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Why I'm selling 95% of my collection - Details Update in OP

BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,733 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited July 12, 2023 3:28PM in U.S. Coin Forum

Ready for a long read?

Over the past 12 or 15 years I've had a tremendous time assembling what is in my mind a pretty cool coin collection. It has been a wild ride and I've learned a TON about the hobby, met amazing fellow collectors, worked with tremendous dealers, and it's just been a blast. Truly, the whole process has been so very enjoyable. I've probably been to a dozen major shows and another dozen smaller ones. I know at least two dozen dealers and an equal number of "big time" collectors by name. Although many of the regulars here have disappeared over the years, many of you have come along on this journey. I've enjoyed sharing (oversharing?) my acquisitions and the overall experience.

Why sell? Well, it isn't because anything is "wrong" or that I've fallen on hard times. The number one answer is that the opportunity cost of owning these things has just gotten too high for my comfort. Over my span of collecting I've purchased and sold probably close to a million dollars worth of coins. I've tried to let a few nice ones go, at times, and many truly stellar coins have fallen into my lap at other times.

Maybe three years ago I had an epiphany of sorts about life in general, my relationships, and my financial goals. I should say "our" financial goals, because part of this epiphany has been that my wife has spent a good part of our almost 30-year marriage not having enough of a voice when it came to financial things. She's been tremendously patient and kind, and never once complained about time away at shows or money disappearing into shiny trinkets. So now, it's my honor and pleasure to turn that around a bit. I'm not that old or sick in any significant way, but it also occurred to me that our time here on this planet is finite, coins are just things, and they certainly don't love me back.

To be clear, I'm not dropping my ANA membership or abandoning the hobby. I certainly don't intend on forgetting the hard-gotten knowledge I've acquired "in school". Some of the tuition was expensive, but not too much, and many kind mentors kept me out the ditch on many occasions. I thought about naming the dealers who were instrumental in all of this, but I'll just mention Mark Feld as a person without whom I'd have never had so much fun or gotten so deeply involved. His approach to collecting and his "rules" have pointed me the right way. A few years ago I sold my top-ten registry set of Peace dollars and Larry Shapiro handled that for me. Just a handshake and a few phone calls. No contracts. Everything worked perfectly. I love that stuff.

Why else? Well, I've been acquiring a few coins here and there these last couple of years, but in reality, not enough that I really have my finger on the pulse of the market. I've been away from shows for a while, and if your axe isn't sharp, it's easier to get hurt.

Here's a few more random thoughts in no particular order:

  • Auctions aren't as fun as they used to be. I can't say exactly why, but the ever-increasing percentage of seller fees and buyer fees and shipping fees really turned me off to the big auctions houses. Ultimately, all of this is built on the backs of collectors. Many collectors have unhealthy habits surrounding their passion, and extracting too much from them bugs me a little.
  • I sold a big part of my core collection on two prior occasions - the Peace dollar set, and a bunch of coins that weren't "all there". With the exception of a coin or two, I've never thought much about it, and never regretted it. It was surprisingly easy to let them go.
  • Selling is actually pretty fun. I've used virtually every format out there, and there is "no perfect way" to liquidate things. I enjoy seeing them go to people who will appreciate them.
  • It has become enormously clear that for me "the chasing" is more fun than "the having".
  • I have been tremendously blessed to have enough disposable income to participate at this level. That this is a rare privilege is not lost on me.
  • Quite frankly, this forum isn't what it used to be. For the time and place, you all here (and hoards of good people who aren't here any more) have been a big part of the fun. Recently, it isn't so uncommon to see only 3 or 4 people here at times. Third-party grading is also changing, and not every part of that sits well with me.
  • Not-so-secretly, I intend to use some of this capital to fund some other hobbies. Coins have never been my #1 hobby, and it's time to re-adjust.
  • Hollis Pincock ran a nice little B&M not too far away from where I live. He recently passed away and a very nice obit is in the latest Numismatist. I certainly didn't make him rich, or even stop by that often, but I don't think our area will see the likes of his B&M again anytime soon.
  • Photographing coins is almost as much fun as the coins themselves.
  • It is enormously possible that I'll jump in with both feet again at some future time. I'm probably done with type collecting and collecting by series, but a really meaningful "box of 20" sort of project could be fun.
  • I gained a HUGE appreciation for classic silver commemoratives. I gained an enormous distaste for modern commems, and just about anything else the mint has done in my lifetime.
  • Coins might actually disappear from our daily lives before stamps do.
  • I'm keeping a few coins (about 10) that are meaningful, for various reasons.
  • I'm letting many coins go that are very dear to my heart. Mostly, it's because of the situation or people who were instrumental in acquiring them. It's a healthy thing.
  • Someday I intend to own a nice Small Eagle 1/2 dollar.
  • The method of dispersal has already been arranged, but I'll share more about that later.
  • I shut down all of my registry sets. What an actual relief that was. I loved playing that game, for a time, but no longer! If I get back in, I'm going to collect whatever random thing suits me. :)
  • I invite all collectors to take an honest look at the finances behind collecting. Even when I've made "a bunch o' money" selling, the actual yearly return on investment lags considerably behind almost every traditional investment class. The difference represents the "rent" you pay to own and enjoy these coins. To this point I've been perfectly satisfied, but the balance has shifted. Time to act.

