INTRODUCTION - My start or "Knowledge is power and money"

NOTE:  In converting my blog into book form you will encounter many references and links to online information and even a couple videos which would clickable if viewed online in my blog. However, none will work in the book (of course). If you are interested in viewing these, please simply go online and view the blog at or just make a search online for the information to which I referred. 

Now lets begin with the author's (me) history.

Years ago I used to drive to the local library to study a topic. About a seven mile drive one way. Then I had to figure out their system at the library to locate a book on the topic. Then page through the book looking for the actual topic of interest specifically.

After all that, about half the time, I needed to go after yet another book to corroborate what the first one said. When finished for the day, I returned the books to the shelf and drove home with some notes on the topic. That was in the mid 1960s.

Those books took many months to be written and then published and finally to reach that library. Information in them was historically accurate, but certainly not up-to-date as you need in a market place such as coin collecting or silver investment.

First start - the 50s and 60s.

In my childhood I had always liked the look and feel of coins. I would put back a few silver half-dollars and some dimes to save just because I liked the looks of them. I, of course, knew nothing about actually collecting coins back then. Today I have nothing of what I put back. I never really kept any of them.

After my overseas tour of duty in the Army I began to actually 'collect' coins. I actually still have some coins I put back in 1963. I would go buy twenty-dollars worth of pennies and go through them to find dates to fill up the blue books I had.

Banks back then weren't collector friendly like today. At one bank near Fort Bragg I was accosted by some bank guy who not only refused to sell me twenty in pennies but made me leave the bank while a dozen people watched the disturbance. To this day I can't understand what his problem was, but it was the attitude of banks in general. They somehow figured money was just to spend and not to collect. I'm sure I wasn't the only person who got that treatment. One can only imagine how many more valuable coins would have been taken from circulation back then and saved from wear or destruction had the bank's attitudes been more favorable toward the hobby.

I got away from actively collecting coins for about 20 years, from around 1965 until the mid 80s. Up to that point I had only managed to collect a couple of blue books of pennies and some nickels. Nothing else.

A few of these comprised my entire collection

Second start - the 80s.

Now I relied on coin books and other publications. These were more up-to-date than a library book, but still weeks away from being current. At best, a few  newsletters would be published from week to week. Still not anything in real time which we now have and those newsletters weren't free!

Thankfully, when I started collecting again, the professional grading services like PCGS existed. With these being available, I was at least assured of the quality and condition of a coin. However the eye appeal was still sometimes lacking. For example, I bought a 1909 S VDB penny from a California seller sight unseen over the teletype. Luckily, the coin looked great as it turned out. I was guaranteed as to what I was getting by PCGS, but there is a certain something about actually seeing what you are buying that simply wasn't possible before, unless you walked into a local store and bought.

Most of what I bought was from an individual and I got to see and hold the coins. I collected mostly PCGS certified gold coins at that time.

Once again I stopped being active and sadly, I sold all the gold and nearly everything else. 

Third start - new millenium and the teen years

Enter the computer age of knowledge!

Today, I have this computer. It is light years ahead of the mid 60s and even mid 80s in both speed as well as being far more comprehensive.

Inside this computer is a wealth of knowledge, placed there by experts, on the topic of silver and gold. You can research coin values with up to the minute accuracy. Find the "spot" prices for precious metals, with minute to minute prices being displayed in "real time".

Today, I can look at the actual coin, and I can examine it closely on my 40" monitor to decide if I like the way it looks before bidding or buying. I can even go look up what the coin is actually worth before bidding. I can compare it with similar coins. I can do everything short of actually touching the coin or silver bar. 

Life is good for collectors!

I dwell mostly on silver, but gold is good too! However, today's costs may force most people into silver rather than gold. One tenth ounce gold coins and bars remain somewhat affordable and are a good place to start if you go with gold. You must pay more per-ounce when buying smaller or fractional coins, but they retain that value if you need to sell (so does silver). Plus, the overview on investing is about the same in any event. 

Many people believe that silver stands to gain a lot more than gold in the future - getting back to a 15 to 1 ratio. Nobody knows for sure! In fact, most of what I, or anyone else, posts here regarding values is purely our opinion(s)!

ABOVE ALL - do not buy silver nor gold based upon anything posted here. Do your own research and make your own decisions.

This short video shows how much work is involved to mine silver. (Discovery Channel)

This blog is not meant to be a scholarly work. I'm just an every day person with an interest in saving precious metals and US (mostly) coins. I recently went to a coin blog elsewhere and had to look up many of the abbreviations being used there. Plus, they were getting way deeper into coin grading and coin slabs than I ever have. There was an ongoing debate about which TPG (Third Party Grading service - see! I had to look that one up) was the best and tons of comments about breaking coins out and re-submitting them to test those services. I have never considered doing that, and I'm way below these people in my knowledge and understanding.

What I do know about coins and silver is pretty much all I need at this point in time. Who best grades a coin? PCGS or NGC? All I need to know is that the coin is graded by one of the three top tier services and that grading is accurate enough for me to make a purchase or to turn around and sell a coin. 

There wasn't much discussion about bullion.

Anyhow, I hope what I have produced here is helpful to some of the readers. I have fifty pages here. Check the rest (about bullion and coins and many things surrounding the topics) to see if your questions are answered. Always remember that I am not selling anything. This is a labor of love. I love the precious metals and especially US coins.

And always remember I am not an investment advisor, so:

Consult the professionals