It?s hard to describe the fun I am having assembling my latest registry set based on New Orleans Morgan Dollars called, ?Born on the Bayou?.
Greetings all, a little more than a month ago I started a new registry set based on New Orleans minted Morgan Dollars. Little did I know at the time that what started as a whim has turned into a source of great enjoyment. Since then, I have learned much about coin collecting in general and the Morgan Dollar in particular. While I cannot adequately describe everything that has happened in the last month with one journal post, I can give a general overview in this post and elaborate more on the details in later journals.
It is always wise before beginning any endeavor to count the costs. The concept for this set started with determining whether it was financially feasible to complete. Once I determined that it was indeed doable; I set a budget of no more than $200/coin. As with any set, there are always a few budget-busting coins. While most of the dollars in my set can be acquired in choice or gem BU condition for less than $200, some coins are only obtainable in lower circulated grades. For instance, the 1895-O dollar has a Fair Market Value of $16,250 in MS-60. Moreover, the value of this coin only becomes less than $1000 starting in grades XF and lower. Even a Good 4 or 8-graded coin is valued at $219! In the instance of this coin, along with the 1893 and 1903 coins, I determined the minimum grade I will accept is VG 10 or higher, realizing that each of these coins would cost me over $200.
My strategy for completing any set is to try to obtain the key dates first. The 1903-O dollar in VG condition has a FMV of $288 and $513 in MS-64. Since the difference in the value between the two is just $225, I bought a gorgeous MS-64 example on sale from David Lawrence Rare Coins over Labor Day weekend for less than FMV. Perusing Teletrade and E-Bay listings for 1893-O and 95-O dollars seemed fruitless, and when they were available, they tended to be overpriced. Then last week I located both coins on E-Bay from a single seller. The 1893-O dollar certified at PCGS F-15 had one bid and the 1895-O at PCGS VG-10 had none. I placed both my bids through a snip program at FMV and won the 1893-O at less than FMV. The 1895-O ended without clearing the seller?s reserve, but since my bid was the only bid, I was hoping for a second chance offer. Shortly after the listing ended, I got my offer and immediately seized upon it. Now I have all three key coins at very good prices.
Desiring to learn all I can about Morgan Dollars I bought a book by Q. David Bowers entitled, ?A Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars?. Contained in the book is a complete history and price guide pertaining to the Morgan Dollar. As I was reading this book, I discovered a fascinating story on the 1903-O Morgan Dollar that I will elaborate on in a future post. Along with the stories is an abundance of other useful information that I will use to write owner descriptions for each of my coins.
Where possible, I thought it would be nice to collect rainbow-toned coins. Even though there is a premium attached to these coins, I find that most fit within my budget. The conditions necessary to tone coins ?naturally? and the science behind it is fascinating. Additionally, the selection of these coins corresponds to my taste, making it much more fun to pick and choose.
The coin pictured below was listed on E-Bay as a ?buy it now? for more money than my budget allowed. However, the seller was also accepting best offers and I made him an offer at cost plus postage of slightly less than $200. To my amazement, the seller accepted my offer, allowing me to purchase the coin while sticking to my budget.
As far as budgets go, I am learning that if I am patient and stick to my budget, I will get the coins I want at cheaper prices. The hard part is being willing to walk away from a coin I like simply because it is off budget, as was the coin pictured in my post. When it comes to coins, self-discipline is tough, but I am learning that good things come to those who wait and surprisingly my set stands today at 50% complete! Happy collecting all!