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Author Topic: Common Mistakes for Beginners  (Read 53667 times)

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Offline areich

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2012, 04:23:34 pm »
How reasonable that other price is is another question. There's a well-known Ebay seller hat offers a substantial percentage of all ancients on Ebay that uses prices that are sometimes 10x too high to lure in people with more money than sense.
Andreas Reich

Offline teampunk

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #51 on: August 23, 2012, 03:38:03 pm »
my biggest mistake as a new collecter was assuming uncleaned roman coins ment getting a bunch of ceasers and neros. but then again, i started this hobby by watching hbo's rome and wondering if you could get a roman coin. also, my first uncleans i might have scrubbed a little too hard. luckily, i got reletively cheap uncleans and didn't really destroy anything too exciting. i hope.

Offline areich

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #52 on: August 23, 2012, 04:11:02 pm »
You do get caesars. Constantine as caesar, Constantine II as caesar, Constantius as caesar...   ;D
Andreas Reich

Offline Robert_Brenchley

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #53 on: August 24, 2012, 04:00:38 pm »
I had a Nero in an uncleaned lot once.
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Offline Lee S

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #54 on: October 23, 2012, 09:58:12 am »
Another great topic...

  My own experience over the last year or so has been a bit wandering...
   I was given a nice Hadrian Silver denarii by a friend after doing him a favour, as I had mentioned to him I collected old coins in my teenage years.. and thus I was hooked again!

  30 years ago I had collected old English and a few Roman ( is it my memory, or were Tetricus much more common in those days? ) , but now after spending a few years in Greece my collection is veering towards Greek, and seems to be developing by itself.... I love Rodean coins, as that is where I lived... I have bought several batches of uncleaned bronze coins to hone my skills with, which have turned out to be mostly Macedonian and Seleucid, so now I have a couple of pages of each in my binder along with one or two of each in silver, and with every new coin I acquire and research I learn a little more about the wonderful history of that area. I will still however buy the odd Roman if it appeals to me somehow... and have a couple of very nice tiny silver coins from Thrace which I bought because they were very old, pretty, silver and in my price range, and which I am saving to research over the dark Swedish winter months.

   It would be completely fair to say my collection lacks focus, other than it is all over 1500 years old, but it gives me hours upon hours of pleasure, both holding and researching the clean ones, and slowly picking away at the uncleaned ones, uncovering their secrets.

 I can however totally agree with the advice regarding on-line auctions and alcohol... even down to the point about the angry wife!!

 Best wishes...

 Lee.

Offline carthago

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #55 on: November 03, 2012, 05:42:58 pm »
As a beginner, the one "mistake" I know I made and 1 rule I have.....

DON'T SURF FOR COINS WHEN YOU ARE DRUNK!!!!!!!!

You will get a surprise in the mail 1-2 weeks later (and a pissed off spouse to go along with it).

I find that my taste is still quite good while drinking, but my budget expands considerably. 

My advice to new collectors is to learn to listen to the coin.  A coin that should be yours speaks to you the moment you see it.  Your heart leaps a wee bit when you see it and your pulse quickens.  If it's an auction, step away from the catalogue for a few days.  When you go back through it online or in hand and your heart jumps when you run across "that" coin again,  you know it's speaking to you.  I've never regretted owning a coin that speaks to me.  I've winced at what I've paid for them (especially after using a wine infused budget), but I've never regretted owning the coin.  This goes for dealers stock, coin shows, etc.  If you listen to the coin at first sight, it will speak to you every time you take it out of your case and hold it in your hand.

On coins that have spoken to me that I haven't purchased, I have regretted not buying it...or at least attempting to buy it.  Those coins still reside in my minds eye and I look for them every time I open a catalogue, rarely finding that our paths cross again. 

Offline lordmarcovan

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #56 on: April 24, 2013, 07:10:32 am »
Don't be ashamed to be a beginner.

With 36 years of assorted numismatic experience, you'd think I could call myself an expert in something.  

Not so.

Coming to this site after collecting Roman coins for five years, I very quickly realized how out of my depth I was.  I've been a numismatic hobbyist for a long time, and I'm passionate and reasonably intelligent, but I will never be the devoted scholar so many folks are here.  

