and your knowledge, a very low price (due, for example, to a mistake of the dealer, or for a temporary bonanza of the species) or pay a really stupidly high price. Are those two prices indicative of the real value? Of course not.

People could be surprised for a high difference between his own estimate value and the real price that they can sell for, because, as I commented in a previous message, prices are always different if you sell or you buy.
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PostPosted: May 07, 2007 16:10    Post subject: Investment  

Dear Group

I think that a collector should collect what he likes.
Making an investment?
Well, depends....
In the long run, if you buy high quality minerals, you will be always rewarved with a premium.
But remember that is in *long run*.
I remember an auction, that probaly Carles know also very well (not to say Jordi).
The owner really made an investment...and collected the benefits (and many critics)

A stamp seller, some years ago, made me a truly true comment: Lluís, think that when you go to a football match you pay for the ticket. After the match is done, you could not resell the ticket. If you collect, you enjoy the pieces, and after all, you always can collect some money...

For suddently depression in prices:
I am the proud owner of a poldevaartite from the collection of Mr. Carthcart. Not cheap. Then suddently appeared the new ones, that are nicer and cheaper. I would never change my pedigreed poldevaartite by the most magnificent new ones: two different deposits....
Even if I never get what I paid for...
Just the label from a bigger collector makes me happy ...

Yes, á chaqun sélon son goût....... (I love Fledermauss..... :-) )

With best wishes

LLuís
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PostPosted: May 08, 2007 04:47    Post subject: Buying minerals as an investment  

People collect minerals for a variety of reasons and some, while an investment may not be the primary reason, definitely keep the investment factor very much in mind when they buy. Happily, the vast majority of collectors collect because they love minerals so the satisfaction derived from acquiring ones they like is reason enough.

And, it needs to be said, there are a relatively small number (I believe) who openly collect ONLY because they feel that can make a big profit in a relatively short time if they buy wisely and sell selectively. Unfortunately they also believe that these minerals, having been in their collection, will have gained additional value by virture of having been owned by them. In effect, such people really are not true collectors, they are dealers operating with a different style. I do not fault them for this, but I do have a lower opinion of those who buy over-priced specimens primarily because they were once owned by a well-known collector, like John Barlow, for example.

The ability of these "dealers" to market specimens successfully in this manner, often further hyped by the publication of a vanity book, is a reason for concern, I believe, because this activity has had the effect of elevating mineral prices universally and artificially.

On a related subject, there is a discussion also going on in this forum about entering what one pays for specimens in one's catalog. I cannot think of a single reason why this information should not be recorded. It is part of the history of the piece. Somewhere down the road this data may matter to someone, whether the collector paid too much or bought very astutely. In Michael Cooper's new book "Robbing the Sparry Garniture" (a wonderful book chronicling a 200-year history of British mineral dealers) he makes frequent references to what collectors, musuems and dealers paid for specific specimens and entire collections, often equating these prices with today's values, something that could not have been done if the prices were not recorded. It is part of the record and it sould be recorded. One can never fully anticipate all of the potential reasons why keeping a complete record is a good idea. For what it is worth, my former museum recorded prices paid in its catalog and I assume that most museums also do so.

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PostPosted: May 08, 2007 06:23    Post subject: Investment  

I agree to register the price for historical purposes. I didn’t discuss if it is necessary or not to recorder prices. We’ll be agree it is almost good (more than necessary) to do it, specially in the case of museums, that spend public or private money when acquires specimens. I discussed the paid price is not a correct item to re-valuate the sample, specially when a long time is passed.
We conserve some register books of old particular collections now in the museum. In one of them, and as a simple example, the collector recorded he paid, at the beginning of sixties, 6000 pesetas (a little fortune then) for a vulgar (in all senses) Brazilian amethyst. If I actually pay the equivalent price for the same amethyst I could (I must) be considered absolutely fool.
I’ll read the Michael Cooper's book.
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PostPosted: May 08, 2007 08:27    Post subject:  

I agree that purchasing mineral's prices must be preserved to increase their information for future generations. The price of a mineral is relative for its buyer depending on its economic power, quality of the specimen, sample history… In the case of old antiquarian books, the fact that the book comes from a recognized library increases its value, also its state of conservation and it is a good investment only with well known books.
The price of purchase must be orientative and often it gives information on the buyer and the temporary mineral peculiarity. But once we escaped of the world of the museums and entered into the collectors world these are able to make barbarisms for multiple reasons. Also the price of the mineral can reflect an extensive analitical study of the founding. Perhaps the price of medicines reflects the price of the active principle that forms them? The mineral investors are not collectors as they are not in the art speculating buyers. The price of a good specimen includes the pleasure of its contemplation and many collectors suffer this "nice" disease.

