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Great Numismatic Day Yesterday - thanks to all the mentors out there!

I wrote this already once... not sure what happened. I had a great coin day yesterday....

As I have written about before, I have a friend with a sizable collection spanning over 60 years. We routinely meetup and discuss coins, and sometimes I have a buying opportunity. Yesterday was a meeting to review the latest coins that he got back from grading. There were about 100 graded coins in the box, and I loved them all. The box was a mix classic coins with the newer issues in super high grade (think Walkers in 67+) and older coins in VF-XF grades (think Bust Dollars). We spent hours talking about the coins, their histories, and the stories behind his acquisitions.

Not only did I enjoy looking at the coins and hearing the stories, but I learned a little about myself. The main thing I learned is that I like older coins, and that unto itself was not the surprise. The surprise was, I preferred the lower graded VF-XF bust dollars much more than the shiny Walkers in MS67+ (which is not to say I didn't love the Walkers).

This was kind of an "aha!" moment for me. I am new to collecting, and have always gone after MS coins (maybe some AU here and there), but I always found VF coins to be unattractive. VF coins that I have commonly seen have problems that stand out and shine in my eyes like a beacon. Yesterday was different, the Bust Dollars in VF were beautiful with nice, even wear and a circulated cameo effect that make the remaining details jump off the coin. This was unlike that "ugly" coins, and totally changed my perspective of the grade.

I left our meeting with a re-newed feeling of excitement toward the coins. I have new paths to explore, and now know a look that I can find, and afford in a series like Draped Bust Dollars. Lately, I have been feeling a little down about coin collecting. I love my coins, but the sets I like feel so daunting. I didn't want my compulsion to "finish something" to push me into sets that I don't care about, or overspend on coins. I have felt aimless lately that I don't have a goal beyond my half cents (a set that is drawing to a close). I have started several threads and had private IMs with several to get ideas in my next numismatic adventure. I need to find something that checks all my boxes, and seeing those beautiful, circulated coins opens-up sets that I find highly interesting that would have been out-of-range in AU-MS.

Here on the boards.... I see mostly MS coins, and they are lovely. I wish I was wealthy enough to own ever coin in MS grades. However, yesterday I saw that I can find lower grade coins that are wholesome and beautiful. My buddy taught me that the harder part in collecting lower grades is getting through the uglies to find the most beautiful ones (and he warned me that I am not the only person looking for choice for the grade examples).

My friend is not part of the online community. But, I wanted to thank him for his guidance and encouragement. He is generous with his time and friendship, and it has made (and continues to make) all the difference in how I feel about coins. He keeps me grounded, but shows me ways to get the most out of this hobby. I cannot overstate my appreciation.... and I feel like he has completely snapped me out of the funk that I was in.

If you are a coin expert... understand that there are newbies like me that look to you the same way I look to my friend. You are likely someone who is looked-up to... someone who can put others on a path, keep collectors excited through guidance and encouragement. Thanks to every expert that mentors a new collector like me.... and thanks in advance to all of the experts that would be willing to do so.

Yesterday was a great day for me.... and sincerely re-energized me in the hobby when I was losing steam.

I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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Comments

  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,897 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congrats on finding happiness in the hobby. We all get into a funk at times. It is nice to be able to connect with others that have "been there."

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 853 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Thanks @DCW... I also want to say how much I appreciate you. I have reached out to you a few times on tokens, and you are always so gracious and helpful. You are an awesome presence on these boards. Thank you for being you.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

  • NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 853 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Mr_Spud - THIS is exactly what I am talking about. You are actually a perfect example of a collector that collects circulated coins with amazing eye appeal. Have to admit that your coins are some of my favorites posted anywhere - ever. You have a tremendous eye, and I hope to build my skills in a similar way.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

  • FredSFredS Posts: 59 ✭✭✭

    Nice. So the 67+ walkers, what is the story there? They were raw? It is about impossible to have a raw walker grade 67+ these days. (Not to mention more than one)

  • NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 853 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @asheland - Thanks! I do feel like I am growing and appreciating coins in various grades more. But, I still have a lot of growing to do, and am excited for it.

    @FredS - I am not really sure about the origin of the Walkers. I do know that my friend works at an auction house, and has bought several intact collections. I also know that he routinely buys/cracks/resubmits coins from collectors, dealers and just about anywhere else he can find coins. Not all of the Walkers had a plus grade, but a few did. I can ask about the Walkers next time we are together... I am sure he knows where each one came from. Walkers are his favorite.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,859 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @NeophyteNumismatist said:
    I love my coins, but the sets I like feel so daunting. I didn't want my compulsion to "finish something" to push me into sets that I don't care about, or overspend on coins. I have felt aimless lately that I don't have a goal beyond my half cents (a set that is drawing to a close).

    This is where I really like my approach. I don't have any sets (shy of a Dansco type album I've been working on for 20-something years and still haven't finished, and a very niche paper set that will take years to possibly finish), and it's for two reasons. First, like you, I don't want to feel compelled to buy a coin I don't otherwise want. Second, I generally don't find repetitive sets as exciting as mixed collections of lots of variety. To that end, I buy rather random stuff, either because I just happened to see it available, or I recognized it as something I wanted so I put it on a want list and devoted some time to finding one. For some types, one coin is good enough. For others, two different grades provide their own appeal so I go that route (my MS64 and VF35 1921 Peace dollars come to mind--they're not unlike your observation about the bust dollars). And lastly, some designs I love so I just have multiples, usually with different looks due to toning, levels or frost on devices, or types of lustre... it's unlikely you'll ever find me with two bright white Walkers or Morgans, but I have many examples of each design.

