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  1. 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