I guess I'm more of a dabbler. I sample little sips of knowledge from a pretty wide variety of sources, and seldom drink very deeply from any one glass.  On one hand, this makes me "well rounded" as a numismatist, but on the other, it means I am a little bit shallow- the proverbial "jack of all trades and master of none".  I'm guess I am a generalist and not a specialist.

What I'm getting at here is... don't be afraid to be yourself, and give yourself time to learn and ask questions without being embarrassed about it, even after you have years of experience.  

We can't all be scholars.  Or wealthy, elite collectors.  Or bigtime dealers.

But there's a niche for everyone.  Don't be discouraged, and give yourself time to find yours.

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #57 on: May 09, 2013, 09:55:28 pm »
Thanks for the tips guys. I'll have to read as many books as I can in all areas and focus on one. I think Greek coins maybe and as far as a more pointed interest I'm getting there.

Offline Lucas H

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #58 on: May 10, 2013, 08:11:45 am »
Quote
Thanks for the tips guys. I'll have to read as many books as I can in all areas and focus on one. I think Greek coins maybe and as far as a more pointed interest I'm getting there.

Hello and welcome!  

Make sure you read this at Numiswiki if you have not already:
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Ancient Coin Collecting 101


For books, you may want to read this:
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/board/index.php?topic=69854.0
It covers some good books, but also points out the availability of online resources before you start buying books.  


Read a lot of threads and resources at the Forum.  Their are also good websites.  For a beginner, I highly recommend Doug Smith's pages:  https://www.forumancientcoins.com/dougsmith/ hosted here at the Forum.  For a resource hosted outside the Forum, I also recommend Warren Esty's site:  http://esty.ancients.info/

The resources above should provide hours of reading and get you well on your way.  

Offline RoryduPondius

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #59 on: May 26, 2013, 04:58:23 pm »
my biggest misconception was thinking that because something is ancient it "just has to be worth a lot of money" and i think it is a common one as well.
I LOVE cleaning uncleaned ancients.

Offline ModernCoinTraitor

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #60 on: June 10, 2013, 09:42:53 am »
Take it in small bites! It is easy to go overboard.

I originally went the way of US Modern Coins, specifically Indian Head Cents. To say the least, that's a world in itself. Spent too much collecting coins I couldn't touch. And, the more I delved, the more I realized, most modern collectable coins seem to go straight from the mint to the shelf. Where is the history in that? I wasn't "getting it." When I spoke on modern coin forums, I could feel the stares on the back of my neck. "They" don't care about the history behind the coin, just the current market value and how to keep it highest. (I'm sure some of that exists here as well, but no where near the same intensity.)

Started realizing that wasn't me. So, I got a digital microscope and started looking at my dirty coins, thinking, I can clean these up. The uproar was phenomenal. I was going to destroy my coins.

Well, the patinae on my coins are fine, but "hairline" scratches make them worth less than they were dirty. BUT, I really enjoyed working with them, learned a lot about cleaning coins without damaging them, and now they look great. (Display worthy.) Eventually, someone suggested if I want to work with the coins, I needed ancient coins. I guess he was concerned I was going to ruin his future investments. It is a different mindset on modern coins.

That led to this forum. Coins I can work with, hold the history in my hands... okay, it is not just me... I see a bunch of you in here. So, I chose to start out by buying a "better" bronze coin from the shop as my initial coin so that I could have the "goal" in my possesion when I start working on these uncleaned "rocks". As for the crusty coins, they are guaranteed authentic. Cost a little more than the ebay relatives, but look in the fake coin postings and you will notice a trend. You get what you pay for. Can't beat the guarantee and they were not picked over twenty times before being listed. (I might have a real treasure in there...  ;D )

I didn't buy a hoard, but just a few of the more common coins so I could learn the cleaning process. (And, if I damage a few, then I didn't destroy some magnificent piece of history.) Taking it slow on the cleaning as I want to achieve a coin or two that look like my "goal" coin. Plus, if I don't have the patience for cleaning them, then I shouldn't.

Attribution is the final goal. I'll be back here for more information as I get closer to that point, but I'm already starting to collect a few books to help me out.  I am hoping that once I've put in the work on a few coins, I'll find a time period I like best and settle into this hobby. From just looking in the shop, I'm already more strongly attracted to the animals and gods of the greek coins.

