29 Jul 2019

Maybe I'm in the minority...

Collecting Tips | user_80832

After reading exhaustive amounts of articles and book chapters on coin collecting basics, what to look for, and how to be a "successful" collector, I have reached probably the most unpopular opinion in all of numismatics. According to most everything I've read, you're only a successful collector if you turn your collection over for profit. And to me, that makes you a dealer, not a collector.Now don't get me wrong, I don't have any problem with collectors that buy and turn to make money to buy the next thing, but why does that have to be the benchmark for what makes you 'successful'? Can't buying what you like, regardless of potential financial gains, be considered successful?If you've been hunting for a particular coin for a long time and you finally find one, that's a positive result. Positive results to me equal success. Starting at your new purchase and then poring over sales records for the next several years to track margins over your purchase price sounds like a job, not a hobby. Like I said from the start, unpopular opinion.Think back to when you first started collecting things as a kid. Not necessarily coins, but if you started young, good for you. I mean collecting things because you thought they looked cool. I knew kids that collected bottle caps, buttons - the sew-on-your-clothes kind, rocks, bugs, the list goes on and on. Was that for profit, or because you enjoyed it? Just because we're all grown up doesn't automatically mean we have to be motivated by money. My grandfather was a lifelong mechanic, and he collected Studebaker cars/parts to build a completed car off his own. He didn't do it to try and sell it, he was motivated by his love of the car.I collect coins because I enjoy looking at them, learning about them, and sharing them on social media platforms. I collect for the artwork struck on the surfaces and because I enjoy history. I like to learn about the person(s) on the coin, what was happening in the country at the time it was struck. If there are animals or designs present, what, if anything, do they represent? Obviously from those descriptions, I collect coins from all over the world, and I do it for the variety. I collect for the love of the coins, not for any profit I could raise from selling them. Believe me, there isn't a lot of profit to be made unless there is some precious metal content and they can be sold for melt. (Just as an aside, I also am slowly building a "no gold" US type set, and I love Peace Dollars.)I consider myself a successful collector because I collect what I like, and I learn about what I collect. Each purchase still feels like an accomplishment. I see a coin that looks attractive in design and I purchase it. I don't worry what they've sold for in the past, and I don't worry what I might be able to sell it for in the future. I enjoy my collection in the now - now is when I'm collecting, now is when I'm learning, now is when I'm sharing knowledge and images with others. That to me is success.Anyone that my end up reading this will probably think, 'you're a novice collector', 'you're naive to what the hobby is about', or 'you're just a world coin collector'. And that's part of the problem with adding new collectors to the hobby; the, for lack of a better term, snobbishness of "serious" collectors that have been doing this for years. I personally don't belong to a coin club because I feel like I would be ridiculed for what I enjoy collecting. I was bullied enough growing up, I would hope at 40 years old, I could get beyond that. Maybe I could end up being the group's world coin guy, but maybe the derision of not focusing solely on US coins for profit because I live in the US would drive me out first.I went to my first ever coin show a couple weeks ago in Austin, Texas. It was a small show, but I enjoyed the experience. Unfortunately for me, I had one dealer that treated me as if I had spent to much time in his chair because I was looking at world silver, and as I sat back to check my phone for values on a coin I was considering, he said "thanks for coming by" as a way of chasing me off. I was looking at coins (not bullion) that he had listed at higher prices that some of his US items. The show was saved for me though, by another dealer from San Antonio, ANA Life member 6463 Patrick O'Connor. We had a nice conversation about pieces I was looking at on his table, and I made a couple purchases from him and his wife. All-in-all I guess it was a successful trip for my first show, but I was still left with a sour taste from that one interaction.Am I a successful collector? I believe I am. I am able to find what I like, buy it, learn about it, and enjoy the time I've spent. I post photos for others to see and I share some of the knowledge I've learned along the way. I encourage other people to collect what they like, not just what will make them money. Am I a dealer? No. I haven't ever sold any of my collection. To me that's the big difference. The popular opinion is that to be considered a successful collector, you have to be able to transition into being a dealer and sell your collection. I didn't get into this hobby to be a dealer, to worry about making a profit. I got into it to collect information, and the coins are vessels for learning that information. I collect because I love coins. I collect because I love the art they contain and the information they unlock. I collect because I love to. It may be the unpopular reason, I may be labeled unsuccessful or naive or even 'just' a world collector, but the knowledge and enjoyment I gain make me successful in my own right.

27 Jan 2019

Learn Your Types: Two-Cent

Coins-United States | iccoins

The two-cent piece, minted from 1864 to 1873 was a short-lived and currently obsolete denomination from the US Mint. It was one of the shortest-lived denominations and issue of any United States coin. Around this time, the Mint was creating two-cent pieces and three-cent pieces, with the nickel three-cent coin replacing the silver design in 1865, one year after the first year of the two-cent piece. Just after the conclusion of the two-cent piece in 1873, the Mint began minting another popular obsolete denomination, the twenty-cent piece. This type was incredibly short lived, concluding in 1878, just 3 years after its introduction. Around this time, the US Mint seemed to have been obsessed with creating several different denominations until finally settling in on what you generally use today. The mintages of the two-cent coins started out strong, but dwindled down every year and 1873 was a proof-only year. The coin was designed by James Longacre and weighted 6.22 grams, double the weight of the bronze Indian Head Cent, also designed by Longacre and released the same year. The coin was composed of 95% copper, plus a5% tin and zinc combination. These coins, with a diameter of 23 millimeters are slightly larger than small cents. All two-cent pieces were minted at the Philadelphia Mint.

