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Two-Headed Collectors
October 15, 2010

Comments are a great thing for online blogs. They show that the hobby is alive, active and thinking.

Yesterday, I see someone noted that what I had written doesn’t make sense.

The Thursday blog said buy the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories six-coin silver proof set if you want one because you will not find a better deal in terms of what the mark-up over bullion value is.

The day before I wrote that now is a great opportunity to unload coins that you no longer want.

The comment implies that this is a contradiction. Should readers buy or sell?

Well, I think there are two critical factors to keep in mind.

The first is desire. What do you want?

If you have coins in your collection that you no longer desire to own for whatever reason, if they happen to be made of a precious metal, now is a good time to move them out to convert the money for hobby purchases of coins you do want.

If you were considering buying the 2009 six-quarter silver proof set, hurry up because deals like that don’t last. If you don’t want this set, it certainly would be foolish to buy it.

For the second point I would like to ask what collectors buy but don’t sell, or sell but don’t buy?

The life of the collector is an ongoing rhythm of buying and selling. Both are necessary and do not contradict.

Many collectors over the years find that their interests change. If my interests stayed fixed from what I liked when I started in 1963, I would never have gone beyond Lincoln cents.

Do I still have some Lincolns? Yes.

Have I sold some over the years? Yes to that, too.

Is that a contradiction?

If it is, then I guess most collectors live with that dynamic tension every day of their hobby lives.

But as I wrote, it all boils down to what you want.

Only you know what that is.

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About the Author
David C. Harper has been a coin collector since 1963. He joined the Krause Publications editorial staff in 1978 and is currently editor of Numismatic News and World Coin News. He also edits two books annually, North American Coins & Prices and Coin Digest. He is the author of the Class of '63 column that runs each week in Numismatic News. His first bylined numismatic article appeared in the June 1971 issue of Coins Magazine and his various Krause Publications assignments included a stint as editor of the magazine 1980-1983. Harper received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1977. He had a double major of journalism and economics.

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