BETTER DATES - What's important to collectors?
I remember a conversation with a local dealer early on after I decided to switch from bullion to "rare" coins. I was working on a 20th century type set including gold.
I don't remember what coin we were talking about but he was telling me which coins in his inventory were better dates for the series. And I probably looked at him like he had 3 heads, why is it better? It's a lower grade for 3x the price! Sounds like a worse date to me!
I assigned absolutely zero value to relative rarity, I just wanted a nice type example of each coin - the best looking (highest graded) for the lowest price.
Over time I've come to appreciate "better dates." In fact, I find myself excluding the most common coins from my searches. I think it was PerryHall on another thread I just read who commented that the 1932 $10 is a historically interesting coin - the only gold coin from the 30's that is attainable for average collectors, etc. But you know what? I have become conditioned to not even look at them. Just like 1904 $20 libs, and others.
But what makes 1904 less interesting than 1903? I'm sure plenty of historic events happened. The $20 lib design was identical. I think I'd rather pay less for an equal or better coin.
There are some dates that genuinely look different of course and might be worth a premium for other reasons. But as I've gotten more and more engaged in collecting I've gotten more and more attracted to rarity. (Though I have generally still stuck to common dates). I think my collection might benefit if I go back to focusing more on eye appeal and start including 1932 $10's and 1904 $20's back into my search results.
What do you think? All other things equal, same price, would your box of 20 have the highest graded common dates, or a group of super rare clunkers?