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Let me try this again, for the first time

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thisistheshow

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The title of my Journal, and this specific entry, is a takeoff on a series of old Kellogg's Corn Flakes commercials from when I was a kid. In those commercials, someone who had tried the cereal before, and maybe not enjoyed it or appreciated it, tried it again and really did like it. The tagline for the commercials was: "Try them again, for the first time". 

 

In late 2018, I was on another forum where I responded to a thread about 2019 numismatic resolutions. My response was that I was going to try coin collecting again, for the first time. I think most of us know what I meant when I said that. Most of us made beginner mistakes when first collecting. And, in fact, most of us continue making mistakes even after we are no longer true beginners.  Unfortunately, these mistakes can lead us to have collections which we are not happy or satisfied with. This can lead to even more rash purchases as we try to just get that one coin that will turn around our collections. This scenario can be extrapolated out in many different ways unique to each collector, but nonetheless it is commonplace and relatable.

 

So I decided to take a step back and try collecting again,for the first time.

An important early step in this process is writing here in the Journals. I plan to give voice to my goals, lessons, and experiences,  not only to help myself but hopefully to help others.

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I think you're right in that a lot of us make mistakes early on but I also think there might be a little more to it than just making mistakes. Life, collecting, this hobby are a journey and there's a self-discovery aspect to that as well. I wouldn't be surprised if most of us, after 10-20 years of collecting, aren't collecting what we were collecting when we started out, partially just because, as we grew and aged, we discovered what we really liked and what really spoke to us as a collector. I think the biggest mistake I made in 2007-2009 was starting too many things that were interesting and seemed fun without stopping to think about what I'd actually have the time and money to be able to really pursue and do well. I didn't take the time to consider what I had the ability to realistically do and then ask myself what I wanted to do the most, what I would enjoy the most, and only do that to the extent that I could. That has left me with a number of half-finished projects that subsequently lost steam as I moved on to other things. I still have those sets / coins for the most part. I suppose I regret them to some degree but only because I think I would be in a place I'm happier with now if I'd maintained my focus better. I keep them around as much as anything now as a reminder to pick my battles and focus.

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9 minutes ago, Revenant said:

I think you're right in that a lot of us make mistakes early on but I also think there might be a little more to it than just making mistakes. Life, collecting, this hobby are a journey and there's a self-discovery aspect to that as well. I wouldn't be surprised if most of us, after 10-20 years of collecting, aren't collecting what we were collecting when we started out, partially just because, as we grew and aged, we discovered what we really liked and what really spoke to us as a collector. I think the biggest mistake I made in 2007-2009 was starting too many things that were interesting and seemed fun without stopping to think about what I'd actually have the time and money to be able to really pursue and do well. I didn't take the time to consider what I had the ability to realistically do and then ask myself what I wanted to do the most, what I would enjoy the most, and only do that to the extent that I could. That has left me with a number of half-finished projects that subsequently lost steam as I moved on to other things. I still have those sets / coins for the most part. I suppose I regret them to some degree but only because I think I would be in a place I'm happier with now if I'd maintained my focus better. I keep them around as much as anything now as a reminder to pick my battles and focus.

I really appreciate your insight. You make many excellent points here. The journey of collecting involves mistakes and change, some of which comes about because of those mistakes. 

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I agree with Revenant all the way. Mistakes in collecting??  Actually at the time of any coin purchase there is a want or love at first sight kinda thing. Yes you might change your mind later and file for separation by selling or just storing in a box that you don't search frequently. As we continue our journey in the coin collecting society we change our own course as to what we collect depending on our surroundings, friends, and budget. Life has a way of working out that way and coin collecting is basically the same process.

Enjoy Collecting!! :)

Rick

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I look forward to reading your future posts on this topic.  As for me, I'm in too far to do a reset now (or to put in another way, the bitter taste of my realized financial losses would likely keep me away for good).  My major mistakes were underestimating how deeply I would end up exploring this hobby and not having a solid collection goal in mind from the start.  They are sort of connected in that if I had foreseen how much I would end up spending, I certainly would have done a better job at focusing my collection efforts.  But my experiences trying to fill Whitman coin albums as a kid did not provide a good guide for the adult with actual disposable income.

This great hobby attracts those that only search through circulating coins to those that invest in coins as an asset class with lots of room in-between.  To me, enjoying this hobby means finding a comfortable spot in that spectrum that accommodates both your budget and numismatic interest.

Are you starting from scratch, having sold your earlier collection or will you bring a legacy collection forward? 

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34 minutes ago, jgenn said:

I look forward to reading your future posts on this topic.  As for me, I'm in too far to do a reset now (or to put in another way, the bitter taste of my realized financial losses would likely keep me away for good).  My major mistakes were underestimating how deeply I would end up exploring this hobby and not having a solid collection goal in mind from the start.  They are sort of connected in that if I had foreseen how much I would end up spending, I certainly would have done a better job at focusing my collection efforts.  But my experiences trying to fill Whitman coin albums as a kid did not provide a good guide for the adult with actual disposable income.

This great hobby attracts those that only search through circulating coins to those that invest in coins as an asset class with lots of room in-between.  To me, enjoying this hobby means finding a comfortable spot in that spectrum that accommodates both your budget and numismatic interest.

Are you starting from scratch, having sold your earlier collection or will you bring a legacy collection forward? 

