Lower Grade

Seize the Moment

by Bill Snyder

Should we buy only choice, gem uncirculated coins? Like so many things in coin collecting, it’s a matter of opinion. Each collector sets his or her goals and goes on from there.


When I started collecting mis-struck coins, I decided on the types I was looking for. Then I made a decision about quality. I wrote many letters and email, looking for coin types on my list. I always included the phrase “VF or better”.

Making Progress (?)

My collection was coming along satisfactorily but, for some reason, I had not heard of or seen any Brockages of the 1806-1807 type of English King George III half pennies.

Then two of the elusive coins (an Obverse Brockage and a Reverse Brockage) turned up in an international auction. Surely this group was really rare!

The problem was that they were only in Fine condition.

What to do?

Seize the Moment

I remembered an article that I once read in a Canadian numismatic publication. It was by a noted collector of paper money. It seems that his goal was to acquire one banknote example from every bank in Canada. He had them all, except for one. (I think he was looking for a note from the Bank of Sterling, but I could be wrong). He was finally offered one. However, it was worn and torn. Surely it had no place in his fine collection. He turned it down.

The banknote was purchased by a museum, taking it off the market forever.

He never found another.

I bought the two halfpenny brockages.