Get connected. Coin collecting often seems to be a hobby pursued by rugged individualists in isolation from each other.
While a great deal of time can be spent in quiet individual study, it is imperative for collectors to make connections in the larger hobby sphere.
I had a call from someone in northern Michigan who had a piece that he wanted identified. If I understood his description correctly, what he has is a reproduction of an early American piece. The books call the original unique.
Of course, he wanted to know if it is genuine. Even though the odds were very high that it is a reproduction, he wanted confirmation of what it is, because he said it had been passed down from his grandfather.
I suggested having his local dealer take a look at. He said he is too isolated.
He could send it into a grading service. He didn’t want to spend the money.
I said perhaps he could swing by a local show in his area the next time one is held.
That didn’t satisfy him
I said individuals can perform tests like weighing it and doing a specific gravity if it came to that, but that was beyond him.
He basically shut the door on every avenue that is open to him.
So probably he will always wonder.
That’s a shame.
If you are spending a lifetime in coins, a part of that experience is the connections that we all should make.
A local dealer is a big advantage, but if you don’t have one, someone you see on a regular basis at VFW Hall weekend shows can be a useful substitute.
Dealing with grading services is now a part of hobby life. Figure out how you want to interact with them.
Join a club if you can.
Sooner or later, we all have questions that can be answered only by other collectors and dealers.
When that time comes, you should have the network in place to help you find the answers.