Defining your core collection/s
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How do you define and differentiate what you consider your core collection from everything else you collect (coin related)? Does your core collection have sub-sets? If so, how many? Do you have a core U.S. collection and a World (or multiple country) collection? Will you ever be able to complete your core collection/s? 

 

 

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I have two core collections: 1) US Type, including colonial type and foreign types that circulated in the US. I should be able to complete the US type if I stay away from early gold. Down to 18th century types;  and, 2) medals of Jean Dassier and his sons. I doubt that I will complete this collection as these are truly scarce to very rare, and different metals and finishes keep popping up. 

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For the last five or six years, my core collection has been limited to pillar 1/2 real, one real, two reales and four reales from Bolivia (1767-1770) and Peru (1752-1772).  I'll also buy Guatemala if I can find any decent coins within my budget but these coins literally almost never show up.  It can be defined as three series (one for each mint) or twelve (one for each denomination from each mint.  I don't hardly ever buy anything else.

I could have completed Bolivia if I had prioritized these coins, though proportionately many would be in poor quality.  This mint has 20 for all five denominations (including 8R).  Many of the Peru dates never show up for sale.  I now look on eBay practically every day and on occasion find one but only four (one a relatively common low grade date, one cleaned but decent and another with minor rim damage and VG with no problems) that I bought.  The rest I saw but did not buy were impaired.  This is over two years looking every day.  It's dubious I'll ever acquire all 84+ coins.  For Guatemala, I'd like to upgrade my current type set.

I used to have more series (none US) in my core collection but finally concluded that I will never have the financial resources to complete all of it.  I still have most of what I previously bought.

On occasion, I have also thought about working on one or more cheaper and much easier series so that I can buy more coins regularly.  I don't do it because I know I will regret not spending the money on coins I would rather own.

Edited by World Colonial

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"On occasion, I have also thought about working on one or more cheaper and much easier series so that I can buy more coins regularly.  I don't do it because I know I will regret not spending the money on coins I would rather own."

I've made this mistake more than once out of boredom, regretted it, and ultimately sold at a loss. I do expand the limits/definition of my collections so as to keep active. 

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My core collection is defined as everything I got from my grandfather in 1972. The core of cores is the Canadian George VI silver. I've filled in a lot of George VI holes since, and branched out into other things, but grandpa's coins will always be the core.

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8 hours ago, kbbpll said:

My core collection is defined as everything I got from my grandfather in 1972. The core of cores is the Canadian George VI silver. I've filled in a lot of George VI holes since, and branched out into other things, but grandpa's coins will always be the core.

It is really nice to hear that you kept your grandfathers collection and are building on it. The first words out of Many people's mouth that inherit a collection is how much is it worth and where can I sell it. So I applaud you for keeping a bit of your grandfather. 

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15 hours ago, LINCOLNMAN said:

...foreign types that circulated in the US.

Do you use the Red Book to determine which coins to include in this set, or do you have historical or anecdotal information about other coins that are not included in the Red Book?

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6 hours ago, Just Bob said:

Do you use the Red Book to determine which coins to include in this set, or do you have historical or anecdotal information about other coins that are not included in the Red Book?

Used several sources, a good one being registry type (ATS). Most recently found a list of coins dug in Jamestown and duplicated those types as best I could. Lots of cheap fun finding those old coins raw (could not find slabbed examples of most). Many were details graded when I sent them in, but that seems appropriate for coins of that vintage. I haven't done any gold, reasoning that few 17th - 19th century Americans used gold, but if I find out otherwise, I'm ready (any excuse to collect...). One thing I should do is add more South and Central American examples since they were the staple of foreign circulating coins. As of now I just have one example each of a cob 8 reales, and 1/2, 1, 2, 4, and 8 reales, some portrait, some pillar. Lots of fun and learning and probably as relevant to early American history as US federal and more traditional colonial coins. 

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My core collection has always been my mint state Walking liberty half dollars.  I focused on it for 12 of the last 14 years.  I hardly ever strayed or bought any other types of coins.  I was very disciplined.  

I started with the early dates first (1916-1933), as they were the most difficult and expensive.  I believed in the theory that they would only get more costly and more difficult to locate and acquire, in the future, and I believe that has become true, so it was a good strategy.  

After I finished most of my early dates; I branched off into the middle (1934 to 1940) and late date or short set (1941 to 1947) And have completed both of those.  A lot of the branch mint coins of the 1930s are a lot rarer than people give them credit for and difficult to find nice.  And S mints of the 1940s are very rare, if found with good strikes, even though these coins were mass produced with the mintages being very high.

I am now almost 100% complete with the full set (1916-1947) and only need one out of the entire 65 coin series.  It is a Key date early Walker and I will be happy with an AU 55 or 58 example that has a good strike and nice original surfaces.  I believe that it will match well with the rest of my MS coins.  I may upgrade it later, someday, to a mint state 63.

