Collection - scarcity vs eye appeal
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Would you add a scare/rare issue, maybe one offered every couple/few years, that you want for your collection that doesn't have great/good eye appeal? When does the balance tip to rarity vs. eye appeal? For me - grab it while you can. You can always upgrade if you are given the opportunity. Cost is also a factor - but that is for another thread.

 

 

 

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Yes, I do so with my primary series, as long as the coin is halfway decent and ¨reasonably¨ priced.  

I don´t believe most contributors either here or on PCGS will do that unless the coin is of ¨nominal´ value because most of the coins they collect are not actually that scarce.  There are very few US coins that only come up for sale once every few years unless it is a die variety.  The majority of other US specialization (from the TPG grade, full strike designations, errors and toning) doesn´t meet the criteria of your question.

Among the others, it´s mostly patterns, territorial gold and colonials which are only collected by a low to miniscule fraction of the collectors base or are overwhelmingly unaffordable to most of the collector base.  From Federal US Mint coinage, I´d estimate at least 98% and probably 99% date/MM combinations are available within a few months.  The overwhelming majority on demand or a few weeks.

From world and ancient coinage, the proportion is a lot higher but I´d still attribute the difficulty in finding most of  these scarcer coins due to the price.  To some extent, this applies to the coins I collect.

In my experience, I have also bought a coin that I hadn´t seen before or in a long time and then a duplicate comes up for sale in close proximity.  I have numerous duplicates for this reason which probably or potentially account for a disproportionate percentage of the very low supply.

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If it is rare (R-5) or even very scarce (R-4) I will add it even if it is ugly.  The R-4 I may be able to improve later, the R-5 I may not have another chance at again.  An R-6 or higher I know I will probably never have another chance at.

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The majority of the tokens that I collect are scarce.to rare and, as such, don't come up for sale very often. Unless the piece is severely damaged,  overly expensive, or I feel like I may get a shot at another one in the near future, I will usually pursue it, even if it isn't pretty. The degree of ugliness may have a bearing on just how far I chase it, though.

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If it's something that's offered every couple of years, as you indicate, I would wait. I'm in no rush, and I don't want to have to deal with upgrading/selling the other one. I also wouldn't want to look at a problem coin for years, which I had already decided I didn't really want. So, in that case, I'd just wait for a good one. 

Sometimes, however, it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have this with some of my prooflikes - there is only one graded in the whole series, and if I don't get it now I won't ever get it. In that case, I'll be more forgiving with the coin, and jump on it. 

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There is never a point where I would buy an ugly coin, just to say that I have an ugly but rare coin.  But I don't collect coins from the 17th or 18th century therefore all the coins I seek are plentiful and finding a nice example is more a question of price than availability.

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The stuff that I collect is very rare and scarce , especially in nice condition for the grade.

However, it is not so rare that you would have to settle for an ugly coin just to own one.

As long as you have the $$$ money, you can attain one, honey.  :wink: :D

Edited by Walkerfan

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Well, I remember a few years ago I found a Netherlands 1888 Gold 10G on eBay in MS62. It wasn't an ugly coin per se but it was a much lower grade than I was hoping to get, but, at the time, there were only 13 in the world graded by NGC and this was the first time I'd ever seen one up for sale. The seller wanted a pretty high price for it though ($875). Given that this coin is so rarely up for sale, there's no price data most of the time to point to and tell the seller that they're smoking something. All I had was a price guide value that put the coin at about $575 in MS63. Most of the more common coins in the series can be had in MS65 or MS66 for less than a 25% premium over melt - about $275-300 these days..

It sat on the market for years with a price on it that I was pretty sure was at least about 50% higher than it should have been. After literally years of watching to see if they might lower the price I made an offer on the coin ($650) and they countered with a price that was less than 10% lower than what they had it listed for. At that point I just decided to pass. I just couldn't justify that price ($825) no matter how much I wanted the thing. I was confident that if I paid that I'd never get that money back out of the coin if I wanted to sell it. The coin eventually disappeared and wasn't for sale anymore. I don't know if they finally brought the price down, finally found a big enough sucker or just gave up.

I found another one of these things earlier this year, up for sale as an auction and not a "Buy It Now." I won that one (an MS65) for $500. That was a great win for me and my set, but it also firmly demonstrated that the current market for this series just doesn't support that price for the coin - the collector community for the series is just too small / shallow. The fact that it only comes up for sale every few years (I've only seen 2 in 9 years of looking) doesn't always mean that you get to ask moon money for it.

 

Edited by Revenant

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Eye-appeal is, of course, subjective to the beholder and I suspect closely related to what one chooses to collect.  I find nearly all medieval coins to be so poorly struck and simplistic in design that I have no interest in collecting them so I consider them, as a broad category to have low eye-appeal.  On the other hand, with the advent of machine powered presses in the very late 18th century, coins could be struck with a fullness and consistency that makes nearly all issues identical (die states not withstanding), kind of like my pocket change, so I find the mechanized aspect of these modern coins to be somewhat less appealing, barring the artistry of the designer.  In the middle, as I choose to separate things, are the later hammered, and early milled coins where each issue came from the mint with inevitable individual characteristics yet some achieved truly high quality results.  This is the area where I collect and so much of my opinion about what has nice eye-appeal is adjusted to what the engravers and mint workers of that time could achieve.  Here are a few scarce examples -- all in the US very fine range -- that I think have adequate eye-appeal, based on my criteria, but others may find them unattractive.

