New Collector: What and how to collect?
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4 posts in this topic

I currently have 9 PMG notes and looking to expand my collection. I like to keep consistent grades when collecting a series and most of my notes are Grade 40.

The higher denominations in a series end up costing a small fortune when keeping with consistent grades. Is it a bad idea to have higher grade low denomination notes and having lower grade high denomination notes in the same series? Would it be a failed collection? Some of these notes I'm seeing are expensive and I'm wondering what the best solution should be to have a respectable collection.

 

Edited by mefinnigan
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Hello PaperCrazy,

Great question! Yes, a small fortune!!!

I try to keep consistent grades in my sets too. A respectable collection is important to me, but you should buy and own what satisfies you personally. I try to always buy EPQ notes, however for some rarities, recently I have been happy to accept 30 or 35 without the EPQ but with no comments, or the comment of Great Color. One note I bought at auction on impulse recently is a 15, however it's a very handsome and original note and I am happy with it in the collection for now. I can always sell it later. I'd suggest to try to keep clear of NET notes (notes with negative comments, since the NET has been discontinued).

I have just updated my notes in the PMG Registry, so you could search and see what type of grade range have found reasonable/acceptable for me.... across Large Size Gold, Large Size Silver, Large Size Legal Tender and Large Size 1902 National. 

I have sold many notes in the past to bring my collection to this point. For example, I paid a lot for a 66 EPQ $5 1923 Porthole without totally "loving" the note (excuse my choice of words!), so I couldn't really enjoy the note that much. I sold the note and put the money into notes I would get way more enjoyment from, with that same money. It was a beautiful note, but I had too much invested in it, for the enjoyment derived.

If you search and are patient you may find value. I have found 35 EPQ's that look as nice as 45 EPQ. And 45 EPQ's that look as nice as 58 EPQ. So these notes you pay up for the grade assigned, but they are quality!

I therefore do consider it is important (to me) to keep grades somewhat similar across my collection. You may have come to the same conclusion by the sounds of it? Affordability is important, as well as your personal enjoyment from your set!

When I first started collection, I was told - "buy what you enjoy". This is very true! I would be unable to enjoy my collection if the grades were all over the place. So it comes down to the individual. It's your collection to build, be proud of, and enjoy :)

Best of enjoyment on your journey.

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Hi MrGrey,

Thanks for your input! Some collectors are happy with lower grades because they are able to afford a variety of most unaffordable notes. I'm satisfied being a mid grade collector because I can still get quality for my collection. I want to be able to put together a decent collection and I'll pay up for the particular notes that deserve paying a little more for, it will just take a little more time for me.

15 hours ago, MrGrey said:

I have found 35 EPQ's that look as nice as 45 EPQ. And 45 EPQ's that look as nice as 58 EPQ. So these notes you pay up for the grade assigned, but they are quality!

I find your statement to be very true. There's nothing wrong with EPQ Grades of 45, 40 or even 35 if there are no negative comments. And some that aren't even EPQ can be very nice. I picked up a Grade 40 1914 $50 FRN and it looks amazing. I almost think it was under graded. A very nice note and my most expensive so far. I'm starting to look in the territory of starting the 1862 and 1880 Legal Tender series. This will take some time to complete in decent grades but deserves to be a showcase in my collection. The 1882 Nationals are exquisite too! Ohhh...where to start!?

I looked at your PMG Registry collection and I was blown away at the grades you've been able to collect. A little too sweet for my blood but I'm happy you've been able to get what you wanted!

eBay just recently implemented an 8.25% Sales Tax on all purchases. This is a real killer as a new collector. I'm familiar with Heritage Auctions but could you recommend any other online sites?

Thanks!

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On 10/24/2019 at 9:46 AM, PaperCrazy said:

Hi MrGrey,

Thanks for your input! Some collectors are happy with lower grades because they are able to afford a variety of most unaffordable notes. I'm satisfied being a mid grade collector because I can still get quality for my collection. I want to be able to put together a decent collection and I'll pay up for the particular notes that deserve paying a little more for, it will just take a little more time for me.

I find your statement to be very true. There's nothing wrong with EPQ Grades of 45, 40 or even 35 if there are no negative comments. And some that aren't even EPQ can be very nice. I picked up a Grade 40 1914 $50 FRN and it looks amazing. I almost think it was under graded. A very nice note and my most expensive so far. I'm starting to look in the territory of starting the 1862 and 1880 Legal Tender series. This will take some time to complete in decent grades but deserves to be a showcase in my collection. The 1882 Nationals are exquisite too! Ohhh...where to start!?

I looked at your PMG Registry collection and I was blown away at the grades you've been able to collect. A little too sweet for my blood but I'm happy you've been able to get what you wanted!

eBay just recently implemented an 8.25% Sales Tax on all purchases. This is a real killer as a new collector. I'm familiar with Heritage Auctions but could you recommend any other online sites?

Thanks!

 

Hi PaperCrazy!

Thanks for writing :) You are absolutely right on everything you have said.

It sounds like you are patient - excellent! It is definitely worth paying more for quality. Quality will always be in demand. Low quality will drop in price and not be in demand (imho) in the future.

Do keep in mind, "there are mid-grade collections and there are mid-grade collections". Which side of quality will you sit on? If you are discerning, and patient, for the same (or slightly more) money you can have a much better collection of original notes, compared to if you just rushed in and bought the next one available.. Look for the best you can find in mid grade. Maybe have a few less notes, but get the mid-grade Quality. Get EPQ when you can (or always!). If you are buying a set of notes, you want them all to have the similar handling and "look" as your original post identified. I like and respect and echo your approach. This can take effort and patience again, which you have.

Research lots and plan out your collection in advance, and the grades you will be happy with.. because when you make a mistake, or you change your mind about a note you own, you will usually take a loss on selling it due to selling fees. Broadly speaking, imho 95-99% of notes are not increasing in value at this time and haven't done for a decade. There is also a financial opportunity cost of holding notes. So buy what you are really happy to hold onto, which does truly teach the life lesson of patience. But the patience is worth the wait because you will get what you enjoy. If you have to sell, sometimes I have found ebay will give promotions where there is no FVF fee. When this coincides with the ebay bucks promotions, sometimes you can make a sale.

Thank you kindly for complimenting my notes, it means a lot! (I continue to work HARD in the real world to achieve these notes).

The other thing, I steer totally away from any notes that have been trimmed. Some early notes I bought had been trimmed and I had to sell them to move them on. So consider what qualities are important to you in a note before you go too far!

I am absolutely CERTAIN that a quality mid-grade, and here I am talking PMG30EPQ-35EPQ, set can be put together, that would rival (or eclipse) higher grade sets for respectability, provided you are careful and seek the EPQ notes when possible.

In addition to Heritage and eBay, the other online auction sites to follow are LynKnight and StacksBowers. There is another site called GreatCollections, but I don't follow that - unsure why. There seems to be a major auction you can buy from every 2-3 months. LynKnight and StacksBowers have current/upcoming auctions you can search online right NOW. Heritage have their next major auction in January but also have their weekly Tuesday auctions which are good. You will find some of the notes you desire in mid grades in the weekly auctions. 

Searching the sold listings at Heritage is a great way to learn and see a wide range of the note you may want to own *** <-- do that often ***

Let me know how you go! :)  If you start using the Registry, I will follow your progress over the next 10 years :p

 

Edited by MrGrey
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