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Collecting Economics

In today’s tough economy every collector has to deal with the economic facts of life whether they realize it or not. First all of us should keep records of what we pay for our collectibles. I am a compulsive record keeper because I know that the time will come when I will sell the item and I have to know “what I’ve got in it”. When a collection gets sold a lot of money will change hands and that could become a tax problem if you do not know what the cost of the sold items was. Tax people assume that the entire sales amount is taxable income unless you can prove otherwise. With good records only the profit is taxable. How is cost determined? I define total cost as the total amount of money I have to spend to legally pick up and take an item home. That includes the price paid plus the sales tax and the postage and handling charges. If there is an auction buyers fee that is also included in my cost. There are other costs which are not applicable for tax purposes to a collector. These are the expenses of going to shows etc. which only a dealer can deduct. Even so these expenses are just as real for a collector and must be considered when planning a trip to a convention. This week, in my case, I was thinking about going to the ANA convention by Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Since I couldn’t make this part of a multi-purpose trip I had to figure out what my expenses would be if I went just for the show. First of all the hotel for one night would cost a minimum of 132.00 plus the many state and local room taxes which would add at least another 20.00 bringing the total to 152.00. Now add the parking fees which would be another minimum of 30.00 raising the total to 182.00. I have to use the toll way both ways so add another 10.00 plus the gas for my car, another 80.00 pushing up the total to 272.00. I enjoy going to coin shows, but I am not a high roller type. I have gone to a fair number of ANA and many other large coin shows. I do collect coins but seldom find any that I need or am willing to pay full dealer prices for. I rarely sell to dealers at shows since I don’t have many duplicates and looking for a buyer usually takes more time than it is worth. My main reason for going to coin shows is the hunt for military medals and other interesting exonumia items. With that said I have rarely spent more than 1000.00 at any coin show and while pleased with my purchases I did have to pay fair prices. Now having figured that it is going to cost me about 275.00 just to go to the show I must ask myself based on my history of show purchases, am I likely to find anything at the show that I would be happy to spend an additional 275.00 on. The answer is no and that is why I will not go the show. I will just spend that 275.00 on the internet from the comfort of my home without the hassles of Chicago-O’Hare traffic. I will however, miss seeing my old friends and the good times I used to have at the shows back when I didn‘t have to pay all the expenses myself.