The Myth of the Complete Set
Many folks new to the numismatic market believe that a complete set of a particular series of coins or banknotes is a wondrous thing – they’re of the opinion that once all the gaps in a set are filled, the jackpot wheels start spinning. Experienced collectors of course know that that’s quite true, well not quite.
One dictionary definition of the term “collect” is “to obtain and keep objects of similar type because of their interest, value or beauty.”
It follows then that the aim of most collectors is to obtain a representative example of each similar item within a particular series, and then present it in a way that enhances the interest, value and beauty in each item. Ask any collector – there’s nothing more rewarding than to look at a collection once it’s just been finished – to reflect back on the dedication, persistence and patience that it took to accomplish the task.
There’s a certain pride in completing a job that’s eluded many others and an ego trip of owning something that few others could possibly possess.
When being offered the privilege of viewing a complete set of a particular series, fellow collectors can stand in awe of the accomplishment – its not uncommon for a collector to spring good money on the spot for a complete set of items in their area of interest in order to save time building it themselves.
In reality though, a complete set is often nothing more than the sum of its parts, and when sold it doesn’t fetch two or three times the value of coins or notes that are in it.
The real benefit comes in a group of items being sold quicker (in one transaction) than trying to sell ten, twenty or fifty items one at a time.
This factor is even more apparent when we consider the number of collectors with access to their self-managed superannuation funds that are active at the moment.
These collectors are often time poor yet cash rich, and nearly always prefer making large acquisitions infrequently rather than more frequent acquisitions of lesser value.
An investor with an eye for the future can take advantage of this – by building a collection of items (over a period of time) that has appeal to well-heeled collectors, you actually increase the probability that you’ll be able to exit your total investment at a favourable price, and at a time of your choosing.
The only feeling that’s better than finishing a collection is selling it quickly and at a good price!
Our advice for investors with an eye for the long term is to select an area of numismatics that interests you, then acquire the very best condition items in that area your budget will allow.
If you do your research well enough and select an area that has sound fundamentals, your investment risk will actually be reduced by focusing your efforts.
Set yourself to learn everything you can about the area you choose, and you’ll become knowledgeable in no time at all - it’s far easier to learn about ten or twenty items than it is to learn about one or two hundred.
Working towards a complete set will mean you’ll avoid distractions, and remain true to your initial objective.
At the end of it all, there’s the satisfaction of a quick sale at a good price, an excellent reason for working towards a complete set.