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What should you buy now?

If you wanted to make money from coin collecting, what would you buy?

It is not an easy question to answer. The keys to numismatic value are rarity and top condition.

To find both, a collector basically has to be seeking something that most collectors do not have.

With hindsight, it is easy to do.

I was working on the 2013 edition of North American Coins and Prices. It will be published this summer.

There are graphs in the book that show changes in value of certain coins since 1972. And boy do I wish I had had the foresight to buy some of these coins back then, but I didn’t.

An MS-60 1933 $10 gold piece has gone from well under $10,000 in 1972 to about $180,000 today. The scale of the graph is such that I cannot tell how much less than 10 grand the coin was priced at.

But you know what? I didn’t have that kind of money then, so I can’t kick myself now for not having the profit.

That’s the story of life.

There is one coin that makes me feel the pangs of what might have been. A 1923-S Walking Liberty half dollar has gone from under $50 to about $300. Now that is a nice gain, but not spectacular. It is a coin that I might have acquired had I been more diligent 40 years ago and not been distracted by life in high school. I even had a set of Walkers that I had started but never finished.

The beauty of an XF-40 1923-S Walker is I can see myself owning it. Coins that have gone up in price during my hobby career and routinely made headlines are interesting, but they get truly personal when I have one or could easily have had one had I been a little more attentive.

Going forward, I guess I will look to see what I can find that interests me, that I can afford and that might have added hobby appeal when I decide it is time to sell.

That isn’t easy, is it?

But I know I can rule out that $180,000 MS-60 1933 gold $10.

I still can’t afford it.

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One Response to What should you buy now?

  1. hrlaser says:

    You don’t have to go back to 1972.. just go back to 2000, and buy as many 2000-W Platinum and Gold ringed Bi-Metallic Library of Congress Uncs. at the Mint’s pre-issue price of $390.00 each that you can afford.. (final Mintage was 6683.. apparently, like the 2011 Army Unc. halves, at $19.95 each, the price scared off most potential buyers, although the Proof version of the LOC Bi-Metallic had four times the number sold, at a HIGHER price!..).. anyway.. go back to 2000, and buy a few Uncs. at $390.00 each, and hang onto them until present day, and you can now get four grand for them.. EACH!.. RAW!.. slabbed MS70 by PCGS or NGC, try six grand.. I had four of them, given to me by a guy I was working for at the time, who made a lot of bad investments, and paid me with the coins, instead of cash.. He had bought them from the Mint for $390.00 each.. I didn’t have any choice but to sell them.. I needed the money.. ya can’t pay the rent or the bills with collectible coins, unless you turn them into cash.. I gave them to NGC and got back two MS69s and two MS70s, and sold them all on eBay, in 2003.. the best I did was $1900.00 for each of the MS70s, which was top $ at the time.. I saw an NGC MS70 listed on TeleTrade last month, that got bid up to $5600.00 and did not sell, even at that price!.. it dropped off my watch list, meaning it didn’t sell, so the consigner had a higher reserve on it than that.. I wish I had kept just ONE of those coins.. I wish I had kept all the Gold coins I sold a few years ago, when Gold was around $600.00 an ounce.. like you said, like everyone says.. hindsight is 20 / 20.. if I had had ANY clue that those Bi-Metallic Uncs. would be worth over ten times issue price if I had hung onto them, I’d still have ALL of them.. what Gold I do still own, slabbed or raw.. I’m hanging onto with both hands and both feet.. I think the UHR, which I bought the last hour of the last day the Mint had it for sale, was a wise investment, even though it cost me a month’s rent.. it’s already more than doubled in value, and I still have to get it slabbed!.. well.. whaddya gonna do.. I could name a hundred other things I sold too soon, besides coins..

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