Now That I Am Retired, What of Collecting?

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gherrmann44

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As of December 28th 2018, I am officially retired and am eager to move on into another chapter of my life. Retirement came a little sooner than I expected but when my employer offered me a generous buy out, I realized that I had to take it now or never see that opportunity again. Realistically, at 60 years old I had no more than 4 years left anyway and probably a little less.

Now retired, I find myself having to live on a lot less money than I had before. To make things easier on my family I used the buy out money to pay off the main mortgage on our house. This in and of itself will make living much easier. Furthermore, all the other outstanding consumer credit I had is paid off. After all these years of not budgeting because I earned more than I needed to live on I finally sat down and made a budget on a spreadsheet. Remarkably, I found that retirement life for at least this year should not prove to be too difficult. That will change however in 2020 when we will have to buy healthcare.

That said, I have very little wiggle room left in my budget to buy coins. So, the question I ask myself is how do coins and collecting fit into retirement? Fortunately, I am discovering that the hobby is bigger than just buying coins.

Fortuitously, I saw this life change coming years ago and I worked furiously to complete as many of my type sets as possible before retirement. With gold hanging around at $1200-$1300 an ounce, most of my recent purchases have been of classic gold type coins. Now my 1834-1933 gold type set is complete with the exception of the 1907 high-relief St. Gaudens Double-Eagle. At the price I can expect to pay for that bad girl I’m going to have to leave it as an open slot.

Having completed my Dansco 7070 type set (19th through 21st century type) I identified certain coins in my set for upgrading to more eye-appealing coins. I started this upgrade project about 2-3 years ago but have not been able to finish this part of my collection. To complete it I plan on selling the doubles in my collection to buy new coins. My goal has been to have the most eye-appealing coins in this set that I can afford. Thus, instead of using new money to purchase these coins I will sell off existing coins that no longer fit into any of my sets.

As a collector who has been collecting coins since I was a boy I currently own hundreds of certified coins. Many of these will make a nice pool of coins for bartering and selling to have the collection I want through retirement. I have five sets that have won major NGC awards and those sets plus the balance of my type sets will make up the core of my collection.

In May of 2018 after years of knowing of its existence I finally joined my local coin club. (I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner). This will keep me busy with the local collectors where I live. On occasion one of our club meetings is a buy-sell-trade meeting. This is a popular event for many of the members and especially the dealer members of the club.

At the last meeting I offered to image two coins for free to every club member present at the buy-sell-trade. This has allowed me to demonstrate my macro photography set-up and help me to determine if this is something I want to do in retirement for fun and a little extra income. Now that I know this will be a thing I want to do, I will rent a table at local coin shows around the state to offer my services. For the time being this will only be an on-site thing. I don’t want the responsibility for people’s coins off site.

Other than that, I’ll have time to do research and write-ups for the sets I currently own. For the most part, this part of collecting will cost me little or nothing! Other than that, I may do more blog posts like I used to do in the past. I may also dabble in doing a display at a major show like the annual Central States show in Schaumburg, Ill. After all, if I can win awards with virtual displays on NGC’s registry, why not real displays at a show?

As a sidebar to an earlier post, I got the provenance on the certification labels I was hoping for with two medals I purchased directly from the curators of the Fraser Studio Finds. (The Numismatist, June 2018). With a custom set dedicated to the Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser, I am thrilled to own these medals that once belonged to the Frasers! I want to thank Laurynn at NGC for working with me on this one to note the Fraser provenance on the labels.

Interestingly, the 1912 John Cardinal Farley caste medal at 131mm is too big for a holder. In Its place NGC graded the medal as is and sent a card with photographs of the medal and its label. NGC also stipulates that the grade is as is when the medal was graded and that the NGC guarantee for grade does not apply.

It seems that in the end just because I’m retired and not buying as many coins as I used to does not mean that I will have to give up on the hobby! Pictured is the card sent back to me with the Farley medal and a macro shot of a 1942-D 2/1 Mercury Dime I took for one of my local coin club members.

Gary

1942-D_2_over_1.jpg

1912_Cardinal_Fraley.jpg

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Great to see you post again, Gary.

The gold price has been relatively low and I have benefitted from that myself with getting my 1887, 1888, and 1877 10Gs and now a couple of French coins.(well, it will go from being 1 to a couple in a about 2 weeks anyway).

