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Happy New Year!

By Q. David Bowers, Co-Founder

Author: Q. David Bowers / Wednesday, January 02, 2019 / Categories: From the Desk of Q. David Bowers

Happy New Year Part II to speak. My last message had to do with the world at large and present situations, plus a mention that I will be at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando all day on Thursday and Friday, January 10 and 11. Whether you are a newcomer to the world’s greatest hobby (as I like to call it) or whether we’ve known each other for years, stop by to say hello. I will be glad to autograph any books you bring with me or buy at the Whitman booth at the show.

As I see it, this year will be a great one for numismatics. Although prices are down in some series, mainly high-grade federal coins, eager buyers are plentiful. It makes a lot more sense to buy when prices are reduced than when they are at record levels. Ever since publishing the first-ever study of coin price cycles in the early 1960s, I’ve kept a close eye on the market and have been able to successfully predict the future. There is no guarantee that this will continue, but I’ll try my best.

As I have suggested many times before, analyze your coin budget and pick series in which you can slowly, carefully, and enjoyably build a fine collection. If your budget is $1,000 per year, modern series such as golden dollars, Washington quarters since 1949, and, say, Jefferson nickels are among those that are affordable and interesting. If your budget is $10,000 you can go a long way in many coin, token, medal, and paper money series. 

Classic silver commemoratives 1892 to 1954 have been in the doldrums for quite a few years; it is significant that most high grade coins sell today for tiny fractions of their prices in the market high for that series in 1989. If you want to review the long history of these, track down a copy of my out-of-print 1992 book, Commemorative Coins of the United States: A Complete Encyclopedia.

Many niche series in early American coins are very affordable in grades such as EF and AU, the Capped Bust silver coins of the early 19th century being an example. $10,000 will go a long way toward assembling a nice collection of obsolete bank notes of the early 19th century, of Hard Times tokens of the 1832 to 1844 era, and Civil War tokens of the 1861 to 1865 period. Many historical medals can be bought for less than several hundred dollars each. And then there is the field of collecting out-of-print numismatic catalogs, books, and periodicals. A complete set of The Numismatic Scrapbook Magazine from 1936 to the mid-1960s will provide a month of interesting reading and, although I have not checked on current prices or availability, I would estimate the cost to be far below $1,000.

Visit some local and regional conventions. The Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expos in Baltimore are a lot of fun. The next one starts on February 28, 2019. I have attended every one since the beginning, except for one last year when airline flights were cancelled. Such shows are a great way to make new friends among collectors and dealers.

Enjoy the New Year. May it be happy, healthy, and numismatically exciting and rewarding.​