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What is collecting coins about?


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I was feeling sorry for myself today, thinking how I've not been working on my collection lately due to lack of funds. Then I started thinking more about if it was worth it to continue collecting given how little I've been enjoying my collection - I mean, for example, I bought a beautiful Standing Liberty piece a while back for $125 and feel like I've done all of $2 worth of appreciating it (looking at it, scrutinizing it, even admiring it in general). Then it hit me, how does anyone do $50,000 or more worth of appreciating a piece that expensive (not that I wouldn't love to have a piece that rare and sought after)? And then, if I work on building my type collection to thousands of dollars' worth or more, how am I ever going to find the time to appreciate it that much money's worth? I feel a little discouraged but not quite to the point where I feel like I should sell (I don't know what I'd do with the moneys besides bills - yuck). And I know that coin collecting isn't about moneys for a lot of people but I admit I'm a little funds-conscious, being married and in college and on the verge of paying a masters/doctorate for my hubby.

 

I guess what I want to know is, what is coin collecting to you? Not "why do you collect" where the answer would be for the art, history, etc. but more like how do you appreciate what you have when displaying them so that you really can appreciate them every day is probably the worst thing you can do from a security standpoint?

 

Thanks!

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Kind of hard to explain with out saying why I collect. It's a little bit of time I set a side for a quiet time. Some thing I can pick up and set down. It's not a hobby or past time that requires me to make big plans for. Such as check gear, get new gear, make reservations, etc. I can be traveling make a little side trip or stop and bingo. Or just drop it completely for a while. Over the years I dropped in and out of coin collecting several times. But when I pick it up again. Its all there. I still have my base collection from years back. It seems I'm always picking up little bits of info. For me now its the morgans and the ah hah moment when I figure out that vam. Close as I can get with out going in to the whys.

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Collecting, appreciating, etc. is not something that has to be done on a schedule. In fact, when I feel I have to do something, it becomes work. I stopped all my outside interests a few years ago when I was diagnosed with diabetes. Everything I was doing and enjoyed had become something that I had to do. I worked, consulted, wrote, designed books, etc. It all became work. I had no outlet. After shedding it all, I slowly started letting the pieces back in, starting with a renewed interest in collecting coins. They were the one thing that I had never allowed to become an overwhelming passion that became work. In time, all my interests returned with the joy they had previously brought to my life. But, I learned not to overdue it. If interest wanes, let it. Your coins won't spoil, keep them long enough and they retain some value if not grow in value. You can always stop adding to your collection and begin again another day.

 

I pick topics that I want to research. Buy pieces, track down research material, and then sit down and write for a few weeks when the time is right. It happens when it happens, not on a schedule.

 

Don't lament the lack of interest. Take a break and let the coins call you back. You will appreciate them that much more. Don't expect to get $100 worth of appreciation from a $100 coin. Buy a $100 coin because you find it beautiful and that is what it costs. You can't measure the appreciation by what it costs.

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I think Bill puts it best when he says "Don't lament the lack of interest. Take a break and let the coins call you back."

 

I leave one or two new coins on my nightstand and look at them for awhile before and after bed.

I also photograph the best coins and use them as computer wallpaper for a month or so. Really look them over.

 

Don't make it work. Wait til it's fun again.

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I leave one or two new coins on my nightstand and look at them for awhile before and after bed.

 

And I thought I was the only one doing that... :ninja:

 

 

 

 

;)

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And I thought I was the only one doing that... ;)

;)

 

 

I have various inexpensive numismatic treasures deposited strategically so I can look at them. Right now my pocket piece is a replica 1794 cent that I have carried for awhile, I look at it and think of the past.

 

For me numismatics is a pursuit, and a vigorous passion that is practically in all of my life, my Mother had said that I was saving coins in socks whence I was a toddler. I was always the hoarder, and the banker for the family(yes I was a loan shark at 6, charging 100% interest). I realise that much of my coin collection is in varying stages of completion, some areas I pursue passionately and rather expensively, then shunter them aside for later, then re-visit other interests. Sometimes I have thought I lost interests in areas, subsequently sold them off, and regretted it. Now I have lots to sell, just canna imagine parting with it, what if I might want it and regret it later?

 

TG do not lose interests if necessity dictates putting your pursuit on hold for a bit. Sometimes it is kind of fun to enjoy what you have already, for instance your SL quarter. Whilst it cannot escape us that surely my collection is larger than yours, I can honestly say I do not have a nice SL quarter which to speak of as you so lovingly can. Therefore be thankful thus, as you have something which I do not. You have very distinctive tastes in numismatics, I sincerely believe that you are in this for the long haul :ninja:

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For me its the thrill of the hunt and owning something beautiful that has a story to tell. Not just what's specifically struck on the coin, but it's age, it's wear, toning, etc. Each type says something about the times in which it was minted - what was important to people back then. Also, it seems to me that coins are always changing. A new variety is found, or mint error - and certainly the value is always changing. I appreciate them by trying to imagine what they've witnessed and where they've been. OK this sounds really wierd an philosophical but I appreciate them by listening to them. And yes, I have to see them to do that so the security of my collection has a bit to be desired.....Good thread! :ninja:

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Ironically it's only now that I'm photographing coins for sale that I'm really appreciating them. I've had to sell off a large part of my collection to pay debts, and I must say it hasn't been as traumatic as I thought it would be. Maybe it's because my coins were mostly stored away in 2x2s in pockets in binders and I didn't really look at them all that often. Part of my collecting impulse is certainly pack-ratting!

