Archive for November, 2016


Posted on November 10, 2016 by 1 Comment

barber-half-dollarWill you be happy with the Good-4?  Can you afford the VF30?

Collecting coins is all about decisions. Simply put, none of us have enough money to collect everything we want. Absent piles of cash, we must pick and choose among a variety of coins to decide where we want to spend our money and focus our energies. Many times, the choice boils down to aesthetics – what “floats our boat.” Do we like the ever-popular Morgan Dollar, the beautiful Standing Liberty Quarter, or are we attracted to the odd Half Cents of the 1793-1857 period? Even after we make an aesthetic choice, we must still address the tension between quality and cost. What is your preferred grade? What can you afford? Making these decisions BEFORE you begin collecting is crucial to a gratifying collecting experience. If you’re not happy with the quality you can afford, don’t even bother starting — you’ll be miserable early on in the process. If you run out of money before you can complete your set – well, that’s not much fun either.

Here’s an example of how this decision-making process works. Let’s say you really like the Barber Half Dollar series. What would it cost to build a complete collection where all of the coins are the same grade? The Barber Half Dollar series is relatively short, so it’s a matter of picking a grade and adding up the catalog values for all of the coins in the series. Fortunately, a lot of this data-crunching has already been done for you in the form of the PCGS Price Guide (for Barber Half Dollar, click here). In Good-4, you can expect to spend just over $3,000 to complete a set of Barber Half Dollars by date and mintmark. In VF-30, a full set of Barber Half Dollars would cost $22,740 (give or take) and in MS63 a complete set would run $165,000 (keep in mind that these are approximate figures, and they account for the time spent in hunting the coins down). If you had a budget of $20,000, you’d have no problem completing the set in Good-4 or Fine-12 ($9,417). However, a VF-30 set is probably out of reach unless you add more money to your budget.

If you are shut out of Barber Half Dollars, follow the same process for other series until you find one you like.

For $20,000, you can complete a set of Franklin Half Dollars in MS66 with money left over. How about a set of Standing Liberty Quarters in EF40? Or a set of Classic Silver Commemorative Half Dollars in MS64? Or a complete set of $2.50 Indians in MS62?

You decide how much money you have to spend, then hunt down a grade and a series you can live with. There is no right or wrong answer – collect what you like. Having fun is what coin collecting is all about.

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