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Foolish Advice?

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Across the street a statement was posted to the effect of "I told my wife when I die to send all my coins to PCGS for grading and then sell them." This caught my eye and raised my eyebrows.

 

To me, that's not good advice - at the very least it's incomplete. Take the Benson Collection, for example. The coins went thru PCGS once and then were sold at auction where they realized many multiples of list value. Why? Because PCGS consistently undergraded the coins and because they had eye appeal in excess of their technical grade. Suppose Dr Benson had died and left his wife with that very advice. What if she followed it to the letter but went to the local coin dealer who offered her 80 cents on the dollar at the holdered grade. She'd be significantly poorer for his advice. She'd be better off having consigned the collection raw to a reputable auction company. Or working with a trusted dealer to get the coins in the right holder for the quality of the coin - be that holder NGC or PCGS - and then sold in the appropriate venue.

 

To rely upon one grading company so blindly that you don't think it all the way thru is just asking for trouble!

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The correct advice is to donate the collection to the East Village Numismatic Charity Foundation!

 

smile.gif

 

Seriously, though, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink! Unless it's hard Kool-aid!

 

EVP

 

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I have left explicit written instructions on the disposal of my collection upon my death. Since my death has been immenent for awhile now, it was imperative that I give my children clear instructions on how to follow the intent on my will. This includes my giving all my doctors a copy of the Living Will.

 

A friend has copies of all my keys, plus the location and worth of my investments. I have done this in addition to appointing my Brother executor. Most people put these things off and die Intestate. This is a bad idea! Everyone should be well prepared, particularly as they get older. This all sounds very morbid, but it is imperative. tongue.gif

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As my grandfather gets up in years, I try to increase my coin learning as rapidly if I can. I know that he has tens of thousands of dollars in coins, and at this point, have no idea of the composition of his collections, except that it's probably a lot of Morgans and Saints. I have an uncle who knows a little about numismatics, but not enough. Maybe between the two of us, we will be able to make sure everything is taken care of when the time comes.

 

Recently, even at my age, I wrote out some instructions for myself. My mother was purchasing her funeral plots, and decided to get enough for my sister and I, and any future family members we may have.

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This brings up an interesting point in parallel to what has been written on other posts...

 

I believe that the truly pure collector is very rare. This sort of collector is one that could care less about the ultimate disposal of his/her collection. This kind of person does not care if coins are obtained slabbed, raw, with guarantees, or any other overlayering of words. They do not care about the value of their coins, nor about if, when, how they are inherited, then disposed of. What this person cares about is the simple joy that their collection brings and all of the trappings included in that.

 

Most of us are not pure collectors. We care about the value of our coins. In the present, we care that our coins can at least sustain the value of our purchase (or something close to that), and we may further care that one coin is a stepping stone in value to another, i.e., that there is an immediate and inherent growth potential of each and every piece. In the long term, we care that our collections increase in value, and perhaps we care that each and every coin in our collections increases in value. We care that if we croak in an untimely way, our collection will float itself monetarily and not be a burden to its inheritors. Further, we may care that our collections have some lasting value to its inheritors, and may continue to grow in terms of its innate worth (the collector's worth), as if we can impart the same fascination to those who will receive our coins as we ourselves had for them. Moreover, we may care that our coins bring lasting monetary value to the final recipients.

 

These are all time-dependent qualities and have true sustenance in how we collect, organize, and maintain our coins and their peripheral affairs.

 

I do not believe that we should delude ourselves into thinking that we can pass on any collector's value to those who will inherit our coins. It is difficult to pass a master's wisdom to an accolade.

 

Thus, if by monetary concern we ultimately are faced with selling our collection or passing on premium worth, then we should concern ourselves in some lesser or greater way with all of the political nuances of the coin market. And it is troubled. Especially when the perception is that collectors are maneuvered about by companies such as grading services. Indeed, grading services have lost their way when they begin to think that their assessments of grades and how they manipulate that are what make the market. These services are the devices of collectors, not the other way around. The long history of grading and valuation of coins should be the cornerstone for each and every grading service's conduct, as those tenets were created by collectors for collectors.