    Look at as many designs as you can across grade levels. When something looks appealing, do some research to figure out what grade/look may work best. Your collection could be a hodgepodge, but it's easy to collect when you never need to buy something. And on that note, be picky. Whatever you choose to collect, a set or individual pieces, take time to find the nice ones.

    JK Coin Photography - eBay Consignments | High Quality Photos | LOW Prices | 20% of Consignment Proceeds Go to Pancreatic Cancer Research
  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,572 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @airplanenut said:

    @NeophyteNumismatist said:
    I love my coins, but the sets I like feel so daunting. I didn't want my compulsion to "finish something" to push me into sets that I don't care about, or overspend on coins. I have felt aimless lately that I don't have a goal beyond my half cents (a set that is drawing to a close).

    This is where I really like my approach. I don't have any sets (shy of a Dansco type album I've been working on for 20-something years and still haven't finished, and a very niche paper set that will take years to possibly finish), and it's for two reasons. First, like you, I don't want to feel compelled to buy a coin I don't otherwise want. Second, I generally don't find repetitive sets as exciting as mixed collections of lots of variety. To that end, I buy rather random stuff, either because I just happened to see it available, or I recognized it as something I wanted so I put it on a want list and devoted some time to finding one. For some types, one coin is good enough. For others, two different grades provide their own appeal so I go that route (my MS64 and VF35 1921 Peace dollars come to mind--they're not unlike your observation about the bust dollars). And lastly, some designs I love so I just have multiples, usually with different looks due to toning, levels or frost on devices, or types of lustre... it's unlikely you'll ever find me with two bright white Walkers or Morgans, but I have many examples of each design.

    Look at as many designs as you can across grade levels. When something looks appealing, do some research to figure out what grade/look may work best. Your collection could be a hodgepodge, but it's easy to collect when you never need to buy something. And on that note, be picky. Whatever you choose to collect, a set or individual pieces, take time to find the nice ones.

    I kind of collect similar to that basically I just buy what I like…

  • NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 853 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 16, 2024 2:07PM

    So @airplanenut and @asheland , you are making very interesting and valid points. The more "mature" I get in the hobby, the more I know that sets are not the only way.

    Like I said, I started in 2020. When I walked into a coin shop and saw "real" coins (at very real prices), I started my learning like many others probably do today. I went to Google. Google led me to YouTube. Thankfully, I didn't enjoy the tone of voice (excited bordering on screaming) of YouTube, so I read most of the information I learned.

    When Googling "how to collect coins," I came across all kinds of great and not-so-great articles. Many of these articles talked about the "importance" of building sets. One is a "collector" if they built sets, and only an "accumulator" if they did not. Today that sounds like such trash, but not too long ago... I thought that's the way it was. While I have felt the thrill of filling the last hole to complete the set, I tend to have more/less favorites in any given set I am working (and they are not always the keys).

    My systematic nature will always make sets appealing. However, I know I also need to loosen-up and remember that I do this for fun (and the ladies :p ).

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,572 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I’m mostly a type collector, but I am attempting to complete a small set, the Canadian five and $10 gold pieces and I’m toying with the idea of doing the Indian head cent collection, but beyond that it’s strictly I buy what I like.

    I’m very specific, originality, and eye appeal is very important to me!

    But like the others have said, do what makes you have fun! Because that’s what counts the most. 👍

  • BustDMsBustDMs Posts: 1,561 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Mr_Spud said:
    Great write up. And I agree with your revelation about Draped Bust coins in circulated grades. Much more interesting than 20th century MS examples. Something about real coins that did their duty in commerce and somehow still survive in a problem free condition makes them great

    Mr Spud. Nice set with a GREAT dime!

    Q: When does a collector become a numismatist?



    A: The year they spend more on their library than their coin collection.



    A numismatist is judged more on the content of their library than the content of their cabinet.
  • BustDMsBustDMs Posts: 1,561 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @jacrispies said:
    There is something magical about raw early coinage.

    A whole stack of busties but where are the edge errors?

    It reminds me of the time I was presented with a canvas bag full of bust halves to choose from. It was 1978 and there was over 100 coins in the bag. I was “using” the unusable first edition of the Overton book. I ended up with about 30 coins from the group. My continuing nightmare is that I didn’t know how to attribute or cherry-pick the 1827’s and they went back into the bag…..😢. I can only imagine what I missed……

    I did focus on original early halves and ended up with a number of 1807-1814 pieces.

    Q: When does a collector become a numismatist?



    A: The year they spend more on their library than their coin collection.



    A numismatist is judged more on the content of their library than the content of their cabinet.
  • jacrispiesjacrispies Posts: 671 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @BustDMs I didn't have so many edge errors at the time this photo was taken. Maybe I'll take a new photo with ONLY edge errors!

    I remember reading your story about that CBH hoard in the JRJ. Great writing! Sorting a raw hoard is something that us younger collectors can dream about doing someday.

    "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 6:23. Young fellow suffering from Bust Half fever.

  • NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 853 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I really like the way this thread is going.... Lot's of cool coins in circulated grades. Thanks to everyone for making this thread awesome with your thoughts and photos of lovely coins!

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,603 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great post! There's quality in every grade, and the grade alone doesn't imply quality.

  • BarberianBarberian Posts: 2,909 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 17, 2024 7:18PM

    Catbert's just warming you up for my coins. ;)

    No bust dollars, I just wanted to add that circulated coins are great. They have the character of having served in commerce, are less expensive, and the toning often enhances the design of the coin.




    I think it's great that you've found a group you'd like to "accumulate." Bust dollars with that lettered edge are awesome.

    3 rim nicks away from Good

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