By Daryl Conley
I started collecting when I was about 10 or 12, so about 45 years ago. I wentthrough anyone’s pocket change that would let me do so. I still check all my pocket change, along with my wife’s.
I don’t put together registry sets or buy registry quality coins. I don’t have any gold and I only a handful of silver dollars. I don’t spend thousands, or even hundreds of dollars on a single coin. I don’t buy high grade coins, although I do have a couple slabbed coins in circulated grades. In most things, I believe quality is better than quantity. But when it comes to coin collecting, I am much happier having a wide variety of inexpensive coins.
As my collection has grown, I have expanded my search to include large cents, and earlier coins from the 18th and 19th century. My latest interest has become acquiring Liberty Cap and Draped Bust cents by Sheldon variety. I also have later large cents that I sort by Newcomb variety, although this is a bit more challenging as the differences can be quite difficult to see. Obviously, I can no longer rely on pocket change to find these types of coins, so I have been using other sources such as eBay, coin shows, local auctions, and coin shops.
I have also been buying proof and uncirculated sets from the US Mint since the 1970s. Perhaps I am just lucky, but I have never had any of the ordering or shipping problems that others seem to have. The last few items I bought such as the baseball Hall of Fame, Apollo 11 coins and Reverse Proof Sets were stunning and arrived in perfect condition. I do not buy silver bullion coins, proof sets, gold, palladium, etc. so I cannot comment on their quality. I do, however, sign up for alerts and pre-purchase of upcoming issues that I want to have. So far, I have always gotten the coins or sets I wanted before they sold out.
I do not acquire coins with the idea of selling them for a profit a few years later. I have over ninety percent of the coins I first started with. Over the years I have sold some duplicates and gave some away to other beginning collectors. For me, coin collecting is a hobby and I keep it fun. I wrote a book on this very topic some years ago to be used as a guide for beginning collectors. I included many of my own personal collecting experiences and my thoughts on coin “collecting” vs. coin “investing.” For me, the joy of collecting is in the thrill of the hunt; just as much today as it was when I was twelve years old, searching through my parents’ pocket change.
This “Viewpoint” was written by Daryl Conley, a collector from Truth or Consequences, N.M. To have your opinion considered for Viewpoint, write to Editor, Numismatic News, 5225 Joerns Drive, Stevens Point WI, 54481. Email submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.