Rhetoric is nothing new from the north end of the Korean Peninsula. It is actually fun to listen to on occasion. If talent and height were not factors, Kim Jung Un would be worthy of an NBA try out on trash talk alone. It is difficult to think of his false bravado as rising tensions, it is easier to think of it as, well, a job requirement.
Investor Jim Rogers, however, thinks of it as something different altogether, an opportunity. Rogers, a commodity investor who calls Singapore home and began the Quantum Fund with George Soros in the 1970’s, believes that North Korea offers a unique investment. In an interview last year, he simple stated that, “Coins and stamps are the only way I can invest in North Korea.”
While it’s quite possible that an African nation has changed its name or borders since I began writing this piece, few countries in the world outside of that continent could up and disappear in the coming years. Mr. Rogers believes that North Korea may simply fail to exist and not because the United States might get tired of their nuclear ambitions and turn it into a parking lot.
A Korea Pugang Coins representative said that Mr. Rogers purchased the bulk of their coins they made available at a three-day coin fair in Singapore this weekend. While the woman would not give her name, she did mention that she knew him from last year’s fair, one where he bought everything on offer.
This year’s offering included 20 one-ounce gold coins featuring North Korean generals and a number of silver coins depicting animals one might not associated with the Korean Peninsula. Honestly, I don’t know what animals I associate with North Korea outside of platform shoe-wearing divas with bad hair, ridiculous sunglasses and a love of Hennessey Cognac. The coins, however, featured elephants, rhinos, owls, lions and buffaloes.
Mr. Rogers, a proven forward-looking investor, left his New York home in 2007 believing that it was crucial that his children learn Mandarin. A reasonably safe bet for the coming century.
When asked about his purchases at the Singapore International Coin Fair, Mr. Rogers couldn’t have been more succinct, “At some point down the line, North Korea will cease existing as a country. Then the value of the coins will go up.”
Huh, buy low sell high? Who knew?