Why a Motley Coin Collection Just Might Make Sense...

Numismatics is, in many ways, the Land of the Anal Retentive and collectors (and dealers) sometimes make decisions that are based more on personal obsessiveness that on sound business principles. Let me illustrate what I mean. Yesterday, I was talking to a good client about a coin that I sent him on approval. He liked the coin very much but he was worried about the fact that since it was in one of the brand new “with prong” NGC holders that it would destroy the consistency of his collection.

Being a bit AR myself, I could understand where this gentleman was coming from. If I had a specialized collection of, say, New Orleans half eagles, I could see the point of having all the coins in the same service’s holder. I could also see the point of having the coins all pedigreed, of having them in consecutive serial numbered holders, in making certain all the holders were free of blemishes, etc.

But as we were talking, I had what I thought was a Lightbulb Atop Head realization. As someone who looks a lot of collections and buys a lot of coins, I realized that for better or worse the presentation of coins is important to me.

If I see a collection where every coin is in a consecutively numbered NGC or PCGS slab, my impression (right or wrong...) is that this is a deal where someone just sent all the pieces in for grading and there is no “juice” left. Fair or not, I suddenly might become a bit concerned about the freshness of the coins and might not figure them as aggressively as I should.

If the exactly same coins were in a more random array of slabs (some NGC, some PCGS, some old holders, some new holders, etc.) I would probably be more impressed with their “freshness” and figure them more aggressively.

If you are a sensible collector, you probably just read the last two paragraphs and thought “that’s totally insane. The coins are what they are and what the #@$%^ does it matter what holders they are in?”

Good question. But until you’ve been around the coin business a while, you don’t realize how odd this market is. When you come right down to it, think how strange the whole concept of the coin business/hobby actually is. Ponder this: you are paying thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for a small disc of metal, often with minimal intrinsic worth. The market can be thin and quirky (to say the least) and it is to your advantage to know as many of the little tricks as possible to maintain the integrity of your collection.

So before you send your New Orleans half eagle in the old PCGS green label holder or your Dahlonega quarter eagle in the slightly scuffed-up NGC holder, think twice and ask yourself it just might impact the integrity of your collection when it is time to sell.