Changing collecting standard?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Everett Guy, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Ultimately, it's YOUR choice, EG. There's no right-or-wrong.

    As you learn -- including in communities like CoinTalk -- you'll gravitate towards some things and away from others.

    When I first joined CT I was buying mostly on Ebay and my LCS and only attended a small quarterly coin show or a smaller monthly one.

    After being here a while, now I am buying more expensive coins and last year attended FUN for the 1st time (and met many of the CT members).
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  3. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Most collectors slowly ramp up quality.

    Buy at least one really nice coin. Try to get a bargain on it — look for a $500 coin you can get for $240, one you buy in person and looks impressive in-hand. Sit with it for a few months.

    I have many $50 coins I wish I hadn’t purchased and instead went for the $250 version. I also have $250 coins that I wish I had passed to get more $50 coins.

    Think about collecting one series in “cheap” and another series in “nice”. There is nothing wrong with insisting on AU for your Roman coins but putting together a comprehensive collection of $5 Chinese cash.

    A reasonable goal is to purchase only things that make people’s jaws drop. Most regular people and collectors will lose their minds when they encounter a Choice AU Alexander tet. Occasionally you will meet rich people who collect mint state aurei. For those people I like to pull out cheap and bizarre Eastern things their procurers never show them, or things with old “important” provenances.
    BenSi, Everett Guy, DonnaML and 3 others like this.
  4. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 65 years

    I've mostly gone from quantity to quality, but I still buy that can't resist auction coin and later wish I would have had more will power.
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  5. kanga

    kanga 65 Year Collector Supporter

    Like many others my interests have changed.

    20th century is out; lost interest in it.
    No buying and what I had has been mostly sold.

    As for the 19th century, I've restricted myself to mostly the first half of it.
    Had a full set of Morgans (except 1895), but sold them off.
    And because of my age I don't like large sets.
    I want something I can maybe complete while I'm still lucid, so SL's and Barbers are ignored.

    So what am I collecting?
    My big set is a type set (1793-1964).
    Won't get it completed unless I hit the lottery; missing 2 coins.

    I'm into EAC coins now.
    I start off with a date set, then get the book and work on the die varieties.
    My Classic Head Half Cents are complete.
    Now I'm toying with Matron Head Large Cents, mostly affordable if I stick to VF-AU.
    wxcoin and Everett Guy like this.
  6. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    I like that lead-off sentence of yours although I would temper it with some of the excellent advice and suggestions offered in other posts on how to start off collecting coins, especially the need to establish a personal reference library of standard and well respected books, etc.

    Here are the criteria that I adopted when I started - and have pretty much stayed with over the years:

    1 Roman Imperial coins - mostly Julio-Claudian and particularly those associated with Roman Britain.

    2 Coins that have well documented historical association with the Emperor who issued the coin and/or significant contemporary events (battles, conflicts, buildings, etc.)

    3. Evidence of circulation and use: evenly worn, somewhat smooth surfaces - Portraits with well defined features. Complete depictions of devices etc. - pleasing patina.

    4. Very little evidence of post-collection surface cleaning.

    5. Well centered on flan.

    6. All inscriptions and legends complete and clearly visible/readable.

    7. Attributed as genuine in major research books and catalogs.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  7. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    I first completed my Nerva-Antonine dynasty with worn-out denarii for about $20 each. I learned a lot and had fun, but at the end of the day I ended up selling all of them for an average of $10 each when it was time to upgrade. Even the Nerva IIRC sold for under $20. I would have been much better off had I just gone with $50 coins for each.

    I also firmly believe in not getting carried away with chasing "the best" - I still can't wrap my head around people who spend multiple hundreds of dollars on common LRBs that are in nicer than average condition.

    I may eventually change mind, but I actively sought out problem specimens of coins I could not otherwise own, e.g. Manila Scantilla Manlia scantilla denarius.jpeg
  8. DiomedesofArgos

    DiomedesofArgos Well-Known Member

    Unless you have unlimited funds, there will always be times you have to settle for lesser quality unless you have an insanely narrow focus. Of course, what counts as lesser, but acceptable quality for someone making 7 figures a year looks a lot different than what someone making 5 figures a year would consider acceptable. As others have mentioned, I think most collectors have an area they want as best as they can afford and other areas that lower quality is more acceptable. Maybe one emperor you just have to have the best you can afford and other emperors, you just want an example that is identifiable.

    And if your tastes change and later you sell some lower quality coins for a loss? I don't think that's a big deal. Most any product you buy depreciates, rather than appreciates in value. Of course, we would all love for every coin we buy to appreciate, but if they don't, have we necessarily lost? Did we not enjoy owning these coins for a time, researching them, learning new things, and showing them off? If you pay $20 for a coin and only clear $15 or even $10 when you sell, is it really that big a deal if you enjoyed them for a time? To me, it's not much different than if you paid $10 to watch a movie. You'll never get that $10 back (or even a fraction), but for a time you got to have something that gave you entertainment, gave you something to discuss with others, and maybe you learned or thought about something new.
  9. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    I would say that you will find what is important to you the deeper you go into the hobby. Whatever that is, focus on that. I have found that I really would prefer nice coins but I’m adverse to overpaying and the current market pushes prices to the edge of what I want to pay.

    I have found consistently that I really like to have coins that have full legends and can be identified easily. Especially with the provincial pieces which can be hard enough to identify even with full legends. I’ve made some conscious decisions in cases where a partial legend on a nice coin (usually a weak strike) allows me to pick up a nice coin at a discount.

