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So, do we actually want the value of these things to rise?



A few months ago I talked to another collector who recalled a conversation where-in he and someone else agreed that, if they had tried to build their collections today, buying graded coins and not ones they “discovered” themselves, they never could have afforded to build their collections because prices have gone up so much.

I can’t help but think of that statement periodically and ask myself, “So do we really want the value / price of these things to go up?” Or, stated more usefully, “Do I?”

The answer to the first question is always “it depends” - and this is true whether I ask it of coin collectors or silver stackers - like at the r/silverbugs subreddit. People who are accumulating / building (usually younger) want prices lower (or, at least stable, no one wants to feel like they lost money really). People that are selling or looking to sell soon (usually older, possibly who viewed their collections as part of their retirement savings) tend to want prices higher or rising.

But personally, I don’t know that I care fore the idea of rising prices. I don’t know that I care if the value of my 10G set and some similar projects ever rises. Part of this is that I don’t view my collection as an investment - certainly not solely as an investment. I have a budget for “fun” / my entertainment and the coins are bought out of that. The 401K is funded completely as its own thing. I want to keep building my collection into my old age.

Yeah, I like the idea that there’s some gold / silver value in a coin and that helps provide somewhat of a floor whereby I wouldn’t have to sell the thing for 10 cents on the dollar of what I paid for it hopefully… but I’m hoping to not sell. My most important projects are things that I’m hoping to pass on to my sons upon my death. So, value at resale is something I hope to never worry about. Meanwhile, lower prices mean I get to keep collecting.

I do definitely hope I don’t take too much of a loss on some of these coins if I have to sell, but I know that I almost certainly will take some kind of small loss on them unless gold goes up meaningfully. Why? Because I’m one of the few that collects some of these as coins and doesn’t treat them mostly as bullion.



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8 hours ago, jackson64 said:

While some have gone up-- ( under $100 and moderns) many of the classic series have plummeted. My Walker set, for example, has dropped in its book value from around $40k to slightly over $25k ( before my recent upgrade pushed it back to near 30k).

Ultimately I think all that just makes sense, just for the reasons you talk about. The collector base is getting older and you're having a generation (or maybe 2 now) grow up behind them in an increasingly cashless society that relies on debit cards and credit cards. I find it one of the ironies of my life that I collect coins and currency but I hardly ever pay cash for anything really. So the younger people aren't necessarily coming up with the attachment / affinity for coins that we had. I feel like the concept of a childhood piggy-bank is almost antiquated / old-fashioned now.

I enjoy this as my fun money - because I enjoy this more than buying a lot of other modern junk or the latest iphone every year - and that leaves me feeling comfortable / happy with it. I think at this point I've probably sunk about $3,500 into my 10G set in the course of 10 years and that set has a melt value presently of around $2,300. 

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I have given this much thought over the years, collecting coins has always been a hobby - the history and the academic numismatic challenge the main driving forces. As the collection, and hence its value, grew I have had to consider some of the coins as 'investments' hence the move to graded coins was important for me as the difference in 'value' between similar grades grew. With graded coins when the kids inherit the collection they are less at the mercy of dealers/auction houses where grades of EF, AU and UNC may all be given for the same coin and hence very different 'prices/estimates' as a result. With graded coins my kids can then look up prices online to get a good idea of the value and if a coin is sold at auction in an MS63 slab then the market will determine the value which is probably fairer.

Overall I would hope the collection at least maintains its value and my records suggest that holding for at least 20 years will hopefully see an increase - and hopefully I would have learnt something along the way.

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20 hours ago, jackson64 said:

Keep it as a hobby is my advice-- between buyers costs, sellers fees, paypal, shipping and the dollar's decline in value.. there are far better investments than collector grade coins. Sorry to be a negative nelly--I'm happy as a collector and will continue to do so, but I don't lie to myself and think that my collections are going to rocket up in value and be a nest egg for my retirement or progeny.