 

This is why we should be concerned about standards, consistency, and maintaining attributes thereof through time. This is why it is detestable for grading services to shift their standards and create inconsistency, as it harms virtually everyone, except the true collector, and it harms the hobby, and it harms the inheritors of coins and the inheritors of the hobby. For a grading company to attempt to make a market of coins is pure insolence and is detestable as it puts their opinion before the entire history of the hobby. They need to stick to grading and be satisfied that that is the only market they are in. Anything else is simply greed.

 

Hoot

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All of my children are not interested in coins. It then becomes a practical consideration to suggest as I did, because the first thing that they will do with the collection is sell it. Practically speaking, I am trying to maximize the estate that they inherit, since none of them have any knowledge of coin collecting.

 

Plus, their mother my EX!!-wife, has always treated my coin collecting, usually in a loud voice, as one of my greatest personal character flaws! This is one of the ten greatest reasons, out of a list of hundreds, why we are no longer married! tongue.gif

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Good post Hoot.

No children here so I'm trying to educate my nieces and nephews and Godchildren and build collections for them with gifts on Christmas and birthdays. Hopefully I can make some of them interested in collecting. The nicest coins will get split up between them after I'm gone and the ones who tried to learn will know to appreciate them or know how not to get burned selling them and maybe help their cousins. All of them probably know they won't get rich from my absence.

And I hope any member's idea of an imminent demise is mistaken.

 

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Hoot - alot of what you said is on point, but some clarifications. The pure collector for instance IS interested in what happens to the coins. Most of the great collections planned out how they would be distributed. IMO the purest collectors were the ones who loved their collections so much that they donated them so others could enjoy them. You also seem to suggest that PCGS and NGC have another agenda other than coin grading. I must disagree here. All they do is grade. Collectors have steered the rest of the way. And except for very few occurrances of abuse, why do you chant inconsistant standards? Could you be more specific, say in the series you collect. What do you collect? It might help me understand your concern. I collect lincolns (MS 09 - 58) and find the services to be very consistent. Not to say that the 2 majors always agree, but each is consistent in how they grade their own merchandise even over time. Please demonstrate with specifics how you back up your point.

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Sorry to hear about death looming about. I'm a cat scan technologist and see death, sickness all of time. It affects me most when I see the saddened families an illness/death leaves. My dad died when I was 16. My advice: don't let things go unsaid with your kids or wife. Your coin collection is secondary. Yet Proverbs says, "A righteous man will leave an inheritance for his children and his children's children".

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Yet Proverbs says, "A righteous man will leave an inheritance for his children and his children's children".

 

Isn't the context about spiritial inheritance, i.e., a continued path to God?

 

EVP

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lincolnSence - Thanks for the reply.

 

I stand by what i said about a pure collector. It is my belief that a pure collector collects only for him/herself. Visions of others enjoying or endulging in their collection is vastly secondary and does not form a motivation for their endeavors. Just my belief. Anyone who is not a pure collector is not wrong - not by any means - as there is no right or wrong there. I am not a pure collector.

 

PCGS and NGC have another agenda other than coin grading. I must disagree here. All they do is grade.

 

Hmmm... PCGS, NGC, and ANACS are the foremost services that tout their coins, as if they make them or as if a coin wrapped in their holder is superior. They have ample advertising in this vein, just look at any publication. What they do is tie the market for coins to coins' inherent worth. This goes way beyond grading and touting skills as a grading, attribution, and authentication service. PCGS is one tier worse: some of their owners (I guess many people are owners since they are a publicly owned company, so I don't know the right word) deal in coins and sell the hard line that "PCGS coins" are superior. Just look at any DHRC newsletter, for instance. The quantity of BS in one of those newsletters is tough to take, even once a month. Another thing PCGS does is call their registry sets the "finest sets of... of all time." Pure stinking BS. Tradedollarnut's sets are easy to point to as counter-examples, but how many other sets exist outside of the registries that beat the pants off of the registry sets? I truly don't know, but I would wager that there are quite a few.

