Ah, US coin collectors....

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by medoraman, Jul 1, 2020.

  1. Nathan B.

    Nathan B. Active Member

    Different collecting communities will use terminology differently. That's normal. I think it's important for any group of collectors not to consider themselves superior to other collectors just because they have different tastes. I grew up collecting Canadian coins, and having absolutely no interest in US ones, but I never thought that made me a better collector than my American counterparts. Now, I'm selling my Canadian coins to save up for ancient coins, but again, I haven't improved as a person, and I'm not somehow better or smarter than people who continue to collect modern coinage.

    I think phrases like "laughing at" another group of people are not helpful. I've actually noticed similar posts in this forum before, and I find it...disappointing. It's also bad for the hobby. We collectors of ancients should be a welcoming bunch, not a group who consider ourselves superior to others. Our motto really ought to be: "each to their own, but you're very welcome to join us." Otherwise, we are scaring off people who might become interested in a hobby that we are eager to share with others because we know how much joy and learning it has brought us.
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  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Personally, I have never felt collecting Ancients made myself superior. Rather, based on my manufacturing experience, I find mass-produced Moderns, coupled with mass marketing, boring for my tastes. I distinguish my collecting differences by my tastes and interests. Most Ancients Collectors started in Moderns. In my experience, I abandoned Moderns due to what I just stated.
  4. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I'd like to propose a 'test' for rarity. Let's say I were to make a well publicized offer to pay five times the going rate for a particular coin or group of coins. If the coin is really rare, I would get zero to just a few examples offered. Many coins are not for sale for any price; some belong to museums while others belong to collectors who care for the coins more than the cash. If there are no coins, it makes no difference, there will be no sales. I buy coins I want. If I were to sell them for 5x I may have cash but not the coin I wanted and no way to replace them. That is not the way with most modern coins. If I were to offer $5000 for coins matching a $1000 sale in the last Heritage US sale, how many would I get? How many offers would I get asking for $10,000? That is the difference separating ancients and moderns. I am not going to offer 5x for 'rare ancients' as a group but there are coins that I would like. How much would I pay? I wonder.

    Very few people want the sames ones I do which makes it nice that there are so many different coins. If all ancient collectors wanted the same ones I do, I would have none.

    Those people who only care for investment potential are the people I would be happy to scare away. We ancients collectors (not investors) understand that we all have different wants but we allow each other's strangeness. Those who fail to understand that would be happier with slabbed Morgan super-grades. If all your coins mean to you is their profit potential, we have nothing to share.
  5. Nathan B.

    Nathan B. Active Member

    I regret very much that this is how I see this thread:

    A: Modern collectors are so silly! They think that something that they describe as rare is rare! I'm laughing at them!

    B: The phrase "laughing at a group of people" is unhelpful, and discourages others from joining us.

    C: I will establish a somewhat arbitrary test that collectors of moderns probably can't pass, and collectors of ancients probably can. Now, those modern collectors care only about slabbing and and profit potential. I'm happy to scare them away because we have nothing in common.
    On another note, I do want to say something. With the singular exception that I have discussed on this thread, this is a wonderful forum. There are many knowledgeable collectors here, and I as a very new ancient coin collector have so much to learn from each of them, including the founders and administrators of this forum. These people have built up a very honorable and extensive body of knowledge, and furthermore, their actions, in building and maintaining this forum, are praiseworthy, sustained, and significant. I am truly grateful for them, knowing that I will never be able to acquire more than a small fraction of the expertise they have. But threads like this make me want to just delete my account here and become a turtle. Perhaps an Aeginitan one.
    baseball21 likes this.
  6. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    Thats a fallacy of an actual test. More modern thing such as 1700s and beyond and especially ultra moderns the populations are relatively well known as there are actual rarities based on quality and grading makes a lot of sense for them. Ancients grading doesn't really lend itself too as they grading itself is so wide spread and authentication isn't even assured in many cases. No knock on those trying it at all and I do think there will be a day where they do assure it, but if there's no guarantee about being authentic then grading won't really catch on.

    That said if you put out a well known offer of such an overpay I can assure you pieces would come out of the woodwork willing to sell. Just because more modernish coins are more well known to what is mostly out there doesn't mean there isnt a lot hiding in other areas especially less documented ones of things being raw.

