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If I had $87,000 to spend on coins …

Just received a letter saying I could take a lump sum payment on a retirement plan from a past job, $87,000 and some change. 

So you get to thinking with no kids to worry about maybe take the money – you still have 10 years or so until retirement – and buy some coins for my coin collection. Not something big and flashy, but an extra $8,000 a year or so to spend on the collection

You know you could go to some coin shows, not in the area, and add some stuff to your collection. Now I am not talking about investing in coins, I am talking about buying what you like, like early French coins!

I mean don’t a lot of collectors tell others about the investment part of the hobby so these non-numismatic people don’t think too much about how you are wasting your money? Of course a friend once came by and said, “You still collecting coins? I guess that’s better than me. I drink up all my extra money.” And how many people spend their extra money on stuff that they have the memories but nothing tangible left.

So back to the $87,000 dollars. I suspose you could go out and buy gold and silver with most of it for now, then cash some in before you went shopping each time.

I cannot brng myself to sell what I collect. The more I learn about the coins I collect the more I like them; pieces of history in my hand!  I could never see collecting a series or whatever then selling and going on to something else. I suspose if you completed what you were working on and showed it off in displays and such you could use the money to move on to other things.

You know this $87,000 was supposed to be retirement money, but if you had been collecting coins for 40 years already, then put this on top of that, I suppose if push came to shove you could sell some stuff when you needed the money for retirement.

Truthfully, with an obsession for collecting coins and keeping pretty near all of them, you end up doing without other stuff to add to your collection. I once told my wife we had the best French coin collection in Rockville. She reminded me that most were in four safety deposit boxes in three different banks, but still we have these.    

Can’t you just see going to a show with a few thousand dollars in your pocket, cool? Or being able to bid in auctions for stuff that had been out of your price range before? You need to figure too that this is in addition to the money you would have saved to buy coins with anyway. How many try and get extra money to use for their coin collection; if so, you are obsessed too.  
Who knows, it could be a good investment too. I mean how many things do people buy for investment that do not turn out well? But you study something, learn about it and you will come across stuff that is better than others think, plus sometimes you go to the bank, get those coins out and you feel just like you hit the lottery.

Actually with digital cameras now and a computer you could start putting together a catalog about your collection, make a story about it, how the set goes together, history of purchases, shows attended and people you met there.  Include details about certain coins, put in chapters about different areas of collecting and actually kinda write a book about your collection. Like when you do a coin exhibit, not just pictures and a list with details but what makes these coins get you up and running. You get that done and then someday if you have to sell them you will have the book about them for yourself.

I read something about “you show me yours, I’ll show you mine” in coin collecting and it was said that most collectors don’t take coins to show others and do not talk that much about coins. Well, they have not met me. While not talking constantly about coins as I have other interests too, if you are interested you can hear about coins and I would like to hear your stories. I many times carry a couple of coins with me that I can show to others. When someone asks why I collect a certain area of coins I ask “ do you want the short answer or can I use 15 minutes to tell you about them and why I like them?”   
I suppose I cannot cash the retirement thing in, you see I am married and she might find out. I mean just me, I could deal with it if I lost on the deal or needed the money early for something and needed to sell or do without stuff, but I could not do that to Kay.     

Boy, but it is something to think about. I got other ideas as well. You’ll hear them later.      

Brad Ream is a hobbyist from Rockville, Ind.  

Viewpoint is a forum for the expression of opinion on a variety of numismatic subjects. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Numismatic News. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to David C. Harper, Editor, Numismatic News, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. Send e-mail to david.harper@fwmedia.com.

More Resources:

2010 U.S. Coin Digest, The Complete Guide to Current Market Values, 8th ed.

State Quarters Deluxe Folder By Warmans

Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money, 1928 to Date

Strike It Rich with Pocket Change, 2nd Edition

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