Since January 1 2009, 96592 South African coins have been publicly traded to the value of R87.75-million at a rate of between 5000 and 8000 trades a month.
There are up to 15000 South African coin traders.
About 250000 South African coins have been professionally graded, and while prices from some private sales may be higher, the most valuable coin publicly traded since 2009 is an 1874 coin (£1), which sold for R1.96-million.
The next most valuable was a 1928 bronze sovereign, which sold for R1.48-million, followed by another 1874 pound for R1.47-million. An 1892 penny is no longer small change - one sold for R1.42-million.
A new local website, CoinGuideSA.com, provides an index for local coins of value and all the relevant pricing and research tools to help investors.
George Scola, managing member of the site, says coins are booming as an investment class and the number of South African numismatists is expected to increase. He describes the site as a "Bloomberg for coins".
The site is subscription-based. According to Scola, a reliable service giving investors what they need will prevent price-inflation scams. "It will be much easier to spot 'rogue traders' and 'fly-by-night' dealers looking to make a quick buck."
Subscription levels are tiered, with varying levels of access. Costs range from R75 to R200 a month.
In your portfolio you can list each of your coins by year, denomination variety (such as a special minting), grade, cost, current market value and the profit or loss you've made since you bought at the original price. You can also see a running balance of how much you've made or lost through your total portfolio.
According to CoinGuideSA.com, a total of 50 million world coins have been graded by the two independent US-based coin-grading services, NGC and PCGS, with NGC having recently graded the first $10-million coin.
Coin grading is the process of assessing a coin's authenticity and condition. Once a coin has been graded, it is sealed in a plastic case with a label identifying the coin and giving it a unique serial number and numerical point value on the 70-point Sheldon coin-grading scale.
Coins can still be graded if they have been altered, but will be demarcated as such. Independent grading and pricing prevents buyers and sellers being ripped off.
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