I have only been collecting for a few years, but my collecting was all over the place.  Sometime around  mid 2017, I decided that Washington quarters were my favorite US series. I ended up doing a low grade raw set of the silver issues. Unfortunately, mid 2018 I ran into some financial needs. I ended up selling that set, other than the two key dates, along with a lot of the rest of my collection.  I knew that I was selling for less than I could if I took my time and sold on eBay or some other places, but I was in a hurry. So in many ways I am starting from scratch, though I have a smattering of coins. 

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While the points thisistheshow and Revenant made are relevant, my experience has yet another twist. I liken my experience to the parable of the prodigal son. I started my numismatic journey some 45-50 years ago as a youth with type collecting. At the time I was interested in odd denomination coinage. I soon bought a Red Book and it didn't take too long for me to become fascinated with the coins in the back of the book. No they weren't the classic commem's but all the gold coins and coins minted at obsolete mints like Charlotte, Dahlonega, New Orleans, and Carson City. Here again, I was interested in another type of type set, that of mintmarks. Still as a youth growing up in Wisconsin, I was glad to see a Wisconsin coin in the back of the Red Book!

Enter my time in the US Navy and my collecting took a different direction. From every foreign port I had visited I collected that country's circulating coinage. The same happened after I got married and lived in Europe for a year. Following this my prodigal journey into the numismatic far land had accelerated in earnest. I began years of hit and miss but mostly miss. At that time I was collecting things like Silver American Eagles and modern commemoratives. In fact I had so many interests I couldn't keep up them all. It's kind of like the jack-of-all-trades but master of none.

At the peak of my numismatic prodigal journey I started a collection of Morgan Dollars beginning with the New Orleans Mint and toners. For two years I was buying Morgan Dollars at a phenomenal rate. I even bought the granddaddy 1893-S in VG-10 condition. Following this I hit burn-out before completing the Morgan collection. This led a temporary hiatus from buying Morgan Dollars. I thought that the Morgan Dollar hiatus would help but I actually found that I had lost interest in collecting them. I ended up selling most of my Morgan's including the 93-S.

I did end up keeping the Morgan's grading MS-65 to 66 and all my CC mintmarked coins including several GSA CC's. Keeping the CC's was the first indication that I was heading home, to my childhood fascination with obsolete mint facilities. Interestingly, this did not extend to New Orleans. Keeping the 65 and 66's grew from a love of numismatic beauty. This did not include the heavily abraded ugliness of lower graded MS Morgan's. Ultimately this may have been the main reason for my loss of interest.

Concurrently with the Morgan's, I thought to collect Eisenhower Dollars. With those I completed the set in short order. Then I sat back and thought how boring and sold most of those. Still I found what I had learned by assembling the Ike's to be a worthwhile experience.

Serious numismatic soul searching brought me back home to my roots and type collecting. I just love the variety of our nations coinage. Now my focus is upgrading the coins in my type sets with coins that have higher eye-appeal. With these coins I am engaging my love of numismatic beauty. Regardless, while in the numismatic far country I discovered that I liked thematic and topical sets. I started sets entitled, "Inspirational Ladies, The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics, and The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser". In all these sets I continue to add coins as I discover good candidates.

In the end though, you still have to try different avenues of collecting if for nothing else to see if you like it. Now that I know what I like, I won't be taking any unnecessary journeys away from home and what got me interested in collecting coins as a young lad living under my parents roof. I have come full circle back to my numismatic roots.

Gary 

Edited by gherrmann44

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Gary, thank you for these thoughts. It sounds like you travelled far, literally and numismatically, to find your way. I like how much room there is in the idea of these thematic sets. I find this idea interesting and will consider it as I look to build my own collection. 

 

Thanks for sharing!

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11 minutes ago, thisistheshow said:

Gary, thank you for these thoughts. It sounds like you travelled far, literally and numismatically, to find your way. I like how much room there is in the idea of these thematic sets. I find this idea interesting and will consider it as I look to build my own collection. 

 

Thanks for sharing!

There is variety in thematic collecting. In my thematic sets I have combined worldwide coins, tokens, and medals into sets. No two pieces in any of my sets are the same. NGC encourages this type of registry collecting in their custom sets. Like type sets every one of these coins are different, maybe therein lies the key to my collecting passion, variety!

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9 minutes ago, gherrmann44 said:

There is variety in thematic collecting. In my thematic sets I have combined worldwide coins, tokens, and medals into sets. No two pieces in any of my sets are the same. NGC encourages this type of registry collecting in their custom sets. Like type sets every one of these coins are different, maybe therein lies the key to my collecting passion, variety!

I do not know anything about the custom sets-other than that I think I read there were being changes. Where do I go for more information on these?

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I have been collecting U.S. coins forever it seems. I never look at the cost as a investment but as a expense toward the total collection. Some coins sold over the years sold for less than I paid for them and some sold for more. In the end it actually balanced out and I am pleased with the overall cost to date in my direction of collecting. My passion as of lately has been the Roosevelt dime collection. I would sell or trade all the other coins I have just to add more Roosevelt Top Pops!! My grading box is full of Roosevelt dimes to submit and just waiting for my membership renewal. It won't be long till I get it together and submit a nice group to add to my Roosevelt FT Dimes. :)

Happy Collecting!!

Edited by Six Mile Rick

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