Home U.S. Coin Forum
Options

I don’t necessarily agree with the often-seen advice “Buy the best you can afford”.

MFeldMFeld Posts: 12,056 ✭✭✭✭✭

Here are just a couple of reasons:

For almost everyone, that means not having the funds to buy other coins, which you might enjoy just as much, or even more.

It might also mean buying coins that are less liquid, rather than more liquid and ending up less diversified.

When I consider both the enjoyment of collecting and the “investment” aspect of it, I’d much rather buy more coins, not fewer. And that doesn’t mean that they can’t t still be great ones.

I welcome any comments, whether for or against “buying the best you can afford”.

Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

«13

Comments

  • Options
    DeplorableDanDeplorableDan Posts: 2,562 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:
    I like buying at the highest grade before the big jump in price. There's always a point of diminishing return.

    This is generally how I like to rationalize a purchase. Taking everything into consideration, liquidity is always very important to me, you never know what life will throw at you. I like to find the “sweet spot” that has the right balance of grade, eye appeal, and liquidity. Pop 1/0 coins may have the greatest potential to appreciate, but it goes both ways and my risk tolerance starts becomes a factor.

  • Options
    CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,605 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sorry for my third post to this thread. Re Diversification presumes that this is desirable from a collecting (vs investment) perspective.

    I’m in the process of selling 10 very nice coins from my collection to fund a certain high quality coin. In my opinion, this coin might have a more limited audience when it comes time to sell, but in the meantime, I’m thrilled to own it and believe the other 10 can easily be replaced over time should I wish to do so.

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
  • Options
    124Spider124Spider Posts: 848 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 11, 2022 11:08AM

    I agree with OP, in general.

    Of course, "afford" is a slippery concept. Many decades ago, my wife and I realized that we could have practically anything we really want, but we can't have everything we want; we have to pick and choose.

    In line with this (and OP's original comment), I impose on myself a soft cap on any individual purchase, and keep expensive purchases to one per calendar month (of course, I make exceptions, if I've been looking for a particular coin in a particular condition for a long time, and one pops up, or if a particularly spectacular coin with which I have been intrigued hits my radar).

    I have long realized that, had I limited my collecting to one or two series, I could have a much more "impressive" collection. But my collecting interests were decided when I was a kid, saving coins out of circulation, and I have never had any interest in abandoning any of those collections. So I optimize across the entire collection, rather than having one super-collection. My collections are dominated by XF and AU coins in the more expensive slots, because that has allowed me to get more coins (often, one can look at the price curve relative to condition, and optimize; I have found that AU58, for my budget and desires, often is a very sweet spot). Yes, it would be cool to have sought-after coins in high mint state (and I suspect that those are better "investments"), but that would have precluded completing any collection, and it gives me great satisfaction to have complete collections (and, yes, I can upgrade over time). If my collection ultimately results in a modest (relative to cost) financial loss over time, I'm ok with that, given the pleasure I have received from it.

  • Options
    DisneyFanDisneyFan Posts: 1,723 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MFeld said:

    When I consider both the enjoyment of collecting and the “investment” aspect of it, I’d much rather buy more coins, not fewer. And that doesn’t mean that they can’t t still be great ones.

    While buying coins is fun, I don't want to have too many coins. Ideally I'd like all of my coins to be in PCGS boxes of 20 inside one safe deposit box at the bank. Otherwise, it's too hard to get access to the coins in the back of the safe deposit box when I want to look at my coins.

  • Options
    oldabeintxoldabeintx Posts: 1,640 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As I understand the word "afford", it means "have the money to buy". I have the money to buy all sorts of things that I would enjoy. However, most folks, myself included, can only allocate so much to collectibles, cars, houses, etc. if they're prudent. So we buy a Mercedes instead of a Bentley, We buy a VF Chain instead of an XF. I can enjoy my choices without owning "the best". That being said, if gain is one's object, history has told us to stretch a bit, so the "fewer the better" approach has merit. For scarce uncs I look for nice 64's (often stickered) as a sort of compromise, the pre-price-point- jump method espoused above, and with a chance to ride the wave (or avoid the crash).

