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Rare Coin Road Warrior: Ahead of the Curve

Dear Rare Coin Enthusiast,

Every so often you hear a story you just have to pass on to others. Because the gentleman who told me this story is a good friend and values his anonymity, I am going to cite nothing more specific than the actual historical events that made this story what it is. The story involves a ‘leap of faith’ per se on the part of my ‘friend Bill’, but you can also argue it was an ‘educated risk’. Bill’s ‘leap’ is kind of like the educated risk that one takes when investing in rare coins.

Bill is a sharp guy. Over the last several years, we have talked every couple of weeks about his coin collection and have become friends. He is also a customer, but we have shared interests, somewhat similar geographical background, and a lot of other things in common. There is no question ‘Bill’ is thinking a ‘few steps ahead’ of the average crowd. His collecting interests are varied, but after some less than satisfactory results buying a few raw/uncertified ‘bargains’ early on, he has built a really super nice PCGS (and mostly CAC) graded and certified collection. ‘Bill’ has finished a few sets and has sharpened his focus on quality and value while being a little less specific in regard to exactly what coin he is looking for. Basically he wants the nicest coin he can afford with potential.

During a recent conversation Bill told me a story about the year Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ season total home run record that had stood since the early sixties. As many of you baseball fans remember, McGwire was an ‘animal’ that year. Yes, he was using steroids, but that isn’t part of the story. McGwire was at the pinnacle of his game and it showed in his massive strength, lightning fast reflexes, and incredible hand/eye coordination. I remember watching McGwire early during that season hitting incredible ‘shots’ often to 475 or 500 feet-well ‘out of the park’ on most major league fields.

McGwire’s swing was a thing of beauty. He was seeing the ball and getting the ‘fat of the bat’ on the ‘meat of the ball’ as if he were hitting against mediocre high school pitchers–not the elite professional pitchers he was facing every night. My friend is a fan. He was watching also! Early in the spring of 1998 ‘Bill’ purchased several hundred St. Louis Cardinal tickets for each of a whole string of late season Cardinal home games. Because he was buying in such huge blocks (and it was early in the season) he was able to amass a staggering number of tickets (I think around 2000 total at one point) for late season home games at an incredibly cheap price of $4 per ticket. He was also able to buy a large quantity of playoff tickets later in the season. These weren’t at the $4 each price, but you get the picture.

Instead of going to Vegas and putting money on McGwire and the Cardinals, Bill decided he would buy tickets to late season games because he BELIEVED that McGwire was going to break Maris’ record. ‘Bill’ knew that not only was McGwire on ‘fire’, but also that the St. Louis Cardinals had a fantastic team and probably had a good shot at the playoffs-and the late season ticket demand surge-that usually comes with a winning baseball franchise.  Not only that, but “Bill’ was hedging. He reasoned he only had $2/ticket downside because of tax considerations.

‘Bill’ MADE A KILLING!  Not only did he get huge numbers for almost all his tickets, he used some, kept some (because he is an ‘event’ ticket collector), and gave some away to friends. He was even able to rent a private box for several of the playoff games with the proceeds and fly himself and quite a large group of friends and family to St. Louis. At one point, ‘Bill’ related to me, he was selling the $4 tickets for $300 each and had to open a local bank account in the St. Louis area because he was very uncomfortable with all the cash he was holding.

The funny part of this story is that I too was following McGwire. I remember the awesome power he displayed. I, too, remember THINKING early in the Spring of 1998 when McGwire had maybe 15 or 16 homers that ‘this guy is going to break the record’. Unfortunately, I didn’t take that thought a step farther like ‘Bill’ and act on it. I didn’t take a ‘leap of faith’ or ‘educated risk’ because I didn’t put the ‘thought’ with the ‘action’.  ‘Bill’ saw an opportunity and acted upon it. Like McGwire, ‘Bill’ was ‘ahead of the curve’.

Because buying rare coins involves risk, you are foolhardy if you don’t do your homework. NOT doing your homework before investing in rare coins is a ‘leap of faith’. Investing in coins because you BELIEVE (and most importantly have done your homework) that they represent good value in the long term, you are taking an ‘educated risk’.

Bozarth Numismatics Inc is a full service rare coin dealer. We buy and sell PCGS, NGC, and CAC graded and approved high grade U.S. coins. We sell coins at shows and on both our website bozarthcoins.com and in our eBay store bozarthnumismaticsinc. Because of our extensive show and buying travel schedule we can often locate those ‘hard to find’ items. We offer free confidential want list services and will call or email you ‘first’ if we locate an item for you. Thanks and Best Regards, Vic Bozarth/The Rare Coin Road Warrior.

Vic Bozarth
Vic Bozarth
Vic Bozarth is a member of the Professional Numismatics Guild (PNG), the ANA, the CSNS, FUN, and many other regional and state coin clubs and organizations. Vic has extensive experience buying and selling coins into the mid-six-figure range. Both Vic and his wife Sherri attend all major U.S. coin shows as well as most of the larger regional shows.

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