    Quality is a MAJOR driving force in the non-ancient collecting world and to ignore that is just a lack of understanding of a different collecting area. There is also the entire discussion about rarity vs demand which I won't really get into.

    The real point is (which I know took awhile and want to keep this as sort as possible) the internet and everything else has opened up a lot of things for what is there, ancients that hasn't happened yet but will. If you think you could buy whatever you like with more modern coins or modern coins by simply offering an over payment you are mistaken and saying you would be happy to scare away any sort of collector I will never agree with

    Cliff notes version, collecting has very different aspects to it all of which are equally enjoyable to the people that have interest there. Needing to at least try and understand the differences is important to not sound like a jerk
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
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  7. Herodotus

    Herodotus Well-Known Member


    Grow a shell like an Aeginitan one.

    I collected (U.S.)moderns when I was a young lad. Pennies, Nickels, Dimes etc. I derived some pleasure in trying to fill my Whitman folders.

    My prized coin was a Civil War Indian Head penny. Why? Probably because it was my oldest coin too. I loved the idea of something so old, minted at a time where nary a person was alive from that time at the present day. What stories could that coin tell me if it could speak? Could a Union soldier have carried that penny in his pocket wondering what it might be traded for at the commissary?

    After losing interest in my childhood hobby, as a teen I moved on to other collectibles like baseball cards. I found myself wanting to trade with the other kids my brand new/fresh from the pack cards of players from the day for the older (but due to my budget) ratty and damaged cards from decades past.

    I had an old '55 Bowman Mantle that had more wrinkles than a Shar-Pei, but I loved it. It looked like some kid had taken it at some point, taped it to the frame of his bike, and placed in the spokes to simulate the sound of an engine.

    Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax with fuzzy soft rounded corners, Willie Mays with stains on the back covering the stats. Of course I would have liked nicer conditioned versions of the card, but that was secondary, as my main thrill was simply having the cards.

    Its no wonder that when I eventually returned to the world of numismatics over three decades later as a middle-aged adult, that I was drawn to ancients.

    I grew bored of U.S. coins at a young age, but that's me.

    Having something mint of something in abundance gives me little thrill. Having an average (or even) poor condition example of something few and far between.

    That's my cup of tea.

    Being inspired to learn the histories attached to the coin(s).

    That's enriching.

    To each their own.
  8. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Like most young American Numismatists in the early 2010’s I started out with American coins. I fondly remember searching through some old coffee cans that my grandparents had at their house and finding a 1950’s silver quarter. Happier times for sure.
    It wasn’t until around 2013/14 that I started getting into ancients. To me holding a coin from Ancient Greece or Rome was/is intoxicating; knowing that the disc of metal in my hand was handled by dozens or hundreds or people who lived in a world very alien to mine, is beyond cool in my opinion.
    One of my favorite Ancient designs

    Amd one of my favorite modern designs
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  9. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Wow. I guess PC correctness extends to coin forums now. You say you are new, you haven't seen good natured ribbing that goes back and forth. @baseball21 saying what can said about us is not untrue, it has been said. Like I said, I posted this intentionally in our little corner of CT out of respect. I did not wish for US collectors to read it, since I was afraid they would misinterpret it as you have done. It was good natured ribbing of what their area calls "rare" versus what we are used to dealing with. Heck, being a Central Asian collector I could make fun of Roman collectors, and how easy it is to find their coins versus Central Asian ones.

    As for my background, I was a US collector for over 20 years, mainly early halves, but own a flowing hair type set and all three 1793 cents, am still a colonial note collector. So I have been called unsophisticated by ancient collectors, a rag picker by coin collector, etc. As long as it's not mean spirited I consider it hobby humor.

    It really is a "woe is us, we wish we had their "rarity" problems" lol type of post. Wouldn't we be happier if our rare Eid Mar in reality had tens of thousands of examples known.

    I will not apologize. If you took offense, I suggest you ask yourself why you took it that way. Look in the mirror and ask why you assume the worst in things, instead of the best, (I thought it was a funny post, though not as funny as @dougsmit post calling me a ancient roll collector, that was classic).

    We are here to learn, form friendships, enjoy our hobby, and yes laugh at times.
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  10. Nathan B.