Of course, it is a very personal hobby as one can tell by the look from my wife and the shake of her head indicating a failure to understand as I hunch over a microscope with a toothpick, cotton swab or fine needle cleaning my coins. And, trying to spark interest in others over a dingy green coin that isn't stamped very well... it's a slow process... but, when you tell them this coin is over 2000 years old... They're eyes light up, at least for a moment or two.

Offline stlnats

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #61 on: June 10, 2013, 10:09:07 am »
Get some books. More general ones to start with, until you know where your interest is going to be. Get both coin identification books and history; most of the interest is in understanding the coins and the historical background, rather than mere possession.

Many great comments here, but for me this is the single most important piece of advice and NOT just for beginners.  The corollary is to actually spend some time reading/reviewing things once they arrive.  I collect US currency and it always amazes me that folks will pay many $k for a note but balk at buying a book or other reference to really learn what they are doing and understand the difference between rare and popular (and how each impacts price/value). 

And there are a few areas where I've bought a book only to decide that the area wasn't going to work out for me (generally non-western issues, just can't get the hang of the legends).

What fun!

 ;D

Offline Andrew McCabe

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #62 on: June 10, 2013, 04:35:26 pm »
I bought my first Seaby RCTV guide following 3 LRBs which I purchased in Egypt in the 1970s as a kid. The coins cost me perhaps $1 each, the guidebook about $20. That was about the right ratio of coin-to-book-investment, wholly appropriate for a new collector, study your book(s) until you can recite your Seaby (now Sear) handbooks by heart! That's how I got to know each Roman emperor and Roman history in general from the small blurb at the start of each Sear section. However internet resources perhaps means it's a little less essential nowadays. The Seaby Greek guidebook didn't have such a clearly laid out story, and furthermore all of the first few Greek bronzes I bought were missing from GCTV. Hence I went Roman. I don't know why I stumbled on the Republic.

Offline Carausius

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #63 on: June 11, 2013, 01:19:57 pm »
Two related common beginner mistakes:
1. Collecting ancients as an investment.  If you are paying retail or auction prices for your coins, don't expect to make big profits within 10 years-although individual results may vary!
2. Putting too much money into your collection under the mistaken impression that you can sellcoins quickly any time you need cash. It is not that easy to find quick buyers for your ancient coins unless you are buying highly desireable, high quality coins. This ia a corollary to the "buy the quality over quantity" advice given earlier on this thread. It is easier to sell quality,  if you need to sell.

Offline Jiminey

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #64 on: June 12, 2013, 01:16:20 am »
Quote from: Carausius on June 11, 2013, 01:19:57 pm
1. Collecting ancients as an investment.  If you are paying retail or auction prices for your coins, don't expect to make big profits within 10 years-although individual results may vary!

I recall seeing an article a year or so ago (can't remember where the link was from, probably here somewhere) about a collectors $60,000,000 collection. The comment that has always stuck in my head was "probably cost him $100,000,000 to acquire it!"

Offline ModernCoinTraitor

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #65 on: June 12, 2013, 07:47:51 am »
I'm just getting started on ancient coins. Looking through many of the posts, a lot of links to references are broken and many of the viable references (ie. RIC) were written decades ago. Are there more up-to-date references that I should be using?

I understand attribution with these "older" references is still quite accurate with the exception that rarity and "unpublished" varieties are likely out of date. And, many of these attributes can usually be found online for free. But, I am a bit old school and like to hold things in my hands, put stickies on the pages to indicate what I've found, or even ink in a update of my own. The books are almost as personal as the coins!

So, before I invest in my personal set of references, I'd like to know I'm getting the best I can for the money. (Doesn't have to be expensive, just usable and accurate.) At the moment, I have a few random pieces from the Roman Empire and one Egyptian coin if that helps in generating a list of references. (Or point me to a working list.)

Meanwhile, I'll keep looking through the posts.

Thanks

Offline Molinari

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #66 on: June 12, 2013, 08:15:51 am »
I'm just getting started on ancient coins. Looking through many of the posts, a lot of links to references are broken and many of the viable references (ie. RIC) were written decades ago. Are there more up-to-date references that I should be using?

