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Think Scarlett O

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News.
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Are you collecting coins for the coming financial apocalypse? I’m not either. When I started collecting I was too young to even know what that word meant and after nearly 50 years, I figure why change now?

I pity the poor souls who don’t know anything about coins but then panic into buying collectible coins at a premium for the purpose of building their financial security.

If the worst does happen and the dollar ceases to exist and we are all going hungry, do you really think any of us will be able to realize full value from our collectible coins?

That certainly isn’t the verdict of history.

Hunger and societal breakdown make people do viscious things.

When society is fully disrupted, you might be able to take your 1895 proof Morgan dollar and barter it for some food, but I doubt that the food vendor will be giving you $40,000 or $50,000 in edibles that would approximate its current value.

Most people who would have food in such circumstances probably won’t know what an 1895 proof Morgan dollar is. Anyone who might will probably want to use your great distress to his advantage. After all, he has the food, you need it and times are tough.

2011 U.S. Coin Digest
2011 U.S. Coin Digest

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It is not for nothing that American cigarettes, nylon stockings and chocolates became the day-to-day currency at the end of World War II in war devastated Europe or Japan. It was not that people who lived through it couldn’t appreciate great art or literature or other civilized pursuits such as coin collecting, its just that they needed to get through the day or the week.

The 1895 dollar will always be a key to the Morgan series. At some point in any post-apocalyptic future that fact will re-establish itself, but how far into the future will that be and will you be able to hang onto the coin until that point?

There is a logic to individuals who claim you should have things like silver dimes, quarters or halves to use in emergencies. You are more likely to receive closer to full value, but even with these coins, the individuals with the necessary supplies hold all of the cards. You might be paying $10 face in good silver for a ham sandwich.

My 1968 proof set might not go very far with this kind of person, even though the half dollar is 40 percent silver.

Many great fortunes in history were founded by people who could buy assets from other people who were suffering distress for less than what those assets would have brought in normal times. You know what Scarlett O’Hara had to do to save Tara.

If you worry about the future, store some food, soap and other necessities of daily life to use in an emergency. Enjoy your collecting for what it is.

If the time ever comes when you need to use your food stores, you will be ready and you can put your collection aside for a happier time when people who are not destitute can appreciate the rarity of a key Morgan dollar and pay full value for it.

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