27 Jan 2019

Learn Your Types: Lincoln Bicentennial

Coins-United States | iccoins

Generally, I would not write an entire article about a specific year, but these are interesting coins and I believe they are worthy of an extended look. 2008 was the last year for the popular, but long-lived Lincoln Memorial Cent. In 2010, they were replaced with the Lincoln Shield Cent. 2009, however, was the 100-year anniversary of the Lincoln Cent, which was originally introduced in 1909 with the Lincoln Wheat Cent. The obverse of the coin has remained the same for 110 years, as of the time of this writing. In 2009, the Mint released four different reverse designs recognizing the bicentennial of his birth. Each reverse design was issue during one quarter of 2009, similar to how the Mint releases the National Park/America The Beautiful quarter series. Each coin essentially goes in the order of his life. The first reverse, Birthplace, depicts the Lincoln’s small log cabin in Kentucky. The second shows Lincoln sitting on a log reading a book during his teenage years. The third, Professional Life, shows Lincoln in front of the Illinois state capitol. During this time in his life, he served for eight years in the Illinois state legislature as a lawyer. The final coin shows his career until his assassination, his presidency. Known as the Presidency reverse, this shows the US Capitol, but in an unfinished state, as it was when he was president. This coin has the same composition as the 1982 to present Lincoln cents with 99% zinc, 1% copper, with a weight of 2.5 grams and a 19-millimeter diameter.

10 Jan 2019

Don't Get Robbed!

Coins | iccoins

Update: Unfortunately, my computer broke and I haven’t been able to write articles in a while.

23 Dec 2018

What Does "Genuine" Mean?

Coins | iccoins

You have probably seen them, the slabbed coins that either say “Genuine” or “Details” instead of an actual grade like you are generally used to. PCGS and NGC have slightly different ways of dealing with problem coins. PCGS considers these “Genuine,” while NGC calls them “Details.” Both mean essentially the same thing.

16 Dec 2018

US Bicentennial Coins (+ A Small Story)

Coins-United States | iccoins

The last few days have been incredibly busy for me. This week, I have finals in school for the end of semester one and then there’s winter break, which means lots of time for coin stuff! Anyways, today, my family and I went to the Weihnachtsmarkt (German Christmas Market) in Chicago and we passed by Harlan J. Berk. Unfortunately, the store wasn’t open, but I did see some awesome stuff in the window that I may go back and look at during the holidays. The window displayed several Mint State Morgans, as well as a very nice complete uncirculated set of Franklin Halves. I’ve always thought sets like that are very cool, but the fun of putting the set together is absent when you choose that route. Personally, that’s what I find to be the most exciting part…the hunt for the perfect coin. Even if you don’t have much to spend, no matter the coin, it can still be a hunt to find the one you want at the price you want. There were also a few commemorative coins that I really liked in the window. There were quite a few window shoppers, likely because it was nearby the market and was a common route to get there. Now for the main part of the blog about Bicentennial Coins:

12 Dec 2018

Learn Your Types: Franklin Half Dollar

Coins-United States | iccoins

The Franklin Half Dollar was designed by John R. Sinnock, who also designed the Roosevelt Dime, which was released two years before the Franklin Half Dollar, in 1946. The Franklin Half Dollar was minted from 1948 to 1963 and was the successor to the popular Walking Liberty Half Dollar, whose obverse design is also on the modern American Silver Eagle coins. In my opinion, the Franklin Half Dollar, along with the other coins released during this time, started the age when American coins began to seem much more boring and uninteresting. The reverse of the coin contains the Liberty Bell, which is the part of the coin that causes the designation, FBL, which means “Full Bell Lines.” On the Liberty Bell, near both the top and bottom, are lines. If the lines are uninterrupted or mushed together, that means the coin is very well struck and may receive the Full Bell Lines designation by the leading grading services.

07 Dec 2018

More Things To Never Do To Your Coins

| iccoins

My original article got very long, so I decided to break it up. I don’t want you to lose interest.

05 Dec 2018

How To Destroy Your Collection

Coins | iccoins

This is not a phrase people want to hear about their coin collection, but unfortunately, this happens every day to collectors who don’t know what to do, but mostly, don’t know what not to do. Some of these mistakes, surprisingly, are also done by professional collectors and dealers.

29 Nov 2018

Numismatic Gifts

Coins | iccoins

With Black Friday just passed and the holiday season just around the corner, it’s time to start looking for gifts for your family and friends. If you have a friend who is a collector, these are some of the perfect gifts that you really can’t go wrong with.


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