Author Topic: The Coin Collecting Road Less Traveled by EVillageProwler  (Read 3200 times)

Offline coinsarefun

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The Coin Collecting Road Less Traveled by EVillageProwler
« on: April 24, 2013, 05:25:01 PM »
The (Coin Collecting) Road Less Traveled

Written by: EVillageProwler
Posted by: CoinsAreFun.


When we think of collectors, especially coin collectors, we tend to think of OCD folks who seek out esoteric die attributes, or who amass an entire run of a series. I used to be one of those esoteric folks, but have since realized that that approach is no longer for me.

I used to collect Early Dollars, by die marriage (and also study die states). I primarily chased R5+ and better, and will also acquire nice less scarce marriages in better condition. I was nearly complete in my pursuit, but never could cross the finish line because I ran up against two others who had much more money than I did.

I also collect Seated Dollars and Trade Dollars, in nice MS. For Seated Dollars, the problem was one of rarity and availability. And, I simply couldn't afford a problem-free 1870-S. There are others whose value is prohibitive in nice MS, but the 1870-S is the real stopper because I can live with a nice ChEF to ChAU for the CC mints. As for Trade Dollars, getting a basic set in nice MS is well within my ability to complete. I'm missing the 1878-S (LOL!) and my 76-CC DDR is only AU58.

But, the US market was getting too expensive, vastly outpacing my salary increases for the nice stuff. So what do I do? A trusted and valued dealer told me long ago that I should always focus on the nice stuff ("nice", not necessarily "expensive") because in a down market the "nice" stuff will lose value slower and in an up market the "nice" stuff will appreciate value faster.

I decided that I didn't want to acquire unimpressive US coins. I have always liked world coins. They fit nicely with my academic interests, especially the medieval European stuff. As a silver dollar collector, I naturally gravitated towards the handsome crown-sized European pieces from the German States, HRE/Austria, Italian States and the Swiss Cantons. They have so much variety, so much history, and so much beauty. Imagine holding in your hand a Hogsmouth in MS65. The portrait is ugly as heck, but for only around $4000 you can own a gem quality piece of history that is older than the United States! Or, imagine a large silver piece with a view of the iconic Zurichsee in Choice MS. Now, compare those pieces in beauty, history, price and availability to a Seated Dollar or Trade Dollar.

So far so good. I am happy with my new collecting endeavors. Somehow, I decide to branch into Anglo-Saxon hammered coinage, focusing on nicer quality specimens. It is then that I run into major issues. That series has a few type that are widely available in really nice quality. By US TPG standards, they'd be MS62 to MS65. But, beyond those several types that span only a small number of monarchs, the rest are very tough and very expensive. And, they grade by a totally different grading standard than what I'm used to from the US-based TPG's.

I discuss my situation with friends and a dealer over dinner. Unexpectedly, the dealer announces that I will never be able to put together a great set of anything I like. I simply do not have the financial resources. I think it over, and I realize that the dealer is correct. Now what do I do?

I look at some of the other collectors that I've met over the years, and I get inspired. There is one person who seems only to acquire uber-cool stuff. He used to show me his new purchases, and their only commonality is that they are all keepers. He posts them from time to time, and I see that others on the message boards agree that this person's coins have major drool factor! (Most people only see his images, but I assure you that in hand his stuff are extraordinarily nice.)

So that is what I want to do. I cannot stop collecting; it's in my DNA.  So, I will focus on acquiring nice coins -- keepers. They don't have to be expensive. They just have to be nice.

As an example of something not expensive, consider this MS64 William III British 6-pence:






That piece cost me well below 4-figures. And, it's a fantastic piece in hand.

Also, many folks can afford VF to AU grades of this piece:





But, instead of getting a small handful of unimpressive pieces, why not save up and buy one trophy piece? My MS63 piece wasn't that expensive; I paid closer to $1000 than $10,000 for it.

And, even in an extremely challenging series like Anglo-Saxon hammered coinage, you can find beauties in the 3-figure range:







Offline VDB Coins

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Re: The Coin Collecting Road Less Traveled by EVillageProwler
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2013, 10:08:35 AM »
Well, I'm not sure to whom I am talking, but this is cyberspace, right! I totally agree with your sentiments even though the hammered coinage is not my cup of tea. After doing strictly U.S. stuff for the better part of 50 years, a few years ago I branched out into (mostly) British Empire stuff, a lot of Canadian although I have some nice British pieces as well, Conder tokens, a miscellany of other countries. Yes I still buy and sell a lot of U.S. coins but my motivation for branching out was twofold. One, I felt like I had learned quite a lot about U.S. coins, and was ready to start studying seriously the coinage of some other countries (here again, mostly Canada); and second, the U.S. series has gone a long time without a serious market correction, so prices have gotten pretty high for a lot of stuff that is still fairly common, relatively speaking. So your point holds, that the coinage of many other nations bears some buying opportunities, to acquire some really nice stuff that seems relatively unappreciated! My motto is "Life is too short to own ugly coins," and eye appeal is always my foremost attribute when considering a purchase, far secondary to price (which, however, also has to be right).

Good luck in your collecting endeavors, and thanks for sharing your perspective!

Best Regards,  [url=http://www.freesmileys.or

George
Best Regards,

George
www.VDBCoins.com

Offline coinsarefun

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Re: The Coin Collecting Road Less Traveled by EVillageProwler
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 11:58:28 AM »
Well said George....I agree!!
I pm'd EVillageProwler on PCGS forum to check your post out.