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No profits for ignorant?

Some of the best advice is simple, short and to the point. The following, I hope, is an example of this.

In 1981, I became part owner of Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., and have been full owner since the beginning of 1995. I acquired the company from R.W. “Bill” Bradford, who founded it in 1971.

Get both the Riga Zoo Coin and the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 2001-Date paperback edition in this exclusive collection.

Get both the Riga Zoo Coin and the Standard Catalog of World Coins, 2001-Date paperback edition in this exclusive collection.

Bill told me about some data he had gathered that was the best rare coin investing advice I ever heard. As people were selling coin collections to him in the 1970s, he would ask if the seller was making a profit or taking a loss. He also would ask how involved the sellers were with numismatics, the study of money.

Of those who had started a collection and become interested in studying numismatics for at least five years, over 90 percent of them sold for a profit.

Then there were other people who had heard that investing in rare coins was a great way to make profits. Of those who pursued this motivation but had no interest in learning about numismatics, over 90 percent of them sold for a loss.

I’m sure the experienced numismatists reading this easily understand this lesson.

Patrick A. Heller was the American Numismatic Association 2012 Harry Forman Numismatic Dealer of the Year Award winner. He owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., and writes “Liberty’s Outlook,” a monthly newsletter on rare coins and precious metals subjects. Past newsletter issues can be viewed at http://www.libertycoinservice.com.  Other commentaries are available at Coin Week (http://www.coinweek.com and http://www.coininfo.com). He also writes a bi-monthly column on collectibles for “The Greater Lansing Business Monthly” (http://www.lansingbusinessmonthly.com/articles/department-columns).His radio show “Things You ‘Know’ That Just Aren’t So, And Important News You Need To Know” can be heard at 8:45 a.m. Wednesday and Friday mornings on 1320-AM WILS in Lansing (which streams live and becomes part of the audio and text archives posted at http://www.1320wils.com).

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