  • Options
    MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,901 ✭✭✭✭✭

    All of the OP's points might be sound advice for different collectors but it's all based on the thinking that we need to buy coins all the time. I tend to go about it slower. I don't go about trying to find something to buy just to satisfy myself and spend money, I figure out what I want and what condition/grade I want it in, then I search. Often, the search takes a long, long time but I don't buy things in between to make me happy.

  • Options
    vulcanizevulcanize Posts: 1,339 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I politely digress.

    As a younger collector starting off, not necessary that everyone has the resources, access nor the experience, so has to settle getting the best bang for their buck.

    When the same young collector matures and has more options, the scope of the field definitely becomes much bigger and then the wait and watch game begins to land the dream coin.

    Am sure D L Hansen would have started the same way and kept upgrading his collection as the viability increased, landing the unicorns that he has currently.

    So yeah, buy the best you can afford is a tried and tested method that has endured.

  • Options
    MFeldMFeld Posts: 12,056 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Maywood said:
    All of the OP's points might be sound advice for different collectors but it's all based on the thinking that we need to buy coins all the time. I tend to go about it slower. I don't go about trying to find something to buy just to satisfy myself and spend money, I figure out what I want and what condition/grade I want it in, then I search. Often, the search takes a long, long time but I don't buy things in between to make me happy.

    My post wasn’t based on the thought that collectors need to buy coins all the time. Regardless of how many coins collectors want to acquire or the frequency with which they want/hope to acquire them, most have limited funds. So they need to make purchase decisions (including how much to budget for any one coin) with that in mind.

    Mark Feld* of Heritage Auctions*Unless otherwise noted, my posts here represent my personal opinions.

  • Options
    BoosibriBoosibri Posts: 11,873 ✭✭✭✭✭

    To me it is irrelevant because I don’t tend to collect things where there are multiples to choose from reasonable time period.

    So really, if the coin is better than the best I have seen, should probably buy it. Along with, Will I even find a better one? If the chances are unlikely, better buy it.

  • Options
    JBNJBN Posts: 1,799 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Sure, buy the best you can afford. Sensible advice.

    Each collector’s education, experience, tastes (what constitutes eye appeal), collecting style, contacts/network/advice, and other factors determine their ‘best’ in a coin.

    For afford, the advice does not touch on frequency of opportunity. In such cases, previous sale amounts are outdated so estimation of current market value is difficult. A determination as to how far into this unknown (where is ‘affordability’ lost....or investment potential exhausted) you are willing to bid is necessary. Fretting about potentially overpaying. In this heat of an auction an underbidder might assume the role because the amount reached a level where the coin’s investment aspect became unfavorable. This is the good news you are looking for as the winning bidder.

    Agree regarding purchasing coins that are less liquid or diverse – as a set collector my collection has minimum diversity and its liquidation would be more difficult. Also agree with buying more, not less coins.

  • Options
    Mr_SpudMr_Spud Posts: 4,460 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like putting sets together and I like to have them somewhat matching in grade and appearance. So, the me, the goal is to buy coins that match the hardest to find/most expensive coins in the set. Like I wouldn’t want to buy a key date that is circulated and mix it in a set that the common date coins are high grade uncirculated. I’m currently scouring the Internet to find AU modern slabbed coins for some of my circulated type sets. They are surprisingly hard to find because they are not considered to be worth the cost of slabbing them. I could easily find and afford high grade uncirculated moderns, but I don’t think they match the set when the old expensive ones are circulated.

    Mr_Spud

  • Options
    erwindocerwindoc Posts: 4,927 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Goals and budgets both can change. As such, I find enjoyment in building several sets from the same series. Perfect example, filling holes from junk silver bins for one set, F/VF/XF coins for a nicer album and mint state coins for the finale. For the mint state coins, I often (not always) will buy the best I can afford. Some sets the jump to the next grade is exponentially more expensive and since I don't always play in the deep end of the pool(registry), I will save money buying a grade down. Not all series can work this way, but for the most part coins from the 20th century (ones I enjoy the most) can. I realize I could save money by not having multiple sets, putting it towards better coins, but that is sometimes what keeps it fun.