Here's the first coin I ever purchased, at the time of issue:

image

Details of the sale will be posted in a separate thread in the BST area of the forum.

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Comments

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    Pnies20Pnies20 Posts: 2,065 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congratulations. It seems like you've made it to the pinnacle of your collecting career. The other side of the mountain is downhill and a little more fun.

    BHNC #248 … 108 and counting.

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    WQuarterFreddieWQuarterFreddie Posts: 2,548 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wow...good luck in your future endeavors.

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    matt_dacmatt_dac Posts: 959 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post.
    We are all just leasing these beautiful trinkets, and it’s ok to return them to the market when we want to use the resources for something else.

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    gumby1234gumby1234 Posts: 5,428 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good luck with the small eagle half. Hop you find a really nice one.

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

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    shishshish Posts: 1,105 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 8, 2023 5:43AM

    Great post! Good luck in your future endeavors and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Liberty Seated and Trade Dollar Specialist
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    Downtown1974Downtown1974 Posts: 6,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A very well thought out decision. I’m sure it will bring you satisfaction moving forward.

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    WaterSportWaterSport Posts: 6,709 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This thread needs to be resurrected on numerous occasions because of the value of it.

    Good luck on all your other adventures.

    WS

    Proud recipient of the coveted PCGS Forum "You Suck" Award Thursday July 19, 2007 11:33 PM and December 30th, 2011 at 8:50 PM.
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    Bob13Bob13 Posts: 1,419 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve always enjoyed your posts and think you have a great eye.

    Good luck with the sales and please do keep contributing!

    My current "Box of 20"

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    TheMayorTheMayor Posts: 221 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I enjoyed your post. Even though I am still in the ascent of my collecting journey, to use @Pnies20's analogy, a lot of your thoughts resonated with me, particularly the opportunity cost of owning coins (especially as they creep up to a more significant share of my net worth).

    Good luck with the sale and in your other hobbies.

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    CoinscratchCoinscratch Posts: 7,933 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I too have enjoyed your posts (and coins) and will miss your input. It sounds like a nice and needed reset your are going through and probably feels good to free up so much disk space in your mind as well as your time.
    Once your ready again if ever, it'll be easier to give chase.

    Take care!
    Chris

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    DDRDDR Posts: 1,561 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post, a lot of that resonated with me.

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    P0CKETCHANGEP0CKETCHANGE Posts: 2,259 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fantastic post, very well thought out, as your posts here always are. I wish you well, and your contributions will certainly be missed on the boards.

    Nothing is as expensive as free money.

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    CommemDudeCommemDude Posts: 2,196 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Best of luck as you change your collecting focus and open a new chapter of your book, and thank you for your contributions to the forum.

