It is always intriguing and fun to talk with collectors and discuss their collection and how they go about it. There is as big a variety of collecting themes and approaches as collectors, and I know over the years I have approached collecting in different ways.
A lot of what I will call generalist collectors, just enjoy coins. These are the folks that might be more inclined to do a type set, or buy a coin because once they see it, they just have to have it. They are not tied into sets per se and have not yet gotten into a specific area of interest. Also falling into this category are collectors who put together “a box of 20” which comes about from the number of coins an beige NGC or blue PCGS box holds.
Then there are collectors that focus on a specific series or two. As they get more advanced they even get into die varieties. I’ve certainly done this over the years, collecting a classic commemorative set at one point, a half dime set which I must say was one of my favorites as I found and housed it in an old Library of Coins album and these little silver coins looked great in the light yellow pages. Later on I put a registry set of Barber Half Dollars together and If I had retired it correctly at the time I finished the set I would have been the current number 4 set, behind Ducker, Friend, and Shireman. Technically challenged as I am at times I didn’t do it right but oh well it was fun. And the registry concept is neat in the sense that it facilitates the potential to meet others with your collecting interest, compete on a friendly basis and share knowledge. I see Dr. Pete’s halves are coming up in Tampa the January 2016 FUN auction. It makes me a bit sad to see them going to auction as its an incredible set that has been put together for many years. But onward to new collectors and stewards!
One of the recent collections we have had the pleasure to handle is from a long-time customer. His approach to collecting was very interesting and I think an intriguing one. I’ll call him Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith has collected off and on all his life and his most recent collection focused on some US series he enjoyed the most. His approach was different though for each set depending upon how much he wanted to spend, and a nice grade to collect the series in. That could be VF-XF as in all three Barber sets, dimes, quarters and halves. Or in the case of some Lincoln cents he focused on 64 RB coins, or in Buffalo nickels nice AU’s. Mr. Smith though chose to collect the most difficult coins, usually branch mint coins, the tougher semi-key or key dates, and didn’t pursue the most common Philadelphia, Denver, New Orleans or San Francisco coins. As we processed and photographed Mr. Smith’s collection we came to appreciate the challenge of this approach, seeing in so many cases low populations, often single digit. The quality of the coins was for the most part very good, but in some dates there just isn’t much in quality to chose from so acquiring the tough dates was the priority, trying to get the most decent graded coins he could. Mr. Smith has a plan and approach when it comes to collecting and by focusing on a select group of dates, will do well as he goes to sell.
I would encourage any collector to spend some time thinking about how they want to go about collecting coins. Make a plan, a budget, and organize your hunt for new pieces following your plan. In the long run your collection will grow in the most positive way possible in fun, long term potential to maintain and grow in value, and help you stay focused in the hunt. Send us an email or give Steve or I a call. We would be happy to discuss your thoughts and approaches to putting your collection together and provide you feedback from our experiences both personally and from other clients. Happy Hunting! :)