Tag Archives: Andrew Brunhart leadership

Coin Collecting On A Small Budget

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andrew brunhart budgetTo some coin collecting seems like an expensive and all consuming hobby. However, there are ways to collect on a budget in the United States. For example, a Lincoln Cent from 1959 and beyond has the Lincoln Memorial on it. Before that time the coin featured two wheat stalks around the words “one cent.” The wheat stalk coins were minted between 1909 and 1958 and are almost completely out of circulation. However, the Lincoln memorial version of the cents are still around and one with a small budget could easily get a blue coin book with each year and slowly fill up their collection.

A place to find coins cheaply may be in an older friend or relatives house. Many keep change jars and if you look through them you may find a few Lincoln Memorial cents and some other valuable finds.

Another, more inexpensive coin to collect is the State Quarter series. Many of these books are widely available and fun to find all fifty. If you collect all of those coins you can starts to look for the two series that followed, the Possession and the National Parks series. The fifty state series started in 1999 and included five different quarters each year. Every state quarter has something memorable from each state like a monument, flower, or something else unique about the state. All of the 50 state coins were struck in the Philadelphia and Denver Mints. Cardboard maps were also released to place a coin in each slot in its actual location on a map of the U.S. It makes a beautiful display and the total investment in collecting all 50 is only $12.50.

These are just two inexpensive ways to collect coins. However, keep in mind that any series that is in circulation is easily collectable if you keep your eye out. Look through pocket change, change jars, and keep an eye to the ground for something in a series that you might want to collect.

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Time to Invest in Numismatics

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andrew brunhart numisThe coin-collecting business is on fire right now, which makes it a perfect time to invest in the hobby. What makes it simpler to join the race is that most of the auctions are online now, so you can be part of the action from the comfort of your own home.

The vice president of numismatics at Stack’s Bowers Galleries, Vicken Yegparian, says, “There’s so much fervor around coin collecting in today’s economy, because it’s so accessible to so many different people.” You are able to join the game at whatever price you can afford. For, example Buffalo Nickels can range anywhere from $50 to a few thousand. This easy entry aspect of coin collecting makes it a great option for investors. There’s no high buy in.

Additionally, the learning curve is not too steep. To be a successful collector you need to be able to appraise the price of a coin. Fortunately, this doesn’t take too long to learn. The three basic rules to live by when appraising are quality or condition, rarity, and the history of the coin. You may not know the answer to all of these questions for any given coin, but you can find the answers relatively easily. You can also make smart decisions about how to collect by gathering coins in a series. For example, the 50 State Quarters are much more valuable as a set than they are individually.

In terms of collectables, coin collecting has a great investment advantage. First is that coins are “one-offs.” Coins were produced in mass by the government, so you have other samples to compare them with as far as quality and price. Additionally, the Numismatic Certification Institute (NCI) has a system for appraising the condition of a coin so that you can verify authenticity and rarity of certain coins. And, finally, coins not only have historical value, but also intrinsic value. Whatever coin you have, it is likely worth something for some reason, so start investing!

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What the Olympics Can Teach Us About Leadership

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andrew brunhart olympicsThe 2014 Winter Olympics are captivating the hearts of many members of the global community. Many television sets are ‘tuned in’ as victors rise and some dreams end in defeat. Beyond winning and losing, Olympic athletes have a lot to show as leaders and lend themselves well to a larger metaphor of government leaders.

These athletes spend most of their lives training tirelessly in the shadows. Then all of the sudden, for two weeks, they are pushed into the international spotlight with millions of audience members. While they are competing every move they make is discussed. The commentators talk about how they prepare, they ask for statements on their performance, and they insist on getting the dirty details of their personal life to paint an accurate picture of their ‘character’ during the winter games. If an athlete makes a misstep in any of these interviews or reacts in a way that seems less than favorable towards an opponent, they can be painted as arrogant, weak, or a bad representative for their country.

This aspect of leadership, performing well in the public eye, is relevant to federal leaders. Leaders have to cultivate and maintain a public reputation. Leaders need to use failures to improve and encourage their team/employees to work together to solve problems. These traits will not only boost an important public image, but will also improve performance.