    Nathan B. Active Member

    [Hmm. I deleted my original response. I might come back to this, and I might not.]
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
  11. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    For some certainly, there were also others though where it clearly wasn't that
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  12. RichardT

    RichardT Well-Known Member

    With all due respect. You may take it as ribbing, and indeed I interpreted it the same way.

    Thing is, others may not. Plus, the Ancients board is public. Anyone can read it. Posting in the Ancients board is hardly discreet in any way.

    For the record I share your sentiments about US coins. But I don't see the need to express them publicly.
    DonnaML and Nathan B. like this.
  13. Herodotus

    Herodotus Well-Known Member

    Hey US coin collectors. Come out to play-ay

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  14. Nathan B.

    Nathan B. Active Member

    Hi Medoraman. I decided to take up your challenge regarding looking in the mirror, and I appreciate your writing where you were coming from. But now, I would like to tell you where I am coming from.

    To be honest, I think I partially misinterpreted your post.

    You see, I came to your post having read some very negative, recent comments on these forums about modern collectors. Here's a sampling, with emphasis mine:

    "[Modern collectors] usually do a drive-by-shooting of one post each, not paying attention that they are in the Ancients section. They have been so brainwashed to Modern US Coin Collecting, sanitized, marketing induced, slabbed, commodity, "How Much is it?", and "What is its Grade?" mentality versus truly enjoying a Hobby."

    "Did you happen to notice that this is the Ancients sub-forum you're posting in? Your comment is utterly inappropriate and, frankly, wrong in the context of ancient coins....Your inane comment can only spoil the enjoyment of new collectors by making them needlessly paranoid about damaging their collection."

    "What's annoying is that these modern collectors who stumble in here pretty much never say oops, sorry, after they arrogantly give advice that's misleading at best, flatly wrong at worst."

    In addition to these, I was admonished on another thread with the phrase, "since you insist on discussing modern coins in the ancient section, you may not know...."

    Only the last-mentioned item affected me, but it sounded condescending. I also did not appreciate this comment because I don't "discuss modern coins in the ancient section"; I have mentioned modern coins by way of analogy, or background, but I have never made them a subject of their own here.

    But the first three quotes concern me because they are, quite frankly, extraordinarily uncivil. And I thought that this forum was supposed to be a welcoming place where civility was prized.

    Now, I don't believe that anyone on these forums is a bad person, and that goes for the authors of these quotes, too. But words have meaning, and they can cause damage even when the author does not intend harm.

    So I guess that was my "baggage" when I read your post. What bothered me about it was that you seemed to be insulting the modern collectors behind their back. And then another member here kind of doubled down on this with his mention of wanting to scare off a certain kind of collector to whom he seemingly out-of-the-blue attributed certain undesirable traits.

    At that point, I decided to write something provocative--to stick up for the underdogs (in this case, the moderns).

    I will take you at your word that I misinterpreted the meaning of your post. Going back, I can see that I did interpret your writing uncharitably. For that, I apologize.

    But I would also like you to understand where I am coming from. For example, you wrote something about "good-natured ribbing." Where I come from, "good-natured ribbing" is teasing--perhaps with a bit of a bite--but without intending offense. But the key is, it's said directly to one's face, and you were saying it behind the backs of the moderns. That's why I did not perceive it as "good-natured ribbing," instead interpreting it (unfairly, I now see) in light of some of the more aggressive comments here.

    In any case, I will admit that I've been upset about some of these things. But that's not because I don't like anyone here, but rather because I am a very passionate person, and that passion extends not only to coin collecting, but also to the collecting community. I want new people to feel welcome just as I have been made to feel welcome here. (Although it's a good thing I hadn't read the above quotes first!)

    Finally, regarding "political correctness," I would respectfully request that we avoid this word because...it's political. If we focus on "respect" and "civility" then we don't need to worry about politics. I actually really prize the apolitical nature of this forum because (you guessed it) I am a very passionate person in politics, too, and I know others with different viewpoints are here, and they are just as passionate as I am. There are so many opportunities to get into flame wars about politics online that I don't want to do it here.

    So that's where I'm coming from. I hope that you and all others here, including those who do not see eye-to-eye with me even on these matters, will receive this post in the spirit in which it is intended.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
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  15. Nathan B.

    Nathan B. Active Member

    Herodotus and Magnus Maximus, thank you for your posts. It is always good when people seek to smooth out problems, and to encourage others. And Herodotus, I will try to take your advice to heart.
    DonnaML likes this.
  16. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    It is possible that the rule of thumb should be to speak about other peoples coins in the same manner that you would speak about their children.