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PostPosted: May 09, 2007 04:42    Post subject: fashion minerals  

I re-assume here (and I would put on actuality once again) a general title presented few time ago by John: “Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today”. In further communications and drop to drop, some of participants at the forum incises, in one or another way, market it is creating a worrying situation for the more serious, more scientific if you prefer, mineralogy.
As I commented in another post, we can consider two main (artificial) levels of collections. One of them more scientific (samples, documentation, readings, photography, exchange of knowledge with other amateurs...) and a second one, called, in its high degree, “fashion minerals”, this last directly incising on the esthetic aspects and in a ugly competence for the “best” specimen and the kind of collection that people build.
The problem I guess is that, in a few time, it is affecting all the chain, from initial (and scholar) level to top collectors and museums. In classic conspicuous collections the first goal was a good systematic representation frequently based in a solid (on that time) documentation in despite of a not negligible esthetic quality of the samples, but always at the service of a best comprehension of the morphological, crystallographic, local, etc, aspects. Those collections were references for other collectors and young generations.
Now, fashion minerals looks especially at vanity (vanity books are only one of the consequences). Fashion collections are nice, it is true, but, what more? Thanks to this kind of commerce (and collection) prices are rising not only on professional commerce, not only in high class pieces, they also create high expectation of business between a lot of local and amateur searchers and it has repercussion on the price of elemental and simple specimen that hundred of thousands of amateurs use to buy. Money is money, I assume it. But, where is mineralogy?
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PostPosted: May 09, 2007 09:14    Post subject: fashion minerals  

Good afternoon.

Well, I am one of those odd people that like systematic minerals, provided that they are crystallized (if they crystallize). Not just chunks....
With patience and care and time you could have even nice samples of rare minerals.
Just it is a question of personal taste.
Yes, a gibbsite would be never as spectacular as a Pala tourmaline, but in its own, it could be very pleasant to eyes.
Plumbogummites could be also nice.
And the rare tellurates from Moctezuma, if well choosed, could be very appealing.
But not spectacular....

Anyway, collecting is an expression of each one's sensibility, and although I classify by Strunz/Lapis classification (the quartz in silicates makes me very, very nervous; so, no Dana), and I record all the data, even prices, and I would like to build a systematic collection, I would never blame those that collect only tourmalines, or classify by colour. Just not my taste, but if they do not force me to do same, well, a chaqun sélon son gôut.....

With best wishes

LLuís
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PostPosted: May 09, 2007 13:30    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment  

The links to find out the book from Michael Cooper's, "Robbing the Sparry
Garniture", mentioned by John White:

http://www.minrec.org/bookdetail.asp?id=44

http://www.lithographie.org/bookshop/robbing_the_sparry_garnitur.htm

Jordi
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PostPosted: Nov 23, 2007 22:08    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

Hi, group,
There's a booming market in China as more and more young and old people start collecting minerals. Chinese economy is growing fast, many people grow their own wealth and pay more in self entertainment. And, some of them start to deal international,since there is a bigger market outside of China.

Although there is plenty resources of minerals in China, collectors and dealers know little about international market. That leaves much opportunity for those good at both English and Minerals. So, they can collect much local minerals at low prices and sell better prices to the world. The power of knowledge can be very large sometimes.

However, China adopted open-policy for many years, some traders from America or Europe came to the local mines, raised much the local mineral's prices. Legend is spread among the local miners. That may cause the big profit fall.

Tao from Chengdu, China
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PostPosted: Dec 04, 2007 09:13    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

I believe there are two main errors if a collector intent to invest in minerals.
1. When the collector buys he is yet paying an important plusvalue. To correct this plusvalue and began to obtain benefices requires a quite long time.
2. The samples susceptible of invest use to be the best, then they are expensive and far of the possibilities of the pocket of most of the mortals.
Then, I repeat, better collect and don't invest.
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PostPosted: Dec 04, 2007 10:25    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

I totally agree with Carlos. Collect for the passion of collecting. There is no investment potential for good quality specimens on down to low quality pieces. High prices have all but eliminated the once serious middle income producing collector. Only the highest quality specimens, which most of us cannot afford, or refuse to buy, have strong investiment potential. You'll do much better investing in traditional investment vehicles, such as real estate, etc. That's my advice and I am sticking to it....good luck!
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PostPosted: Dec 04, 2007 10:27    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

My apologies to Carles for misspelling his name.
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PostPosted: Dec 04, 2007 11:24    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

Hi,

I agree with Carles too. Unless you are very rich and can afford buying specimens worthing thousands, do not try to use your collection as an investment. Remember that minerals as every other collectibles follow trends which can change through time, making a highly desirable specimen of the 80s an almost uninteresting one to a 21th century collector.

By the time you would want to sell you might discover that your collection worths the half, fourth of what it costed you some decades ealier. Do not forget that the day you'll sell you'll probably have plenty of minerals, so two options :

- Sell them yourself one after another which will be quite time consuming or even expansive as you'll have to attend several shows as a seller to hope selling everything.
- Sell to a dealer who will buy them cheaper as he/she buys the collection at once.

