When you collect things, it is good to have a plan. Going to a coin shop without a plan is a lot like going grocery shopping without a list….when you are hungry.
You first need to know what you want to collect. Sounds silly, I know. But without a grocery list I tend to buy junk I don’t really need and am not happy later when I run out of money and didn’t buy any milk or eggs. The same is true when you go to a show or a coin shop or even online. You may see something and impulse buy on it. If you buy Morgan dollars, do you only want certain grades? Do you only want to spend a certain amount on each coin? If you take the time to narrow your focus down, you are less likely to want to sell things down the road as a duplicate, (what honey, you bought toilet paper last week?), or a bad buy (I thought those $5 ALF DVD’s would be good viewing for years to come).
To set parameters for your shopping trip you will, of course, need to know your budget. But this goes beyond just looking in your wallet. It involves knowing what the market is for the coins you are looking for. It helps to have a list of the coins you want and price ranges for the grades you find acceptable. I say ranges intentionally. Buying coins is not like going to In-N-Out, where the prices are the same and the food is the same every time. It is a bit more like real estate. No two homes are the same, so you work with comparable pricing. This house had a pool, this one 3 car garage. This coin has less wear, but a rim nick. This coin is uncirculated, but lacks eye appeal. Knowing your price ranges will help you to say yes or no to a purchase and be satisfied with the results. This also means knowing what your must have items
are. Number of rooms, location, size. What is more important, the grade, the price, the eye appeal?
It takes time to learn what is most important to you in a coin. It takes time to know what the market is. Part of the lesson here is to be in your hobby and you will be satisfied with your hobby. Lazy collectors are unsatisfied collectors. So take the time and have a plan with all your collecting.