 

why do you chant inconsistant standards? Could you be more specific

 

This one is easy. I have had graded perhaps 700 coins in the last year. Not a lot, but enough. These coins have spanned the gamut of 20th century coins, but most were buffalo nickels, Jefferson nickels, and post-1964 proof and mint state sets. Indeed, more than half of the coins graded were the latter and only until recently, virtually all of those went to PCGS. Until July of this year, focusing on proofs, I was quite use to the return on grades spanning the range from PF67 to 69, with the vast majority being 69, a few 68s and an occasional 67. Suddenly in July, this dropped. Only an occasional 69, many 68s and many 67s. My coins didn't change, so what did? At the same time there was an uproar about the "new tightened standards at PCGS." Well guess what, those are not "tightened" standards, those are shifted standards. Inconsistency at it's finest. I gave them a second try, only to my disappointment. I also noticed that their attribution of CAM and DCAM started to go all over the map. Others complained similarly. So, there has been a quorum on this issue for several months. Just ask Greg Marguli about his own experience with moderns, as he has had vastly more coins graded than I with similar tales to tell.

 

Now, my favorite coins... nickels. PCGS has graded the same 1935 buffalo nickel for me as MS65, body bagged as AT, and MS64. They have called two nickels, one 1913-S and one 1925-S cleaned that were not. I sent both of those coins to ANACS to see if they would net grade them for something that I could not see and they did not net grade them (since there was nothing to net grade them for). I have had about 10 or 15 buffalo nickels graded by NGC and have looked at thousands. NGC is very tough on buffalos and is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most consistent service out there for the series. (I've also looked at thousands of PCGS graded buffs and hundreds of ANACS. PCGS does poorly with date grading [an aspect of market grading the series] and ANACS is +/- a point with each coin, but usually on target.) I have crossed several buffs to NGC that I thought were properly graded by PCGS and they crossed. I have tried the same from NCG to PCGS and they have not crossed. (This I did for kicks, although it could have been serious). Jeffersons.... I have sent a fair number to both PCGS and NGC (probably 30 to NGC and 50 to PCGS). I grade my own nickels and feel pretty comfortable with that, although I sometimes overgrade Jeffs. With NGC, I have resubmitted a couple of Jeffs I thought were undergraded, only to have them come back the same (dammit). With PCGS, I have coins come back above, at, and below my grade, and have had 4 Jeffersons misattributed - 5 CLEAN steps with no FS designation. (I'm currently in an argument with PCGS over those coins and 8 others that they gave the FS designation to that are questionable, so that's all I'll say). To their credit, I recently submitted two FS Jeffs in ANACS holders to PCGS that crossed straight over.

 

As for ANACS, I usually only submit problem coins, but I have bought a few nickels in ANACS holders and either keep them as such, crack them and send them to NGC, or try to cross them to PCGS. These work out well, and I have to conclude that ANACS knows nickels.

 

My overall point: I have tested the services and looked at a hell of a lot of coins, and PCGS is unpredictable in their grading, attribution and authentication. Yes, my personal experience is limited, but combined with what I have observed and what others have experienced, I feel educated enough to make the claims I have.

 

Hope this answers your questions.

 

Hoot

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Hoot - thank you for that detailed response. Sometimes when I visit this forum (and the PCGS board) I leave a little smarter, and sometimes a little more discouraged. I personally collect because it is an interest and I enjoy the feeling of accomplishing something (the accountant in me I guess). I have yet to cross a handful of NGC coins over to PCGS to begin the "registry process". I'm afraid with lincolns there is only one registry king of the hill. When I get past this milestone I will be happy to upgrade as I can, but will be feeling "no pressure" as they say. If I was smarter when I started, I would have collected all US coins in VF or lower to satisfy my habit! Ultimately, this is my vision of the pure collector, the person who doesn't care about the grade, or the holder. Just the coins story, it history, its statistics. This is where I'm headed hopefully by years end. Besides, I get to buy more books and can dig in to many other series. BTW you never mentioned what you collect.

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BTW you never mentioned what you collect.

 

Sorry lincolnSence! I collect buffalo and Jefferson nickels with a bit of a passion/obsession/nearly fatal financial tendency. These are my registry coins. I also collect commems, but only have a few classic commems; the modern commems I've slabbed for the sake of preference in keeping, and I only like them if they are not Olympic coins (except for the $5 Nike). (I detest the fact that there are so many Olympics coins. Can't we figure out some really important people or events to commemorate? I know, I know, support the Olympics and all that, but it's gone too far.) I have a handful of slabbed silver Kennedies and Ikes. I collect all late 20th century stuff in albums and just got started with AU bust halves. Coins just swim through my subconscious and cause my life complete distraction.

