Don't buy key dates first if you're a novice

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by Peter T Davis, Jun 18, 2003.

  1. Peter T Davis

    Peter T Davis Hammer at the Ready Moderator

    I actually take issue with the advice of buying the keys first. I think it's sound advice to buy the keys later. Most people when they start off collecting are novices, and know very little about what they're buying. Let them get their feet wet on the common dates. The ones that go straight for the key dates are more likely to be the ones that buy the ACG coins, and wonder later why people tell them their 'valuable' coins are not really worth too much. You see, the new collector doesn't usually understand the difficult concepts behind grading, but they know a good "bargain" when they see it. ACG coins look like a good bargain to the uneducated collector's eye. Of course, we experienced collectors know better, but we didn't start out buying keys then did we? Of course, if you're talking about an experienced collector starting a new series, then go right to the keys, of course.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Hedderick

    Hedderick New Member

    Why not buy them? Even a damaged key coin is going to be easier to sell than a common coin.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Yeah - but what happens if they buy a fake one ?
  5. Hedderick

    Hedderick New Member

    You can tell the fakes because they're in ACG slabs.

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    A bit of stinging humor there ? Well I'd be skeptical myself I must admit.

    But just for the record - counterfeit coins have been slabbed by EVERY grading company at one time or another. They all make mistakes.
    coinzip, *coins, Cheech9712 and 3 others like this.
  7. laz

    laz New Member

    :lol: ouch! ~ Jim
  8. Thomas Skinner

    Thomas Skinner New Member

    Buying Key Coins First

    How would a beginner even know a key coin when he was looking at it, unless he has already read a good coin book or two frist? :)
    dwhiz likes this.
  9. laz

    laz New Member

    But,that's why everyone says buy the book before you buy the coin. :p When I began collecting it was always a choice between buying the book or buying a coin,and the coin usually won out,after all,we're coin collector's! :? then again,back then my idea of a key coin was one I needed in my folder! :wink: ~ Jim
    *coins, Cheech9712 and alk1129 like this.
  10. Hedderick

    Hedderick New Member

    Everybody knows 1909 S VDB penny is key. How many fakes of those are around do you think?
  11. Thomas Skinner

    Thomas Skinner New Member

    Key Coins

    Its been my experience to see several very well done fake 1909s VDB's
    they are probably the most spurious/added mint marks around
    Cheech9712 likes this.
  12. Monstermommy

    Monstermommy Member

    Im about a year old as a collector.Ive been ripped off once,overpaid a couple times(my own fault)and gotten some really good deals.Im going toward half dollars recently,but anything from 1860-present interests me.what do you mean by "key dates"?I apologize in advance if thats a dumb question.
  13. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member


    "Key Dates" are the coins that usually have the lowest mintage, and have very high values. In the Lincoln Cent series, it would be the 1909-S VDB, 1914-D. The Semi-key dates are just below that, like the 1909-S, '10-S, '11-S, 1931-S, etc.
    Cheech9712 likes this.
  14. NumisNinja

    NumisNinja Active Member

    I can tell you that as a novice starting out buying coins, all of the most expensive coins I purchased I overpaid for and got a bad deal. I can almost guarantee I would've lost out bigger if I'd actually gone for key dates.

    I suppose if one had a large bankroll and knew a trustworthy dealer who put them on good coins, then you might be able to get into some key dates the right way, even as a noobie. But realistically so many things can go wrong and most folks will unknowingly make mistakes that will cost them.
  15. Evan8

    Evan8 A Little Off Center

    Jeeze, can you say zombie thread?

    I was in elementary school when this thread was created. I have a fiancee now.
  16. physics-fan3.14

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

    Perhaps, but the advice remains true - you should absolutely not buy key date coins first when starting to collect a series.
  17. BooksB4Coins

    BooksB4Coins Newbieus Sempiterna

    This would be a reasonable exception, but it's also much easier to assume someone trustworthy and knowledgeable when one must rely on seller claims. Unfortunately, only the truly trustworthy would honestly admit their own shortcomings.

    It would also be wise for new collectors to understand their tastes are very likely to change over time, so its best to wait until one truly knows what they want to collect before jumping in.

    One of the biggest problems/issues with newbies is their general insistence upon focusing on the "deal" as opposed to the quality of the coin. Of course being new also means they're unable to properly judge quality and when added to the above is why they're often ripe for the burning.
  18. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    Having so many years of experience in coins I now buy the key dates first. It only makes sense but in the beginning, it was not so.
  19. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect for 63 years

    From my personal experience, I didn't have the resources I have now so way back when I started I only had enough money to buy low grade key's to fill a set. However, as time went buy I wished I had taken the money and purchased high grade examples of more common dates. I probably could have gotten more bang for the buck if I did that.
  20. -jeffB

    -jeffB Greshams LEO Supporter

    I've heard lots of people say "buy the key dates first". I've said all along it's a bad idea, but I never saw this thread with Our Founder saying the same thing!

    I think a lot of people look back at coin prices from when they started collecting and say "wow, if only I could get those keys at those prices now!" Some examples from the 1975 Red Book, when I was still a YN:

    1909-S VDB cent, unc: $225
    1916-D dime, VG: $125
    1921 Peace dollar, VF: $22

    Each of these, along with many other coins, now goes for four or five times those prices.

    Big deal. Almost everything has gone up more than that in the intervening time.

    Even if I'd been a super-industrious kid with paper routes and the like, I probably would've focused on a more attainable series, like Jefferson nickels, Roosevelt dimes, or Washington quarters. Let's look at the "key dates" there.

    1932-D quarter, G: $32.50. Today, its Numismedia FMV is $63.25 -- not even double.

    1950-D nickel, unc: $12.00. Its Numismedia FMV today: $12.00.

    1949-S dime, XF: $2.00. Its Numismedia FMV today: who even cares? It's junk silver. Hopefully I would've had the sense to dump it during the 1979 run-up, or failing that, the 2011 run-up.

    The even bigger catch, though, is that I would've likely ended up with heavily cleaned or otherwise damaged examples, because I was a beginning collector.

    So, buy the key dates LAST. And don't depress yourself with if-only's.
    Sunflower_Coins likes this.
  21. Evan8

    Evan8 A Little Off Center

    I completed my Lincoln album at 21 years old. The last two coins I bought to complete the set were the 1909 S VDB and 1922 no D Die pair 2. And it was just because I could afford them at that time.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page