    Dr Mikey
    Commems and Early Type
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    robecrobec Posts: 6,605 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post filled with very thoughtful, sensitive and sensible reasoning. i Have always enjoyed your posts and photos………always containing nothing but class.

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BryceM.... What a great post. A poignant summary of your current status and outlook regarding our coin hobby. I have always enjoyed your posts for the quality of presentation and the knowledgeable input. I do hope you will continue to dispense advice/information from time to time here on the forum. Good luck in your endeavors. Cheers, RickO

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    CharlotteDudeCharlotteDude Posts: 2,892 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post and a very insightful message. I agree on all that parallel or have paralleled with my Numis interests. Always appreciated your sharing of information, opinion and of course, your coins.

    Got Crust....y gold?
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    OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 5,819 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Always looked forward to your feedback and your opinions. 👍🏻

    Semper Fi! Carry on.

    Disclaimer: I'm not a dealer, trader, grader, investor or professional numismatist. I'm just a hobbyist. (To protect me but mostly you! 🤣 )

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    291fifth291fifth Posts: 23,942 ✭✭✭✭✭

    An excellent post!

    All glory is fleeting.
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    pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,593 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Even though I don't feel like I can really add anything here, and have liked and agreed with other posters as I have read through the comments ... I do want to say that I really appreciate your post, and the clarity it displays for your current thought processes.

    You have always brought that here, at least from what I have seen ... a combination of passion, excitement, pride, enthusiasm, respect and clarity. I hope you continue to hang around, even it is in a more limited fashion.


    “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”

    Todd - BHNC #242
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    MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 23,945 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Excellent post. Clarity of purpose is a beautiful thing, but it’s not always easy to get there. Only took me about 60 years. Lol.

    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic.

    Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at USPatterns.com.
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    ChangeInHistoryChangeInHistory Posts: 3,008 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I hope you get good money for what you're selling and hope you're planning on being a regular here on the forums.
    You're a solid contributor, something we can't have enough of.

    Maybe start a post of what coins you're keeping., inquiring minds want to know!

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    ElmerFusterpuckElmerFusterpuck Posts: 4,627 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice post. I'm not quite at the stage you are at about selling but since I'm getting close to retirement it will be a thing as time goes on. I've had loads of fun with my registry sets - emphasis on fun - since I'm not trying to be #1 for any set. Completion is nice but not mandatory, especially for the seated half series.

    Good luck with your endeavors, and we all know we can't take it all with us when we leave this earth!

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    CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,604 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We wish you the best Bryce. Always sad when quality collectors depart! Thanks for your thoughtful post explaining why.

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
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    cagcrispcagcrisp Posts: 1,057 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What a class act post…

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    Dave99BDave99B Posts: 8,362 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post, written from the heart. Good luck to you and your family going forward. Looking forward to hearing how things go on the 'sell' side, which as you stated, is lots of fun a well. Keep us in the loop, and keep collecting!

    Dave

    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
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    taxbuster1040taxbuster1040 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    I have had many discussions with my wife about when to sell my collection. I have been a collector since being a kid and although I had sold off some about 20 years ago, I still have a huge collection. I like the having. I will always view holding silver and gold rolls as a hedge against a world disaster. Helps me sleep at night. But I don't want my kids to have to deal with selling it off. So when I hit 80 or so, I will gradually sell it off.

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    VasantiVasanti Posts: 448 ✭✭✭✭

    I’m with you on the “chase is more fun than having” part. I love my registry sets of classic coins, but I’ve had more fun sending in moderns for grading and putting together that stuff in high grade than I have had chasing the classics. I lose a little money doing it, but you lose money on just about anything fun.

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    scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,734 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Bryce, thanks for posting your thought process. I'm glad you're keeping the most meaningful 5%. You might find that the enjoyment of those last few pieces of your collection will equal or even eclipse your larger set.
    The freedom to buy what you like and make every coin meaningful is my favorite part of numismatics.

