Are we pricing new young collectors out of the hobby?
I recently exchanged e-mails with a young collector who is just getting started. His collectors' society name is chaosxemperor. He took the time to share his excitement about getting a nice MS-63 1904-O morgan (see "The Newest Addition" journal entry). In expressing his excitement he stated that the coin was expensive ($52.00). Apparently he has recieved e-mails stating that the coin was neither rare or expensive. Shame on you. This youngster was elated with his purchase in the same manner that we all probably were when we bought our first nice 100+ year old coin.
Remember, collecting is a journey. I have several dollars in my collection that are well into three and four figures for price. But some of my favorite pieces are what many consider to be "just a 63 or 64." These coins create special memories for me that I will always treasure. Memories like buying that first uncirculated morgan. Or falling in love with that first DMPL even though it was really baggy. Or finding that first 04-O that had a good strike and nice luster.
If you look at the picture of the coin this young collector purchased, you would see that he made a great buying decision within his budget. The dollar is decently struck, looks very clean with few bagmarks for the grade, and from the 1***** rating from DRLC, it is assured to have excellent luster. Just because it's not a date that Wayne Miller lists as a 9+ in his rarity index should not diminish a young collector's excitement.
Think about this coin for what it really is. Yes, the 1904-O is a common date. But those of you who are old enough to have picked through original bags or original rolls of 04-O's understand that a fully struck, lustrous high end 63 (after looking at this dollar, I think it may be a 64) is well above average. We more seasoned collectors who search for higher grades (65-67) tend to forget that these higher grades make up less than 2% of the surviving uncirculated specimens.This is just a guess, but I would suspect that a high end 63 is in the top 20% of MS specimens. To really accent this point, look through the put together bags and rolls that survive. You'll find that really scruffy 60-62's are out there in the millions.
A great decision was made by a young collector who may own and cherish this dollar for the rest of his life. How he perceives acceptance of this coin amongst the rest of us may well affect whether this young collector continues on the journey. And let's face it, what are our collections worth in the future if youngsters don't give a darn and become disinterested? So if you are one of those who sent this youngster one of the aforementioned e-mails, you owe him an apology!!!