Pretender to the Throne
Joined: Apr 2002
Sunday June 13, 2010 6:59 PM
<< I was working in Kuwait a few years ago and tried to get as many uncirculated coins as possible. It was very difficult, because there's no easy outlet to buy them. If you go to a bank they'll give you what they have, which is a mix of dates, circulated or uncirculated and you'll have to sort through it. Unless there's some dealer who has a connection, it looks like almost all of every year's mintage goes directly into circulation. >>
Yes. Exactly. I should have been more specific.
When I suggested that the ones saved were oftyen taken out of the country I
really meant that these account for a lot of the coins that have been saved from
the ravages of circulation. But this is a double edged sword since they can go
out of the frying pan and into the fire. It's also true that most of these coins that
flow away from a country are random rather than nice uncs. That means it's been
decades since any of the early coins in unc left the country in the pockets of vis-
It usually comes down to how many coins were saved locally. The coins that tra-
vel abroard often end up in dealer junk boxes where XF/ AU examples can be
found with some patience. But to a large extent many moderns simply weren't
saved at all. People have always assumed they are common so they aren't col-
lected and the people in the country haven't set them aside because they aren't
silver. In the old days (pre-WW II) lots of collectors in the US would work to ob-
tain new coins from around the world and there were dealers to assist. With the
removal of silver in country after another this ceased.
What we're left with is a lot of mass produced moderns that are nearly impossi-
ble in unc and a growing awareness of this among collectors. Demand is still weak
and primarily from the home markets or their old colonial power but these are be-
ing sought much more than they are beiong found. These coins are often made
of metals that just don't last or the currency they represent hasn't lasted. This
results in years of wear and heavy attrition and then whatever is left is gathered
up and melted. Some countries get exceedingly limited tourist interest so the coins
are even tough in poundage.
There are major countries with almost no coin infrastructure; no coin shops, no
source to buy coin supplies, and very few collectors. India appears to be one such
country. Even 20 years ago it was impossible to find something like old uncirculated
cu/ ni rupees in any of the major cities. You could always go to the banks but these
coins circulated heavily and were debased routinely. At each debasement many
would be removed and melted illegally by citizens. So even the old circulated coins
could be tough. Here's a country with a billion people in it climbing the social ladder
and finding old coins in unc might be a near impossibility. I'm not sure most aren't
tough in poor condition. Getting hard information was pretty tough twenty years
ago. It appears that many dates were aset aside in huge numbers and can be found
easily while the rest are nearly nonexistent in any grade. This is fairly common with
moderns; either they are exceedingly common or exceedingly scarce.
I don't believe anby of the Kuwaiti coins are hoard coins with the possible exception
of the coppers (I think Krause calls them ni/ brz).