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Subjective Novelty

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Revenant

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It’s a little funny sometimes to come to a place like this and see someone talking about a 225 coin or token and to hear or see them say, “it’s not all that rare or special, but I like it,” and to contrast that with the reaction I get sometimes from my family. You show people a 225-year-old token and they’re going to think it’s crazy cool! - Or maybe not…

As others have noted recently, sometimes you show someone something that you think is really cool - and they just shrug and say, “that’s nice.” I tried showing my wife my P-1a, P-1b, and P-1c Zimbabwe notes, showing her what makes them different and talking about the history there. She looked at me like I was out of my raving mind and didn’t think this was particularly interesting or worth owning all 3. lol 

I go to a coin shop with my wife and I start showing her things like that Standing Liberty quarter and she has no idea what it is – she didn’t realize that a Franklin Half isn’t a silver dollar back in December either. I show that 1925 Standing Liberty or a 1944 Walking Liberty to people and they’re usually quite surprised and impressed, some of them having never seen one before that point.

If you show a late 19th or early 20th century gold British Sovereign, a French Rooster or a $5 Indian to most people and they’re probably going be quite impressed with it, but most coin collectors see these as common and maybe a little “humdrum” sometimes – we all know what they are. Yeah. We think they’re cool and pretty, but they don’t seem to have the same “wow” factor for us as it would some others. We literally call them “nothing special” sometimes on these forums – but they kind of are something special.

The contrast is plain to see in the Newbie Forum, too, every time someone posts about some circulated bit of old pocket change.

Novelty is subjective.

I hesitate to say that those of us who have been in this game for a long time become a bit jaded, but the simple things seem to lose their wonder when fights over rank with sets of high-end condition rarities becomes commonplace.

I laugh a little to think that I often look at my collection and think that there’s nothing particularly amazing or rare or *really* “special” in any of it – at least in my opinion -and there’s little in it that I think would raise eyebrows among collectors, but there’s a bunch of things in there that plenty of people my age (mid-30s) have never seen in their lives and wouldn’t have a clue what they are.

In some ways it almost carries elements of imposter syndrome in it. You’re a coin collector and people who know you would call you a coin collector, but you’re not one of “those” collectors with the really cool, really rare and valuable collections with tons of coins worth $10,000+ – your perspective biases you to ever understate some of your own accomplishments.

I remember that time years ago when the clerk in the gas station had no idea what a mercury dime was – and she was older than me, but not old enough to be older than the Roosevelt dime design.

I remember that time when the girl on campus that needed money for a scantron didn’t know that a Sacagawea dollar wasn’t a quarter – and that coin had been produced in her lifetime.

In an unrelated note: NGC seems to have gotten the plaques out in record time this year! My plaque for the Journal award arrived in the mail today. I can’t remember ever getting one of these from NGC before the third week of March, so I was shocked when I looked at the return address and saw who it was from.  I had to come down from my home office and open the box immediately because Ben needed to know what was inside and if it was for me or a surprise for him. I think the plaque was a disappointment for him, but I quite like it. 😊

88035771_1788206817970726_3439253473827225600_n.jpg

It’s not going to happen tonight - the kid is asleep and I’m exhausted - but I’d love to get a picture of Sam sitting up holding this. This is his year.

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Revenant, I totally agree - quite often it seems that I am the only one, or in a very small group, that is interested in certain varieties - die numbers on British Victorian coinage springs to mind, as most people do not even notice the small number above the date!

The concept that coins used to be made from silver or gold does seem to be a novelty to some although they often just get viewed as pretty scrap metal. On the other hand most people seem to have heard of Napoleon though so a coin with his bust on does get a flicker of recognition but that is about it.

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There's always something out there, even sort of within the realm you already collect in, you don't know about.  And of course for non coin collectors everything is new.  My dad didn't know about the Saudia Arabia ARAMCO oil concession gold from the Philly mint from 1945 and 1946 despite collecting US coins since he was a kid 60+ years ago.  I just discovered them in the last 10 years.  And despite the commercial internet being almost 30, most people can't believe you can get a real Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, or Napoleon coin, like Colonial Coins mentioned.  I always am surprised to see who will turn up as the authority behind a coin, like Saladin, Genghis Khan, Mehmet the Conqueror, or Nazi officers resettled in Argentina striking a gold Hitler medal to commemorate the old boss 20 years later.  You can have a lot of fun placing bids that will never win on Numisbids auctions and you will start to get a lot of free catalogs in the mail from overseas filled with coins you never knew existed.

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10 minutes ago, deposito said:

You can have a lot of fun placing bids that will never win on Numisbids auctions and you will start to get a lot of free catalogs in the mail ...

lol I don't know, man... I placed a bid on a P-22b Zimbabwe note recently that I was certain would not win the auction and it did. Fortunately the hammer price was $27.00 + $2.95 for shipping. Just got it in the mail today as it happens - rather thrilled to have it as it happens. Never say never! 

Edited by Revenant

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On 3/3/2020 at 8:07 PM, Revenant said:

lol I don't know, man... I placed a bid on a P-22b Zimbabwe note recently that I was certain would not win the auction and it did. Fortunately the hammer price was $27.00 + $2.95 for shipping. Just got it in the mail today as it happens - rather thrilled to have it as it happens. Never say never! 

I have, on more than one occasion, bid on two of the same when I was absolutely certain I would be outbid on one or both and ended up winning both. 

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