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    7Jaguars7Jaguars Posts: 7,268 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very good points Bryce, and I would surmise you are of similar age. I occasionally sell coins but mainly keep on collecting. I have dispensed with some of the lesser purchases and I buy less often but still enjoy collecting. I think if I had a wife to consider I would likely be taking the direction you have. Enjoy your pursuits, may God and the Fates be with you...

    Love that Milled British (1830-1960)
    Well, just Love coins, period.
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    TrampTramp Posts: 655 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bryce, nicely put!

    Although I've only started back up collecting coins a short 8 years ago, I can relate to much that you've stated.

    Hobbies, like this one, can become all too consuming. Where we throw all of our being into it, but like most things in life a good balance is best.

    Best of luck in your future endeavors. It doesn't sound like you'll be shutting the door completely, which is good.

    USAF (Ret.) 1985 - 2005. E-4B Aircraft Maintenance Crew Chief and Contracting Officer.
    My current Registry sets:
    ✓ Everyman Mint State Carson City Morgan Dollars (1878 – 1893)
    ✓ Everyman Mint State Lincoln Cents (1909 – 1958)
    ✓ Morgan Dollar GSA Hoard (1878 – 1891)

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    RichieURichRichieURich Posts: 8,372 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bryce, a well-thought out post that many of us can identify with. Thank you for writing it!

    An authorized PCGS dealer, and a contributor to the Red Book.

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    coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,768 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well it was lengthy, ;) best of luck with the next step in life be that with coins or not.

    My Lincoln Registry
    My Collection of Old Holders

    Never a slave to one plastic brand will I ever be.
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    logger7logger7 Posts: 8,084 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Numismatics is just one in a constellation of many others, and has its place. Glad you've enjoyed the hobby and are willing to give others and opportunity to get what you've had.

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    gtstanggtstang Posts: 1,698 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's always a good idea to self evaluate your position in your collection.
    I noted one comment you made about the forum and I agree. To expand on that, I would say this forum has lost a lot of knowledge due to thin skin of others and political nonsense .
    Too many snowflakes.
    As long as you and your people are happy with your decisions, then that's what matters most.
    This hobby can be fun on a $10 a month budget or a $10,000,000
    Budget as we have seen from members of the forum.

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    erwindocerwindoc Posts: 4,927 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Had a similar epiphany last year when I sold off my Washington quarter set. Good luck in your future endeavors!

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    neildrobertsonneildrobertson Posts: 1,181 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It sounds like a healthy decision. It's motivating me to consider selling portions of my collection

    IG: DeCourcyCoinsEbay: neilrobertson
    "Numismatic categorizations, if left unconstrained, will increase spontaneously over time." -me

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    keyman64keyman64 Posts: 15,456 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have similar thoughts often.

    That said, As much as I am interested in learning about what you might be keeping, I am really interested in learning about what is being sold (where and when). Best of luck in the journey.

    "If it's not fun, it's not worth it." - KeyMan64
    Looking for Top Pop Mercury Dime Varieties & High Grade Mercury Dime Toners. :smile:
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    NicNic Posts: 3,343 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome post @BryceM.
    I have always enjoyed your coins, pics, and comments. You are one of my favorite forum members. Thank you.
    One of the great things about coins and numismatics is that they will be there if, when, or how much you wish to return.

    PS If the terminally toned 1921 Peace $ is a source of angst I can help. :)

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    Klif50Klif50 Posts: 663 ✭✭✭✭

    My question would be what other hobbies are you going to pursue? I, like many coin collectors, follow many other hobbies. Some with more passion than others and some just passing interest. I would welcome the opportunity to see your post in other hobby forums and discussion groups.

    I have been very active in collecting non-sports cards, comics, guns, cowboy action shooting, hotrods, and stamps (no longer active and I feel bad that the stamps I put so much money into back in the 60's and 70s are worth so little now, even though there are some worth more than I paid, many are worth little of what I paid). I have sought and studied meteorites, and watched the stars and constellations with a very nice telescope. Age and loss of my of my eyesight takes all the job out of that hobby.

    I wish you good luck with your future endeavor. Enjoy what ever you do and if you can share the time and passion with your wife, then so much the better.

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