 

That said, I also do as hiho and Scottishmoney have said -- I keep a few examples around of good old coins that don't need to be protected, and keep big pics on my computer of those that do. And this goes a long way towards alleviating the angst of never being able to really buy all the terrific coins I see in catalogues and, yes, in other people's collections. :ninja:

 

I sold a few $100 + coins on FleaBay. I did like those coins and I miss them; they were beautiful. But they haven't gone away; they're just back in "circulation" among collectors. That's good karma.

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What warming responses! I think I'll spend a little while really looking at mine and apologizing to them for letting them get dusty. I don't think I'd ever really have the guts to sell what I have until I was really forced to, it was just something that crossed my mind.

 

And I know I'll be doing this forever - it's hard to just throw change in my purse without looking at it first.

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And I know I'll be doing this forever - it's hard to just throw change in my purse without looking at it first.

 

 

Sometimes you need to take a break, most people can. Not me, my interests just evolve into another area of numismatics.

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Having just come back from a nearly nine month break in active collecting I can honestly say I'm as interested as ever before. Of course I'm a heavily theme based collector and that interest has never faded over the years.

 

All collectors are caretakers. If we're responsible we pass on what we've collected in as good of condition as we've received it, for the enjoyment of the next caretaker. The timing of when we've turned it over isn't nearly as important.

 

My real enjoyment of my collection has coincided with the decision to put it online. I've always enjoyed photography but in the beginning I simply scanned my coins on a flatbed scanner. For the high relief medals I got very creative in propping them up by their edges to keep them from being damaged by the glass. However the images never satisfied and when digital cameras got to be cheaper I started replacing the images with new ones. Some of the coins and medals in my collection are on the 4th or 5th set of pictures! So another hobby was born of my first interest and I find myself getting a box of medals out every once in a while and reviewing their online images with an eye toward shooting them anew.

 

Some of the great friendships I've developed over the years have resulted directly from my website. Other people, as strange as myself, write to tell me of their appreciation of a particular piece or series. For those of us who have desperately tried to haul out our collection at Thanksgiving and convey just how *interesting* it all is to people whose eyes rapidly glaze over and whose thoughts clearly say "How am I related to this guy?" it is a wonderful feeling to find a fellow traveler or two.

 

I've had financial setbacks in my time of collecting and fortunately have never had to sell anything major to help make ends meet. I think that's true of all long-term collectors unless blessed by nearly unlimited funds. It's a natural response in a time like that to say "Well I could sell my coins". After all they probably would bring something in whereas my beat up camping gear would be lucky to get taken off of the Craigslist free section. But I can honestly say that I could part with most of my collection (with great wailing and gnashing of teeth) because my site *is* my collection, virtual as it might end up, and that would never be gone as long as I have good backups!

 

Sorry about the rambling nature of this but your topic got me thinking. Plus I've only had one cup of coffee so far...

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I guess what I want to know is, what is coin collecting to you? Not "why do you collect" where the answer would be for the art, history, etc. but more like how do you appreciate what you have when displaying them so that you really can appreciate them every day is probably the worst thing you can do from a security standpoint?

Like many other people, with the onset of digital cameras and easy access to the internet, I try to take as good photos as I can and then enjoy my virtual collection through the web. This makes it possible to show off ahem ... share images of my coins with many people who would never see them otherwise. In the meantime, my treasures are safe in the bank deposit box. I can't say that I have discovered photography as a new hobby because I usually only take pictures of my coins! When it comes to vacation time, I do take pictures like anybody else would, but not at all ambitious photography-wise.

 

When we have friends over who I know might be interested in seeing some nice coins, I can always go to the bank and take some of them home with me. Unfortunately, I'm the only one in the family who collects, or is even interested in collecting. So collecting can also be a lonely hobby. However, the interaction with people here on the forum greatly helps to alleviate that aspect, as well as being able to learn so much about coins from others.

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This may be close to an answer that you weren't asking for but collecting to me is continuing a sort of art that was started by my grandpa. He owned a bank and collected notes while he did so (he's got some crazy stuff...) Coin collecting has allowed me to have stories to share with him and others. When my friends see a picture of a coin or note I can usually tell them some sort of story about it and even show it to them.

 

To answer your question about how I appreciate them they sit in my desk and I look at them when I long to remember their beauty. :ninja:

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Good question. I posted this answer to a similar question elsewhere.

 

I often find myself going back to and looking at coins which I might have had in my collection for years. I never really get tired of looking at them. Some I might only glance over, but I still get the flash back and feel the joy I did when I first bought that particular coin. I also like the feeling you get when while at an antiques fair or car boot you find someone selling coins, you suddenly think to your self I hope there's a good one in here, a rare variety or date. 99% of the time there isn't but its still fun.

