Making The Grade #18 is the latest edition of Dave Wnuck's newsletter, published by email April 16, 2015. In it he posts
another interesting Lesson at the Numismatic School of Hard Knocks.. -Editor
In the last issue, I talked about some of my mistakes as a rookie collector. This time around I will reveal one ridiculous idea I came up
with as a newbie coin dealer. I admit to feeling a bit sheepish about revealing this, but here goes-
I've always had a fascination with the Higley copper. Maybe it is the fact that it was made here in Connecticut where I live, from
copper mined locally. Maybe it is the oddly simple designs. Maybe it is the story behind them. Maybe it is because they are so rare. But no
matter – I just like 'em.
I have been fortunate over my career to have bought and sold several Higley coppers. But when I first started setting up at shows, I
came up with the brilliant idea to specialize in Higleys. Pure genius, right?
Well, for folks who don't know much about Higley coppers, there are maybe 70 or 80 of them in existence, spread over several
varieties (including the unique one mentioned above). The appearance of just one Higley in any condition would be a highlight of most coin
Back when I started buying and selling at local shows, I must have thought there were people who were going to these local coin shows
that had Higley coppers with them. After all – why wouldn't they? They were made locally. Sure, that was back in the 1730's, but
perhaps they were family heirlooms.
And perhaps they were to bashful to offer them to dealers for sale. Unless, of course, they were prompted to do so. Prompted, lets say,
by a sign at a certain dealer's table:
I came across that sign again in a storage room about a month ago. Yes – that a real sign, and not one I just made up today as a joke. I
actually displayed it at local coin shows for a few months when I started out in the early 1980's.
Even more ridiculous were my thoughts at the time. I remember thinking – “Yikes – what if I was offered more than one at a show? I mean
– these things are worth $3000 to $5000 each (that was the going rate at the time. They are $30,000 to $80,000 now, and more for nice
ones). Can I afford to buy two or three at once? And how long would I have them in stock?”
Well, as you might have guessed, I needn't have worried. No one offered me even one. No one even commented on my sign. I guess this
wasn't the path to my becoming the Higley King.
As a collector I specialized in U.S. Encased Postage Stamps. It was more exciting than waiting for Higley Coppers to turn up at a show,
but not much. Usually I'd be lucky to find just one, and then it was always a common one. But that was the fun in it, for me. Anybody
can collect common stuff. -Editor
To read Dave's newsletters online, see:
Making the Grade (www.davewcoins.com/newsletter)
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