US Coins

Making the most of the hobby

In 1979, Q. David Bowers worked with the Johns Hopkins University in presenting for auction the vast Garrett Collection of coins. Formed by T. Harrison Garrett starting in 1864, the collection's sale was held in his home, the Evergreen House mansion, shown in background. The Garrett Collection included the unique 1783 Nova Constellatio silver 100-unit plain edge pattern.

Images courtesy of Q. David Bowers.

The Joys of Collecting column from the Nov. 21, 2016, issue of Coin World:

The real reason to become involved in numismatics at all is to have an enjoyable experience. Immerse yourself in the lure and lore of rare coins, tokens, medals, or paper money and you will experience a world of pleasure.

Although there are no guaran­tees, a carefully formed collection held for the long term will, when sold, yield a nice profit. 

Serious collectors of fame who have seen their holdings appreciate greatly over the years include Harry W. Bass Jr., Emery May Holden Norweb, and D. Brent Pogue — to mention just three of thousands of clients. Each paid no less than the current market price and in many instances set new records by outbidding all competition. 

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Any high quality collection, large or small, is usually built by paying at least the current market price. Don’t be a bargain-hunter or bottom feeder. Cheap coins usually are of cheap quality.

I have just finished reading the October issue of Penny-Wise, the official publication of Early American Coppers. Dr. Harry Salyards, editor, is one of the most gifted writers in numismatics today. Among the features is a file of letters that John W. Adams wrote and received years ago when building his memorable collection of early large copper cents with emphasis on the year 1794.

I was delighted to read his “review,” dated Nov. 19, 1979, of my just-published book, The History of American Numismatics as Illustrated by the Garrett Collection, stating in part:

“As for congratulations, it is easy to run out of superlatives. Your book captures, as nothing before has come close to doing, the quintessential spirit of our hobby. The work will prove a beacon to budding collectors who, while they may be harboring a spark of enthusiasm, lack the perspective and knowledge necessary to enjoy numismatics to its fullest extent. You have opened the door to a whole new world, and thousands will come crowding through.”

As it has been out of print for many years, if you want to read one, check with sellers of antiquarian books, or if you are a member of the American Numismatic Association, you can borrow one for free (plus round trip postage).

I will check with Whitman Pub­lishing, with which I have been associated for many years, to see if I should revise this classic.

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