As there are lessons to be learned in life, there are also lessons to be learned in coin collecting!
Over my years of coin collecting, I have made many mistakes. Most often, my mistakes have cost me money. The positive aspects of these mistakes are the lessons learned that have made me a better coin collector (I wish I knew what it takes to call myself a numismatist). For instance, at one time I used to buy raw gold coins from e-bay listings. Two of my purchases ended up as counterfeits. Since education is the best way to protect myself, I bought books dealing with counterfeit identification. Fortunately, the two e-bay sellers were reputable and refunded my money. After that, I established a policy with myself of buying certified gold and non-common coins only (lesson learned). Now because of the NGC registry, I only buy NGC or PGCS certified coins.
About four years ago, I decided that I wanted my entire collection graded. Joining PCGS?s collectors club, I made my five free submissions. Four of the five coins returned graded, the other one returned in a body bag (rim ding and a lesson learned on problem coins). For whatever a reason, I did not participate in PCGS?s registry and let my membership lapse. Still wanting to get my coins in slabs, I took my coins to my local dealer. This is where I discovered that one of my e-bay purchases were counterfeit. How embarrassed I was to have the dealer proclaim my coin was a fake (1882 $3 gold, a popular coin for counterfeits). Still figuring that the cost was formidable to get my entire collection graded, and desiring to have my problem coins graded (lesson on problem coins not quite learned) I shopped for a company to grade my coins and ended up with NTC (Numistrust Corp., bad choice). I made my first submission and for the most part, I was happy.
Fast forward to May 31, 2008, the day I joined Collector?s Society. It took being involved with a professional organization to discover my mistakes. I had allowed far too many problem coins into my collection. Do not get me wrong, problem coins do have a place, especially high-end rarities (two of which I will post in this journal entry), but I had allowed too many common date problems into my collection. Now I must sell these problem coins and replace them at a cost to complete my registry sets (problem coins lesson finally learned).
Now my problem is what to do with my NTC slabs. Grading companies come and go, but in the end, the cream rises to the top, and you get what you pay for. NGC and PCGS are going strong and NTC is no longer in business. I had no other choice, but to spend the money for cross grading that I could have spent buying new coins (lesson on grading companies learned). Now I will prepare my coins for cross over grading and will make future journal entries on how that process goes, it should be an educating experience.
One lesson I thankfully did not have to learn the hard way involves where best to store my coins. For years, I had kept my coins in a safe that was in my house. Then I read an article in Coins magazine on the subject suggesting the best place to store coins is in a safe deposit box at the bank. The article suggested taking digital pictures of my coins, enjoying the pictures while my coins are secure at the bank. My own Mom thought I was nuts for storing my coins this way and told me to get them in a safe deposit box. Finally, I did the wise thing and moved my valuable coins to a safe deposit box for $30.00 a year, a small price to pay for peace of mind.
In the end, all of life is a growing and learning process, whether I am maturing in my spiritual life as a Christian, or as a person, or as a coin collector. The shame in life and coin collecting is missing our learning moments (problem coins) and having to learn the same lessons over again. Making the most of every learning moment makes me a better Christian, person, and coin collector (someday I hope to be comfortable calling myself a numismatist while I have no problem calling myself a Christian).
The problem coins pictured, fit well into my collection, even though they will never be in a competitive registry set. One of the coins resides in my ?Inspirational Ladies? signature set as a rim damaged NCS AU details 1908 Austrian ?60th Anniversary of Reign? 100 Corona gold piece. This coin with one of the most beautiful designs in all of numismatics on the reverse has the rim ding showing on the obverse only! The other coin, an ICG graded VG-8 1795 ?Flowing Hair? half dollar with scratches and adjustment marks fits well into my type set, though it cannot be recognized as such. The prohibitive prices of these coins in comparable grades as non-problems, made buying them as problems the only way to go for me. In fact, I got the 1795 half for about half the cost of a comparable non-problem coin. For a coin grading VG-8, it has more eye appeal and detail than many of the non-problem VG?s. Maybe I will put this coin into my ?Inspirational Ladies? signature set as the allegorical ?Lady Liberty?.