thatcoinguy's Blog

06 May 2022

Buy The Coin, Not The Price

Collecting Tips | thatcoinguy

Hello fellow YNs and YNH!

This is probably not the blog you were expecting today. The saying usually goes "buy the coin not the slab" but I changed it up a little bit. Today's blog will be on my own mantra, "Buy the coin, not the price." This is extremely relevant to low budget collectors, but can be applied to everyone.

As a YN, my budget is very limited. I have never purchased a coin for more than $50, and I don't have the recourses to buy a coin every week. But, when I first started, I got a little careless due to my low budget, and didn't exactly build the best collection possible. There are a lot of coins out there. One of my very first mistakes when I started buying coins was that instead of buying the nicest (raw) mint state Benjamin Franklin Half dollar possible, I bought the cheapest. I still regret it to this day. What I should have done, instead of buying a coin that is lower mint state and is probably cleaned for $11, was to search for a nice, beautiful specimen, and paid full Greysheet price (for the specific date/mintmark combo I was looking for, that would have been $30).

I promise you that whenever you are buying coins, if you buy a nice piece, you will never, ever regret it. I bought the semi key date to the Franklin half dollar series, the 1949-S, for $50 in MS-64 at the recent Georgia Numismatists coin show. I probably should/could have haggled them down a little bit, but I just took it for the price they asked. I don't regret paying $50 for the nice specimen, instead of paying $35 for the lower grade one he had. You will never regret it if you buy a nice coin that is the best you can afford. When I bought that bad Franklin for $11 at the coin show, I was thinking, "Just fill the next hole." Don't. What you should be thinking is: "I have my whole entire life to finish this set. Let's buy the nicest one I can find, and wait until I save some more money for the other dates." Just some thoughts.

Keep collecting,



Level 3

I agree. Buy the best you can afford even if you have to stretch a bit. Don’t settle for less!


Level 6

It's nice to try to get best quality coin you can for these sets. You can always upgrade as time goes by. Enjoyed your blog! ; )


Level 6

Well said. I think most of us have done that. Mostly starting out as you did. Great hint. Thanks.

AC coin$

Level 6

Wonderful words coming from a vet collector. Thru the years most of us tend to agree that quality not quantity goes before all. Still this is great advise for us all. That's how we learn and share.

Long Beard

Level 5

I agree with you right up to the point of assembling a complete series prior to 1938. As an example, the Lincoln cent, has many budget friendly coins. However, there are quite a few key and semi-key dates/mintmarks. To have a vast majority in the mint state grades and the tougher, budget wise, in circulation grades together throws off the eye appeal as a series run. In these cases, I look at the prices of those tougher coins and build a set to match based on those figures. Or so this is my approach. I do, however, like your thinking!


Level 5

I agree. I try to shift my grades with sets like these, so the first few year are G, the VG, then F, and so on and so forth.

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