Steve Roach

The Art of Collecting

Steve Roach

Steve Roach, Coin World’s editor-at-large, has been deeply involved with numismatics for more than 20 years, starting as a young coin collector in Michigan. Two years spent as a coin grader, nearly three years at a major coin wholesaler and a stint as a paintings specialist at an international auction house have given Steve a rich understanding of the hobby, its market and the unique personalities and exceptional objects that make collecting meaningful. He joined Coin World in 2006 as a columnist, and has served as associate editor and editor-in-chief. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Michigan, a juris doctorate from the Ohio State University and is a Certified Member of the International Society of Appraisers.

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Smart collecting leads to solid investments

There is no magic answer to how one should invest in coins to maximize profits.

Historically, the most successful coin investments have been the result of years of careful collecting. 

Our cover feature this month looks at a case study of how smart collecting can lead to a solid coin investment. 

It is drawn from Whitman Publishing’s new book by Robert Shippee titled Pleasure & Profit: 100 Lessons for Building and Selling a Collection of Rare Coins.

In the foreword, Q. David Bowers reflects on Shippee’s advantage in the marketplace: he was well-informed by carefully studying numismatics and by spending time learning about coins. 

Looking at the stories of people who put together great collections in other collecting areas — collections that are often very profitable for their owner when sale time arises — seems to provide a universal lesson. The key to success is understanding the material that you’re collecting. 

For example, Leonard A. Lauder, an art collector whose world-class collection of early 20th century Cubist paintings was just gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, learned everything he could about what made a picture important. 

That education informed all elements of his collecting. 

In an interview, he gave advice on how to work with dealers when trying to acquire great material: “Don’t haggle, and pay your bills promptly, even in advance. A well-respected collector sends the check over to the dealer by messenger as soon as the handshake is made. That’s a good way to be first on the list.”

Shippee’s advice is similar, since developing relationships with dealers is a key part of building a solid collection. 

Seizing opportunities and educating yourself is key to building a great, meaningful coin collection that will hopefully, over time, prove to be a good investment as well. 

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