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New to this forum and collecting. Looking for advice on several topics.

4 posts in this topic

I am seriously considering starting a collection. When I was a kid I collected US coins (halves and dollars - my grandfather was in the ANA for more than 50 yrs), and then stamps (early unused US - which my father collected as well). Those collections were sold to pay for college.


I've read cover to cover "US Paper Money" (Red Books - both the first and second edition). I'm fascinated by the detail and elegance of the large notes. I purchased the latest copy of the greensheet. No question, at this point in my life (older parents to worry about, a wife and 9 yr old), a big collecting budget is not possible. And that brings me to several questions that I am hoping some of you will help me to answer.


1. Grading in the coin and stamp hobbies sure has changed a lot since I used to collect. And, because I am new to this hobby, I am leaning toward purchasing only PMG certified notes. Does this make sense? How much of a premium am I paying to purchase a certified note (typical dealer mark-up, not cost of submission for grading), 10% or more? That said, I want to learn everything there is to know about grading, because I feel that if you are going to be involved in a hobby you should take the time and put forth the effort to be knowledgable.


2. Owning uncirculated notes is not important (or cost feasbile), to me. I am considering collecting XF notes with variance to VF for more expensive notes and AU for less expensive notes. This will allow me to hopefully purchase a decent number of notes, where if I stuck with high grade, I could purchase only a few. Does this make sense?


3. While I do not anticipate selling this collection in my lifetime, I would want to be able to get my initial investment out of it, and also not "take a bath" if I were to sell a VF note in order to upgrade to an XF or AU one day. Are the VF and XF grades not just "collctible" but "desireable?"


4. I thought that to start I would attempt to collect the 1880 Legal Tenders ($1 thru $20); the 1899 Silver Certificates ($1 thru $5); the 1906/07 Gold Certificates ($10 and $20); and the 1914 Blue Seal Fed. Res. Notes ($1 thru $50). So this is sort of a "type collection (as opposed to multiple bank districts or certain signature combinations). Is this a generally acceptable way to collect?


5. There is quite a significant difference in pricing when looking eBay, the Red Books (I realize they are a guide), on-line auctions (non-eBay), and this month's geensheet. Can I trust the greensheet's numbers? Do they reflect a price for a certified note? I frequently see on-line dealers listing notes for 40% or more above greensheet. Is it appropriate to ask a dealer to bring his price down closer to the sheet's?


I would sincerely appreciate all opinions and advice.


Thank you.







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There is a lot to respond here but your method of collecting sounds fine... You should concentrate on collecting notes that make you happy to own. :-)


it's ok to buy graded notes especially in the beginning but it wil pay you greatly to learn to grade for yourself. You should always be looking at notes in holders and taking in what the grade is and why. the better tuned in you are to the grading services the better you will be at buying your notes reasonably.


PS, the greensheet is almost never used to sell notes... Dealers use it to buy them.


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Thank you for taking the time to review my post and respond. I sincerely appreciate the information. I am going to go to the upcoming Baltimore show with the idea of meeting some of the dealers, and attempting to become more educated on grading and prices. I hope to make my first purchase too!


My biggest unknown is gauging the market values. I do not want to overpay and of course want to get the most for my money.

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