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Is collecting fun or profit more important?

This morning’s email once again provides a topic for my blog.

Actually, two topics are covered.

The email said: “I read your ‘If Avoiding Loss is goal, choose gold.”

"I guess all the rolls of America the Beautiful quarters I have pounded the pavement to collect are going to be worth only face value after all these years is what you are trying to say.

“One thing I meant to ask long ago which you might want to throw out to the readership is how and where people store their coins. From my knowledge of other coin club members the really sophisticated people store them in a home vault. I don’t think that would be safe (no pun intended) for me at home.

“Some time ago I went all over looking at bank safe deposit boxes as my bank was taken over by a larger bank and doubled the fee. I was shocked to find today many banks have individual plastic boxes not metal within their large safes.

"I was worried long-term storage of my rolls would discolor. This might be happening as I visited the bank with plastic boxes when the fee was due just recently.

"All I can think of, is to get some of that blue anti-tarnish cloth and wrap the rolls in them and face the fact I have to trudge around looking for another metal box again.

"I was beginning to wonder if metal safe deposit boxes are even made today anymore.

“If any of your readers have any knowledge if the plastic used in these modern safe deposit boxes will degrade the base metal, please let me know.

“Unfortunately, I am hooked like a kid collecting baseball cards on collecting the latest quarters and can’t stop, ’til they stop or I do depart”

I responded to the email this way:

“Thanks for writing. I appreciate your reaction to what I wrote.

“If the purpose of your collecting is to do what interests you and to have fun doing it, there is nothing wrong with collecting uncirculated rolls of the many quarter designs that have been issued since 1999.

"If you are getting them for face value or close to it, you cannot really go wrong.

“But as you know, there are some individuals in our hobby that measure their satisfaction only in terms of profit and often believe that they can buy something from the U.S. Mint and sell it for a profit later.

"My column was written simply to point out that not everything the Mint issues can be sold later at a profit and that the odds of a profit improve if you hold things for a long time and they are made of gold or silver.

“No collector that I have ever met wants to lose money. However, no collector has ever a achieved a 100 percent track record of selling everything for more than he paid.

“As for whether your rolls are safe in plastic safe deposit boxes, I have no information.

"No one has written with an evaluation or experience one way or the other. I will run your email as a letter to the editor to see what sort of information can be gathered from readers.”

As you can see, I am running this as a blog as well to hopefully and helpfully widen the audience.

If anyone has advice regarding safe deposit boxes, send me an email at

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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