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Offline Lucas H

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Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« on: May 01, 2012, 07:56:49 am »
In reading posts from new collectors, and thinking back to my own dilemma, I thought we could cobble together some advice for new collectors reading here on collection strategies.  When I was starting, the dilemma for me was between a few nice coins, or lots of more common ones. 

My initial interest was in ancient coins in general, but specifically those with a biblical connection.  I did a lot of looking, and neither the art nor history of the Byzantine Empire appealed to me.  I liked the art and history associated with many of the Greek coins, but many were outside my price range, and it still lacked that biblical connection.  I initially gravitated toward the Judean bronzes, and collected a number of those, but quickly learned my language limitations as I couldn't decipher the Hebrew.  I collected a few Persian coins as well, but I didn't find joy in having more than one (or maybe two) Persian Siglos with the Great King, as they all tended to look the same to me.  Now, I was in love with the silver though.  Prior to discovering ancients, I was in love with silver coins anyway in my collection of American coins.  Something about the look, and feel, of a silver coin calls to me. 

I tried a few denarii of the later Empire (Hadrian), and while I liked the silver and I could decipher the Latin legends much better than Greek or Hebrew, again, the history of the period just did not call to me.  I continued to browse coins, and as always, tried to learn more history.  As it all came together, the silver of the 12 Caesars (Imperators and Republic as well) became my true love.  The silver metal was my thing.  The period covered the formation of the Christian religion.  As an attorney, I've always had a love of government formation, and this period saw a shift from a Republic to an Empire as well, and that history really called to me.

Had I purchased a few, nicer coins, I don't know that I would have had the budget to experiment through these various periods to end up with something I truly had a passion for.  Several experienced collectors encouraged me to buy nicer coins as it would be better for my collection and resale if it ever came to it.  I suppose that's true, as I have more prutah than I could hock at a coin fair, but that was part of my learning process.

Off to the races, I started collecting what I could.  Within the 12 Caesars, it quickly became clear that the Flavians were probably the most common, and therefor, the most affordable, and I acquired a number of coins.  As my collection progressed, I learned more (about the hobby, availability, prices, and myself), I found that I did not need pristine pieces, but I desired to upgrade some of the more common, but worn, denarii I initially picked up.  The price difference between a worn denarii, and a nicer example, on the more common types, was not that much, and my enjoyment was enhanced by having nice devices and complete legends.  In my own journey, I had gone from a number of common, more affordable coins, to fewer, nicer examples in my own collecting practices.

Inspired by another recent thread that took a tragic turn, I thought we could pool the experience of our board here for some advice on collection strategies.  I know this advice has been given to many on individual threads over time, but I wanted to have a thread to collect it in one place.  If we get a good pool of advice, I'll make it a sticky topic for beginners on this board like common mistakes and books.

1.  What to collect and why (Greek, Roman, Byzantine)?
2.  Fewer, nicer coins, or more coins of a more common or worn variety?

Offline SC

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 10:59:15 am »
I think there are many different options for the new collector.

To me the first and most important question a new collector should ask themselves is "why?".  Why do they want to collect ancient coins

The answer(s) to this question will help direct some decisions. 

For example if it is ancient Greece that really attracts someone then they should try starting with Greek coins even if their budget limits them to rough bronzes or tiny silvers, etc.  Yes they could get nicer quality late Roman coins for less money but better to stick to their passion.

Some answers, like "making an investment", "having a few coins to display or as conversation pieces", or due to a "strong attraction to a specific time or area or ruler" could point a new collector towards Mark's suggestion of buying one nice quality coin.

However, other responses to the why question could lead to other strategies. 

Some people are interested in uncleaned coins - their hobby is more like a craft - through their work and skill they turn an uncleaned coin into a cleaned and identifiable one (that is the goal anyway).  Here you want both some cheap practice coins (culls or low grade uncleaneds) and a source of nice uncleaneds (e.g. forvm stock) so you have a chance to end up with nice results.

Others like the puzzle / challenge of attributing unattributed coins.  Once again this sort of desire leads in a different direction to lots, or small groups, of cleaned, or "semi-cleaned", but unsorted / un-attributed coins.

Other people are interested in linking their collecting with research - maybe into the general time period or specific Emperors, etc.  In this case a collector might want to buy more inexpensive coins rather than fewer expensive ones so that they have more lines of research and reading to pursue.