If you really want to make money and are willing to take some risks go to the stock market instead and just enjoy your mineral collection for what it is : a worthy collection to your eyes because it is yours.

To answer to the last post of Jordi :

Buying for less and selling for more is the letmotiv of every dealer who has to make a living through his/her business. After it is to the buyer to be careful and not agree to buy a desirable specimen at any cost. Not only it will be expansive but will most likely lead to a surge in mineral prices, with as a result a few rich collectors able to buy what they like and a majority struggling to get scraps (but it is a subject already discussed in the forum).

"Collecting as an investment" depends on your goal I would say. As every collectors I know, I have a few specimens I found some time ago that could be sold/traded during a show. As there collecting costed me nothing they might be seen as an investment of some kind. But is it really what leads mineral collectors ? I'm not so sure, at least not me otherwise those specimens would be long gone by now (and shows would be jamed by much more sellers than they are today).

Carles said: "business is just for dealers, it is natural. Or not?"
I do not agree with that. I know several dealers who started dealing because it was the only way for them to get access to high quality minerals sold to insiders only (meaning not sold before/during shows). Others buy and sale low priced minerals to make money and use it to buy minerals for there own collections. And maybe even you, you could be a one time dealer of some kind as the amount of minerals you have exceeds the storage capacity of your house or apartment.


Christophe
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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2012 15:01    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment  

Jordi Fabre wrote:
The links to find out the book from Michael Cooper's, "Robbing the Sparry
Garniture", mentioned by John White:

http://www.minrec.org/bookdetail.asp?id=44

http://www.lithographie.org/bookshop/robbing_the_sparry_garnitur.htm

Jordi

Hey Jordi,

There is a lot of tips in Michael Cooper's Robbing the Sparry book. I wish every member here reads it.
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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2012 16:31    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

This thread was started 5 years ago. Given that the Tucson Show is just over...with many dealers professing to have had their best show ever...or close... it would be interesting to see how much certain specimens in the writers' collections have appreciated...or depreciated. I realize that asking prices may be different from what you can get, but overall prices have continued to climb across the board....perhaps enough to make it possible to realize a tidy profit on things bought relatively recently by average collectors.

I will start this by mentioning a top-end specimen I bought in Denver in 2008 for 3.5 "units" was purchased by a dealer at this show for 10 units. A more middling quality piece showed a similar increase but with fewer digits to the left of the unit decimal point.

I would also mention that there are collectors of very high end specimens who maintain that that level of specimen has appreciated an average of 20% per year for the last 25 years.

Mick's book is great...miss him a lot

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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2012 17:21    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

Peter-

All very interesting. I had hoped to go the the Tucson show this year but had some eye surgery that grounded me. Dang it, but I can now see my collection better! As to prices, I have a big problem. I have some specimens that I bought when I was in the 7th or 8th grade. These were all from Mexico and I was living in El Paso TX at the time. They could not have cost very much considering my income at the time. Since then I have collected and purchased quite a few more and decided to stick to carbonates. There is no way for me to collect them all! Problem is that I never wrote down the cost of any of them. I might have a couple with the price on the label, but no records. I am surely not at the high end since my most expensive specimen was less than $100.00 For me, I just enjoy seeing them sitting on their shelves. I think they are almost all beautiful.

Rich
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PostPosted: Feb 16, 2012 18:25    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

Rich...love to see you out here some year

I don't think many of the FMF participants "value" their collections in monetary terms...most of us are in it for the aesthetics and scientific interest....however we perceive that personally. However, we are increasingly competing with folks who do, and/or for whom monetary value is a critical component in how they perceive their collections. '

This has good and bad repercussions

Bad: we have to pay more for the rocks we want...especially if we have what I will snobbishly refer to as "highly developed aesthetic sensibilities"...aka we like REALLY good rocks.

Good: The good rocks we already have are worth more so we have an appreciating currency with which to acquire new rocks...as long as we are willing to part with existing things.

Bad: the population of kindred spirits who are more interested in the minerals than the money is diluted.

Good: The influx of money has completely changed the economic realities of specimen mining/acquisition and as a result we are seeing more and more high quality specimens emerging from new places or from mines operated primarily for specimens...by people who know what they're doing.

Bad: the very best rocks produced by the above go to high dollar collectors for amounts wellbeyond the reach of most "regular" collectors.

Good: there are a LOT of very good to excellent rocks in the next tier down that are available to everyone. In fact, many of these would have been the top rocks previiously so if we never see the new top rocks we don't know waht we're missing.

Bad: folks keep publishing really high quality mineral books with great pictures of the best rocks...so we are aware of what we're missing.

Last one is tongue-in-cheek

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PostPosted: Feb 17, 2012 00:14    Post subject: Re: Buying minerals as an investment?  

Good summary Peter.

The problem is parting with good rocks to buy even more expensive good rocks. Hard thing to do!
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