Coin Collecting Advice for the New Collector

December 9, 2010

A recent thread on an internet forum brought about some wise comments from one of our blog writers. He's been a bit quiet lately with blog input but his words are too good not to write up here for the benefit of others.

The thread poster, as a newbie to collecting, asked what the merits were for collecting decimal NCLT and whether it was a viable investment option for the future. Or does all the investing opportunities lie in pre-decimals? The answer posted up here sums up good collecting advice IMO.

I hate to say this, but collecting modern mint issue coins as an investment is likely to be a very poor investment indeed. Some issues do very well but the vast majority do not, witness that mint and proof sets are usually available the next year on ebay for under issue price. Picking which issues will appreciate in value is almost impossible, other than some yearly issues (like the Roo at Sunset $25 gold) which seem to do well each year.
I'd advise that you collect what you like, and if you decide this includes NCLT then all well and good. If you don't like the NCLT or perhaps your budget doesn't stretch that far then don't collect them. I don't collect current RAM issued stuff myself but I do have a number of the new Ashes 20c because I like the design very much.
Learn to grade, whether it be George V, George VI, or QE2, this the most valuable skill you can have. Once you can do that you'll get to know the striking characteristics of certain years, scarcity of high grade coins of year and type, and you'll have a much better chance of seeing some return on your investment. It doesn't have to be expensive either, you'll find that even in the QE2 series that true gems in some years are very hard to find. I've been trying to put together a gem QE2 florin and penny set for the last 4 years and still have a couple of coins from each series to find. And those are proving very difficult.
I should point out that I wouldn't even recommend trying to collect pre decimals for investment reasons until you have a LOT of experience. You will make mistakes and it's better to make cheap mistakes as you learn than to dive in head first straight away and make expensive mistakes that will likely drive you away from the hobby. Collect something you love, and you'll get to know what you love and the opportunity for financial gain will follow in time.

Posted by harrisk at December 9, 2010 12:23 PM
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