Though many people look down on it as cliche I would say that new collectors, if interested in the Roman Empire, should consider the "Emperor's collection" as one option.  Most of us will never do the 12 Caesars in gold or be able to get every super rare usurper even in bronze.  However it is a good introduction to Imperial coinage.  Gives you something to shop for and hunt out at shows.  Allows for a lot of research and is easily upgradeable.  A collection started with a low value limit could be built up fairly quickly but then replaced over time with better quality examples.

Personally I began collecting with both the unattributed lots route (which had the advantage of exposing me to coinages I never would have though of buying - Judaean, Nabataean, Seleucid, etc.) and the Emperor's collection route (with a self imposed $20 limit per coin).  On the down side none of these coins - the unattributed cheapos nor the various under $20 Emperors - were exactly investment pieces.  On the up side I soon had a fairly large number of coins with huge scope for reading and research. 

Shawn
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Offline curtislclay

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 02:44:26 pm »
I think there are two fundamental motives behind almost all collecting, which may help determine how a new collector sets about collecting ancient coins.

1. The desire to arouse envy in other collectors, by possessing rarities or coins in superb condition that they wish they themselves owned.

Rarities are a good option today, since relatively few collectors collect them. Even with a limited budget it is possible to acquire large numbers of rare varieties that almost no museum or other collector has. You've got to become a specialist in the series chosen, of course, so that you recognize the rarities when they happen to come up!

Everyone wants superb condition today, so you'll have to be a wealthy man, indeed richer than a millionaire, if you want to collect superb Greek tetradrachms or superb Roman aurei or medallions or sestertii! However if you choose a more affordable series, such as Roman denarii or antoniniani or Constantinian bronzes, a collection of very attractive, near perfect coins can be built up even on a moderate budget.

2. The second fundamental motive. Bargain-hunting; the delight in acquiring a coin for much less than it ought to be worth. The reason many of us used to go though rolls of coins acquired from the bank, hoping to find that 1950-D nickel for just five cents! The rarity collector of ancients will find lots of opportunites to acquire bargains, since so few other collectors today know about or seek rarities. But even the condition collector will make the occasional killing if he is persistent and patient and lucky!

A third motive for a good number of collectors: possessing a coin can be a powerful spur to investigating its rarity, chronology, and historical background, so educating yourself about the relevant culture and time period. See Doug Smith's excellent educational site, based almost exclusively on coins in his own collection. And as John Hooker, an expert on Celtic coins, recently wrote on Moneta-L, he has never made any important contribution or discovery about ancient coins without being spurred to start the investigation by having such a coin in his personal collection. My own first publication, in Num. Chronicle 1970, was on an As that I had just acquired from Seaby's, which I subsequently sold to the British Museum about twenty years later: "Nilus and the Four Seasons on a New As of Septimius Severus".



Curtis Clay

Offline Robert_Brenchley

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 03:48:56 pm »
You seem to be doing much the same as I did when I started. Give it time, and see what interests you. Read the history behind the coins, and don't be put off by strange languages. It takes a while to learn the Hebrew script used on coins, for instance, even if you know the very different script used today. You get there with patience. If you're very rich, by all means go for EF Nero sestertii or whatever, but unless you're a multi-millionaire, find another period which interests you.

Anyone can acqure rarities in superb condition, as many of them are obscure, with few people after them, and it's just a matter of patience. You'll probably get more satisfaction from developing an in-depth interest in a particular specialism than a random collection, but give it time and see what takes your fancy. If you do, you'll find after a while that you're spotting the rarities other people miss.
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Offline Heliodromus

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 07:47:03 pm »
Quote from: Lucas H on May 01, 2012, 07:56:49 am
1.  What to collect and why (Greek, Roman, Byzantine)?
2.  Fewer, nicer coins, or more coins of a more common or worn variety?

One consideration that's going to play into both of these is that you need to collect what you can afford, and for most people it's not going to be very satisfying only buying 2-3 coins a year. A collection is like the proverbial shark - it needs to keep moving/growing to stay alive, or you'll lose interest. I'd suggest collecting an area/quality that'll allow you to buy at least one coin a month, or more. Within this constraint, buying fewer nicer coins is generally going to be more satisfying over the long term, especially since your taste/budget is likely to increase as you get hooked!

