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10,000th Post .... Lessons learned from a lifetime of coins

tradedollarnuttradedollarnut Posts: 20,147 ✭✭✭✭✭
I started collecting 35 years ago before I was 10. I've collected on and off now for nearly 4 decades. I've gone from wanting to be a dealer when I was in high school and college to being Legend's financial backer and never ever ever wanting to be a full time dealer. I've bought and sold inexpensive coins and multimillion dollar rarites. I've enjoyed building great sets and enjoyed buying $100 coins. I've made upgrades, gotten downgrades, fought for crossovers and won and lost. I've gotten great deals, been held hostage and even been 'punished' by a dealer for being who I am. But through all this, I've enjoyed coins and the people associated with them and wouldn't trade it for the world.

For my 10,000th post, here are some of my lessons learned from a lifetime of coin collecting:

Buy the nicest coin you can for the grade. You’ll pay extra for this, but the fact is that the number on the holder limits the price you pay. The holder actually has a negative value in this instance. Resist the coin that seems like a bargain – there is no Santa Claus in numismatics.

Buy and sell a few coins to get a feel for the market. Note how long it takes to sell the coin at a certain price and how much you have to discount it to be immediately liquid. Factor in this time and amount when purchasing in the future.

There are nice coins in all holders, but for the most part stick to PCGS and NGC. Don’t ignore the fact that coins cost less in one holder than the other, but remember that generalities about those services break down when examined on an individual basis.

A dealer you can trust is a very valuable resource. Once you and he are on the same wavelength, he will save you time and money and enhance your enjoyment of the hobby. Come to a commission arrangement you can both live with and then never give it a second thought - it's well worth the money.

NEVER buy a coin at auction sight unseen. I’ve done it and have always been disappointed. The last time was a gem 1875 trade dollar in an old rattler holder. I volunteered to pay the guy a $3k re-listing fee just to take it back so I didn’t lose more on it.

Sometimes, you have to pay too much for a coin. As long as it’s the right coin, that’s ok. In fact, for the right coin you almost always have to pay ‘too much’. The secret is in knowing which are the right coins and which are the wrong ones.

Don’t sweat the crossover or upgrade game. Build the best set you can for yourself and then when you’re pretty much done have the entire set reviewed by the grading service of choice.

Collectors tend to focus too much on marks and not enough on originality of surfaces. We tend to overgrade the coin that doesn’t have original bloom on the devices but clean fields. We tend to undergrade the coin that has wonderful bloom but marks here or there.

Part of the enjoyment of the hobby is learning about your series and the collectors that went before you. Buy some of the famous collection auction catalogs and read them. Read books about your series. Research old sales so you know when the right coin comes along.

Sometimes, the passion wanes. Take a break. Look around at what’s available. Buy cheap coins [for you] to keep your mind in the game. Dabble with a type set. Eventually, the right coin will come along which will rekindle your passion for a new set.
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    Congratulations TDN on 10k, and your life long love of this hobby image

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    CladiatorCladiator Posts: 17,919 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Damn! I was a week too early with my guess. Who won???
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    ms70ms70 Posts: 13,946 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congrats on 10K & for sharing your insight! image

    Now choose a title. I hate when people don't pick one.


    image

    Great transactions with oih82w8, JasonGaming, Moose1913.

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    << <i>Congrats on 10K & for sharing your insight! image

    Now choose a title. I hate when people don't pick one. >>




    Seems like the default of "Master Collector" fits perfectly in this case?


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    keetskeets Posts: 25,351 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I started collecting 35 years ago before I was 10. I've collected on and off now for nearly 4 decades. I've gone from wanting to be a dealer when I was in high school and college to being Legend's financial backer and never ever ever wanting to be a full time dealer. I've bought and sold inexpensive coins and multimillion dollar rarites. I've enjoyed building great sets and enjoyed buying $100 coins. I've made upgrades, gotten downgrades, fought for crossovers and won and lost. I've gotten great deals, been held hostage and even been 'punished' by a dealer for being who I am. But through all this, I've enjoyed coins and the people associated with them and wouldn't trade it for the world.

    good summation.
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    saintgurusaintguru Posts: 7,724 ✭✭✭
    Those are great observations.

    Now what is this about the "punishment" that Laura dealt out? Did you have to wear one of those leather mouthstraps with the red rubber ball? image
    image
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    CladiatorCladiator Posts: 17,919 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Congrats on 10K & for sharing your insight! image

    Now choose a title. I hate when people don't pick one. >>




    Seems like the default of "Master Collector" fits perfectly in this case? >>

    Master collector will be gone the next time he posts and it will be replaced with Choose Your Title.
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    mgoodm3mgoodm3 Posts: 17,497 ✭✭✭
    nice 10k post. Now you have to post one more time to get "choose you title"
    coinimaging.com/my photography articles Check out the new macro lens testing section
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    FairlanemanFairlaneman Posts: 10,404 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Excellent TDN. Post of the Month material.

