As a general rule anyone who becomes a serious collector sets about on a specialty — acquiring a short set of Walking Liberty half dollars from 1941 to 1947, and then choosing to complete the entire series. Or, perhaps getting one of each Proof set from 1936 to date. Or, you could contemplate the Flying Eagle and Indian cent series from 1856 to 1909 and working on that. Or, maybe some other interest.
It is a given that if you follow this pattern, you will come to a point when you do not need many items to complete your display. Perhaps among Walking Liberty half dollars you will still be seeking a nice 1917-S with mintmark on the obverse, 1921-S, or some other coin. Proof sets from 1936 to date are a bit easier, and they may be complete. Small cents may be lacking the key 1856 Flying Eagle or perhaps the 1877. Or, alternatively, perhaps you started with the scarcer dates first, as many do, and need some of the more plentiful ones.
Whatever the situation, for stimulation and excitement it may be time to investigate collecting something additional. A nice way to start the year 2013 is to do exactly that. An ideal method is to take the latest edition of A Guide Book of United States Coins, the 2013 edition, and spend an hour leafing through the pages from front to back, review each series, grades and prices, design and other aspects, and see if collecting that series would be interesting.
There are some areas that are relatively quiet on the market right now. One of them is classic silver commemoratives from 1892 to 1954. Very nice MS-63 to MS-65 coins can be obtained for very low prices, including pieces with mintages below 5,000 coins. Some of the last can be bought in the range of several hundred dollars. Can you imagine if the U.S. Mint right now issued a commemorative with only 3,000 or 4,000 produced what the price would be? Thousands of dollars I am sure.
While you are at it, reading the first section of the Guide Book is a worthwhile pursuit — not to find something new to collect but to get an overview of American coinage. No more concise presentation of coinage history can be found than in these pages.
The above said, enjoy December and have a happy holiday season.