  • Options
    logger7logger7 Posts: 8,094 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Also, don't overpay. Think like a businessman or dealer if you are assembling a quality collection; ie, if you needed to sell that coin in the next few months, how liquid would it be, how much money would you lose if any?

  • Options
    liefgoldliefgold Posts: 1,658 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I am a big believer in what several others have said, "I like buying at the highest grade before the big jump in price. "
    That being said, that point can change dramatically over time. For the gold dollar sreies I collect, that grade for "just before the jump", was MS62 for common dates. At that time an MS65 was about 7 times the cost of a MS62. Now, 20 years later, it is about 2.5 times the cost. So I could have afforded the MS65 back then but instead I can now upgrade with inflated dollars for much less. Not always the case, especially with better date coins, but it makes pretty good economic sense if you are in for the long haul.

    liefgold
  • Options
    CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,605 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 11, 2022 1:36PM

    @logger7 said:
    Also, don't overpay. Think like a businessman or dealer if you are assembling a quality collection; ie, if you needed to sell that coin in the next few months, how liquid would it be, how much money would you lose if any?

    Wow. Who here buys a coin thinking there going to sell it in the next few months? They need mental health counseling if so!

    Edited to add: as a collector

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
  • Options
    Cougar1978Cougar1978 Posts: 7,642 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 11, 2022 1:35PM

    Agree - it’s a term I have seen many big gun dealers use. The “best” can be way in the stratosphere vs a nice MS64.

    So Cali Area - Coins & Currency
  • Options
    CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,605 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @erwindoc said:
    Goals and budgets both can change.

    This is another factor in this discussion. What one finds fascinating or satisfying with a coin acquisition can change over time as knowledge is learned, tastes have changed, OR a great coin becomes available that one has an opportunity to acquire. Sometimes, collection churn can be a good thing - pruning and /or reinvigorating one's hobby.

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
  • Options
    Jzyskowski1Jzyskowski1 Posts: 6,651 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I just collect what I like.  Don’t care much about how valuable or liquid the resale is,    There’s no resale. Because it’s a hobby and I really thought in retirement I could afford to spend alot more life said “not so fast there bucko, time to be a parent again “.  Hello full time grandson and good bye extra resources.  
    I’m actually quite grateful as I am enjoying the balance required to move on with collecting and unexpected day to day costs 😁
    

    🎶 shout shout, let it all out 🎶

  • Options
    Jzyskowski1Jzyskowski1 Posts: 6,651 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Dang stupid font problem. I need to preview 🤨

    🎶 shout shout, let it all out 🎶

  • Options
    gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,429 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Stack bullion coins if worried about liquidity. Buying the best coin for your money pays off in the end. Better quality sells much easier than poor quality and brings more profit in the end. That doesn't mean that you cant also have other not so valuable coins as well, but for the main collection buy the best that you can afford within your budget.

    Successful BST with ad4400, Kccoin, lablover, pointfivezero, koynekwest, jwitten, coin22lover, HalfDimeDude, erwindoc, jyzskowsi, COINS MAKE CENTS, AlanSki, BryceM

  • Options
    braddickbraddick Posts: 23,128 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So many rules are in play for us to live our everyday lives. And I get it. Without restrictions and laws, we would live in chaos.
    My job has rules. My marriage has rules. Society has rules. (All of which I agree are necessary to thrive.)
    Having a hobby with no self-imposed rules outside of the Golden Rule is nice.
    I suppose that makes it a hobby vs. a necessary part of living.

    peacockcoins

  • Options
    coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,795 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have expressed more than once on this forum the value that MFeld provides. And I stand by that commentary. I will suggest and argue that it is never about the best you can afford... It is about quality for the grade. And there is a difference. There are those that have been very successful about suggesting it is all about condition rarity. And without a doubt that is correct with respect to certain coins, but condition rarity even has its limits.