Ben

Offline Andrew McCabe

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 05:02:04 am »
Collections indeed need to change but that doesn't always mean more, it can also mean fewer. My own collection has undergone a metamorphosis in the last 5 years. It had grown to a point of virtual completeness as regards rarity, with examples of hundreds of extremely rare coins, all in deplorable condition, but had no consistency on quality, with just a random scattering of nice coins. I have gone through a systematic process of weeding out poor condition commoner coins, and/or coins where, though rare and identifiable, key design features are completely missing (and thus are of dubious value for educational purposes), selling all such (but only after I photographed and loaded them on my website) and am now infilling with better examples. I was at 2000 coins and am now at 1000, but really the collection of 1000 is so much better than that of 2000. I've now fixed the size of my collection - based on my safe box - and operate under a one-coin-in-one-coin-out rule.

What relevance does this have to beginners? Well, by my approach I chose to specialise deeply first, and only afterwards transition to quality. In that way I got to handle a lot of extremely rare coins, and through handling and examining coins with identification difficulties and missing design details I was forced to spend countless hours going through the plates of Crawford to recognise the details of Roma's helmet or prow design or lettering. Once my education was done and I'd achieved virtual completeness, it was time to change direction. Coins can be sold (though probably for less than what you paid for them) so whatever course a beginner sets out on can be changed over time. Just, whatever that direction is, do it properly, seriously and with careful study. And of course the old adage applies - buy the book before the coin.

Offline Andrew McCabe

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2012, 05:26:04 am »
.... examples of hundreds of extremely rare coins, all in deplorable condition, but had no consistency on quality.... I have gone through a systematic process of weeding out ....coins where, though rare and identifiable, key design features are completely missing (and thus are of dubious value for educational purposes)...

NB any coin that I know in fewer than five examples never gets weeded. Including the one below, which is the second finest example and almost the nicest known, whilst at the same time being the very worst known example. Count what that means:

[BROKEN IMAGE LINKS REMOVED BY ADMIN]
160/5 #10219-64 dolphin Mercury Prow dolphin Sextans not listed in Crawford[/url] by [BROKEN IMAGE LINK REMOVED BY ADMIN], on Flickr

(RRC 160 dolphin sextans, not in Crawford)

Offline SC

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2012, 07:48:55 am »
I think there are two fundamental motives behind almost all collecting, which may help determine how a new collector sets about collecting ancient coins.

1. The desire to arouse envy in other collectors, by possessing rarities or coins in superb condition that they wish they themselves owned.
.....

2. The second fundamental motive. Bargain-hunting; the delight in acquiring a coin for much less than it ought to be worth.
.....
A third motive for a good number of collectors: possessing a coin can be a powerful spur to investigating its rarity, chronology, and historical background, so educating yourself about the relevant culture and time period.
......


Very interesting observations Curtis.  They surprised me somewhat.  Especially the first one.  Working as a professional in the trade you obviously have a very different experience than I do and I guess it must be this experience that leads to your list of motives.

Though I understand fully the human propensity for envy I would not have put it on the list - or at least not in the top few.  Maybe that is because my collecting experience is much more "solitary" than yours.  I have no real group of live humans whom I have ever been able to get together with and discuss / share collections.  There have either been subject issues (no one interested in ancients) or language issues with any "coin clubs" where I have lived.  My wife and kids are polite but really don't care.  So I am limited to a set of online friends and contacts through things like the forvm.  Even here I have been woefully negligent in posting my collection - mainly as I have few photography skills (still can't stitch images of obverse and reverse together). 

Instead one of my motives is a much more internal "collecting instinct" which fuels the "need to complete".  In a way I guess I am in competition with myself.  I "need" to fill in the next gap in my trays.

This "need to complete" facet of the collecting instinct is I think a major driver among many collectors.

So if you collect the "Roman Emperor set" there is always someone out there you need to complete your collection.  Despite the fact that I have more chance of becoming Pope than I do of owning a Dryantilla she is still one of many "gaps" in my collection.  Nowadays my focus is one rare late Roman reverse types I don't have and mints I am still missing for the types I do have.  Thus even though I love the bargain hunt and the never ending research there is a big component of gap-filling.

Shawn

 
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Offline David Atherton

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2012, 09:05:34 am »
I came to collecting coins by way of the history behind them. When I was 13 or 14 I bought Robert Graves' translation of The Twelve Caesars and have been hooked on Roman history ever since. The Flavian period has always particularly held special interest for me - it's hard to beat an era that contained the Jewish War, the siege of Masada, the opening of the Colosseum, and the eruption of Vesuvius.

Early on I decided to collect cleaned, identifiable coins from an era I found fascinating and have pretty much stuck with it. The very first coin I purchased was a common Vespasian denarius in VF+ for $100...yes I did my research on both the seller and the coin before jumping in with both feet.