    Lately, I find that I’m making more purchases of coins from cities I don’t have even with partial legends. That’s okay but not ideal. I also like mintmark combos of coins of Probus and Constantine. So when I need a cheap snack to scratch an itch, I go that route because I can buy a coin that actually does fill a hole cheaply and not “corrupt” my main collection.
  10. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    I run across coins like these and they are $50-$70, I guess since they are more common. If these were really rare, the good condition would really drive the price up. I just got these 4 today for less than $250 And here I wasnt going to buy more till I was done with attributing my last 20210118_190946.jpg 20210118_190835.jpg 20210118_162808.jpg 20210118_162854.jpg I think I am going to buy two rare coins the next round and see how I feel about the purchase (money wise) and the coin after. Deciding on grade and price will be my next challenge. I am going to look a lot of examples to be sure I am not spending too much.

    Attached Files:

  11. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Personally, I try to collect coins with great "eye appeal". For modern "milled coinage" 1600 and up/ I tend to go for uncirculated/ FDC. For "hammered" I aim for coins that are well struck/ esp. for Medieval gold coinage. Sometimes a MS-63 will look better then a poorly struck MS-65. I tend to shy away from problem coins/ ie "smoothed/ tooled/ cleaned/ holed/ scratched/etc." However, a CNG "EF" graded coin in many cases is better then a TPG MS:) However, I never changed my original collecting goal/ still go after all periods in history/ worldwide/ except for China. bern-1697-6295875-XL.jpg
  12. medoraman

    medoraman Supporter! Supporter

    OP, I say every answer here is "right". Its right because that is how they wish to collect. That is the key, what you want. The true beauty of ancient coin collecting is we cannot collect them all, we do not give a rip about registry sets, so are complete cheerleaders and friends with fellow collectors.

    I have paid big bucks for nice coins, but my sweet spot is probably gF to gVF. I have a few worst, (mainly rare coins unavailable better usually), and some better. I just don't feel "proud" about a BU ancient common coin like I feel proud about a rare or important coin.

    Having said that, I am also a sucker for group lots. I just bought two today, a total of about 200 ancient greek coppers at Stack's auction. Sad thing is, greek is not really my focus. Still, I love me some history, and these have attributions going back to the 70s that I dig too.

    Its a hobby man, enjoy wasting some money and enjoying yourself. If someone else tells you how to enjoy your hobby tell them to take a long walk off a short dock.
  13. savitale

    savitale Active Member

    I think you already know there is no right or wrong way to collect. To answer your question I prefer quality over quantity.

    To help figure out if you want to change direction, you might want to consider an extreme hypothetical scenario. Suppose you sold your entire collection and used that money to buy one exceptional coin. Look at some dealer websites to see what kind of coin you would be able to buy. Now, which emotion would be more profound: the pride of owning that coin, or the regret of letting all the others go?
  14. GoldBug999

    GoldBug999 Well-Known Member

    Sage advice - thank you!

    GoldFinger1969, may I ask what your criteria for the 1923-D were? A certain grade, solid for the grade, a certain price, etc.? Five years is a long time for me, but patience is a virtue, right?!
    Everett Guy and GoldFinger1969 like this.
  15. GoldFinger1969

    GoldFinger1969 Well-Known Member

    Well, first of all I had to save up the $$$ :D...which takes time since I was out of work and only working PT.

    I probably wasn't going to buy one off eBay and I only saw a few at the local monthly and quarterly shows in my area. Maybe I saw 3 or 4 1923-D's and they weren't anythign special. When I made the FIRM COMMITTMENT to get the 1923-D, I probably took about a year to get it.

    Once I had the $$$ I decided that rather than buy it online (where's the FUN in that ? :D) I would rather buy it at my 1st big national coin show, FUN 2020. And I did. :D :cigar:

    2019 I had alot of down time and joined HA and GC....increased my time at CT and other forums....spent alot more time doing research.

    I do think patience is a virtue because suppose you came into alot of $$$ and bought your dream set of dozens of coins you always wanted. Would you enjoy them all buying them in one fell swoop...or do you enjoy each one more when you save up the $$$ the DD and research....and then buy 1 or maybe 2 coins you really want ?

    Part of the FUN of this hobby is the time it takes to get our coins and the stories we have that go along with each one (some more interesting than others). What fun and what stories are there to tell if you got all or most of your coins in one huge buy from another collector ? Unless you keep collecting other coins, you're done. What do you do then -- stare at the coins in your display case ?

    Getting the coins we love is the goal. But the journey is just as important I think we'd all agree. :D
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
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  16. AncientJoe

    AncientJoe Supporter! Supporter

    I am a minimalist person and prefer my collections to be relatively small. I have some friends with tens of thousands of coins and others who will never break fifty; it's very much a personal choice.

    One of my factors is the replaceability of a particular coin: if I can find another one in a year, do I need to own it now? Every purchase has an opportunity cost by tying up funds which could potentially be used to buy another coin.

    My more esoteric approach (coming from a software/mathematical background) is trying to define my collection as a de Bruijn sequence. While I don't adhere to this 100%, I'm essentially trying to cover the broadest possible set of major themes in the fewest number of pieces, ideally having each coin add more than one novel major attribute.

    There is, of course, an arbitrary level of granularity with which coins can be differentiated and no hard-and-fast rule to follow but it at least makes it sound as if I have some plan.
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