Now, that I am almost complete there’s a certain feeling of liberation in being done and not feeling compelled to buy anything anymore.  I also was never one of those people who were addicted to constantly upgrading, as I was always very happy with the examples that I had chosen to have in my collection.  I bought coins that I liked and paid up for them, because I knew I would keep them and be satisfied with them.  

After I’m done with my Walkers; I am just going to kick back and casually collect Morgans and Standing Liberty Quarters.  I’ll probably work on a one per date set of each of those in grades MS 63 to 65.  But I will do it at a much slower pace and it will be way more laid-back and I’ll not be buying nearly as aggressively, as I did with my Walkers.  I may never finish either of those and don’t really care.

But I feel very satisfied, now, in having almost completed what I set out to do with the Walkers in 2005.  It was really a quest for me.  I was so driven, determined and focused...Obsessed really.  Now, that I am nearly complete, it’s a real feeling of accomplishment and I have satisfied my numismatic hunger.  Now, I will just appreciate and study.  

Edited by Walkerfan

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I have two main core collections, English and Irish copper from the reigns of William and Mary to that of George III. At the moment, English copper has taken the majority of my focus, but this is mostly because Irish material comes up less frequently. Within both of those core collections, I have focused my attention on the numerous patterns, proofs, restrikes, and currency strikes of the Soho Mint. My ultimate goal would be to complete a Peck variety collection for the English Soho coins. The sheer number of examples needed combined with the number of "unique" and "likely unique" pieces make this an impossible goal. 

On 10/8/2019 at 5:08 PM, LINCOLNMAN said:

I have two core collections: 1) US Type, including colonial type and foreign types that circulated in the US. 

You may already have a copy of it, but Schilke and Solomon published a book on the topic in 1964. I bought a copy a few years ago, but I have yet to take the time to read it. 

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Very simple for me I'm a Lincoln collector, shinny red pennies have been my passion for the bulk of my collecting time.  There are of course subsets, wheatbacks, memorials, shields, short sets, varieties, proofs and so on.  I have also collected Morgans and have a semi complete set just missing the really expensive keys but those are just a side distraction from my main love Lincolns.  I completed the main subset of Lincolns from 1909 to 1958 (the wheatback years) a couple of years ago and took a break for a bit to decide if and what to do next.  Still not really sure on a direction yet but have been adding slowly to a few important year sets I have in progress and I may replace a few less than prudent purchases in my Lincoln set over time.  I may continue to add to the Lincolns from 1959 to date or I could add to the Lincoln proofs that I currently have, just not committed to a direction yet.

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5 hours ago, coinsandmedals said:

You may already have a copy of it, but Schilke and Solomon published a book on the topic in 1964. I bought a copy a few years ago, but I have yet to take the time to read it. 

Thanks for the heads-up!  I'll try to track down a copy. May try the ANA lending library if I cant find one for sale. 

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2 hours ago, Coinbuf said:

Very simple for me I'm a Lincoln collector, shinny red pennies have been my passion for the bulk of my collecting time.  There are of course subsets, wheatbacks, memorials, shields, short sets, varieties, proofs and so on.  I have also collected Morgans and have a semi complete set just missing the really expensive keys but those are just a side distraction from my main love Lincolns.  I completed the main subset of Lincolns from 1909 to 1958 (the wheatback years) a couple of years ago and took a break for a bit to decide if and what to do next.  Still not really sure on a direction yet but have been adding slowly to a few important year sets I have in progress and I may replace a few less than prudent purchases in my Lincoln set over time.  I may continue to add to the Lincolns from 1959 to date or I could add to the Lincoln proofs that I currently have, just not committed to a direction yet.

Until recently I collected Lincoln for many years - all sorts of Lincolniana, including cents. Numismatically, I also had a lot of fun collecting Lincoln medals and tokens by King number. A good subset that goes well with cents is Civil War tokens showing Lincoln. Another area of diversion that I got into was Victor Brenner medals. Of course the VDB medal and plaque that are associated with the cent are cool to own. 

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20th century US by type for me.  Some series I love more than others thought and have expanded into date/mint mark and even registry caliber stuff.

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18 hours ago, LINCOLNMAN said:

Thanks for the heads-up!  I'll try to track down a copy. May try the ANA lending library if I cant find one for sale. 

Happy to help! I'm out of town at the moment but if you would like I can send you a picture of the cover. I think the title was something along the lines of ”America's Foreign Money”.  

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Mine would be Bust Halves and Proof Indian Cents. When I go to a show, those are what I always look for first. After that, I'd say I'll look for Morgans, Walkers, & Standing Liberty Quarters. As for completing any of the sets, I doubt it, since I'm priced out of some dates for each set.

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