So, my advice - collect a niche you're interested in (historically or theme wise), try to specialize in that area, and choose quality over quantity (when possible). This advice may not be everyone's cup of tea but it works for me.

Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2012, 09:38:38 am »
Collect what you enjoy.  That is my best advice for a new collector.  

For me, I like coins with a good story.  The ultimate story coin is the EID MAR denarius.  Fortunately, since I cannot afford an EID MAR, almost every coin has a story.  I like to get a coin and then learn the story behind it.  That is what I enjoy.  

Every collector should collect what they enjoy most.  
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Offline Steve E

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2012, 11:47:05 am »
Since you've found this site, you're already far ahead of where I started!
You don't have to start out wasting money on coins you know nothing about (which may be fakes), or to buy expensive books you may hardly ever use.

Here is a huge source of fully attributed, well photographed, and guarenteed coins, both currently for sale and archived from past sales. There are many helpful tools for new and experienced collectors. Including a built-in encyclopedia of most terms you'll run into, hyperlinked throughout the site!

There is a large gallery of coins from the collections of the members. Browse through them and see what you find interesting and see what others like!

The discussion board contains treasures of information (and opinions), and are archived back many years. A search box at the bottom of most pages will take you to topics of interest.

If funds are tight, the layaway program here is the best I've found! 20% down, and 20% per month for 4 more months, on items $50 or more! This way you can snag that special (nicer) coin, that otherwise would be out of reach!

When you are ready to buy some references, again there is a hugh selection here. Most are well described, and they also qualify for layaway if over $50.00.

Many of the members have links to their own specialty sites, which are among the best in their specific fields!

No where have I found people so ready and able to help, and willing to spend much of their valuable time, with someone with an honest question or hard to ID coin!

Be respectful of their time and experience!

Collect what you find interesting and/or beautiful!

All the best! And welcome to a great world of history, art, culture, science, and tremendous satisfaction and friends with passions for the above!

~Steve

Offline curtislclay

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2012, 08:46:37 pm »
Shawn,

Arousing envy, finding bargains, stimulating studies: no, my list of reasons for collecting has nothing to do with my working for a coin dealer, but with my own experience of collecting and observing other collectors, crystallized by chance reading and a discussion with another collector.

That arousing envy is the chief motive behind all collecting I read about twenty years ago in a German short story about two collectors of modern prints by Eugen Roth, an author chiefly known for his humorous poems on human foibles, all starting "Ein Mensch", i.e. "A person" or "We humans".

"Exactly so!", I thought. When I see a splendid collection of Roman coins formed by one person in a catalogue or in the trays of a museum, my own collection pales by comparison and I am envious!

Much of my first collection is now in the British and Ashmolean Museums, and I hope that future scholars and collectors who examine those collections may be a little envious of my coins, in turn!

A collector in NYC whom I have known since college is about the only person I have ever regularly shared acquisitons with, both in person and through letters. He clearly liked it when I was envious of some of his acquisitions, and I liked it too when he was envious of mine!

Another collector told me about bringing an unpublished sestertius of Caracalla to show at the British Museum, "and I felt lucky to be allowed to leave the premises with the coin, the curators wanted it so bad!" Wouldn't that be the ultimate accolade for many collectors, that a major museum would like to acquire their coins?

When collectors show off their latest acquisitons on the internet these days, quite often a respondent will admit to not only admiration, but envy, and I am sure this reaction pleases most collectors!

I have read that the major grading services allow customers to post their American coins on line and then rank the collections according to how complete they are and how perfect the condition of the coins is. Can there be any doubt that each of those collectors is trying to put together the finest and most complete collection known, in order to earn the envy of the others?

I don't think you have to make efforts to actually show off your collection to be motivated by this desire; theoretically, you hope that your collection is the best, and will be appreciated and envied when it is dispersed, in any case!

When I have expressed these thoughts earlier on the web, some collectors have objected that arousing envy has nothing to do with why they collect, so I certainly admit the possibility that other collectors are different. But wouldn't even they admit, when it is pointed out, that wanting to arouse envy is certainly a primary motive of many or most other collectors?

Of course this motive is not confined to collecting: for the same reason many people seek to acquire the highest salary, the finest house, the most beautiful wife or the richest and most influential husband, the most expensive car or boat, even the most brilliant academic career.

