As a collector, what if you had all the money, time and market knowledge in the world? What collection would you assemble?
Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker of CoinWeek explore the realm of Theoretical Numismatics in The Rational Collector, a
compilation of their earlier Market Whimsy columns for The Numismatist. Be sure to read the complete version online, and be
prepared to wear your thinking cap. -Editor
Imagine that you could have every coin you wanted. What could possibly go wrong?
Charles and Hubert’s column Market Whimsy, which originally appeared in the American Numismatic Association (ANA) magazine The
Numismatist, won the 2016 Numismatic Literary Guild’s award for Best Column, Non-Profit Large Publications.
This article consists of four columns that were first published August-November, 2015: “Making a Monster”, “Perfect Knowledge”, “Timing
Is Everything” and “Mountains of Money”, respectively. It has been updated where necessary.
We have to start somewhere. We have to simplify.
The Rational Collector, therefore, is meant to represent any self-interested collector going about the business of collecting coins (or
currency, or medals, or casino chips or whatever).
But after analyzing the classic commemorative market for almost a year (for our own amusement–don’t judge), the barstool philosophy
started to get interesting. What would happen to the market, we wondered, if collectors were unencumbered by the usual limitations?
What if money were no object?
What if collectors had perfect knowledge of the market?
What if they had all the time in the world to see a return on their investments–whether that was their primary goal or not?
We began to jokingly refer to questions like this and the ideas they produced as “Theoretical Numismatics”. But they proved too fruitful
to dismiss, and soon our speculation culminated in a vision of a collector who did have all the time in the world, who did have perfect
knowledge, who had riches beyond imagining.
What would he or she do?
This is why Pogue, Gardner, Eliasberg, Newman and Green are so instructive (we should add King Farouk for good measure). When we
started, we looked at these gentlemen as being as close as the real world could get to the RC, nothing more. The first Pogue sale changed
The Pogues set out to put together the best collection of early federal coins ever assembled–Q. David Bowers called every coin a
masterpiece. But not every coin in the Pogue collection is the best example they could possibly have owned. Even with all of their wealth
and more than 40 years of effort the Pogues didn’t achieve what the Rational Collector would set out to do.
But it appears that, in the case of some coins, they chose not to. Maybe the price was wrong, or the timing was bad. Maybe they didn’t
agree with the grades the coins were given. Chalk it up to the eccentricities of a flesh-and-blood person if you like, but we’re not so
Things do get interesting in this theoretical world. The pull of gravity from a black hole distorts the universe around it. Enjoy the
thought experiment - read the rest online. -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
The Rational Collector (www.coinweek.com/expert-columns/charles-morgan-and-hubert-walker/market-whimsy-rational-collector-part-1/)
Archives International Auctions, Sale 35
Chinese, Asian & Worldwide Banknotes,
Chinese Scripophily, Coins and
Security Printing Ephemera
September 26, 2016
Click the links! Highlights include:
Lot 49: Lot
49 British North Borneo Company
Lot 74: Ming Dynasty Circulating Note
Lot 172: Lot
172 Russo-Asiatic Bank, 1913-1917
Sino-Belgian Bank, 1908-1912 Mexican Dollar
Lot 272: Banco Nacional 1899 Provisional Issues
307: National Bank of the Danish West Indies 1905 Specimen
Lot 356: Ethiopia 500
Thalers 1932 High Grade rarity
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Wayne Homren, Editor
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