Advice to New (and old) Collectors
A lot of collector sites have advice for the new collector. The tried and true wisdom that we have all heard before like, buy the book first and always buy the highest quality you can afford. To that sage advice I would add two things; first after you buy the book be sure to read the introductions which usually contain a gold mine of basic information.
Second and you will not read this anywhere else that I know of: Don't run with the herd.
Find a field or specialty that isn't being collected by everyone else. If possible find something that interests you but isn't popular and blaze your own trail. Within a few years you will develop a reputation and people will be coming to you as the expert. Instead of paying the inflated prices of the highly collected areas you will be on the ground level finding all sorts of interesting bargains. For example I started collecting US state and local issue war service medals and German states medals in the mid 1960's. Everyone else that I knew was into nazi stuff. I was asked once 'why do you keep beating yourself to death with that junk?" Well they are still in the nazi stuff and I hope they are happy with it. When I look at all that I have collected I know I have made the right choice. The current prices in my collecting specialties have validated my choice financially. My personal satisfaction is immeasurable and all at a fraction of the cost that the nazi stuff would have cost me over the years. Follow your heart over the long haul and you will never regret it. Fred