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Take a dip to be sure you know how to swim

For chess players and diplomats, the end game is very important. It is important for collectors, too, but too many of them don’t think about it.

Anybody can collect anything. That is the beauty of a hobby where one size doesn’t fit all. Collectors are individualists. They take the road less traveled.

But the road less traveled can be a problem when you’re tired and hungry and need some help, or when it is time to sell your collection of modern errors with a catalog of cute nicknames.

Have you thought about how you will sell what you have been eagerly buying? Will there be an active collector or dealer in 5, 10 or 20 years time when you are looking to cash out to convert some assets to cover the cost of a little home in Florida or a little casa in Baja California for retirement?

I know from experience that there will always be a market for 1909-S VDB Lincoln cents, or 1916 Mercury dimes that are part of mainstream collector sets. Sure, prices will fluctuate, but there are always eager collectors who want them. This is basically true for the coins that grade good to those that top the grading scale. That can’t been said about some coins.

What about currently hot MS-69 and MS-70 state quarters, or Proof-70 Buffalo one-ounce coins? Will the premiums still exist in 10 or 20 years time? There is no way to know for sure. This market could get stronger and stronger, or the coins in those grades might look like the numismatic equivalent of hoola hoops to future collectors.

If you happen to be active in new and specialized areas, it pays to try to sell something every now and again just to test the market and see what the real story is.

That isn’t always easy either physically or psychologically, because accumulation is what collectors do, but it is important for collectors to be knowledgeable about the sell side of the hobby. Without this knowledge, there could be a large problem waiting for them in the future.