02/27/2017 Interview > Alumni
Collecting Coins as Investment
CEO of Power Coin, Kim Hee-sung (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, ’08)
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People have their own appetite for broadening their personal fields of interest. Kim Hee-sung (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, '08) has been collecting money for over 10 years. A wide array of commemorative coins, gold coins, silver coins, and bills are all part of Kim’s interests and his collection business called Power Coin. Reporters of News H interviewed Kim to get a closer insight into how his money market operates.
It all started off when Kim was in his first year of college. Having had the opportunity to live in the US for about a year, Kim had the chance to participate in various coin shows. These exhibitions were held quite often in most big counties, and at the time, it was challenging to afford collecting coins. “I was just a student then, and for a student, it's very hard to buy gold coins for leisure.”
After graduating from college, Kim looked up on some of the coins that he had seen in the coin fairs, and discovered that the price had soared higher than when he first saw it. “This was when I realized that coin collection could be a real investment, and started collecting coins one by one,” said Kim. Through the civil engineer certification academy that he opened up in Busan, Kim was able to collect most of the coins that he had wanted. Kim and his wife could not stand the long distance, which is why he started his business in Korea.
When going abroad or buying coins through eBay, Kim was sometimes tricked into buying fake ones. After accumulating experiences and learning the know-hows through books, Kim has now developed his own outlook on which are real, and are of more value. “Most people in this field don’t explain the reasons behind why a certain monetary product is an imitation. It’s probably their own know-how that they’re trying to guard,” he added. Kim claims that money auctions tell a lot about reading the market price. Attending money exhibitions that are held in China and Hong Kong also helps to realize the trend for him, as well.
Not all commemorative coins rise in value. Factors that determine the rise and fall of prices are popularity, quantity and quality. For instance, the 1988 Seoul Olympics coin was issued at about 85,000 won, but now it is being traded at around 70,000 won even after almost 30 years has passed. This is because it has been issued in such large quantities that it only holds material value.
As for bills, the quality matters a lot. Even if a tiny part of an edge is worn out, the price would drop 10 to 20%. Kim also says that buying gold or silver coins is better investment compared to buying actual gold or silver bars. “Coins are a bit like limited edition items. The price of the materials themselves, plus the scarcity, creates the price. Gold or silver bars can be made in limitless quantities but not the coins,” said Kim.
Kim claims that pursuing an interest not only in college studies but something beyond it, is more important. As Kim's interest in coins made it possible for him to become the CEO of Power Coin, Kim wishes that more people could expand on the area they like.
Kim Seung-jun email@example.com
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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