World's Oldest Coin Enters Private Collection

Last year was certainly an eventful one for gold markets the world over - even for collectible coins. In August, Austin Rare Coins and Bullion (ACBI) announced that it finalized the sale of one of the rarest and oldest gold coins in the world to a private collector.
   
The coin in question was minted circa 650-600 BCE in the country of Ionia – which is now modern-day Turkey. This age and origin indicates it was among the very first coinage ever struck by humankind. Maintained in astonishing Almost Uncirculated (AU) condition, the coin is a 14.41g of electrum (a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver) stamped into an imperfect circle and marked with striations on the face. These striations are thought to represent a river – which would have been the most likely source of the electrum for the time.

Even more fascinating, this Ionian "Striated" Stater is part of a set of six. Ionian Stater coins were struck in different sizes according to their value, ranging from a 1/24 Stater to a Full Stater. Being among the first coins ever minted and circulated, all six versions of the coins are extremely rare. According to ACBI, the Full Stater they sold was the final piece that enabled the anonymous buyer to complete an entire set of Ionian Striated Staters – making it the third complete set believed to exist in the world today!


The Benefits of Pop-Up Shops

More and more brands are experimenting with temporary retail outlets, better known as pop-up shops. While any type of business can open pop-up shops, this versatile concept is particularly well suited for members of the fashion and jewelry industries - like a trunk show with bigger impact. Consider how a pop-up shop could enhance your:

Branding

Pop-up shops are temporary and modular - so you can present your products to a new audience without going through the expensive process of opening a permanent store. For example, consumers visit the Diamond District to shop for jewelry. If you can't afford a Manhattan lease long-term, a pop-up shop in the Diamond District can be a great way to introduce your jewelry brand to an audience that's interested. Similarly, you can open a pop-up shop to coincide with an area's busy season or a large event to maximize your exposure with limited financial risk.
   

Sales

A well-executed pop-up shop helps you market your products while making sales at the same time. The temporary nature of a pop-up creates a sense of urgency among consumers to “buy now” while they can. You can also influence future sales by testing new styles, designs, or other offerings to gauge future demand.

Unfortunately, a pop-up shop is not without challenges. Location and creativity are important. You need to select area that has enough foot traffic from your target customers, and you need to grab their attention by creating an engaging or exclusive experience. If you can pull it off, a pop-up shop has great potential to reenergize your business.


How to Tell if an Area is Worth Mining for Gold

In a previous blog post, we covered the geologic processes that cause gold deposits to develop in the earth’s crust. Certain parts of the world have the geology required to support the formation of gold ores. For example, the western US has a lot of hydrothermal activity (e.g. geysers) – the area also had a large concentration of lode deposits, which spurred the California Gold Rush. When searching for new sources of gold, mining companies can reference the regional geology to decide if the area is worth exploring in more detail. By looking for certain geologic formations, miners can tell which specific areas of the region are most likely to contain gold.

Productive Rock Types

Depending on the region, certain types of rock correlate with the presence of gold ore. Miners can look at the general rock types that are associated with nearby productive gold mines, and then use the presence of these rocks in other areas as potential indicators of gold.

Faults and Contact Zones

In geology, a contact zone is an area where two different rock types come together. Similarly, fault lines mark the separation of tectonic plates. Faults and contact zones form in conditions of extremely high pressure and temperatures - which could indicate the presence of intrusion-related gold deposits.

Soil Color Changes

Color changes in the soil can be an indicator of gold for several reasons. Iron is a productive rock type for gold in most regions, so large amounts of black (which indicate iron content) or red (which indicate iron oxides) could mean gold is also present. Acidic, hydrothermal fluids from lode deposits can bleach rocks to a lighter color. Soil color changes are also a sign of contact zones.

Gold, if present, may not be visible in the rock – so geologic indicators are important for finding new sources of gold. However, these indicators aren’t always reliable. To confirm the viability of a site, mining companies will extract representative rock samples from the area and work with a laboratory to assay them for gold content. While geologic indicators are incredibly useful, these assay results provide mining companies with the concrete data they need to find the next motherlode.