    Ken
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    BlindedByEgoBlindedByEgo Posts: 10,754 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Congratulations. Your words now, as well as in the past, have been truly inspiring to me.

    As a bonus, we're both 45 image

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    ARCOARCO Posts: 4,311 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Tradedollarnut - You are a credit to the hobby. Thank you for the insights.

    Tyler
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    mirabelamirabela Posts: 4,967 ✭✭✭✭✭
    image

    POTD
    mirabela
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    << <i>

    << <i>

    << <i>Congrats on 10K & for sharing your insight! image

    Now choose a title. I hate when people don't pick one. >>




    Seems like the default of "Master Collector" fits perfectly in this case? >>

    Master collector will be gone the next time he posts and it will be replaced with Choose Your Title. >>



    no kidding sherlock ?

    my point was that what it says at this moment seems to fit nicely image

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    keetskeets Posts: 25,351 ✭✭✭✭✭
    a point that i think bears being mentioned, one that may not be known by many here: Bruce is a former winner of the PCGS World Series of Grading in the collector division. not only is he a savvy buyer, well heeled collector and all-around nice guy, but his words stand the REAL TEST above all else.

    thanks, Bruce.image
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    stephunterstephunter Posts: 2,324 ✭✭✭
    Solid insight from a great credit to the hobby.
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    NumisOxideNumisOxide Posts: 10,989 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Congrats on your 10,000th post and thanks for the advice.
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    RussRuss Posts: 48,515 ✭✭✭
    Excellent post, now where's the giveaway?



    << <i>Buy the nicest coin you can for the grade. You’ll pay extra for this, but the fact is that the number on the holder limits the price you pay. The holder actually has a negative value in this instance. >>



    This is an interesting - and very true - phenomenon. Whether we like to admit it ir not, much of the market perceives the major grading services as infallible. If they decided a coin was a certain grade, then it must be so. There are quite a few coins out there that are much nicer than the label would indicate, BUT...

    The opposite is also true. I've seen too many examples of buyers believing so strongly in that label that they pay full money for glaringly obvious dogs. I call it the "you can't be right because PCGS says differently" syndrome. Make it very clear that a coin is overgraded and most of the time it doesn't matter. It still brings more than it's worth.



    << <i>A dealer you can trust is a very valuable resource. Once you and he are on the same wavelength >>



    You throw Laura under the bus? image

    Russ, NCNE
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    RonyahskiRonyahski Posts: 3,116 ✭✭✭✭✭
    My favorite:


    << <i>
    Sometimes, you have to pay too much for a coin. As long as it’s the right coin, that’s ok. In fact, for the right coin you almost always have to pay ‘too much’. The secret is in knowing which are the right coins and which are the wrong ones.
    >>



    Getting this right is the biggest challenge and the riskiest, but the most fun.

    Good luck with your next 35 years.
    Some refer to overgraded slabs as Coffins. I like to think of them as Happy Coins.
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    RYKRYK Posts: 35,789 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great advice all around. Thanks for continuing to share your experience, coins, and advice.
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    CladiatorCladiator Posts: 17,919 ✭✭✭✭✭
    How long's he gonna wait to make post #10,001?
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    ms70ms70 Posts: 13,946 ✭✭✭✭✭


    << <i>

    << <i>Congrats on 10K & for sharing your insight! image

    Now choose a title. I hate when people don't pick one. >>




    Seems like the default of "Master Collector" fits perfectly in this case? >>



    I do agree! image

    Great transactions with oih82w8, JasonGaming, Moose1913.

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    LongacreLongacre Posts: 16,717 ✭✭✭
    Great advice! Thanks for posting and congrats!
    Always took candy from strangers
    Didn't wanna get me no trade
    Never want to be like papa
    Working for the boss every night and day
    --"Happy", by the Rolling Stones (1972)
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    Enjoyed reading your thread.......congrats on 10,000 posts.
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    krankykranky Posts: 8,709 ✭✭✭
    TDN, excellent post and observations. Congratulations on your 10K, and I appreciate all the insights and comments you share here.

    New collectors, please educate yourself before spending money on coins; there are people who believe that using numismatic knowledge to rip the naïve is what this hobby is all about.

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    rkfishrkfish Posts: 2,617 ✭✭✭
    TDN,

    Excellent post and well written observations that all should read and reread.image
    Steve

    Check out my PQ selection of Morgan & Peace Dollars, and more at:
    WWW.PQDOLLARS.COM or WWW.GILBERTCOINS.COM
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    TahoeDaleTahoeDale Posts: 1,785 ✭✭✭
    Bruce,

    You are the Man!!!! No way anyone could have been as successful as you, without the number of years and the great associations you have made.