 

I sometimes think about what coin collecting means to me. I think about the amount of money I've spent on coins, compared with the amount of “use” I get out of them. Recently I bought a second hand bike. Its a nice bike and I've already had good fun on it. I plan to use it a lot as I will probably cycle to work. This bike cost me less than a typical coin I would buy nowadays, but deep down I know the coin to me is a more personnel purchase and I get a more long term satisfaction out of buying a coin then I would other things. I can't fight the urge to buy and collect coins and I think once the collecting bug has got hold of you, there is no turning back. Coins can be a challenge (especially if you set your self a hard collecting goal or series), they can be costly, and they can take up time (although I love studying numismatics and history), but coin collecting can be hugely satisfying. You get to learn a lot, fulfill personal goals, share yours as well as other peoples joys and discoveries, and most importantly you get to meet a lot of nice people and fellow collectors in the process.

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I honestly find it very hard to equally appreciate all the coins/currency I own. I have a core set of coins that I take from the safe once a month or so and admire, re-examine, photograph if needed, make notes on, research, and just plain study. This is about 5% of my collection and probably my most valuable coins (which happen to be my favorite although unrelated to price in my mind). The other 95% of my collection is relatively cheap coins, most under $100, and about 70% of that is less than $20.

 

This 70% or so seems to be my largest area of "ignored" coins and currency. I have books of them sitting around, bags of world-coins, folders of world-notes, stacks of stuff all over my desk...but rarely do I actually look and really appreciate much of it. Do I find them any less important than my core collection? Sure do. Do I enjoy them when I look at them? Damn straight I do! I absolutely love my collection, ALL my collection. I do not spend equal time on each coin or note, but I enjoy everything I own. I can sell whatever I want other than my core collection without regret and I can hold onto any of it without regret.

 

I don't feel bad thinking highly of a cheap coin over an expensive one, or vice-verca. I have a copy, an outright fake of a draped bust small eagle dollar in my pocket, stamped copy, not silver, not worth diddly, but I think it's great, it's one of my favorite coins. I honestly appreciate it more than some of my real draped bust coinage because I can take it from the safe, play around with it, show it off, and not worry about it. I love having interesting, beautiful, even rare coins that are worth basically squat so I can carry them around with me and show them to people. I've gotten about 5 people at work started on coin collecting that way! :ninja:

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When I was a boy, my allowance was 25 cents a week, and I can remember hoarding those precious quarters in my piggy bank...counting and recounting them along with a few dimes, nickels, and pennies. I can't explain it precisely, but I certainly felt like those coins were special and important. Occasionally, I'd get a 50 cent piece from my grandfather, and it felt like hitting the lottery.

My life is a lot more complicated now, and simple pleasures lose much of their novelty as we get older. However, when I am playing (as my wife puts it) with my coin collection, I feel the same way I did years ago looking at the half-dollar from Grandpa. It's my little world of something special and precious...even if it is not in monetary terms (I only have a handful of coins that cost more than what it takes to fill my car with gas these days). But, it doesn't feel that way when I'm playing.

It is also interesting to note that my love of coin collecting was resparked when I had children of my own. Perhaps seeing the joy of small things through their eyes made me want to recapture some of that myself.

Plus, I'm a geek and coin collecting works out well as a pretty geeky hobby. Lots of background, numbers, history, etc behind every little hunk of copper, silver, and even zinc. Let's face it, there is nothing quite like the look in someone's eyes when you explain to them the reason behind the different composition of war nickels or the variations on a coin type through the years. Mostly, they nod politely...but they are thinking "what planet are you from and why would you bother to store such useless and arcane knowledge in your head?" It brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

Dave

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Then it hit me, how does anyone do $50,000 or more worth of appreciating a piece that expensive

 

It's probably impossible to get that much appreciating out of a coin. But if all goes will, it will appreciate in value by the time you are ready to sell (and then buy another expensive piece). Appreciation x2 for the win :ninja:

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Don't you find you have two sides to your collecting? I mean, like me I theme my main collection and follow it whenever availability (& cash) allow-but - I still seem to aquire lots of 'odd coins' not connected, but that I just can't help buying (goodness knows why!) :ninja:

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My appreciation for a coin isn't really determined by the cost so much as the effort in acquiring it. Some of my favorite coins cost only a quarter. I suppose there is a relationship between cost and appreciation but this is caused more by the fact that I value money so wouldn't part with it unless I were recieving value.

 

It's the market that sets the values of coins. ie Other collectors set the price and I try not to define myself or my collections by what other collectors think and do. Obviously if you want to collect nice standing liberty quarters there is a lot of correlation between what you pay and other collectors' opinions and the supply of the coins.

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You see, market price is just absurd at times and this can be seen in the examples of "key dates". You have coins of the same design but when they have different mintmark and mintage, prices just become wild. Another thing is how much the news makes a mole of a mountain such as Sacagawea dollar variety in the Cheerios packaging etc...

 

Of course if you own something scarce that everyone has been dreaming of, you may feel proud of. Nowadays I'm just collecting for the sake of "interesting things" or just set out to finish the goals that I started. :ninja:

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