David Luftig submitted this review of Pleasure & Profit: 100 Lessons For Building and Selling A Collection of Rare Coins.
Pleasure & Profit: 100 Lessons For Building and Selling A Collection of Rare Coins, is the latest entry in Whitman's Guidebook series.
The book is by first time author Robert Shippee a retired international banker. The book tells the story of Mr. Shippee putting together a first
class type set consisting of consisting of 137 PCGS graded coins. The cost of the collection was slightly over $1 million, and the collection was
sold at auction approximately 8 years after it was started for about $1.4 million, netting a nice profit, not including the pleasure of ownership Mr.
Mr. Shippee offers numerous lessons regarding both purchasing and selling coins. Most people (I would estimate 95% of collectors) have nowhere
near this sum to spend on their hobby, yet the lessons can be applied to lower expenditure. Mr. Shippee advises to buy coins that are nice looking
for the grade and to avoid problem pieces. This advice can easily be applied to someone working on Very Fine set of Barber Half Dollars for instance,
even though such a set while very challenging (it will take years) would be in the $15 thousand range. We are advised to hold coins for a long period
of time, which makes sense as explained that unlike stocks, there is a large cost of 15%- 25% in buying and selling a coin.
Additional good advice that can be applied to all levels of the hobby is to do your research before you buy, and to look at as many coins as you
can to learn what a natural "no problem" coin looks like. If you purchase desirable "no problem" coins, you will likely have many
buyers interested in your coins when it comes time to sell.
Even with all of Mr. Shippee's study and diligence, he still managed to lose money on certain very nice coins, which he attributes in many
cases to being over exuberant at auctions, so take his advice, and go slow, even the best coin will be a mistake if you overpay. The author's
other passion is golf, and he gives numerous golf analogies throughout the book. I don't think he mentions that 5 hours after a round of golf,
you have lost 100% of your financial investment (the $100-$200 cost of the round). I guess coin collecting falls somewhere between the stock market
(all gain or loss, no pleasure) and golf (100% financial loss, all pleasure). All in all a very enjoyable clearly written book, which gives good
advice to collectors at all levels.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: PLEASURE AND PROFIT (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n40a04.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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