    There is another thread about yet another 1895-O Morgan asking for thoughts and opinions. I have expressed my opinions. I have done so without attaching an earlier thread that basically discussed the same grading issue with the same Morgan Dollar- same date but different coin at an earlier time... as in 15 plus years ago. And this seems to be an ongoing issue about what passes the straight face test as to grading. There is a problem and it is reflected beyond what the so-called "market" is able to handle or even ajudicate. Limiting the discussion to Morgan Dollars, there is a reason that certain sheets have prices at levels that seem low... and they are at those levels mainly because of coins that have been processed and look like those that appear in that thread.

    Let me make this clear so there is no misunderstanding... enhancing coins for the expectation of obtaining a higher grade fails on so many levels- And we have seen the process continue as documented on so many threads on this forum.

    Please stop the insanity... if you like a dipped out coin- whether it be gold or silver-buy one that already exists in that state, It really is that simple because so much of the original surviving population has already been compromised out of greed.

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • Options
    messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,705 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 11, 2022 2:46PM

    Buy the best that makes sense to you and your collecting goals.

    If you can afford a coin that costs $x, but it makes no sense to you why it's that expensive, either out of ignorance (i.e., you don't know why) or diligence (you conclude it's overvalued), or it compromises your other collecting goals, you're better off buying a coin that costs $x/k for some value k > 1 such that the expenditure makes sense.

    Applying this rule will also tend to eschew buying the keys first -- other advice I don't agree with.

  • Options
    coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,795 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Seems ignorance is a huge problem

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

  • Options
    DisneyFanDisneyFan Posts: 1,723 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @messydesk said:

    If you can afford a coin that costs $x, but it makes no sense to you why it's that expensive, either out of ignorance (i.e., you don't know why) or diligence (you conclude it's overvalued)...."

    Well said.

  • Options
    WCCWCC Posts: 2,389 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Boosibri said:
    To me it is irrelevant because I don’t tend to collect things where there are multiples to choose from reasonable time period.

    So really, if the coin is better than the best I have seen, should probably buy it. Along with, Will I even find a better one? If the chances are unlikely, better buy it.

    This is what differentiates the coins you and I buy from the coins most members of this forum do. Except that one of your series (Guatemala pillars) is even scarcer than my primary interest (pillars from Lima and Potosi).

    I buy whatever is available when it's available, as long as I like it enough, the price is "reasonable", and I'm not going outside my financial comfort zone. In the last few months, I've spent about $7K for four coins which is a lot for me, but it's my only opportunity to buy these coins for years, if ever. Two I had never seen before except as dreck, one previously in much lower quality, and the last in "close enough" quality back in 2008. But that's all. There were also other coins I wanted to buy that I won't have a chance for a long time (maybe never) but I wasn't going to spend any more this year.

    If I collected anything where buying roughly comparable examples wasn't an obstacle, I'd never pay large premiums for slight differences in quality, whether measured by the grade or any other criteria. Additionally, my definition of "slight differences is a lot broader than what I often read here.

  • Options
    WCCWCC Posts: 2,389 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DeplorableDan said:

    I may be in the minority that worries about resale value when buying, which I’m comfortable with. Personally, I can’t justify treating collecting solely as a hobby, to the point that I’m to willing to take an enormous bath if I ever decide to sell.

    I'm very confident you are not in a minority, where the amount spent is considered "material" to the buyer. For most collectors, the funds to do it don't fall out of the sky. It takes working and saving. Most collectors intuitively don't want to throw away part of their life (time they can't get back) losing money - on anything - without a good reason, no matter what the reason is to them.

  • Options
    1946Hamm1946Hamm Posts: 768 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm a collector. I don't buy coins to flip or as an investment. I buy what I like to have in my collection. I buy coins with the thought that they are in a grade that I won't have to upgrade later. It makes no sense to me to buy something for my collection that needs to be upgraded. Whatever your standards are stick to them .

    Have a good day, Gary
  • Options
    humanssuckhumanssuck Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @DeplorableDan said:
    ...Personally, I can’t justify treating collecting solely as a hobby, to the point that I’m to willing to take an enormous bath if I ever decide to sell.

