​​New Year’s Opportunities to Consider

The art and science of
numismatics has enriched all of our lives. The gathering of coins, tokens,
medals, and paper money and information and history concerning them is
challenging and exciting. There are no bars to entry. If you aspire to collect
one of each Proof double eagle of the Liberty Head and Saint-Gaudens types, it
would be nice if you had bought Berkshire-Hathaway stock when it was $6 per
share (today it is $338,500). However, not many of us did that. The good news
is that for most series, a modest budget will do just fine. For 2021 you might
consider investigating these series. I list some favorites:

Golden dollars from 2000
to date are very interesting to collect. The Sacagawea obverse has a special
appeal and is combined with the early eagle reverse, later with other motifs. A
complete set by date and mint is very affordable, perhaps except for the
curious 2000-P “Cheerios” dollar with special treatment of the tail feathers,
for which about 5,000 coins were made in advance in 1999 for inclusion in
cereal boxes, with no attention being paid when the design was later
changed.  A Mint State coin sells for several thousand dollars.

A full set of Peace
silver dollars 1921 to 1935 comprises 24 coins.  A recent PCGS price guide
values a set on MS-63 grade at about $10,000, MS-64 $16,000, and MS-65 $86,000.
Don’t tell anyone, but if you cherrypick for quality you can find some
certified MS-64 coins that are every bit as nice as those certified MS-65. This
takes time to do, but with excellent images available on the Internet you can
do it from the comfort of your favorite armchair.

For an afternoon of
entertaining reading go to the Newman Numismatic Portal on the Internet and go
back in time. Find time to read back issues of The Numismatist. Revisiting
a century ago in 1921 gives an interesting view of a different numismatic
world—no grading standards, no Guide Book, no Coin
World, and no regulation of ethics (such as selling counterfeits and
overgraded coins). Still, collectors were happy campers and had a nice
time. Other “old” books that are still worthwhile reads today are Early
American Coins, by Sylvester S. Crosby (published in 187) and Early
American Cents by Dr. William H. Sheldon (published in 1949. These can
be found at used booksellers on the Internet. There is room for both titles in
your library, and using them will repay their cost.

Another area of
numismatics that can offer a big bang for the buck is tokens and medals. There
is a lot of history and artistry in these fields, often for much less than the
cost of United States federal coins. I have enjoyed tokens, counterstamps and
other such items for a long time and have also appreciated the specialized coin
clubs that go along with them. Of course, many specialized societies exist in
numismatics and joining them can increase your fun at a very low cost. These
include the Token and Medal Society, Early American Coppers, Civil War Token
Society, Liberty Seated Coin Club, John Reich Collectors Society, to name just
a few. A listing of these appears in the back part of the Guide Book of
United States Coins. Dues are inexpensive in comparison to the value

To you and yours, I wish
you very happy holidays and a safe and prosperous 2021.

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