Today marks the 14th anniversary of my membership on this great site! And it's my first visit since March 12th, so it took a global pandemic for me to finally not be on this site on a near-daily basis.
My most recent post wondered what folks would do in regards to their collection if they were going to be home for a while... like in lockdown during a pandemic. Way back then (4 months ago that feels like eons), I think most of us were expecting 1-4 weeks home, not... 4 months and growing. Here's what I said I'd probably do:
Ensure everything is properly sorted
Set aside coins and notes I’d like to give away to neighborhood kids
Ensure the coins and notes I want to focus on are properly cataloged
Identify a better way to store the collection
Find a way to collect through online purchases since the coin show I expected to go to next week is cancelled
Completely forgetting about that post, I muddled through the pandemic the way many people have: bake bread, garden, clean and fix things around the house, and dive into an old hobby. I hesitate to call coin collecting an old hobby for me, but I haven't been actively collecting more than once a year. My shopping was limited to when I could get to a coin show and my additions were limited to only three series.
When I finally got around to my coin collection, I was sad at how ugly some of my coins had become. I was intimidated by the number of random world coins and notes I've acquired from you over the years. But I was realizing this is the perfect time to get back into it.
So what have I done?
1) I realized there was probably a way to catalog the coins and notes in my collection. I found several sites recommending Collector's Assistant and promptly downloaded it. Most of my US coin collection is now cataloged and I can see what I have and don't have at a glance! (Addresses item #3 above.)
2) I knew I needed a better way to store everything. So I've spent a lot of money at Wizard Coin Supply to get air-tight boxes including some Intercept boxes to do an extra good job of protecting the coins. I also bought some desiccant packets to keep the humidity from further damaging the coins and notes. Now the better part of my collection is organized and properly stored! (Addresses items #1 and #4 above.)
3) I realized that I would have to shop 100% online for the first time. I've bought random things from Heritage over the years, but not with good discipline or with a strategy. I don't trust sight-unseen buying or non-certified coins when I can't hold them in person, so I have to focus on certified coins. For some of my series, I don't see a need to buy certified coins for common dates. So I decided to use this time to focus on certified coins and notes of tougher dates. That means I'll also get better pictures from auction sites than a random common coin on eBay.
Well, if I'm going to be playing in auctions, then I better have a plan. I bought several books on the series I focus on so I can understand how to tackle them. Which dates are the ones I should look out for in certain grades? Which ones have historically weak strikes? Those sort of questions are the ones I'm getting answers to. I'm educating myself. I also created some personal databases of recent auctions for the issues I'm after so I understand what the market is doing and what's a fair bid. Fascinatingly, I discovered several resources out there that also catalog recent auction prices (and upcoming!) for those issues and also census data.
I'm a bit frustrated that it's come to this for my collecting but I'm also excited. It feels like a hunt again. (Addresses item #5 above.)
4) What I haven't done is set aside coins to get neighborhood kids into collecting. My wife pointed out that my son would probably love my collection, even if the coins don't mean much to me. He's only 15 months old, but he'll eventually be old enough to be fascinated by random world coins and will be excited to sort through old cents with me. So Im saving them for him! (Addresses item #2 above.)
So, in summary, my collection is safer and cataloged for the first time. I bought several fantastic books and feel smarter than ever. But... I haven't bought a single coin or note! I do have a plan, though. I'm EXCITED. I've spent nearly every night for the past month and a half getting in order, in shape, and in position. I look forward to seeing how it all unfolds.
I hope everyone here is doing well and is safe and healthy. I plan to dip in once a week when updating my spreadsheets. Can't wait to learn what you've been doing!