 

 

1560_CH_ZU_1T#2a-ccfopt2.jpg

1643_FR_A_1ECUa-ccfopt.jpg

1761_Mo_MM_8R_IS-ccfopt.jpg

1808_LIMA_JP_8Ra-ccfopt(1).jpg

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To answer your hypothetical question:

If a coin I needed was so rare, so as to appear only once every two or three years, then I'd purchase it, even if it wasn't very pretty.  

I'd do the best I could and possibly upgrade later.

Edited by Walkerfan

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All great answers/comments above...I personally can relate and like to follow the Rarity Ratings, along with Auction Records...sometimes I think it is important to have a coin regardless of the condition..you can always sell it, or collect duplicates even if it is scarce...Among the Finest Known is a term few can relate to but you can find what you seek by knowledge and patience...some would say a lot of money helps too!!! Then enters the intracies of the market (whom has what that was sold to who and marketed as this or that but was really...who used to own..) you can get caught up in the Drama and playing of pocket books if you let it...I've met older numismatists whom never were in a coin club or members of any organization and knew Dealers large and small. They kept to themselves, bought what they wanted and passed on what they deemed unsatifactory. Of coarse, this is all to a person's interests, Hanson is making Large moves and it seems others are not budging with what they hold so the price goes up...but what about the silent actors who need no introduction? 

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I would settle with not so great looking coins if they were scare.  In fact, I have some in my collection whitch are just ok.

But if was just ugly, I would pass it even if it was the only opportunity to acquire in my lifetime.

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54 minutes ago, toyonakataro said:

I would settle with not so great looking coins if they were scare.  In fact, I have some in my collection whitch are just ok.

But if was just ugly, I would pass it even if it was the only opportunity to acquire in my lifetime.

I have passed on some rare coins because they were just nasty, scratches and damage...porosity and the likes of more negative attributes. The price seems to be capped on those pieces, never really moving much higher than too expensive to begin with...

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Scarcity won out (at least this time) - we'll see what it looks like in hand. It has a long journey in front of it. 

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Well, this isn't really coins because I seem to be in the process of evolving into a currency collector but there are definitely notes that I would accept in lower grades and with poor eye appeal.  A great example of this for me would be a Series 1928d $5 Federal Reserve Note.  These were only printed for one Federal Reserve Bank (Atlanta) during the first years of the Great Depression.  Under 2 Million were printed and very few have survived today.  I'd take one of these guys in almost any grade as long as the note was intact and there was no tape on it anywhere.  The same thing applies to the Series 1934 $10 North Africa Silver Certificate.  The 1934a Series of this note is fairly common and I already have one, but there's something appealing in the thought of having both series of these iconic notes, so I'd take a rougher looking Series 1934.  Lastly, I'd also make allowances for any Series 1929 National Bank Notes from any banks in Newark, NY or Canandaigua, NY (Though I have lived other places, I consider these two places my hometowns and I currently call Newark home).  1929 notes from the Canandaigua National Bank and Trust Company are pretty rare, so I'd take one in almost any condition.  Newark notes aren't nearly as rare but they are elusive as well and I'd make allowances for condition there also.

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Mohawk said...Well, this isn't really coins because I seem to be in the process of evolving into a currency collector but there are definitely notes that I would accept in lower grades and with poor eye appeal. 

I've been told by Paper Money Collectors that you don't have a choice alot of the time with the scarcity of certain notes...didn't realize that with the Depression 1928d $5 Atlanta notes....thought the smaller denomination Africa notes were rarer but the 1934 $10 Africa Silver Certificate is obviously tough...I am limited in my Paper Money Skills...(sorry if I'm using the wrong terminology about notes) Thanks for sharing this information...

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10 minutes ago, Numismatic, A.A.S. said:

Mohawk said...Well, this isn't really coins because I seem to be in the process of evolving into a currency collector but there are definitely notes that I would accept in lower grades and with poor eye appeal. 

I've been told by Paper Money Collectors that you don't have a choice alot of the time with the scarcity of certain notes...didn't realize that with the Depression 1928d $5 Atlanta notes....thought the smaller denomination Africa notes were rarer but the 1934 $10 Africa Silver Certificate is obviously tough...I am limited in my Paper Money Skills...(sorry if I'm using the wrong terminology about notes) Thanks for sharing this information...

You are absolutely correct about making allowances for condition with many rarer notes.....you have to snag them when you can, condition be damned!  It's funny.....I just learned about the Series 1928c and 1928d Federal Reserve Notes in the past couple of months myself and they are all very tough notes!  I'd love to have a full set of 1928c Federal Reserve Notes of all denominations ($5, $10 and $20) but I haven't had the opportunity to buy a single one yet.  Aside from the Series 1934 $10 Silver Certificate, all of the North Africa notes are actually more common than any of the Series 1928c or Series 1928d Federal Reserve Notes, but North Africa Notes have a lot of demand attached to them....North Africa Notes are noticeably different than any other kind of US currency and they are one of those notes that World War II buffs who aren't numismatists and numismatists who normally collect coins will make exceptions for and purchase even if they are some of the only notes purchased by these kinds of hobbyists.  The Series 1928c and 1928d Federal Reserve Notes are mainly chased by currency nuts like myself.  But they are rare pieces.  And your terminology is absolutely fine :)

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I'm collecting medals almost exclusively at this time. All are scarce or rare, but fortunately medals tend to be cared for better, and not a lot of demand (in my specialty). That said, I still have to lower my collecting criteria on occasion. Just bought some cleaned bronze medals (they're orange/pink for goodness sake) of a series I may never see again. 

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