    This is of course pretty ridiculous, but perhaps that is exactly what we are. :)

    I hope we all will remember to take a look in the mirror and laugh, from time to time. It’s very healthy.
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  17. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Yup, @Nathan B. , I said that! However, NOT with any of the bold emphases that you added.

    I started collecting when I was 8 or 9. Started with Moderns. Believe it or not, I found a US Civil War Token in my Grandparent's change jar. I asked my Grandmother if I could have it, and gave her a dollar bill so I felt that It was mine. We went to a local coin shop, and he explained the coin and all the history behind it. I WAS HOOKED! In fact, I would spend my summer's savings from working (yeah, farm work, cutting grass, cleaning out barns, etc. to make money), on other US Modern Coins. In fact, I gravitated to the Odd Denominations (2c, 3c, 20c), Trade Dollars chopped or not, Fraction Currency, Civil War Tokens, Hard Time Tokens, etc. as it was cool HISTORY. Yes, of course, I collected some of the other denoms, but that was boring. No real HISTORY, just date changes, mint changes, and boring MEGA minting numbers. We put coins in flips, envelopes, etc, careful to hold the edges. After 25 years or so of that, the Coin Hobby turned into a COMMODITY by slabbing, sheldon grading scales (I mean, c'mon, a 70pt scale?), etc. Ridiculous, and ruined my passion for collecting.

    After 25 years, I dumped 90% of my Modern Coin collection, and really pursued my passion of Ancient History. Haven't looked back for the last 25 years. It is MUCH more fun, you can HOLD the coins (as they were meant to be! Isn't that what a COIN is? Something PHYSICALLY transacted between two humans?).

    If you view the Ancients Forum with the threads view, on the right side of the screen you will see a scrolling view of people and the threads they are commenting in. In the Ancients threads, we receive SEVERAL one-off comments from Moderns Collectors that ascribe their view on how to collect. Ancients are handled a LOT differently, and generally not by Modern Collectors rules. They will make a comment, probably NOT reading the Ancient Thread, and never return to further comment or fix their "oops".

    Ergo, my statement above. The statement was based on my personal experience in Moderns, my aversion to the virtually the exact same questions from Moderns Collectors: "How much is it?" and "Is it rare?" or "What is the grade?" That is not a Hobby to me, that is Commodity Investing.

    Drive-by-posting is my description of that. Yup, I stated the rest, it is based upon my opinion, based upon my experiences actually collecting Moderns.

    I stand by my statements, I have not "intentionally offended" anyone, and it is my Coin OPINION in which I have a RIGHT to make based upon my personal experience. I work to stay within the rules of the CT Forum.

    This is my COIN #1 for my Coin Collecting Hobby:

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2020
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  18. Co1ns

    Co1ns Member

    This is a solid point - the relative abundance of moderns is more than offset by greater demand.

    To illustrate, and on the topic of ridiculous collections, I once had the only Pokemon Trading Card Game Ancient Origins Complete Set available on Ebay Australia. Sadly, there was less than one person in Australia who wanted it - it's no longer on ebay, but it's still in my shed. The local ancients market is marginally stronger :D
  19. Restitutor

    Restitutor Active Member

    oh man, collecting Pokemon cards... now that takes me back!
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  20. John Skelton

    John Skelton Morgan man!

    I collect moderns (1700 and above) and consider a coin rare if I can't afford it!
  21. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    Yeah, but that is not a world I wish to live in. We all need thicker skin. We all need to laugh at ourselves. I do. Sometimes when I am knee deep in coins I stop and wonder how goofy am I pawing over little bits of metal and laugh.

    Its a hobby. We shouldn't have to worry about accusations of "micro-aggressions", etc. I was having fun with US numismatics, and those who know me know it was from a background OF US numismatics. Like I said, I still have my US collection in the SDB, and am very knowledgable about them. Check out my posts over there. I was simply laughing over a post about a coin and then saw on the link 10,000! sales over little more than a decade. I had just bought a coin 10 minutes before I have coveted for the same timeframe and saw maybe 13 for sale. It tickled my funnybone, sue me.

    I probably got slammed the hardest in the thread by @dougsmit and that was HILARIOUS. I loved it. :)
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