Although I am not a philatelist, I do appreciate the history that stamps reflect. This stamp, released in 1999, commemorates the California Gold Rush.
The photo shown above is not the final version. It was modified, when a historian noted that free black men participated in the gold rush. The final design was intended to incorporate that change, although it appears to me that it merely darkened the skin of the man at the far left of the photo. I’ve included a small inset of the final for comparison. If the intent was to be inclusive, the stamp should also have included the Hispanic, Asian and Native Americans, who participated in the rush. Not to mention the children and women who worked with them. Many women found riches without panning for gold. Washing clothes, cooking and running boarding houses proved to be lucrative businesses. I read several anecdotes of miners offering considerable sums of money for a plate of home cooked biscuits.
From the granite hills of New Hampshire to the Pacific coast, people still pan for gold today. Far more, however, satisfy the gold dream by investing in gold bullion. Bullion is available in both bars and a variety of coins, including the popular American eagle gold coin. These can be a great investment, but, like any investment, there are no guarantees. Because gold’s value fluctuates with world markets, short-term investments can involve more risk than investments held for longer periods. Investors, who are saving for their children’s college fund or a retirement income, may find this type of investment perfect for their needs.
The FDC advises potential coin investors to “research your options and get smart”. Suggestions include researching melt value, comparing bank and dealer prices, requesting a guarantee of precious metal content, and seeking the advice of a trusted financial advisor with specialized knowledge in this area.
For some, the pursuit of gold coins becomes as much a hobby as stamp collecting. Just as the value of collectible stamps exceeds the value of the printed postage; the value of collectible coins will exceed their melt value. Although the fun of building a collection will probably outweigh value considerations, over time, even the hobbyist may find that they have created a valuable investment.