A year of victories, defeats, growth, and insanity
I just passed 1 year of membership in NGC?s Collector?s society. Initially, I made journal entries on a fairly regular basis. While I have been a coin collector for over 45 years, my activity in the hobby would come and go. Occasional catalysts would crank up my interest for a short time and then finances or other ?real life? priorities would push numismatics to the ?back burner? for a time. I?ve had my collection on the ?front burner? now for a couple of years.
My lifetime of coin collecting began with searching for the coins to fill an album of whatever set happened to be ?at the top of my list? on any given day. I think we all started out with a Whitman penny folder and expanded from there. My (our) beginnings in this hobby began with the daily search through Dad?s change for that one coin that could fill a hole in our folders. I remember bouncing from bank to bank purchasing rolls of pennies and nickels, searching those rolls, then returning a handful of change to one of those banks in exchange for more unsearched rolls. I?m sure that I am the reason for more than one 1960's bank teller?s nervous breakdown or early retirement. Those days of innocence and ?bank treasures? are now much scarcer. Numismatics now calls for research, knowledge, and considerably more outlay than it did then.
Morgan Dollars had always been my favorite. These big, heavy, chunks of silver had grabbed my attention from the first time I held one. In the mid 60's, I purchased a roll for about twice face value. A few others came my way as gifts. In 1973, I purchased 3 more in the GSA auction. The seed was planted!
Two years ago, two elderly aunts gave me some coins that had been stashed away in a drawer for a few years. These were not old coins, mostly U.S. proof, mint, and commemorative sets from the 1980's. Also included were mint and proof sets from other countries and a smattering of Morgans, buffaloes, assorted silver. Nothing of extreme value, BUT these additions to my stash triggered the desire (spelled ?N-E-E-D?) to get my rear in gear on my collection.
This catalyst set me on the trail towards the goal of building a complete set of Morgan Dollars. I had a ?base? for the set built in my younger days, but this base still only comprised about 20% of the set. Ebay, Heritage, and other purchases finally filled my Dansco albums. Enough? Not yet!
Then came NGC. Certified, slabbed examples were now the goal. Fueled by the desire to climb the ranks of the #1 collected coin in the NGC registry, my passion turned to a wild, no holds barred, fervor. My resources are not a bottomless pit. Completion of this goal was not sought without concern for my other financial responsibilities.
On April 14, 2006, I reached the goal, set completed. Should I be happy that I?d completed this series, should I work to improve the set, or should I branch off into another series? I pondered my next numismatic goal and posted a journal entry declaring such. I received input from some of my fellow coin nuts that my position in the rankings was in jeopardy and that upgrading the set would be my best move.
In the 6 months since my last journal entry and the completion of ?Poor Man?s Insanity? I?ve upgraded 40 of the 105 coins called for in the set. I?ve added over 20,000 points and managed to climb about 9 places in the rankings. The end is not in sight, although a slowing down is imminent.. Any upgrades now will call for significant expenditures. I?ll keep plugging away. While I?ll never climb much further up the rankings, I?ll still have a complete set of Morgans.
One of these days, I?ll decide that I can do no more with my Morgan set and I?ll move on. Until I reach that day, I?ll sit surrounded by these beautiful silver discs and I?ll smile.
Such is the joy of the coin collector. Whether one feels that he (or she) needs to improve an existing set or move on to another, there is always a road to take and a goal to conquer.
P.S. I'm still waiting for my 20th anniversary Eagles. Pic is of 1879 O with electric blue highlights on obverse. A cool looking Morgan.