Can't call myself a newbie too much longer.

New year, have made some progress against my collecting objectives, thought it might be time to check in with the collective knowledge base.

I have been working on a 20th c gold type set and the corresponding 1c-$1 coins from the same time period (1900-1933)

I have 6/8 of the gold coins so far (all pcgs), currently in the 70s on the registry. Targeting #15 slot when i complete the set with the final 2 coins.

I started collecting graded coins maybe about a year ago. Have bought some on ebay and the rest from a local dealer (about 50/50 so far).

I have gotten virtually all my info from pcgs coinfacts app. It is incredibly disappointing they are removing trueviews.

Some observations so far:
1) I have come to learn of the wide disparity in aesthetic quality between coins of the same grade level. I have purchased a couple that I regret. I originally figured an ms65 is an ms65. But clearly I am still trying to grasp what grading standards mean and how they are applied.

2) Related to this, and something I may change my mind on, but I refuse to pay a premium for CAC coins. Pcgs already graded the coin, a 2nd opinion is not worth an enormous markup to me. It just seems like a gimmick to charge more $$.

3) Prices in general seem all over the place. Coinfacts price guide, auction realized values, ebay and dealer asking prices... you could look at exactly the same coin and pricing could vary 50% or more. Maybe I need a better understanding of the wholesale side of the coin biz to understand what fair / market pricing is.

4) On that note it seems like there are way more dealers than collectors. Are dealers selling inventory between each other making up the majority of the market? This might not be exactly the same but it seems like half the coins I find on ebay have coinfacts history that shows they were bought in a different auction last month and now are asking a large markup.

5) I still dont find appeal in toning but am getting a better grasp of luster, eye appeal, and original surfaces.

6) Still working to understand some of the coin collecting jargon. One I still dont get is "cherry picking." Can anyone explain this concept to me?

7) I posted about not enjoying a (perfectly good) coin show and got some critical feedback. I didnt care for the format mostly because I couldnt find anything I was looking for. Despite there being so many dealers out there, very few have inventory listed online with decent pictures. I would love to see this change. Related: pcgs should image EVERY coin.

8) The registry doesnt care what your coins look like, just the grade. When i make top 15 in gold I will undoubtedly have the scruffiest set in the top 50. Also on the registry, some guy posted like 6 different sets in the top 20 of 20th c gold type. This seems like very poor form at best. This person could be happy with his top set / ranking but is instead pushing everyone else 6 spaces down the list.


Ultimately I want to complete this set I am working on now asap and then I will take all I have learned and start to methodically, slowly, carefully upgrade over time. I think there is an enormous budget difference between where I am now and #10 registry for this small 8 coin gold set, but maybe one day I can get there.

I get satisfaction from my collection as historical and art objects, and have not viewed collecting as an investment or income source.

I think I'm doing ok so far but as above I am still working on understanding the mechanics of the market and quality and pricing differences between coins.

Just some ramblings from a newbie. Would be interested in any feedback. I think this forum has a lot of influencers in the coin collecting world, so I'm always interested to hear the experts weigh in on how to improve the market or do better as a collector in this hobby. Thanks!


  • BuffaloIronTailBuffaloIronTail Posts: 3,732 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for your comments. Well thought out. You're on the right track with the research you are doing, Doing it right involves investigation and knowledge.

    I like the "methodically and slowly" attitude you put forth.


    "I tell them there's no problems.....only solutions" - John Lennon
  • CatbertCatbert Posts: 2,697 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post. You should ask yourself why does the market value gold coins with the CAC designation? The answer will partially address the market disparities you reference.

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
  • HemisphericalHemispherical Posts: 6,462 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Pedzola Thank you for sharing your observations and it is insightful to read about ones experiences in this hobby of ours.

    As for cherrypicking, below are a couple articles from this forum’s host and ATS:

  • fiftysevenerfiftysevener Posts: 367 ✭✭✭

    Yes I think disparity in quality within the grade is hurting collectors and the hobby as a whole. For a while there was some consistency at both services and now NGC is so tight you might as well wait because we know it will change back.

  • rickoricko Posts: 67,126 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Pedzola.... Just to clarify one of your points about grading... You said 'grading standards'....Well, there are no 'grading standards'. There are grading opinions and loosely defined categories. In no way does the term 'standard' apply to this concept. If ever there are established standards (and it is possible), it will be the most impact this industry has felt since slabbing was introduced. Cheers, RickO

  • PedzolaPedzola Posts: 105 ✭✭✭

    Hey Ricko, interesting take, thanks. Im not here to reinvent grading but just providing a newbie perspective. I rely on PCGS to assign a market value to coins and provide a comparative assessment of condition vs other coins. So as mentioned above I have struggled a bit with the grey space and variability between coins of the same grade.

    Unfortunately I can largely only rely on images online as there is no shop where i can go comparison shop before making a purchase. The items i am looking for may not be extremely rare but rare enough that I can only look at 2 coins together in images. Largely by the time one is in hand its already purchased.

Sign In or Register to comment.