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Coining it in

Investments in gold, silver and bronze coins have been one of the best long-term investments.

Over 50 years, major coin collections have shown returns of 8.7 per cent and 10.5 per cent a year with much less volatility than stockmarkets.

For the first time, an Aim company specialising in coins has been launched, called Avarae Global Coin, which is named after the first two letters that numismatists use for gold, silver and bronze. It is managed by Noble Investments (UK). Its subsidiary and specialist coin adviser is AH Baldwin & Sons, a leading firm founded in 1872.

The unique feature is that it is the only way of investing in coins through a self-invested personal pension as coins cannot be held directly.

The fund is domiciled in the Isle of Man in order to minimise tax. To ensure that decisions are made without conflicts of interest, Avarae has an independent advisory panel chaired by Sir John Wheeler, a noted coin collector. Also on the panel is David Pinckney, a former senior director of Axa Investment Managers.

Merrill Lynch has invested a substantial amount in the fund for its pension fund clients.

Coins in the portfolio include gold and silver coins struck in Macedonia, Attica, Crete, Phoenicia and Egypt between the third and fifth centuries BC. It also holds gold and silver coins from the Mughal empire and gold five guinea pieces from the reigns of Charles II, William II, Queen Anne, George I and George II.

There is an increasing interest in the coin market and this means that prices are likely to continue to rise. Coins are a relatively safe asset-based investment and, provided expert advisers are used, they should be a highly attractive investment over five years or more.

Certainly, this fund is an ideal way of spreading assets for those with Sipp investments and for all bigger growth portfolios.

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