    I cant imagine worrying about what any part of my collection is worth for even 1 second, that would ruin it as a hobby for me. Whatever money I spend on coins is money I would be just as happy spending on a vacation, or blowing it up (I like setting off piles of fireworks...), etc... where once spent, its gone.

    The fact that I could sell them and get money back is great, and in many cases I could sell them and make profit, but since I dont ever intend to sell my collection, thats pretty much irrelevant.

  • Options
    WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 8,976 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 11, 2022 4:14PM

    @PerryHall said:
    I like buying at the highest grade before the big jump in price. There's always a point of diminishing return.

    This has been my strategy, all along, and it's worked quite well for me.

    That being said; I'll pay up, if the coin is 'special'.

    Also, the grade level that I prefer is dictated by the series AND the issue.

    When I'm buying key dates; I'll buy fewer per year but, when buying the more common issues; I can, obviously, buy with more frequency and at a higher grade level.

    “I may not believe in myself but I believe in what I’m doing” ~Jimmy Page~

    My Full Walker Registry Set (1916-1947)

    https://www.ngccoin.com/registry/competitive-sets/16292/

  • Options
    airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,910 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @humanssuck said:

    @DeplorableDan said:
    ...Personally, I can’t justify treating collecting solely as a hobby, to the point that I’m to willing to take an enormous bath if I ever decide to sell.

    I cant imagine worrying about what any part of my collection is worth for even 1 second, that would ruin it as a hobby for me. Whatever money I spend on coins is money I would be just as happy spending on a vacation, or blowing it up (I like setting off piles of fireworks...), etc... where once spent, its gone.

    The fact that I could sell them and get money back is great, and in many cases I could sell them and make profit, but since I dont ever intend to sell my collection, thats pretty much irrelevant.

    But even with vacations or fireworks, there is a concept of value. I get not worrying about the details of value, but I'm not trying to spend more than I need to to get a certain coin. That's no different than being willing to pony up for a vacation, but if I can get the trip for one price, there's no reason to pay significantly more for no additional benefit. That said, much of this is based on the time of purchase. I wouldn't want to buy a coin that's a bad deal when I buy it, but if I buy a coin to enjoy, I'm not making the buy decision based on predictions of its value or potential profit in 5 or 10 or 20 years.

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
  • Options

    I think everyone is limited by their budget. If i could only buy one coin a year I probably wouldn't be in this hobby long. If I even had to think about liquidity for a second I wouldn't consider it a hobby. So I think you should spend what you can afford that allows you to keep an interest in coins. I can count on one hand the number of coins I've bought on Ebay. I have bought most of my coins at local coin auctions (usually 2 a month locally) Once or twice a year at the local coin show. And local auctions on Auctionzip that have coins and a couple local coin dealers. And flea markets. 95% of my coins are raw the only coins that i buy certified are the keys. I have 2 books for everything I collect. One I try to make MS the other as close to MS that I can get. I found that going to auctions where not everyone is a coin collector or a dealer can be a bad thing. For example I have 6 or 7 1913 type one buffalo nickles that are MS. I don't need them they are raw but they were to good of a deal. I'm not really into toning, I do like the roll toning and book toning. Not really into all the wild colors.

  • Options
    yspsalesyspsales Posts: 2,232 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 11, 2022 5:55PM

    Trust me, I get it Mark's point...

    I have taken a financial hit since 2020, and my recent numismatic journey is more about education.

    This newtered approach has been an joyous awakening.

    Recycling cash from existing collections and turning it into a self sustaining operation makes for some brutally honest reflection.

    Intention is to at least build a box of 20 per year for the long term.

    But I have and always will be a picker and a flipper.

    Just sent five coins for grading so we shall see how long they stick around.

    BST: KindaNewish (3/21/21), WQuarterFreddie (3/30/21), Meltdown (4/6/21), DBSTrader2 (5/5/21) AKA- unclemonkey on Blow Out

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Emoji
Image
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file