Personally I find that some hobbies require a pretty big upfront investment, but then don't necessarily require much to keep them going. I've spent over $10,000 on my cameras and lenses, but that was spent years ago. I haven't made a lens or other major purchase for photo gear in 3 years. I just keep using what I have because it works. I just chew through AA batteries sometimes.

Hopefully the coin photography will prove rewarding for you and expose you to some things you haven't seen before.

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Gary, I think you have a great plan for continuing in this hobby.  I am just a few years younger than you but I was asked to switch to part-time two years ago.  I was afraid it would be half time but after the dust settled it has become 80% which is fine by me.  I've only been serious about collecting for the last 10 years and with retirement coming soon I have become more focused on what I collect.  This January I finally got two coins which I think will complete the last set I plan to work on, although as a custom set it can still grow a little if opportunity knocks.

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It sounds like you will have plenty to do and enjoy with the hobby, even beyond buying. The idea of really studying what we already have can certainly keep us busy. 

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15 hours ago, Revenant said:

Personally I find that some hobbies require a pretty big upfront investment, but then don't necessarily require much to keep them going. I've spent over $10,000 on my cameras and lenses, but that was spent years ago. I haven't made a lens or other major purchase for photo gear in 3 years. I just keep using what I have because it works.

When I put together my macro set-up years ago I bought a Nikon D3100. A year or so back I perused the cameras at Best Buy to see if it was in my best interest to upgrade my camera. What I discovered was that there were not all that many features in the new cameras to make the upgrade plausible. Of course there is no upgrade for the lens I use. I use an f4 enlarger lens at the end of a bellows mount with a couple of adapter rings to take my pictures . All I need for the camera is an SLR with a manual setting to take my pictures. At 18.6 megapixels I really have all that I will ever need for this application.   

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57 minutes ago, gherrmann44 said:

When I put together my macro set-up years ago I bought a Nikon D3100. A year or so back I perused the cameras at Best Buy to see if it was in my best interest to upgrade my camera. What I discovered was that there were not all that many features in the new cameras to make the upgrade plausible. Of course there is no upgrade for the lens I use. I use an f4 enlarger lens at the end of a bellows mount with a couple of adapter rings to take my pictures . All I need for the camera is an SLR with a manual setting to take my pictures. At 18.6 megapixels I really have all that I will ever need for this application.    

I'm pretty much right there with you. I picked up my Nikon D600/D610 4-5 years ago because I wanted to move up to a full-frame 35mm equivalent for my portrait photography. But at 24.1 MP, I can't imagine anything forcing me to upgrade my camera bodies again until these just out-right die. Even if I somehow manage to run through the 150,000 exposure useful life of the shutter, I can pay $200 to get a new shutter assembly put in, which is far cheaper than a new camera. Some of the lenses I have do have upgrades / are not the newest versions anymore - my 24-70 and my 70-200 mm in particular, but those lenses are both fantastic and easily suit my needs, so there's just no way I'm going to buy new versions of those unless something happens to the ones I have.

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Best of luck in your retirement.  It took me a long time to get used to it. I would say between 7 to 9 seconds.  I did many things during my pre-retirement time, and one thing I did was start collecting early.  It's fun, and likely there are coin clubs very near you.  I have 3 closeby and that makes it fun.  

I noticed you don't have a 1907 St. G, High relief, wire rim.  It's the belle of my ball.  

Good luck and have fun

Capt Brian1090054866_1907WR(2).thumb.jpg.39541a15bc8bb258f1905f06ce5396fa.jpg

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There you have it! I will settle for a picture of your high-relief 1907 St Gaudens Double Eagle to make up for the empty slot in my gold type set. Thanks Capt. Brian!

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Congratulations on your retirement!

As friends who have already reached that point would say 'retirement is not giving up work, it is just that you can now refuse to do all the rubbish and just concentrate on the interesting bits!' As a result they are all now busier than ever as they only have to do the fun bits.

There are a few coin collectors amongst them, one of whom is currently writing a book on Charles I during the English Civil War (he has a very impressive collection of coins, medals and artefacts of the period) and another is finally tracking down and recording all the minor die varieties of Victorian pennies. Personally I can't wait, although I expect my wife has a few jobs around the house which will then have to get done as I will have run out of excusesxD

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