Last week, Heritage conducted the auction of the "Rubicon Collection" of Roman coins from the late republic. The collection’s centerpiece was the famous denarius of Brutus about Caesar's assassination depicted above. Despite the international economic crisis, this coin surpassed Heritage’s estimate and realized $546,250. This figure represents, to my knowledge, a new record for a Roman silver coin.
The value of ancient coins is since several years on an upward trend for various reasons. The spread of the coin collecting-hobby around the world certainly plays a role, but I think that the strong rise in the value of ancient coins in recent years is mainly due to the weakness of the main international currencies like the dollar and the euro. This weakness generates an undeniable inflation in the values of these “assets”. In addition to this, ancient coins are seen as a safe haven in uncertain times like the present, and this also contributes to the upward trend in prices. Similar trends are observed, by the way, in the markets for other luxury goods, like the antiques or the arts market.
If skeptics still need further proof of the generalized rise in the value of ancient coins, I think it suffices to mention that the same denarius of Brutus had been auctioned in 2005 for $ 140,000. Its value increased by 380% in less than six years. Predictions are always risky, but I believe this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.