View Full Version : Advice For The Young Collector
Region 8 Admin
11-11-2011, 09:45 PM
"Never be induced to pay extravagant prices for worthless coins. There are some coins which command and are worth a large price. But these are, in fact, very few. Even the rarity of a coin is no test of its real value to a collector. It may increase the price of the article; but the young collector should bear in mind that the high price asked for a coin because it is rare, ought not to make him desirous of possessing it. The moment that the collector begins to value coins because of their rarity, he descends in the scale of Science; and when he seeks to possess rare coins merely because of their being rare, he becomes a speculator, envious and uncomfortable in the presence of others, and ceases to be a genuine Numismatist.
Read as you collect. Never let a coin lie in your cabinet that you cannot give the history of, or connect with some historical event if it be possible. Be careful that your collecting does not become a mere matter of curiosity. Let it rather be a constant aid to your study."
from The American Journal of Numismatics
11-11-2011, 10:19 PM
Timeless advice that rings as true to day as in 1872. (And 1872 is one of my favorite years in US coinage. The last circulation strikes of the two cent piece)
11-20-2011, 07:39 PM
Wise words, and especially the reading reference. Although it was frustrating to not be buying coins with the money, the first few years that I was really serious about copper is when I also took the plunge and bought the 2 volume Noyes set. I have never regretted that decision. I recommend that, Breen, and any of the other "major" works in the area of copper. You won't be sorry.
11-22-2011, 03:54 PM
I like the ANJ post, but it is very general. Here are some personal ideas for those new to copper.
* Do not go it alone! Make friends with knowledgeable specialists. EAC is a great place for networking (I hate that phrase...). EAC conventions are great for meeting new friends with a similar copper affliction and can help you make lasting friendships.
* "Buy the book first!" I know this a cliche, but it absolutely necessary. I am a half cent collector, so here are the reference books that I would start with:
1. Half Cent Die States (Ron Manley)
2. Little Half Sisters--2nd Edition (Roger Cohen)
3. Half Cent Encyclopedia (Walter Breen)
4. Copper Quotes by Robinson--"CQR" (Jack Robinson)
Key auction catalogs are a must. Your EAC friends can help you with the ones you should acquire.
* Pick an area of interest. "I want to collect everything!", are famous last words and will only lead to lots of frustration.
* Set a budget and stick to it. You can "stretch" for that very occasional and special opportunity, but only if you know what you are doing.
* Look at lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of coins. EAC dealers are generally very good about letting serious, new collectors look at lots of coins (besides it is good for them to cultivate new collectors). Just don't ask for the Monster, high-dollar coins or the coins that are not on display. Looking at coins with a knowledgeable copper friend is the best way to learn.
* Get to know the dealers. You will most likely be more comfortable with some dealers over others. An experienced collector can help you with this. Some dealers have specialties or deal in different grade levels of coins.
* Learn to attribute coins with the reference books, and eventually without them; except for late date large cents. You might go blind and loony if you did not use Bob Grellman's attribution guide!
*Understand that Net Grading is very subjective. Grading coins is one of the hardest things to learn. This is where knowledgeable collectors and/or friends come in handy. If you don't know how to recognize the myriad possible "problems" with coppers, you are prone to make mistakes (and likely overpay).
* Take the "Grading and Counterfeit Detection" class at an EAC convention. This can be a great awakening when you compare your grading with a roomful of other collectors and the class leaders. This will help train you eye for various kinds of problems. BTW, it also can be embarrassing to miss a counterfeit coin, but that is MUCH better than buying one and THEN finding out!
* Understand the EAC-style grading and third party grading are not the same. Sometimes the grades are not even in the same ballpark. I personally have not seen a circulated copper grade higher in a third party slab than its EAC-style net grade.
* After "training your eye", decide what "look" you like in a coin. This can make your quest especially interesting if you decide to pursue choice, light tan coppers with little or no wear! Please be reasonable with what you expect and/or can afford.
* NEVER buy a coin when you are not comfortable with the purchase. Your gut feel is usually a good guide.
* Do not be in a hurry to assemble a set. This will definitely lead to frustration (ask me how I know, sometime). Most successful and happy collectors assemble their sets of years or even decades.
* Be very careful. This is the easiest place to get stung by a bad purchase. There are numerous dishonest and even unknowledgeable sellers on eBay. The main problems to look out for problem coins being sold for problem-free prices, overpriced coins, misattributed coins and counterfeit coins. There are some very reputable EAC dealers who sell on eBay. Use them first.
* Most of all.....HAVE FUN!!! After all, it is a hobby for most of us.
11-27-2011, 01:01 AM
Great points, halfcent1, and I would add that if you are a member of ANA, go to Summer Seminar and take the week long EAC class given by Doug Bird and Steve Carr (when offered). Then join EAC and attend an EAC convention.
I took the EAC class in the summer of 2010 and joined EAC later that year and then attended my first EAC convention in Portland in May of 2011.
Attending an EAC convention is the best place to be able to view lots and lots of coins and to meet the top dealers in coppers.
12-05-2011, 01:02 AM
I also took the 2010 EAC and enjoyed it
Hope you have been well.
11-09-2012, 01:43 PM
Lot's of great advice has already been given but I do agree...you must buy the reference books and learn to grade properly. You must also look at thousands of coins over time to learn how to EAC Net Grade for a given coin and series...it takes practice and ask questions of the EAC Dealers as they will spend time with you and teach you their knowledge. I have found that EAC members and EAC dealers are alway good and patient in teaching others their knowledge and sharing from their own experiences. Go to Conventions and Regional Meeting and learn to Network and talk with others and above all else...ask questions.....
Take it easy.....Leo
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.1.7 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.