Saturday, January 8, 2011

Accumulations – Hoards – Collections

I read an article in the EAC publication Penny-Wise a while back that got me thinking about this topic and my Canadian large cent stash.  In trying to decide whether I’m a collector, accumulator or hoarder I had to give some thought to what those terms meant to me.  

My first inclination was that I was a collector.  I have a collection of large cents, housed in 2x2 cardboard holders, all properly attributed, sitting in a couple of double wide red boxes.  The first attribution I make is the date of the coin.  This almost seems redundant to me, since the side of the holder that I make note of the date, is the side that shows the reverse.  Then I note obverse type and any variety designation that is appropriate.  If there are catalogs I’m using that identify die pairs, I make note of reverse and obverse die on the appropriate side of the holder. Finally, since pictures of some of my coins show up in books and articles, I make note on the holder where a picture of that coin has been used.  Sitting back quite smugly, I decided I was a collector.

But wait my wife said, what about all that other stuff sitting in jars you have stashed in the corner. Hmm… Oh yeah, that stuff.   Looking over at them, I have a stash of large cents that sit in about 4 basic groups. The first group is a container of mixed dates that I have not got around to sorting out yet.  The next group is sorted by date and sitting in various jars and such.  The third group is a box of mixed dates that I sell and trade from, and finally the last group is a group of Obverse 1x coins that I’m currently studying.  "So what about all that stuff?" is now ringing in my ears.  I’m hard pressed to call it a collection so it must be either a hoard or an accumulation.

Digging into this a bit, I decide to look through my 1882 Obverse 2 coins.  I don’t have any particular attachment to this group so I think it’s a good test group to decide if it is an accumulation or a hoard.   Since I’m currently studying Obverse 1x coins this seems like a good choice. (I’ll come back to this in a moment).  Out they all pile from a couple of containers onto my desk and I start to look at them.  I realize that I have previously just tossed them into this group based on Obverse and nothing else.  I have a couple of 1882 Obverse 2 coins in my collection.  I have collected those based on grade it seems.  What is sitting in front of me is a pile of VG-EF coins.  I start looking at them and putting almost all of them back into the jars, still not separating them by anything.  The ones not going into jars I toss into my sell or trade box.  I’ve almost worked my way through the entire pile when I stumble on a hub doubled Obverse 2 over Obverse 1.  These are really quite scarce!  I’m aware of 2 known types so I start to check my reference materials. The first I check is the variety section of the “Charlton Standard Catalog of Canadian Coins, 65th Edition (2010)”.  It’s not the one featured there so it must be the other, less dramatic one.  I know there is a picture of the other one in Turners “Dies and Diadems (2009)” so I check that reference.  Yep, that’s the one.  One last check is the CCRS discussion board.  I remember a thread about this recently.  A search there confirms that the coin in hand is the lesser known of the two hub doubled coins.   OK so this one gets flipped, attributed and put into my collection.  Sitting back now, I decide that I have just collected a coin from my accumulation of 1882 Obverse 2 coins. Clearly I must be an accumulator as well as a collector.

Now I turn to my 1882 Obverse 1x group.  This is part of the group of coins I’m currently studying.  I go through the same process.  Out they all tumble onto my desk from a couple of jars.  I’m looking at them now and sorting them as well.  Obverse 1 coins in one pile, Obverse 1a in a second, and Obverse 1a/1 into yet another group until I’m all done.  Then I’m back at them, sorting them further based on anomalies on each coin until I have many different piles.  This caused me to have to get little bags, make notes on the bags so I can remember what each pile is, and then put each pile into the appropriate bag.  None go into my collection and none got pitched into my sell box.  Sitting back, quite tired from the exercise I discover that this is a hoard.  I’m not willing to part with or move any part of the group to my collection until I’m done with them as a whole.  OMG! I’m a hoarder!

My wife laughs as I confess that I’m an accumulator first, a hoarder second, and lastly a collector, all at the same time.  What are you?