Archive | February, 2012

Stick to Six “NEVERS” When Buying a Coin

27 Feb

Try to say please and try to say thank you.  It is amazing how far you can get with a person by just being polite.  “May I please look at your coin…and thank you for letting me look at your coin;” it’s very easy.  If you already mirror the follow through acts of recommendations below then you will love this article and just be agreeing with me during the already in process three and a half minute read.  Or maybe I am speaking directly to you when I suggest practicing a few or all of these common courtesies; I have derived the following list of six NEVERS that I recommend to you when buying your next coin (these can really apply to buying anything):

  1. Unless you are a seasoned veteran dealer/collector, NEVER buy on impulse without thinking through a transaction first. It can be better to cross reference prices realized or wholesale and retail price guides before making a purchasing commitment.
  2. NEVER tell a coin dealer that you are going to buy a coin from them and not follow through. It is better to say that you are going to continue looking at other options and will further consider the coin you spent so much time looking at.
  3. NEVER buy a coin without looking at it under a good light source (lamp).  A good light source will be at the discretion of the user (type of bulb).
  4. Grading a coin is subjective.  NEVER start negotiating the grade of a coin.  Negotiating condition is a common practice that sometimes serves its purpose; I don’t recommend it.  Many buyers try to talk down the quality of a coin in order to get a better price and doing this can cause unnecessary tension in the middle of getting a deal done.  Just negotiate the price if you are interested in buying it.  Owners and third party grading services determine the grades of coins; buyers can determine their grade once they own it. 
  5. NEVER take a coin out of the protective holder it is in without asking the owner first.  This is just a thoughtful practice.
  6. NEVER hold a coin by the obverse or reverse sides; hold the piece by its third side and put your oily fingerprints on the rims if you must. If you respect the history being held at your fingertips, then just do this!

You shouldn’t think to yourself that these are the only NEVERS when buying a coin.  In fact there are more NEVERS that you and I could shake a stick at.  We could discuss NEVERS for hours over an ice cold beer or a bold French Roast coffee and a croissant (depending on your preference, I’d chat with the complement of either).  Even better, there are an infinite amount of ALWAYS to act out when you buy coins (coming soon to a post near you).

The beauty of the NEVER suggestions in a numismatic sense are that they are only strong opinions that I hold and feel would likely help the numismatic culture in interaction; by no means are they mandates for business conduct or even proven facts that assist a transaction.  But with my experience of more than ten years collecting and going to coins shows and coin shops, these NEVERS are what I have been moved to share with you. You can take them seriously or disregard them but the people that I would like to talk to adhere mostly to ideas like the NEVERS that I’ve mentioned.

Write to me if you have personal experience with NEVERS like we’ve discussed here. I would also really appreciate comments from rude people as well as the polite!


Money CAN Buy Happiness

26 Feb

I believe that money can buy happiness.  Just ask the seventy-eight year young collector with the head clamp light and magnifying glass at your next coin show, he’ll tell you that money can buy you happiness.  I challenge you to ask the fifty-one year old coin dealer with the soft white bulb and his 7x loupe in hand if money has bought him any happiness.  Ask the young Boy Scout with their push board quarter collection if they are happy to be at a coin show with their comrades hunting for the next piece to add to their collection.


Money is…

1. Any circulating medium of exchange, including coins, paper money, and demand deposits.

2. Paper money

3. Gold, silver, or other metal in pieces of convenient form stamped by public authority and issued as a medium of exchange and measure of value.

4. Any article or substance used as a medium of exchange, measure of wealth, or means of payment, as checks on demand deposit or cowrie.

5. A particular form or denomination of currency.

I am talking about the collecting of money giving enthusiasts the feeling of accomplishment; this equals happiness.  Coin collectors hunt for certain rare dates that will complete their year sets. Sometimes there are additional varieties within a given year that can be part of their search too. An overdate, a tall date or an over mintmark are just three varieties that you can find in a given coin series.  It seems like varieties are endless, which is a good thing!  This means that we can definitely come back to varieties for another blog discussion soon.

Other set organizers put together what are called type sets.  Type sets usually consist of one example of each denomination within a series. The goal for many is to put together the nicest, highest graded specimens for their set in order to be have the highest average of quality.  A recent trend is assembling a set of all of the lowest graded examples.  These sets are commonly referred to within the industry as top pop and low pop registry sets.  “A registry set is a set of coins that are recorded with a major third party company (PCGS or NGC) that confirms the quality and ownership of the coins in the set,” see below for reference.

Be Careful

I am NOT saying that the love of money is a good thing or that the love of money is not the root of all evil (idea from NIV 1 Timothy 6:10).  I am also NOT saying that money will afford you the chance to buy happiness in your marriage or even that if you are rich you will be happy.  You are on your own there and this post is not related.

What I Really Want to Say

I am sharing with you that a person who collects and/or deals in numismatics is usually happy with their hobby and/or business. Nine times out of ten you will get a “yes, I am happy with what I do.”  Maybe you’ll catch a grumpy dealer during the wrong moment and the feedback from them may disprove my thin-air generated statistic.  For the most part, however, numismatists absolutely love spending time in their hobby or profession.  You can work very hard at times, but then again it’s not work if you love it and it makes you happy.  Furthermore, your time spent in numismatics can be very rewarding educationally and socially.  The knowledge of history that you attain and the great people you meet, some people never meet in a lifetime.