I understand attribution with these "older" references is still quite accurate with the exception that rarity and "unpublished" varieties are likely out of date. And, many of these attributes can usually be found online for free. But, I am a bit old school and like to hold things in my hands, put stickies on the pages to indicate what I've found, or even ink in a update of my own. The books are almost as personal as the coins!

So, before I invest in my personal set of references, I'd like to know I'm getting the best I can for the money. (Doesn't have to be expensive, just usable and accurate.) At the moment, I have a few random pieces from the Roman Empire and one Egyptian coin if that helps in generating a list of references. (Or point me to a working list.)

Meanwhile, I'll keep looking through the posts.

Thanks

It really depends on what interests you.  There are so many numismatic publications it is mind boggling.  I'd recommend you start with some of David Sear's books. He's published good general works on virtually every area of classical numismatics-Greek, Roman, Greek Imperial (Roman Provincial) and Byzantine, etc.


Offline Carausius

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #67 on: June 12, 2013, 08:21:40 am »
ModernCoinTraitor:
Note that there is a "Books and References" section on Forum that might help you in this area. Also, there is a Book Recommendations for Beginners thread under the Beginners section of Forum.

Offline Andrew McCabe

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #68 on: June 12, 2013, 08:36:52 am »
I'm just getting started on ancient coins. Looking through many of the posts, a lot of links to references are broken and many of the viable references (ie. RIC) were written decades ago. Are there more up-to-date references that I should be using?

I understand attribution with these "older" references is still quite accurate with the exception that rarity and "unpublished" varieties are likely out of date....

"decades ago" is really nothing for coin series that have been accurately documented since about 1500. Yes more coin hoards from the Balkans in the 1990s have decreased rarity and increased the varieties known in certain series (especially LRBs), but not much has really changed since the first accurate coin catalogues were produced during the Renaissance. The refresh time in academic ancient coin reference books is typically about 50 to 75 years. Under 50 years and they are up-to-date, over 100 years and catalogues begin to appear dated. The RIC volumes done in the 1920s were refreshed in the 1980s but those "decades ago" volumes are still probably in the early part of their life cycle! They are all also in-print, usually by Spink, and there shouldn't (legally) be free downloads on the web. The hardcover copies are easily available but expensive.

Collector Handbooks (non academic) are a different matter. Handbooks are refreshed almost daily based on printing technology advances, colour photography, the wish to list current prices, and, most important, the wish of the seller to sell more copies of essentially unchanged books for much longer by sticking on a new cover. I still use my 1951 copy of "Roman Silver Coins 1" even though the most recent issue is the 2010 reprint of the 1978 edition. The 1951 handbook is, in turn, a condensed version in English of Babelon's 1885 Monnaies de la Republique Romaine. When you read a freshly printed brand-new "Roman Silver Coins", the catalogue's arrangement and numbering is by Babelon, 150 years ago! The prices in both the 1951 and 1978 editions are both out-dated, but of more importance is the relative pricing which has stayed constant (if coin A was worth double coin B in 1951, the same roughly applies today, and probably also in 1850 and in 1750). Both have similar numismatic information (though some dates have been changed, references to a 1974 catalogue added and photos replaced line drawings). The most up-to-date handbooks generally rely the same (old) academic volumes for their reference material, so despite their glossy covers the information within may be decades or centuries old.

Given your collecting status, just starting out, the Sear handbooks are just fine. At the very outset I often recommend the cheaper all-in-one 1988 volume over the separate 2000's onwards volumes. Better value, and much of the same information within. As one advances one might want the full suite of the latest Sear handbooks and/or Roman Silver Coins volumes (5 vols) and/or Sear's Greek handbook (once again, the old editions are just as good as the more recent printings). You could do worse than buy the single volume 1988 handbook as a starter. As far as real information is concerned, it's got 80% of what you'll get from buying the much lengthier replacements + Roman Silver Coins. Fewer coins are listed to be sure, but the Imperial potted biographies and the history of Roman coins is not improved by listing more coin varieties.

Bear in mind that unlike modern coins, they are not making any new ancient coins any more (at least, I hope not). So, a US coin Red Book or a World Coin Krause Handbook printed in 1980 will miss 33 years of coin issues. But an ancient coin handbook printed in 1980 (or, indeed, in 1580) has more or less exactly the same coins to describe as one published today. Old is Gold.

