One might think that shifting gears and a different direction are synonymous. However, the truth is that though related, they are two separate actions. A different direction in that I will be liquidating a portion of my current collection to focus on another and shifting gears in that I will be buying fewer but higher quality coins to upgrade the remaining sets.
All this started with my losing interest in collecting Morgan Dollars. A year or two into collecting Morgans, I got bored with them. With a goal of completing the 103 coin set I was buying coins at a break neck pace that focused on volume rather than quality. To regain interest I thought that all I needed was a break. Though I fully intended to resume purchasing Morgans and completing the set, the longer I was away the less likely it would be that I'd return. Truth is I never got back.
After long and careful consideration, I decided to discontinue collecting Morgans and liquidate the bulk of my Morgan Dollar collection. All told, I will be selling 43 coins. I did not make this decision lightly as I have thought about it carefully for the better part of a year. Yet there are a number of things that led to this decision after going trailblazers for Morgans six to seven years ago when I started out only intending to complete a New Orleans Mint collection. (The decision to collect all the Morgans came after completing the New Orleans portion of the set.)
While away from Morgans, I found myself drifting back to my boyhood roots, type and theme based collecting. I became fixated on completing my 7070 type set and working on my theme based seated imagery custom set. I started to buy the best type coins I could afford and since I was buying fewer coins, I could spend more. I've learned that when it comes to beauty there is nothing like a classic coin in a high state of preservation. These coins are not only more beautiful, they are more likely to hold their value as a highly desirable collector coin. Furthermore, as a person who also loves photography, I have learned that premium quality coins are definitely more photogenic!
What then was the problem I had with Morgans that caused me to give up on them? I think that a collection of affordable quality coins in a complete Morgan Dollar set are a huge show stopper. Affordable coins are sometimes no higher than low MS grades and many are still lower. A VG 93-S will fetch more than $2000! Still I could live with a lower grade as long as it doesn't have distracting contact marks. Simply stated, most MS-62 to 64 Morgans have numerous and distracting contact marks.
High grade Morgans are a thing of beauty. Most MS-65 and higher Morgans are a sight to behold and because of this I am keeping my 24 coin set of Morgans that grade MS-65 and higher. I also have this thing about Carson City, there is just something about Carson City that intrigues me. Therefore, I am also keeping my Carson City registry set. Additionally, I have six GSA pedigreed Carson City Dollars of which two are graded MS-65 (1882, 1883).
Another factor in my decision is that I will be retiring in no more than six years. At that point my collecting activities will be severely curtailed. With this in mind I have targeted a number of coins in my type set to upgrade over the course of the next six years. It is also unlikely that I will be starting any new registry or custom sets but rather find other pieces to add to my custom sets like my Laura Gardin Fraser set.
Another area of focus will be my gold type sets. Finding nice type-1 and type-2 double eagles has proven to be quite challenging because of the distracting contact marks found on most of these coins. Still after long searches I have managed to get an 1852 type-1 that at AU-55 is remarkably void of contact marks! For the type-2 I had to decide what level of contact marks is acceptable since it is nearly an impossible coin to find without them. In deciding my tolerance level I borrowed from a Bible passage which states that love covers over a multitude of sins. In relation to double eagles I found that luster covers over a multitude of dings, gashes, and abrasions. It doesn't literally mean that the contact marks are covered but that they are not as noticeable. All that said, I am still having a hard time finding a decent upgrade for my MS-62 type-3! Oh well, I am going to thoroughly enjoy the hunt in the few last years I have before I retire! Attached is a photo of the AU-58 type-2 that I found to be acceptable.