 

I sold my car to collect more coins. I have sold most of my valuable passessions to collect coins. I spend little on clothes. I am frugal with food. I read too much and not enough.................................................

 

I sell my excess on eBay or to people I know, including a local dealer.

 

Bla bla bla, Hoot tongue.gif

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The $10 1984 Olympic in MS is still one of my favorite modern commems. Maybe because I got to see the torch that year as it came to Dallas, but it's probably my #1 choice in commems (modern).

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Keith - What would have been nice is if in 1984 the Olympic games in general had been fully commemorated! If all we had were such coins from that important year (centennial of the modern Olympics right?), then I'd have no complaint.

 

Hoot

 

p.s. I surely don't mean offense to anyone, just a matter of tase, although as I've said before, given our legislation limiting commems, I'd like to see more diversity.

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The 1988 commems were OK, the gold better than the silver, the 1992 were good, especially the dollar and the gold, but in 1996, the Olympic commems became jokes. Nothing against some of the designs, but wow, did we really need 16 different designs?

 

And the recent Salt Lake stuff looked pretty lame.

 

It's now gotten to overkill, with the Olympics almost being guaranteed a commem spot in the rotation every 4 years. I agree on that point fully.

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Yet Proverbs says, "A righteous man will leave an inheritance for his children and his children's children".

 

Isn't the context about spiritial inheritance, i.e., a continued path to God?

 

EVP

 

I just re-read it in Proverbs 13:22. The context is that a foolish man will let his wealth dwindle, slip through his fingers but a wise, prudent man will not squander his wealth. My daughter is only 12 years old but this proverb is always on my thoughts for her sake.

Yet, the New Testament states, "Lay up your treasures in heaven where neither rust nor moth can corrupt it" and "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his soul in the bargain?"

One should always be well balanced maintaining a view of the "big picture" and not become unbalanced with an unnatural lust for material gain.

 

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Victor: Thank you for your kind words.

 

 

Charles,

I spoke them from my heart. My dad died 20 years ago and even though he knew death was immenent, he left many things unsaid and instead was irritable and mean. It still hurts to this day. That's why I wrote what I did.

 

On the lighter side....

Another proverb says, " 'Tis better to live on a corner of your roof than to live under the roof of a bickering woman."

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Hoot - thank you for that detailed response. Sometimes when I visit this forum (and the PCGS board) I leave a little smarter...

 

Ditto that! You are a wise owl.

 

Victor

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...and I only like them if they are not Olympic coins (except for the $5 Nike).

 

That is by far the most beautiful modern gold commemorative in my opinion! I bought it NGC ms 70 uncirculated since I like it so much. I also like the Columbus $5.

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p.s. I surely don't mean offense to anyone, just a matter of tase, although as I've said before, given our legislation limiting commems, I'd like to see more diversity.

 

I might be biased as an x-ray tech but I have no idea why there wasn't a 100 year commemorative coin honouring Welhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of "x" rays in Nov. 1895.

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might be biased as an x-ray tech but I have no idea why there wasn't a 100 year commemorative coin honouring Welhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of "x" rays in Nov. 1895.

 

I think we can see right through you... smile.gif

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a 100 year commemorative coin honouring Welhelm Roentgen, the discoverer of "x" rays in Nov. 1895.

 

My point exactly, Victor. I would like to see such commemorations, but since the program limits the issuance of commems to two themes per year, it is difficult when repetative themes, e.g. the Olympics, take up so much of the room for commemorative issues.

 

As I was corrected, the centennial of the modern Olympics was 1996. If this had been the only year that Olympic coins had been issued, then there may have been less heartburn over the issuance of so many coins for the commemoration that year. They could also have been more concentrated on the art of those coins, focusing on classic art or traditional symbolism that depicts the Olympic games rather than a hodge-podge of events.

 

I guess I really have a bur up my #$$ over that one. But the driving force behind the repetition is money - raising money for the Olympics. That does not belong as such a dominating theme in our modern commemorative coinage and it sours the series in my opinion.

 

If we cannot bring ourselves to commemorate specific achievements or the people who accomplished them, then why not do catch-all themes, like "great accomplishments in science" or humanities, music, peace, whatever. Issue a half a dozen coins under such catch-alls and a lot could be drawn attention to that deserves the recognition.

 

Rant, rave, rant, rave... tongue.gif Hoot

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