The following was re-posted from the “Bowers on Collecting” column on Coin Update
It was about 15 years ago when, with Whitman Publishing, I set about arranging a display of all of the coins issued during the administration of Ronald Reagan. I was shocked to realize that to include one each of all Mint State and Proof regular issues, plus ditto for commemoratives, plus ditto for gold and silver eagles; the cost was on the long side of $10,000. Of course, this was not a mystery—the Guide Book offered prices. However, I had not been collecting these issues and had not added them up.
The scene changes to February 5, 2018, when in Linn’s Stamp News, Michael Baadke had this article:
Cost to collect U.S. stamps shows little change in 2017: The annual cost to collect one mint example of each new United States stamp and postal stationery item remained fairly steady in 2017. On each of every 2017 major variety as listed in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers cost $95.88. That’s just $3.50 less than the $99.38 collectors paid for one each of the 2016 U.S. new issues. Over the past 26 years, the annual cost has ranged from a low of $36.21 in 1993 to a high of $172.42 in 2007. The per-year average is $84.60 since Linn’s began tabulating the annual cost to collect U.S. stamps in 1991.
“Hmmm,” I thought! The most recent year under study, 2017, appears to indicate that collecting one each of every major stamp variety costs $95.88. Just for the heck of it, I wondered how much it would cost today to collect one each of every variety of legal tender coin offered by the U.S. Mint this year.
This would include the cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and dollar coins, plus silver and gold coins, including eagles, plus platinum coins, plus special finishes, and the like. Well, the year is just beginning, and who knows if some new special “Reverse Proof,” or West Point Mint, or other items will be announced, but it seems wise to reserve $10,000 to get them all.
Actually, I have no such plans. I do enjoy looking over the wonderful selection on the U.S. Mint website and ordering all varieties (and there have been some unusual ones lately) of Native American dollars, plus the current Proof and Mint State coins from cents onward. I like the modern medals with historical scenes and will order some of these.
No, I don’t plan to switch from coins to stamps!
Lots of fun!