    So newbies take note. Take his words of advice to heart, and plan to stay with this great hobby for years, and someday the rewards will be there.

    And Bruce, if you ever need a new and fresh coin to set you off to another complete set, call me. I think I have one you don't know about and would like.

    Again, my congrats.
    TahoeDale
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    DHeathDHeath Posts: 8,472 ✭✭✭
    Let me celebrate your 10,000th post too by saying how much I've enjoyed them all. Another nice post.
    Developing theory is what we are meant to do as academic researchers
    and it sets us apart from practitioners and consultants. Gregor
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    LucyBopLucyBop Posts: 14,004 ✭✭✭
    more TDN for me!
    imageBe Bop A Lula!!
    "Senorita HepKitty"
    "I want a real cool Kitty from Hepcat City, to stay in step with me" - Bill Carter
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    NysotoNysoto Posts: 3,770 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Great lessons that can be applied to any series.
    Robert Scot: Engraving Liberty - biography of US Mint's first chief engraver
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    Thanks for the advice. Your a treasure here to these boards.
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    Kewl beans...Congrats on 10,000 image
    Ken

    My first post...updated with pics

    I collect mostly moderns and I'm currently working on a US type set.

    image
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    RKKayRKKay Posts: 3,015 ✭✭✭
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    Wow, Great Information. image
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    Thanks for sharing, and congrats on # 10,000! I've taken the liberty of copying your list and adding it to the list of great advice I've gathered here over the last few years!

    Cartwheel
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    congratulations Bruce, I have enjoyed and learned from your posts for a long time. Just keep on keeping on!!.
    Thanks
    Allen
    Love those TONED Coins, a true Addict!!!

    Proud member of TCCS!
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    Great post .It's nice to know that collecting coins gives pleasure and enjoyment.........................image
    ......Larry........image
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    BECOKABECOKA Posts: 16,957 ✭✭✭


    << <i>Thanks for sharing, and congrats on # 10,000! I've taken the liberty of copying your list and adding it to the list of great advice I've gathered here over the last few years!

    Cartwheel >>



    I am doing the same thing. Truly good advice and congrats.
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    ElcontadorElcontador Posts: 7,420 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for a very well thought out summary of your collecting experiences and words of wisdom all in the same place. I think it should be required reading for all of us.
    "Vou invadir o Nordeste,
    "Seu cabra da peste,
    "Sou Mangueira......."
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    I image you Sir.

    Thank you for sharing you insights and congrats on 10,000.







    Herb
    Remember it's not how you pick your nose that matters, it's where you put the boogers.
    imageimageimage
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    TDN,

    Congrats on the 10k posts but, more importantly, thanks for all you've shared here!

    Ken
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    Bruce
    Thanks for the refresher course.... I'm waiting for Chapter 2... I'm older but not wiser than you..
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    coinlieutenantcoinlieutenant Posts: 9,305 ✭✭✭✭✭
    ***NEVER buy a coin at auction sight unseen. I’ve done it and have always been disappointed. The last time was a gem 1875 trade dollar in an old rattler holder. I volunteered to pay the guy a $3k re-listing fee just to take it back so I didn’t lose more on it.***

    The same guy got me....I think. His pics looked SO good.

    Thanks Bruce for all the conversations and insight.

    John
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    streeterstreeter Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thank You for that post.
    Have a nice day
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    CalGoldCalGold Posts: 2,609 ✭✭
    Wonderful post.



    << <i>The secret is in knowing which are the right coins and which are the wrong ones. >>



    I just wish this was not such a secret.

    cg
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    cohodkcohodk Posts: 18,621 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Congrats. It is good to see the passion remains after having been so successful.

    I have gleamed many a good bit of info from your posts. I look forward to the next 10k.
    Excuses are tools of the ignorant

    Knowledge is the enemy of fear

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    Sage advice, TDN. Your experience in collecting is evident in all that you have imparted on the coin boards and in-person in the collecting community. Thanks for all you've contributed.

    Hoot
    From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines. - Whitman
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    braddickbraddick Posts: 23,115 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Excellent!
    image

    Edited to add: May it not take you 42 months to reach post 20,000.

    peacockcoins

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    LeeGLeeG Posts: 12,162
    TDN congrat's on 10,000 and sharing your wisdom. It's sincerely appreciated. Look forward to your next 10,000image
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    Congrats on the 10K.

    I appreciated your lesson. image
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    orevilleoreville Posts: 11,784 ✭✭✭✭✭
    TDN:

    You are simply a classy guy who happens to collect coins.

    We are all richer for your willingness to share with us.
    A Collectors Universe poster since 1997!

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