Contest - Share the most Valuable Piece of Collecting Advice you Can!

Discussion in 'Contests' started by physics-fan3.14, Sep 25, 2021.

  1. physics-fan3.14

    physics-fan3.14 You got any more of them.... prooflikes? Supporter

    Hey y'all!

    I'm always interested in hearing what advice you wish you had known when you started collecting. What do wish someone had told you as a beginner? Or, what have you learned from your years of collecting?

    Even better if you tell us a story about how you learned this advice - either by avoiding a pitfall, or making a mistake and learning from it.

    I will be selecting winners based on the advice given (this will *not* be a random drawing).

    When selected as a winner, you will have your choice of these 4 prizes.

    We'll keep going until the advice stops or the prizes run out.

    I look forward to hearing your best advice!

    Prize #1: PCGS PR-66 1961 Nickel, and TGS PR-66 Silver Dime

    Prize #2: Proof Kennedy and Lincoln, AU Buffalo, etc.

    Prize #3: Complete P+D Set of UNC Lincoln bicentennial cents

    Prize #4: UNC cents, with a couple of dollars
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  3. cwart

    cwart Senior Member

    Great idea for a thread, something to help the newer collectors as they dive into the hobby... :)

    My advice would be to collect what appeals to you. I've found by following this I enjoy my collection however meager it is.
  4. Matthew Kruse

    Matthew Kruse Young Numismatist

    My advice: Don’t be in a rush to get a coin you want. You don’t want to buy one for double what you want to pay just because it’s one of the few on the market.

    Also, start exploring different types of coins before you focus on one thing. Go to a coin shop/show and dig through the foreign coin bins. Look at coins/notes on Numista and maybe trade some with other members.
    JeffC, expat, Kasia and 3 others like this.
  5. potty dollar 1878

    potty dollar 1878 Well-Known Member

    Collect what you like don't let anyone tell you different when it comes to you and your collection you make the choices.Also afford what you can dont buy the most expensive treasures if you can't afford it. Make a budget although I understand coin collecting is as tense as it gets:D:D.Learn by others which this is a great place to help and give others some lessons and yourself will be surprised as well from time to time.Go out and explore if you have any coin shops,antique shops etc you can find some great deals and learn.Books have always been the best way to harvest information for your needs.Last have fun coin collecting isn't for a profit which a lot are in for its really not.Coins are history and should be treated and respected as much as they can the right way.For a lot of my coins I think of why I bought it for what you could imagine and who's hands it could've been in and used by.
    SensibleSal66 and Matthew Kruse like this.
  6. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    "Buy the coin, not the slab!"
    This means that you should have some idea of grading and not rely solely on the information provided on the slab.
  7. expat

    expat Remember you are unique, just like everyone else Supporter

    I started very late in collecting. I inherited from my Father in Law 20 months ago when I was 58. Although I liked looking at his coins with him, I had not the slightest idea of condition and mints let alone what rarities, key dates, attributions or grading actually meant, all his coins are raw.
    So, Google time. Picking a coin at random and trying to get some info. Whoa, soon fell into a vast rabbit hole without acquiring any real knowledge at all.
    Rethink: Find what respected resources are available which led me very quickly to The Red Book for the USA and three volumes of The Standard Catalog of World Coins for the rest. These publications are, to me, the most important purchase you can make when starting this hobby.
    Secondly, while initially Googling I kept getting references to CT in the results.
    The second important decision I made, become a member here. This resulted in more research as early on I was told (more than once) learn the minting process, how dies are made and it is much more important to first ascertain what you have, than try to value it. (Much easier when you can learn to discard 90% of "different" looking coins.
    Judging quality of strike and learning grading are what currently occupies my knowledge gathering time.
    In summary; time spent reading, researching and identifying those coins you collect, is by far and away more important than blindly purchasing a coin just because you don't have that one yet.
    Still, and will always be, learning, but accompanied with my personal acronym RADAR (Read And Digest And Read)
  8. QuintupleSovereign

    QuintupleSovereign Well-Known Member

    "If it's too good to be true, it probably is!"

    Many years ago, I was at a flea market in Moscow. Imagine my excitement to find a 1906-S Philippines silver peso for around $30! It wasn't until I got back to the US that I discovered that the coin was magnetic and, hence, a counterfeit.
    Kasia and potty dollar 1878 like this.
  9. Inspector43

    Inspector43 Collecting Since 1948 Supporter

    Decide what eye appeal suits you and your collection. Go for that. Never be concerned about status or competition such as mine is graded higher than yours, unless that is what you want from your collection. If you are collecting modern coins, remember the marketing gimmicks and stay away from them. Have fun.
    potty dollar 1878 likes this.
  10. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    The best advice I can share is STUDY. With all the aspects.
    I used to be a modern coins and banknotes collector (gave up a year ago when I started with ancients). Studying is mandatory in both branches of collecting.
    For my modern coins niche - I was told by specialists to be very careful when studying coins to avoid a) overpricing b) counterfeits c) spotting variants, that sometimes mean that a coin is a variety that is much more valuable and rare than it seems.

    For ancients, it is exactly the same. Studying can bring lots of fun and rewards, such as recognizing a rare coin, or simply spotting an incorrect description and avoiding overpaying one just because it's described as "rare". Plus you can choose a certain niche and specialize on it.
    bsowa1029 and potty dollar 1878 like this.
  11. tibor

    tibor Well-Known Member

    Two pieces of advice.
    #1 Collect for enjoyment and try learn along the way.
    #2 Flatten those staples on your 2x2's.
  12. masterswimmer

    masterswimmer Well-Known Member

    The best advice I can offer is to do your due diligence and read all you can about the set/coin/type you're collecting. In other words make your 'mistakes' before spending your money and actually realizing those mistakes. You can save a lot of money this way.

