As a professional numismatist I am often asked by customers, “What do you think I should collect?” This is usually followed by: is gold hot? Are Lincoln Cents doing well?? How will Morgan dollars do next year??? Most people ask these questions because they’re concerned with getting good value and want confirmation that what they’re interested in purchasing is going to give them a decent return when they eventually sell. After asking the time frame they have in mind for building a collection, I always answer the same way; “Collect what you like; what you are attracted to; what fascinates you”. This is usually followed by a brief pause by the customer because the answer seems too elementary. I then continue by saying that if you do this you’ll enjoy building, upgrading, and redefining your collection for many years and over time the investment concern will be overruled by your passion. Also, you’ll gain so much pride and joy during your collecting journey that at the end of the road, to a large degree, you won’t care if you make a positive monetary return or not.
Most people that understand this simple philosophy become good customers and order with us on a regular basis, month after month. They are generally positive and friendly people who get a lot of enjoyment out of finding just the right coin for their collection. Those who do not, still often become good customers, but with a totally different style. Most have erratic buying habits, often changing focus and selling quickly after purchasing. I relate these customers to stock market day traders, more interested in what the profit from ownership could bring with much less regard for the history, beauty and rarity of the item. In my experiences “coin trader” customers never seem to be satisfied for very long, often lose money over time and some even burn out from buying coins altogether.
I guess what it comes down to is to truly be a “collector”, you have to find the proper balance between your desire to collect and making good buying decisions. To do this I always suggest that new customers set goals and a budget to follow. This will help keep the addiction part of collecting and the stress of overspending in check.
Hopefully the collector in you will allow numismatics to be a positive and balanced part of your lifestyle. If a coin collector is who you are, the professionals at David Lawrence welcome you and will be glad to assist you on your collecting journey. Feel free to contact me anytime to discuss a strategy on what you should collect in greater detail.