Great article....let's discuss!
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I've never done a marathon - injured my foot training - but I have done a couple of halfs.

The problem I always have with the "it's a marathon" analogy: Everyone brings it up in the sense of "it'll take a long time," but that misses a couple of important traits of a marathon:

1) In a marathon, everyone starts at the same place at the same time. This isn't true of life and hobbies.

2) In a marathon everyone is supposed to follow the same path more or less and end at the same end point, having covered the same distance. Again, not true of life or collecting.

We all start in different places, go different places, end up different places... Some of us work diligently on one set for 10-15 years and some people - your 5K runners - are done / quit altogether after a couple of years.

But... While I don't always like the over-used analogy, I like his general point / message.

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I like the tone of this article as it describes my collecting habits of years ago. Now I find myself chasing higher quality material but try to make purchases that will not hurt so much if the market slows. It's my opinion that one should not trade up and lose money but expand to different fields to broaden one's interests. It is refreshing to hear from a real collector rather than one chasing registry coins.

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I have had a problem in the past with thinking that I had to buy as much as I could,  as fast as possible, as if there were some deadline that was approaching. I really have no idea why I acted that way, but it has sometimes caused financial hardship and unnecessary stress. I took a break from collecting, and since I have picked it back up again, I have spent only what I wanted to spend and could comfortably afford, and have been more selective in my purchasing. I do a lot more looking and researching than buying, but I am still acquiring pieces for my token collection - 3 or 4 a month - and I am enjoying the more relaxed attitude.

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I started around 2005 and, for three years after that; I was dormant but, when I started up again in 2009; I was buying coins at a frenetic pace.  I still took heat that I wasn't moving fast enough for certain collectors/skeptics.  I even got teased that I wouldn't finish, until I was retirement age.  Well, now that I'm 97% complete; I am very selective and I'm really taking my time.  I'm almost done and I'm going to be very selective for those last two coins.  I feel a real sense of accomplishment and I don't feel pressured, now, at all.  I've got nothing to prove.  And guess what?  I'll still be done 15 years before I retire.  

Edited by Walkerfan

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It was an interesting article, I must say.  I've never run a marathon myself and I've never had the desire to.  Running isn't my favorite activity....I'm more of a walker and a hiker.  I like to actually take the time to see what's around me and enjoy it when I'm outside.  That's probably the birdwatcher in me talking.  If you run, then many of  the birds run, unless it's a Golden Eagle, Bald Eagle or a Great Blue Heron.  They don't really give much of a *spoon* what humans do, in my experience.  They'll just stare at you and do whatever it is they're doing at the time.  Unless they have babies, then they're all a bit touchy.  Ah, it's good to be the rulers of an ecosystem.  

Anyhow, on to the analogy.......I think my collecting experiences, if I look over my life, I'd say my experiences until very recently have been more like a triathlon or a decathlon....something with different, defined events.  I started collecting as a child of 8, with Canadian coins.  Then, I fell away from collecting in high school only to find my way back at 19 in 1999.  At that point, I was collecting a lot of US coins, particularly Susan B. Anthony Dollars, Peace Dollars and Lincoln and Indian Cents among other US modern series like Ike Dollars and Kennedy Halves.  These projects were a great place to start and cut my numismatic teeth and I learned a lot from them.  The knowledge gained from this time in my collecting life set me up to undertake a part of the hobby I really love; selling coins.  But, for me, after about a decade, these US projects stopped being fulfilling from a collecting standpoint.  They were fun for a time and served a great purpose in my life, but they just didn't feel like me, if you know what I mean.  US coins are great coins, don't get me wrong, but they just aren't great for me.

Then, around 2010, I shifted to collecting World coins and I joined NGC.  At this time, I started collecting a lot of Ottoman, German, Chilean and British India coins.  Those were fun for quite a while, but I eventually had that feeling of the coins not feeling like me again.  Once again, they were great coins and were a great step on the journey for me but they were just that, a step.  I knew I had further to go.  I tried moving back to Canadian coins, as these were my earliest loves, but that didn't feel right either.  That, too, was just a step and, for me, a step backward.  Not the direction to go in for me.

Presently, I collect three things: coins with birds on them, coins with babies on them and my newest love, Roman silver coins of Empress Faustina the Younger.  I'm also still a very active seller of coins and I'm working on expanding that venture out as well.  My feelings about what I do now are very different than my feelings about anything else I've ever done.  I finally feel like I'm home, I feel like these projects are me, that they fit me and that they will sustain me over the long haul.  But now my marathon does begin........these collections could all go on for a long time.  And I hope that they do.  There are many, many coins featuring birds.  And Faustina the Younger issued a good number of coins in her time.  There's also the possibility of expanding out into other empresses as well, or into Faustina's bronze and brass coinage. There aren't as many coins with infants, but there are a few and I would like to build a thematic collection comprising those few coins.  And I also love the mention of mentors.  There are so many people here who have taught me things in the 9 years I've been active on the Boards and many of these people have become amazing online friends who I would love to meet in person at a coin show or other venue.  One of the cool things about this community is that we all teach each other and learn from each other (with a very few notable exceptions!). 

Edited by Mohawk

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5 hours ago, Just Bob said:

I have had a problem in the past with thinking that I had to buy as much as I could,  as fast as possible, as if there were some deadline that was approaching.

We all do have a deadline approaching, the problem is we don't know where/when it is.  Of course once you get there there is no prize for completeness.  It doesn't matter how far along you are, and you won't care either.

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I think of collecting, if you use the running analogy, as a series of 5 and 10Ks where you shoot for a goal, say my Newfoundland Type Set, complete it, and set your sights on the next challenge.  I have never had long term goals collecting coins, sometimes I head down a path that I find uninteresting after a bit, other times my path becomes an obsession and I try to set a new personal best for completing the set.   Right now, I am at a crossroads, wondering what to collect.

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I don't know if there's any analogy that I'll ever fully like just because I think it varies too much. When Choya's mom died and he got that inheretance monry it was go time. He had the cash to put into it and the desire and we built that 6 coin set in about 6 months, maybe less. I started my Netherlands 10G set in 2009, bought 4 coins for it within 2-3 months, didn't get another coin for it until 2016. I've been building that set in one form or another for 10 years now and it's at 7 coins of the 11 in the set. Different people. Different projects. Different paths.

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Ok, continuing the analogy my collecting consists of sprints and long distance runs. I set a reasonable condition goal and fill the easy part of the checklist.  If I maintain my standards, the tougher parts of the checklist require patience. I'm not a hole-filler. I like the sentiment expressed in the article. Worthwhile things often require patience and maintaining a stride. 

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Was there ever an Alan Hager marathon?

Or a Paul Sims for that matter?

In a marathon you might get tripped and scrape your knee or sprain your ankle but people in this "hobby" will flat out rape you...

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On April 19, 2019 at 8:25 PM, Walkerfan said:

https://www.ngccoin.com/news/article/7371/

I feel more like the tortoise rather than the hare, as I've started my set 14 years ago and I've met some great people along the way.  This has made all the difference!

 

 

My collecting started as a fartlek run instead of a marathon. Slow sometimes and fast other times. Changes of tempo and focus - for you runners out there.  Lately - it has gone from a 100 meter dash to a marathon. Expanded my focus that will take many many years to complete. 

 

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Man I can't stand running, so I think of it more like floating down a lazy river on a raft during an endless summer.  Sometimes you hit a log, sometimes you stop and get out on the bank and have lunch, sometimes you go exploring a bit further up the bank.  You know you're heading downstream, but you really don't know where that is, and you really don't care.  That's what this hobby seems like to me.

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