I couldn't agree more with what you said. My collection of Icelandic coins will never go up very much...If I'm really lucky maybe 1% to 3% a year at best ..( if I'm real lucky ) . I see my collection as a mission ...A mission to build the best set possible at almost any cost . I have spent over the years far more on grading as well as NCS conservation on any coin I feel that it will help with the appearance of the coin even if the coin is only worth maybe $40 bucks I will never get back what I have spent over the years....But that doesn't matter to me ..

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A few months ago I talked to another collector who recalled a conversation where-in he and someone else agreed that, if they had tried to build their collections today, buying graded coins and not ones they “discovered” themselves, they never could have afforded to build their collections because prices have gone up so much.

I'm pretty sure that was me, and if not, it certainly could have been.  As you say, the answer to your question is It depends...

I am most certainly a collector/numismatist, but I can't afford to overpay for a coin just because I want it.  My coins really are part of my retirement portfolio, so from that perspective I have to treat my collection as an investment.  In my case, the answer to your question depends only on whether I already own a particular piece or I'm still searching for one.  I'd like the price to remain low until I acquire a registry grade specimen and rise dramatically thereafter.  The easiest (and riskiest) way to do that is to find a reasonably priced high grade raw coin and submit it for certification.  I've also had some luck buying certified specimens and having them crossed or upgraded, either to a higher grade or by adding a variety attribution to the label.  I lose a lot more auctions than I win, but it's pretty sweet when I can get a great coin at at a good price.

Fortunately, I've had more winners than losers, so I'm going to keep at it until it's time to sell.

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3 hours ago, coin928 said:

I'm pretty sure that was me, and if not, it certainly could have been.  As you say, the answer to your question is It depends... 

I don't call people out; I just reference ideas from outside sources. lol 

How are you lately? Hopefully doing well. 

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I've never been one of the 'sky is falling' crowd members.  But I buy quality, rarity and eye appeal and I hold for the very long term.  I've seen generics come way down but rare dates have continued to go way up, since I started.  I was just discussing this with a fellow specialist the other day and he made the exact same observation. 

I don't feel like I'm going to lose a lot of money.  Have all my purchases been winners?  Of course not, but I feel very comfortable, at this point, and think that I'm way ahead of the game.  Unless, somebody suddenly finds rolls upon rolls of mint state early Walkers....I highly doubt that will ever happen....then I will be okay.  They sure as heck aren't making them anymore. They didn't make very many to begin with and there are very few high grade survivors. 

I hope I don't come across as elitist...that's not my intention.  But from an economic standpoint; it's just a matter of supply and demand. I certainly would never want to attempt to start over again and replicate my set.  From a financial and quality of holdings aspect; I really don't think I could do it nor would I want to try.  The amount of time and energy that I have put into this set is immense.  This is also not something that was just done casually or haphazardly by me.  I had a plan and a vision and I carried it out.  I studied the market, price trends, I learned my series, decided on my optimal grades for optimal returns, purchased and found the best that I could and I was perseverant, diligent and patient.  I looked at hundreds catalogs, participated in dozens and dozens of auctions and traveled to many, many shows.  There was a method to my madness.  Cash may be king but knowledge is power.  This also is not a large percentage of my net worth, either, but I do expect my numismatic investments to perform well.  I think that all my hard work will pay off. Time will tell....It's just my 2c.... take it or leave it.  Either way it was a heck of a ride and I enjoyed it.

Edited by Walkerfan
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I want them to go up.  Later.  As I watch auctions I see coins I don't buy, Chinese ones, seeming to go up.  I mean the old classic end of the 19th century early 20th century mostly silver (and gold if you're rich) ones

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I'm like deposito, I want them to go up but not yet....let me get what I need for my world crown collection and then go up. Some countries like China, the coins have gone up so much its hard to get certain crowns without spending $$$$.....but just 5-10 years ago or even less you can get them cheaper. Good example....thailand....even 2 years ago some coins were for example 100......now they are  500+...crazy!

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On ‎9‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 9:11 PM, deposito said:

I want them to go up.  Later. 