    Be more knowledgeable than the seller of the coin.

    Edit: thank you @physics-fan3.14 for a most creative contest.
  13. beaver96

    beaver96 Well-Known Member

    Thanks physics-fan3.14 for the opportunity.
    My best advice is quality not quantity in collecting. I was all about quantity when I started and I quickly learned the the most bang for my bucks came from buying the best coins not the most coins. Buy the best you can afford.
    Now if I could just learn to follow my own advice, but dangle some shiny things in front of me and I've got to have it.
  14. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Unwell Unknown Unmembered Supporter

    Non-entry comment:

    Don't buy from mail order coin dealers, sight unseen.
  15. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    Non-entry comment:
    My best advice is to learn how to grade and never stop learning the topic. Go to shows, shops and even ebay. Study the opinions of the top TPSs without being a pest to the dealer. Make friends with dealers and collectors that you trust and learn what you can about grading from them. Some of the best graders in the hobby, post on this forum.

    I started buying coins about 50 years ago and after a few years I thought I knew what I was doing. Can't even count the number of mistakes I made.
    About 40 something years ago I started looking for books on grading. Photograde became the official grading guide by the ANA and that put me on the right path of other books in the future. The OP of this thread wrote one of the best book I have bought in years.
  16. SensibleSal66

    SensibleSal66 U.S Casual Collector / Error Collector

    I learned from my Uncle a long time ago ( 45 years ago +) , that collecting old coins was an investment, to never spend them and to hang onto forever . Well , I almost held that promise until that Black Sabbath Concert in 1983 when I sold 2 Walkers to get a Ticket !! :hilarious:
    Anyways, I held onto every Note and every coin he Gave me .I was taught that Coin collecting was the smart and fun way to enjoy my time . :happy: Like him, I enjoyed seeing family members faces when I would show them some of my collection. I never showed my friends for fear some might mysteriously disappear .
    Although I didn't have the knowledge I have today about them, I enjoyed just looking at them and thinking about how it was back then collecting and all the wonderful coins that I would of saved .
  17. Lehigh96

    Lehigh96 Toning Enthusiast

    The best piece of advice I can give is two fold, but they are inexorably linked.

    Don't be a slave to price guides, pay up for great eye appeal!

    Almost every novice collector I encounter immediately judges each coin transaction by comparing the sale price of the coin to the current price guide. If the sale price is lower than the price guide, they declare victory. If the sale price is higher than price guide, they decry that the buyer overpaid. The truth is that within each grade there is a range of quality and a range of prices that a single number from a price guide can never accurately describe. I don't want to get into the accuracy of the different price guides and I am not talking about monster toned coins that drive toning premiums that are multiples of price guide. What I am talking about is simpler than that and I can illustrate what I am talking about with an example.

    Take a look at these two 1945-D Jefferson Nickels NGC MS67 shown below.

    Coin #1:


    Coin #2:


    The greysheet for these two coins is $60, but they are not equal in value. Coin #1 has super clean surfaces which accounts for the assigned grade, but it is lackluster, has a weak overall strike despite the near full steps, and is severely lacking in the eye appeal department. Coin #2 on the other hand is not quite as clean as the first coin, but is still plenty clean enough to warrant an MS67 grade, has a stronger overall strike, and has luster and eye appeal that are off the charts.

    It is my contention coin #1 may technically deserve the assigned MS67 grade, it isn't even worth full price guide value, whereas coin #2 is worth a significant premium to the price guide of $60. That said, many new collectors would say that paying $75 for coin #2 is overypaying and they would consider paying $50 for coin #1 a great deal, because they are slaves to the price guides.

    The truth is that I paid below price guide for coin #2 and within only a few months was able to sell it for over 2x price guide to a collector who wasn't a slave to the price guides. Paying strong money for coins with exceptional eye appeal provides the collector with both a better collection and increased liquidity when it comes time to sell.

    Eye appeal never goes out of style!!!
    ToughCOINS, Zorrbabe, KevinS and 7 others like this.
  18. Inspector43

    Inspector43 Collecting Since 1948 Supporter

    My entire collection is based upon eye appeal.
    Zorrbabe, KevinS and Kasia like this.
  19. ldhair

    ldhair Clean Supporter

    Zorrbabe, KevinS and Kasia like this.
  20. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    That needs a two part answer. I started "collecting" coins when I was like 5 or 6, so the best advice for children just starting out is different than I'd give an adult.
    To my child self I would have said to keep coins you like and look out for that odd looking 1955 penny. LOL
    To my adult self, I would say; "Learn all you can about the minting process and the coins you are drawn to." Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.
  21. Kasia

    Kasia Got my learning hat on

    Know when to ask for a discount and when not to at coin shows. Some people always ask for a discount, and many times that may be appropriate for the coins you are buying. Some dealers give one if you don't ask, even. Coin shows are a great place to see coins you can't afford to buy and are great places to talk (sometimes) to dealers. One dealer today had not seen me in 2-3 years but immediately placed what I bought from him the last time we met. I did not even place him (what he looked like) but he knew. Go to coin shows.
    Zorrbabe and Jaelus like this.
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