In our natural state we coin collectors are internally driven. We want coins. We find them. We buy them.
What could be simpler?
Nothing really, but in times of economic upset we tend to over think things and look around to see what others might be doing.
This tendency to second guess ourselves can overshadow what we should be doing. We allow ourselves to become externally driven.
If I am building a set of Lincoln cents and I need to find a 1909-S VDB, a 1914-D and a 1931-S, what difference does it make what the price of gold is?
It should make no difference, but it does unless I break the habit.
We would not be human if we did not notice the times when precious metals go crazy. Who would not want to buy something and watch it go up to many multiples of its cost in a fairly short period of time?
So we all get drawn into the uptrend in gold and silver that began in 2001.
It becomes a habit to check bullion prices. I did my usual daily check of the Kitco website before I began writing this.
I was disappointed to see gold had once again fallen under $1,300. I am not alone.
Too many of us are in thrall to bullion. It colors our mood. We should not let it, but we do.
The key to building a coin set is to do it methodically over time. If that is all we focus on, it is a most rewarding pursuit.
I remember doing this when I was a kid. It was when gold and silver entered the picture in terms of daily price fluctuations that a simple goal of completing a set became complicated.
Gold is down, maybe I shouldn’t buy the next coins I need.
Gold is up, why didn’t I buy the coins I still need sooner?
Over and over again the cycle plays out.
There are times when we break the habit. We might be entering such a time now.
Watching gold fall for years on end is not particularly rewarding. It would be better just to get on with collecting.
If you are busy watching gold and have not been regularly purchasing collector coins because of the distraction, you are letting the background noise of life get in the way.
Gold is down today. It is a mood dampener.
But on Monday it can just as easily jump back up over $1,300. Why should I let it distract me? Why indeed.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."