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Smart buyers grab education before coins

A well-known phrase in coin collecting is “buy the book, then the coin.” This may make good sense, but few people follow the suggestion. Their reasoning is they want to use all of their money on coins despite all the proof that knowledgeable buyers do better over time.


It appears we may have another well-known phrase that is being ignored as well, this being “buy the coin, not the slab.” This isn’t the first time I’ve heard it, but someone who contributes to the pricing I publish here recently said, “Some crazy high prices were realized for slabs labeled ‘First Strike’ or ‘Early Release.’”

Yes, there is a possibility these “firsts” may imply an early die state, but this is speculation, especially for modern coins where current technology often results in superior strike coins regardless of a coin being a first or not. Once we get past this grade rarity for otherwise common modern coins, where are we heading?

For the majority of collectors, who are unlikely to be bidding on rarities, use common sense when seeking the best coin possible. “First” might sell for more now, but will that coin continue to trade above the pack later, say in five years or 10?

The price of gold and silver bullion took a tumble late last week following several weeks of appreciation. This will take its toll on all intrinsic value-impacted coins. Scarce to rare coins appear to have leveled off at the moment, but with significant auctions on the horizon, this will likely change.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News Express. >> Subscribe today

More Collecting Resources

• Are you a U.S. coin collector? Check out the 2017 U.S. Coin Digest for the most recent coin prices.

• Download The Metal Mania Seminar with David Harper to learn more about the metals market.