I don't particularly aim for completeness in my collecting of Roman coins, just to get as many of the rarites as I can, in as good condition as I can afford. There are simply too many rarities in any larger series to give you any chance of attaining completeness, even using the BM collection as a base and only acquiring what they lack, as I have been doing for the last twenty years. And even acquiring every known type variety doesn't give you completeness; there are always interesting die varieties or die links still missing, whose acquisition would further enrich your collection.
Curtis Clay

Offline Skyler

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2012, 01:15:30 am »
 My tastes have changed over the years.
Also THERES LAYAWAY? There is a coin here I wish I would allocate a budget for ...https://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=18&zpg=65679

Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2012, 08:33:15 am »
Layaway is a checkout option.  We ask for 20% down and 20% per month for the next four months. 
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Offline Octopus Grabus

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2012, 01:18:26 pm »
As a new, to ancient coins, collector, I've opted for the "more information" is better approach.  I'm not new to collecting as a hobby, and as such I want to have as much info as possible.  There's no substitute for experience, but one has to start somewhere.  Most of my time and money right now is being spent on books and getting an understanding of the terms, types of coins, mints, etc. rather than buying.  I want my first purchase to be a good one and not something I'll regret in a year's time as my knowledge grows

Offline ancientdave

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2012, 07:24:31 pm »
Quote from: Octopus Grabus on July 06, 2012, 01:18:26 pm
As a new, to ancient coins, collector, I've opted for the "more information" is better approach.  I'm not new to collecting as a hobby, and as such I want to have as much info as possible.  There's no substitute for experience, but one has to start somewhere.  Most of my time and money right now is being spent on books and getting an understanding of the terms, types of coins, mints, etc. rather than buying.  I want my first purchase to be a good one and not something I'll regret in a year's time as my knowledge grows

This, in my opinion, is the correct approach. You are going to do well. Welcome!

Offline areich

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2012, 03:03:12 am »
I couldn't be a theoretical coin collector. It's really not that dangerous and it's more fun actually handling the coins in question.
Andreas Reich

Offline Octopus Grabus

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2012, 02:27:56 pm »
I couldn't be a theoretical coin collector. It's really not that dangerous and it's more fun actually handling the coins in question.

I know what you mean, but I'm just trying to limit my chances of making a mistake.  Right now, trying to narrow down what that first coin might be is in direct conflict with my impulsive collecting nature    ;D   Trust me, I'll be like a kid on Xmas when I buy my first coin

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2012, 03:48:59 pm »
 Not to discredit anyone but I dont think its a mistake to test the waters playfully(EDIT meaning spend a spall amount here and there to get a feel). Octupus Grabus if you like I'll send you a free coin and you can feel the enjoyment of Art and History in the palm of your hand without regret! ;D  

Offline areich

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2012, 03:49:43 pm »
Buy your first coin (and the next) from a reputable dealer, don't spend more than you can afford and know that you might not easily get your money back if you decide to resell it soon. Only buy coins you like, not coins other people tell you you should like. If you have the chance, go to a store or coin show. If you start out cheap, there is less danger of overpaying out of inexperience.
Andreas Reich

Offline Octopus Grabus

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2012, 10:04:57 am »
Not to discredit anyone but I dont think its a mistake to test the waters playfully(EDIT meaning spend a spall amount here and there to get a feel). Octupus Grabus if you like I'll send you a free coin and you can feel the enjoyment of Art and History in the palm of your hand without regret! ;D  

That's incredibly generous of you, thank you!

Offline Octopus Grabus

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2012, 10:11:06 am »
Buy your first coin (and the next) from a reputable dealer, don't spend more than you can afford and know that you might not easily get your money back if you decide to resell it soon. Only buy coins you like, not coins other people tell you you should like. If you have the chance, go to a store or coin show. If you start out cheap, there is less danger of overpaying out of inexperience.

This is definitely the best approach no matter the hobby  +++ 

Offline MagisterRiggs

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2012, 11:01:32 pm »
Such great information here! I have been hooked! For about three weeks I've been scoping out articles, books, articles, pictures of ancient coins, looking and following the auctions on EBAY...going to dealer sites...etc...ThenI found Forum and I have been reading for two days now on this site!  Devoured Sayles' Vol I...waiting for my book on The Coins of Carthage....Yep....a real newbie here and it's ALL fascinating!  Having problems decided which directions to go.  I'm a Latin teacher so naturally the Roman Republic coins attract...Carthage sends shivers up my spine...and I love the appearance of the coins...I noticed after much looking on EBAY that I kept being drawn to coins from Maroneia Thrace....(The Greek coins are so beautiful)   And shouldn't every one have a least one set of the 12 Emperor's....Then to top that off I started reading about Paduan Fakes....Absolutely gorgeous!