For some readers of the above post, the information I have provided you with today is elementary and old news, for others hopefully helpful and informational.  If “money has bought you happiness,” please share with me your story!  Have a wonderful week 🙂


Money- Defined


Registry Set- Defined


Today’s Battle of Dollar Coins Vs. Dollar Treasury Notes

20 Feb

Inspired by: “Congress ponders more dollar coin versus note legislation” Steve Roach, Coin World Staff February 18, 2012

It is not only a question of will we ever but more like when will we cease to circulate dollar bills in the United States. On January 31st, 2012, S. 2049 was introduced to congress and sponsored by Senate Democrat, Thomas Harkin of Iowa regarding dollar coins. The bill, in summary, aims to actively take steps toward removing one dollar treasury notes from circulation. S. 2049 is not the first bill of its type.

What are Practical Implications?

The American Tax payers would save “184 million dollars per year amounting to almost six billion dollars over thirty years.  Part of the approximated savings would stem from the estimated life span difference between coins and notes; coins last 17 times longer,” wrote Roach. I am taking the governments word for it; I have not seen the empirical evidence of the life spans.

There seems like a simple solution to all of this, if indeed the cost savings to taxpayers are as substantial as noted; the U.S. Treasury can STOP printing bills and allow the U.S. mint to mint the dollar coins. I guess it’s probably not that easy since we live under a democracy, everything must be voted on… or are there ways around that?

We will visit this topic again within the next few months. Similar bills will be introduced to congress until some action is taken. I would really love to hear some of your thoughts on dollar coins.

For the full article, please see the link below.

10 Things to Consider/Ask Yourself Before Buying the Next Coin for Your Collection:

19 Feb

Buy a coin for whatever reason you like, however, don’t complain to me later when you tell me you should have bought another coin instead. Remember any or all considerations from the list below before buying the next coin for your collection.

  1. Ask yourself what else would you do with the money you are about to spend if you didn’t buy the coin
  2. Is it a hard to find coin, when was the last time you saw a similar coin
  3. Would somebody else buy the coin if you decided not to
  4. Will you be proud to share the coin with other people
  5. Without you saying anything about it, does the coin itself tell a story
  6. Does the coin have incredible eye appeal
  7. In conversation, would you be able to share some background knowledge on the coin for longer than one minute to a friend who wanted to know more about it
  8. Would you be happy while telling the story from consideration 7
  9. Do you think if it ever came time to resell this coin, will it be worth less or worth more than you are about to pay
  10. Do you really love the piece that you are about to purchase and have you looked over the surface of each side of the coin thoroughly with at least a five power (5x) magnification lens before making your decision


If you think about where else your cash might go instead of toward this next coin then you will, first, have surely paid all of your monthly bills, tithed to your community church and paid a little extra this month toward the principle on your home mortgage.  Now all that is left is to convince your wife/husband/significant other that buying this coin is going to strengthen your relationship!  If you are about to buy a coin that you see on regular basis and just haven’t yet decided to buy it, now is NOT the time to buy it. Save your money for something unusual and highly interesting.  You might want to go ahead and buy the coin if you know that the next person who sees it will likely buy it if you don’t.

Let’s Throw Out Some Feeler Questions

Does the coin you are about to stick into your collection tell a story all on its own? Furthermore, are you able to share with a friend just off the top of your head some of what makes your coin so special? Does the coin in your hand have incredible eye appeal for the condition it is in that makes you want to not put it down and be extra careful with it when you handle it? If you answered YES to any of the preceding questions well…

The few coins that are in my collection speak for themselves as far as I’m concerned, yet I can sit with anyone and share about their history and wonder about all of the many hands that they went through before eventually ending up in mine. I want coins in my collection that jumped out at me and said, “Buy me,” at the moment that I saw them. That actually happened to me one time, an 1883 Carson City Half Eagle caught me by surprise saying, “If you don’t buy be now, the gentleman in the gray slacks beside you is going to get the good deal and you’ll miss out,” as my eyes scanned over a small group of gold coins in dealer’s display case. Obviously, I bought the coin, it didn’t matter how much it cost.

Be sure to really act out on suggestion 10. You want to fully examine your coin in hand if you can before committing to buy it.  You want to be familiar with any impurities in the metal or hairlines from cleaning of the coin; other investigative measures are good to.  You will have to decide what kinds of imperfections are acceptable. Ask the owner if they can provide any history of where the coin came from before they owned it. Often times that information is not available or known, but if somehow it is known, then that is another positive point in consideration when buying.

Thanks so much for your comments and questions on this post!

Groundwork for The Numismatic Enthusiast

12 Feb

My “Numismatic Enthusiast” blog will be a resource for coin dealers and coin collectors who want to learn more about the people, circumstances and markets that they encounter on a daily basis.  My intentions are to inform and give multiple perspectives on numismatic news and share situational experiences in business endeavors.

The primary country of focus will be the United States with eventual expansions into world markets as my followers and I gain experience in those markets.  Within the U.S. the primary focus of discussion will be coins; currency, medals and additional collectibles will be infrequent topics of conversation.

In the beginning, the following markets will be most commonly mentioned:  Carson City minted coins, better dated gold coins, generic gold coins, strange varieties, seated liberty coins and key date coins.

Some blogs will contain an analysis of credited thoughts from published numismatic experts and well-known industry leaders.  I will occasionally bring to light previously published coin news and also share with you some of the recommendations from other movers and shakers in numismatics who may be great resources for your network.

You will want to follow me, and others who I will provide links to, because everyone has different experiences within the industry. What we all share with each other will help numismatic enthusiasts be better informed. Some collectors and dealers will spend much of their time in host/regional coin shop/s, others at trade shows.  Some of you will keep your talents right at home on the internet conducting business or doing research. Multi-dimensional perspectives are almost always better than a one-dimensional viewpoint.

All blog content will be written with the committed goal of sparking thrill and conversation with others while helping dealers and collectors to think objectively before, during and after all of their endeavors.

Hello world!

7 Feb

Welcome to After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.