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Posts Tagged ‘numismatic library’

The number of coin collectors has really grown since the launch of the State Quarter program in 1999.  It is great to once again be able to check your pocket change each evening in hopes of finding a much needed coin to add to your collection….and, at face value.  The number of grandparents assembling sets of the state quarters for their grandkids must be a staggering number.  Everyone is enjoying this old fashion approach to coin collecting and the hobby is enjoying both new and renewed interest from collectors of all walks of life. 

 

 

2001 Kentucky State Quarter with Reverse CUD and Polish Marks.  Rare Error Quarter.  Be sure to check your pocket change for this gem!

 

However, since 1999 things have changed dramatically on the economic front.  If you have been attending coin shows for the last couple of years, particularly the smaller local club shows throughout the country, you might have noticed that attendance is down.  In reality, things don’t seem much better at a lot of the larger shows.  All too many collectors just don’t have the extra income today to continue adding to their collections as they had in past years.  There has really been a loss of activity amongst collectors who live on a fixed income, have lost jobs, or have just had to watch their family budgets so much more closely than in times past. 

 So what does this mean to the hobby?  Pulling state quarters from circulation continues to be exciting but novice collectors as well as seasoned collectors become disenchanted with the same old thing and soon lose interest.  In addition, many new and old collectors are almost encouraged to leave the hobby because the US Mint keeps raising prices on an endless number of products.  Should we have to pay a premium for US half dollars or rolls of state quarters?  Maybe when the economic environment improves and collector’s disposable income returns they will return to the hobby.  Unfortunately, when these collectors take a leave of absence, a large number of them don’t come back!  Also, who knows when this economy is going to straighten out?

 

Considia 6

 

What can collectors do during tough economic times to maintain a strong energetic interest in coin collecting and most importantly their own collections?  Let me make a couple of suggestions that will certainly enhance your knowledge of both collecting and give you added information about your existing collection.  All in all, you will be a much more astute collector.

 First, many collectors are so busy assembling a collection that they rarely have, or take the time, to actually study in any detail what they are collecting.  Of course this certainly isn’t true for all collectors, but we have all purchased a coin or book with very good intention of doing more with it, but the time never presents itself.  Of course we have all heard the old saying, “buy the book before the coin”.  This is very good advice but most collectors are to impatience to take this to heart.  There is always the rush to make the purchase. 

 Now, is a good time to do some reading and research on what you have purchased and what is left to be purchased for your collection if you are working on a series collection or type set.  If you are a member of the ANA you have a number of great resources at your disposal.  They have a world class library for your use, available online or through the mail.  Most state and local clubs also have libraries available for your use.  Read about the coins in your collection.  1798 S-148, Horned 9You may even find that there are some interesting varieties in your collection that you haven’t yet discovered (see 1798 large cent variety (S-148, Horned 9) to the right.

There are also some very informative books which discuss the history of coins, the engravers who designed them and the circumstances under which they went into production. 

 

 

 

 

Another possibility is to take a look at how your coins are graded.  I know they were likely graded when you purchased them, but were they graded by you or the person who sold them to you.  There is also this thing called “grade inflation” that impacts our collections.  For this we can thank the commercial grading firms such as PCGS, NGC, ANACS and others, who grade, curate and certify coins for a healthy price.  Their grading criteria moves with the market demand thus grading becomes a moving target.  In any event, the longer you collect, theoretically, the better your grading skills should become and at the same time, if you are abreast of the market, you can stay in tune with the commercial movement of the market which influences the value of your collection. 

 

 You might also want to check for counterfeits, particularly the key dates in your collection.  The ANA has published several excellent books on the subject to help guide you and determine if your coin is authentic.  You can also have one of the third party grading services authentic your key dates as well (PCGS).  It is always wise to purchase key date coins that are known to have been heavily counterfeited (1877 Indian Head Cent; 1909 S VDB Lincoln cent; 1916 D Mercury dime to name a few) from dealers you know and trust or buy certified coins.

 Now may be a good time to evaluate your home security.  Be sure your collection is adequately insured and that your inventory is correct and up to date.  Have a digital photo or video of your collection or at least of the most value coins in the collection.  Make sure your home safe if both burglar and fire proof with a high safety rating.  Be sure to keep your inventory list separate from your collection!

 You might even consider purchasing a stereo microscope if you don’t already have one.  They run about $200 and can provide hours of enjoyment in studying your coins, particularly when looking for varieties.

 Evaluate your entire collection and see if there are items you might want to sell.  Look for things that you may no longer have interest in that can be replaced with new items to keep your collection moving in a direction that keeps you interested.

 Go to coin shows and coin shops and look at certified coins to gauge where the market grading resides.  See if you can find those coins in NGC holders that have been cleaned (or conserved) that they have been graded!  This might lead you to spend more time looking at PCGS coins which might be more original or as some might say, are still in their original skin.

 There are many things to do to improve and continue to understand your collection.  Believe me, in this economy, this is the time to do it!

 

 

 

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