Offline NOVA

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #69 on: January 10, 2015, 11:22:23 pm »
Foreword:  I am still considered a beginner in ancients albeit I have been ad-hoc collecting world coins for over 30 years during my travels with Uncle Sam. 

I wish I would have stumbled upon this link before I ventured into buying on Ebay about three months ago. I think I made most if the mistakes listed here. If would not see the dates of the postings dating back to a few years I would have thought that they are talking about me :)  So most of these these great tips and advices above my post are timeless. 

As I wrote in my introductory posts (that also became a confessional) under the "Fakes" thread, my mistakes were that I had too much credence in Ebay's feedback system.  I relied on it since before 1998 but that same system cannot be applied to coins, ancient coins in particular.

Another mistake was that although I had a few electronic and hard copy reference sources on ancients, I was more interested in the history behind a coin and not the coin itself.  Thus I did not make a lot of efforts in learning what the characteristics of various ancient coins are, how to evaluate and identify them, where to seek out authoritative advice and reference considering their value and authenticity.  Ancient coin collecting is not as binary as building a modern coin collection. In comparison to modern coins, there are many more factors that comprise an ancient's attractiveness and value to a collector, amongst them art and style. The weight of these may vary from person to person, but in many cases they are a huge factor in collectability. 

One mistake that I am still working through and trying to gauge is collecting ancients for investment as a beginner.  No, my primary goal is not to make money, but since I do not have unlimited funds I want to make sure that the ancients I owe at least retain their value, and in some cases they may increase it.  I think I know enough already to realize that only in very rare an lucky cases will I buy a coin that is worth more than what I paid for (if I want to sell it immediately).  In most cases if you want to resell the coin right away it's worth 20-50% less.  I think we are all hoping that there are really rare coins out there that YOU will discover or you get to acquire somehow at a deep discount, but for these I think you need luck and a real intricate knowledge of the ancients market.

An obvious, but easily made mistake: do not attempt to clean coins (any coins) unless you know what you doing.  That's especially true for ancients as they require more tender loving care ad are judged differently from modern coins in their condition.  So I need to experiment on less valuable ones first and only after reading up on competent cleaning advice.  Also, many ancients in order to remain in the same condition may require special steps of preservation that most modern coins would not.

And for last bu not least is that constructive positive guidance versus dismissing criticism towards beginners goes a long way in attracting and retaining new collectors.  And I thank the Forvm for being supportive and constructive when they could have been critical and dismissive! :)

Offline david z

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #70 on: August 02, 2016, 02:18:46 am »
Hi All,

I am a novice collector/cleaner with only 3 months experience and have already learnt some valuable lessons.

1. Stay away from Descale - I purchased a lot of uncleaned imperials which were very encrusted and was recommended descale for a rapid clean. Ended up ruining the coins.

2. Careful when buying cheap lots from ebay. Most of them are Constantine's and Licinius's.

That's my 2 cents. Still learning a lot from these discussions and just happy to be involved!

 

Offline SC

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #71 on: August 02, 2016, 12:16:39 pm »
Re your #2.

There is nothing wrong with coins of Constantine and Licinius.  Even in very high quality late Roman lots you will get mainly coins of them and their families plus the Valentinian gang.  Many can be very beautiful, some are rare, all have historical interest.  The real reason to avoid cheap ebay lots is that you will get poor quality coins.

Shawn 
SC
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Offline Enes Korkmaz

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #72 on: November 06, 2016, 12:29:14 pm »
I think you're right. I've had the same thing.
K. Giannakapoulos

Offline Harry G

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #73 on: November 13, 2018, 04:35:18 pm »
What I did, which I do not reccommend doing, is buying a bulk lot of uncleaned roman coins on eBay and trying to clean them with no knowledge of how to clean them. After soaking them in distilled water, oil and even pure lemon juice (with no luck), I resorted to electrolysis. I zapped one of the coins, and, instead of turning into a beuatiful coin with the patina intact, I was left with a flat (but very shiny) disk! I do not recommend doing that unless you know exactly what you're doing! I think I'll just bury them in the garden or something!
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Offline Joe Sermarini

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Re: Common Mistakes for Beginners
« Reply #74 on: November 13, 2018, 04:57:13 pm »
Maybe shop at FORVM instead? 
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