I am a member of a small group of oddball collectors that love GSA Soft Packs. Less than 100,000 soft packs were released by the GSA back in 1973 and not many remain in their original packaging.
Imagine how many soft packs were initially opened! Personally, I’d be shocked if 10% of them survived in the packs. At $3 each, those original purchasers back in the 1970’s were taking a gamble on whether they’d receive a common date or something special. They’d either be elated or disappointed when they opened that envelope. Most would simply cut open the soft pack and stick the coins in their albums. Some of the “disappointing coins” at that time are probably the rarer and more valuable ones now. No one was doing a census by date and mint mark so no one knew at the time which ones were actually rare. My guess is that only a few thousand (most certainly less than 10,000) GSA Soft Packs remain. Most of those are 1878-CC, 1883-O, 1884-O, 1885-O, 1922 Peace, and 1923 Peace Dollars.
There is an adage in the collecting world to “Buy the coin, not the package”. However, I come from a diverse background of collecting and have collected many different items. I’ve always been willing to pay more for something in the original packaging. In most fields, other than coins, the packaging can be as important as the item itself. So, I’m OK paying a premium for the packaging. There won’t be any more of it made. It never fails to make me smile when I have a purist (and often time conceited) collector tell me I’m wasting my money on Soft Packs. I always respond that “I’ll probably never know”.
I bought the first coin of this set in February of 2014. Until February, I knew little of GSA Soft Packs and had never owned one. At the time I was putting together a nice set of GSA Hard Packs and avoided Soft Packs like a plague. My ignorance was bliss.
While trying to negotiate to purchase a fellow collector’s Hard Pack Carson City GSA Collection, he introduced me to Soft Packs. His passion was contagious. I started researching them, discovered how rare they are, and fell in love with the hardpack’s wayward little brother.
I refer to collecting GSA Soft Packs as the Wild West of Coin Collecting. I’ve grossly overpaid for some coins and I’ve underpaid for others. There are myriads of people in the hobby that don’t understand, appreciate, or respect Soft Packs – which is fine by me – as it presents an opportunity to purchase some rare coins with a rich history for a relatively low price (compared to obscurity). There are no price guides for Soft Packs! It’s a true Keynesian market – price is completely determined by supply and demand. And, even though supply is not at all high, neither is demand!
My initial goal for this set was simple. I planned to put together the nicest collection that I could afford (and find) over a period of years or decades. I didn’t dream that it was possible to take the number one spot, nor was it my initial goal. In fact, when I first started collecting I didn’t even know about the Registry.
Most of the Soft Pack collectors and dealers I’ve met have been awesome. They are great people and passionate collectors!
However, I met one that unintentionally inspired me to really get serious about my collection. He contacted me shortly after I initially listed my set on the NGC Registry. I only had a few coins, but I had one he wanted. I didn’t even realize that it was that rare or desirable. When I refused to sell or trade it to him he got a little hostile and told me I was a joke. He’d been collecting for years and I didn’t have a “snowball’s chance in hell” of ever having a contending set, etc, etc. The funny thing is that after years of collecting this guy also did not have a top set. However, his threats and blustering inspired me to get a little more serious about my collection. I now have 3 GSA Morgan Soft Pack sets ahead of his. He may be a clown, but I appreciate his inspiration!
Six months after my first Soft Pack purchase I claimed the #2 Registry spot. After nine months I had 114,000 points and still was sitting at the #2 spot. One year later I took the #1 spot. So, twenty one months after my first Soft Pack I had the #1 Registry Set for GSA Soft Pack Morgans and Peace Dolars. It wasn’t easy, but it was probably easier than it should have been!
I realize that I might lose money on this set if I ever decide to sell it. I also realize that at some point in time, other collectors may realize just how unique and rare these coins in these packages are and prices could go through the ceiling! It’s a gamble, but one I’m having fun making! Supply is always going to be low! What will demand be in the future? Who knows?
The thing is, though… I’m betting a lot more money that they will eventually go up than anyone is betting they will go down!
If you have any rare, top population, unknown, low population, etc Soft Packs to sell, please contact me: AlphaTrilogy@gmail.com . I’m a nice guy and serious buyer/collector.