I feel the same way about silver and gold bullion ! For now I'm still adding the occasional roll of ASE's, maple leafs etc and like to spend under $20 an ounce. The next true upward bounce might finish off my bullion acquisitions if it's back to $500+ a roll. For now, while I'm a buyer and 10+ years away from retirement, let coins and PM's stay affordable!

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I know this is an old post, but felt the need to chime in, mainly due to the possibility a new collector may happen to come across this blog entry - an opposing opinion may prove beneficial.

To open…

I was a Financial Advisor for several years and I’m currently a Mortgage Legal Compliance Officer. I have been in the banking/finance industry for over 20 years, and survived within that industry throughout many market bubbles and the mortgage crash. I invest in stocks and also have retirement plans (investment alternatives highlighted in the above posts). I also started collecting coins when my parents introduced me to the hobby when I was 6 years old. Now in my 40’s, it has been a lasting foundation of my life. 

Now to the meat and potatoes…

I respectfully disagree with the opinions of OP. In order for this industry to remain healthy, we need our collection values to increase significantly BUT steadily. You mention affordability, if your current collection has increased in value, you can sell a couple of pieces and purchase more while maintaining your core collection and its value through proper planning. With a continual, steady increase in prices, your overall long term risk will be at a minimum.

Stagnant prices damage the industry as a whole by forcing collectors out of the market due to the high risk, minimum gain, and strong likelihood of loss due to the current prices/fees set by the mint, dealers, and grading companies at the bottom, outside of numismatic collection value - a growing problem.

We are currently seeing a significant drop in the numbers of coin collectors due to that very fact. This has brought about, and will continue to lead to, diminishes of the liquidity of our collections, which in turn, leads to lower prices, continuing to spiral downward and until coin collecting as we have seen it the last 30 years, finally becomes extinct. Having a hobby, especially one that involves collecting and preserving our history is wonderful, but having a hobby that is also an investment in the future, is even better. 

During times of economic inflation due to an over abundance in our fake paper currency - hard assets are real, more valuable, and will always be of a scarcer supply. The higher the demand on precious metals, the greater the numismatic value of precious metal coins is realized due to hoarding and scarcity, making the hobby a prime investment target. Solely depending on stocks, 401ks, and the imaginary value of the common dollar itself for retirement, is just not the way to go nowadays - you have to diversify and support a healthy market - it is an absolute must! 

One day you’re going to wake up in a world where a cup of coffee and a bagel will cost you $70 at the discount market (it’s coming within the next 40 years). The dollar will inevitably falter, that is a fact.

Next opposing point from the posts above…

Some may argue that high numismatic collection value will hurt newcomers to the hobby, but the opposite is true. The high values of collections attract new people to the hobby. The high numismatic collection value also regulates newer collectors from driving prices up or down artificially and/or erratically, due to fads and bulk purchases/dumps based off their inexperience (which is taking place today). However, with high numismatic collection prices, it creates a bottleneck, forcing most of the newbies to build a collection slowly, one step at a time, creating a healthier market, and gaining the needed experience on the way. 

Steady, yet significant gains in our collection values is a win/win for all - it is crucial for the hobby to survive. A stagnant (or break even market), will, in the end, kill the hobby. 

The Future of coin collecting,.. 

At this point in time, I am deeply concerned for the future of coin collecting, the history it preserves, the joy it brings, and the jobs it creates. The groundless increases on premiums for freshly minted coins, gimmicks, plus over abundances of quick-flip dishonest dealers, and high fees for grading, are very real, and arguably, the most significant contributing factors to the decline.

When you see entities grabbing/snatching from the bottom as a priority over maintaining service, dependability and value to the individuals that feed the industry, this will always stifle value/earnings from the top (the collector’s realized investment) - a typical red flag of a failing, or soon to be failing, market. A lose/lose for everyone! When the opportunistic vultures circle, death is approaching. 

Thank you for reading. Those with opposing points of view are appreciated and welcomed to counter.


Enjoy your weekend! 

Edited by FroggyHopper
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