So I've whittled down to these....Any thoughts would be welcome....am I biting off too much?...are there pitfalls I should be aware of...or just totally ridiculous directions to go?

I just got my first coin in the mail today...a lovely Nero Alexandria mint...that actually opening and holding excited me more than I can remember other than the early days of my dating (Many many years ago)....

Cary

Offline carthago

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2012, 12:20:26 pm »
I don't believe there is a wrong answer in collecting strategy for ancient coins other than buying a bunch of fakes...unless that is your intended speciality!

Spend lots and lots of time looking at coins online.  After all, the hunt is much of the enjoyment.  There is so much available online today that there wasn't years ago.  See what you like and try to seek out multiple examples of what you find interesting to understand the variation, pricing and availability of a certain focus.   If you want quality, my advice is not to swing for the fences on your first purchases unless you can really afford to make some mistakes.  You will make mistakes even after you get experienced.  There is a lot to learn in ancient coins but that is also one of the best aspects of this hobby. 

I'd stay away from buying on eBay and stick with reputable ancient coin dealers exclusively.  Some sell on eBay I guess but there are lots of opportunities to get swindled there. Nothing wrong with window shopping there though.  Some may disagree, but I think it's too dangerous to buy on eBay.

Learn to "listen" to the coins.  If you spend enough time looking and not buying impulsively, you will find your path on what interests you without loading up on a lot of stuff that you will be ho hum with after you do find your path.  Your tastes will change.  Eventually, you will find that you will discover a true taste for something and when you see it you will know you need to have it.  To me in my collecting pursuits, some coins stand out and appeal to me in a much different and exciting way than others of the exact same coin.   I call that listening to the coin.  When a coin speaks to me on that level, I have never regretted owning it (though sometimes I regret what I paid for it).  Every time I see it, in fact, my heart leaps a bit like the first time we met

I started with everything Roman Imperial, Republican, and Greek.   My first coin was a heavily smoothed common As of Nero before I knew what smoothing was.  I still have it.  Next came an Athenian Owl Tetradrachm that was heavily cleaned with scratches before I knew that was a problem.  I gave my daughter that coin.   I've always been interested in the 2nd Punic War and have a few Carthaginians and thus my avatar name.  I thought that would be my focus, but alas, my tastes have changed.  Today, I'm focused almost exclusively on Roman Imperatorial and Republican.   

Spend time.  You have a lifetime to collect and these coins were here long before you and will be here long after. 

Offline Automan

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Re: Collection Strategies for the New Collector
« Reply #24 on: November 07, 2012, 04:12:31 pm »
Perhaps the joys of researching and cataloging should be added to the list of motives to collect. At least I find this to be a very relaxing activity, i.e. relaxing in the sense that it requires a great deal of concentration and therefore crowds out all other thoughts (of work or life or whatever) that may otherwise occupy one's mind. Almost manically completing row after row in an excel spreadsheet has a very peculiar joy to it, at least for those among us who have perhaps ever so slightly manic traits. There is also a feeling of accomplishment when a particularly stubborn coin has finally been nailed down, so much the better if major sources don't list it! As a consequence, in my own collecting efforts I found myself drawn to more and more obscure coins before I decided to divest entirely.

To add to Curtis' observation that many of us take pleasure in other's envy regarding the coins we own, I am sure some of us also take pleasure in the knowledge we amass - some harmless intellectual snobbery if you will.

The thrill of the hunt is another motive. I can still recall the feeling of anticipation when entering a coin show or even checking out the latest entries on that auction site (what's its name? begins with an "e". Gosh, its been so long...). What will I find? Can I make a bargain? Will someone beat me to it? Has my online Nemesis spotted the same coin?

Look at your coins and you will know which ones you like the best. Then carefully consider why. Perhaps the reasons have nothing to do with the coin types, but the ways the coins were acquired or the efforts needed for their identification. Perhaps you like them because of their green patinas or their even wear. There you have the answer to your search for focus: Buy coins you like. If you no longer like them, sell them.

Here is also a cautionay tale: My own declining interest in my field of specialization paradoxically began with a huge purchase that over night doubled my collection (and seriously hurt my bank account...). The sorting and cataloging effort was substantial and thoroughly enjoyable, not to mention opening the two boxes of 300 odd coins. However, every purchase after that seemed like a pale experience; there was no longer any thrill or comparable challenge. This is how I realised what ACTUALLY kept me interested.

Cheers,

Automan


 

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