The Olympic athletes at Sochi have passed on some interesting words of wisdom that could benefit federal leadership. U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg came from obscure athlete to gold medalist and encourages others to, relish, don’t stress the big moment. Some athletes, like downhill skier Bode Miller, blame external factors for their defeats, like cloudy skies. However, the best athletes see failure as an opportunity to improve rather than a time to make excuses. Figure skater Ashley Wagner came in fourth in a national competition a few weeks ago, but then took advantage of the Olympic opportunity to help win the U.S. a bronze medal. This proves how important it is to give yourself and others a second chance to succeed and to treat it like an opportunity, a fresh start. The bottom line is, don’t let defeat get you down. Shaun White did not medal this year in the snowboarding half-pipe competition. This is even more of a blow because he has won for the past two Olympics. He could have given in to his disappointment, especially because he was experiencing it publically. Instead White jumped over the barrier to the fans and gave two young cancer patients high-fives. His strong public appearance in the face of failure is an example for leaders everywhere.

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Quality and Rare Coins

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andrew brunhart quality rareThe numismatic market is known for desiring, even demanding top quality coins. Auctions tend to reward coins handsomely, by bringing sky-high sums of money for those in Gem condition. However, this trend of quality-equals-quantity does not always apply to the rare coin market. Rare coins, often regardless of their condition, are the most valuable because of how rare they are. Recently, at auction, a damaged 1792 Half Disme sold for $28,000. In that case, that buyer was certainly more interested in the history of the coin than the actual physical condition. This proves that not everyone buys coins solely based on quality; there are other value measures to be considered.

Other cases of coins with poor quality that performed well at auction include 1895 Proof Morgan Dollars. Some can go for $60,000 and even with considerable wear the coins have sold for $35,000. Those who collect Morgan Dollars are not as interested in quality, their main objective is to assemble a collection with as many as possible. Collectors have increased demand for these coins in recent years and many who pursue series will make compromises with quality in order to get the coin.

Another example of a coin with low grade, but a lot of worth is the 1929 Double Eagle. Most of the Double Eagle’s were melted down in 1930, which makes the existing coins very valuable, despite poor conditions. Yet another example of a lower grade coin is the 1804 Bust Silver Dollar. A few years ago a buyer purchased a circulated silver dollar for $2,000,000. In this case, the buyer wanted the publicity associated with owning one of the greatest coins ever minted, even it wasn’t in the best conditions.

These examples stand to show that top quality coins are not everything. In the numismatic market there are plenty of valuable worn coins.

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A Leader Is Like a Parent

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andrew brunhart leader parentLeadership expert, Simon Sinek, has dazzled over 14 million people with his TED talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” He has continued his educating the public about leadership with his new book, “Leader’s Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.”

The driving point of his new book is that fundamentally, a leader is like a parent. Parents put their children’s needs in front of their own. They fight for their children’s success and hope that their children will live a better life than their own. Sinek notes that these are all the same attitudes of a great leader. On the CBS This Morning he said, in regard to parenting, “Leadership is exactly, exactly the same. Leaders are the ones who are willing to risk, when it matters, their own interests, so that others may advance.”

Sinek also mentions that both roles are fun in the beginning before the hard work begins. The joy of having a baby is quickly followed by the reality that a ton of hard work follows with raising a child. Sinek equates that to a company, “Starting the company, that’s the fun. But, actually becoming a leader and choosing to put peoples’ interests before your own, that’s a choice.”

Sinek stresses that great work environments are based on trust and cooperation. These are not things that you can simply tell people to do. A great leader must create an environment that fosters trust and cooperation because of dependability. Employers can do this by choosing to be a great leader and putting their employees first.

The title of Sinek’s new book, “Leader’s Eat Last,” came from a Marine general. “When you go to any chow hall…you will see the Marines line up in rank order- most junior first and most senior last. It’s not in any rulebook and no one tells them they have to. They do it because that’s how they view leadership. We view leadership as rank; they view it as a responsibility.”

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Collect World Coins

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andrew brunhart world coinsThe realm of coin collecting in the United States needs to reach beyond U.S. coins and capitalize on international markets. In his articles “Gold Coins and Quality Rules in Heritage World Coin Auction,” (January 8, 2014), Greg Reynolds notes that world coins are valued much high than U.S. coins. At the New York International Numismatic Convention, high quality gold coins post-1300, particularly those of the 19th century proved to be the most valuable at auction.

Many US coin collectors get their start in US coinage. It is easy to start this type of collection when you’re young and that is often how people become interested in collecting. However, looking beyond the US coinage can open up areas of great investment potential for non-US coins and banknotes.

Numismatics is quickly becoming a popular international hobby. As people start participating worldwide the global demand is increasing as collectors and investors expand their disposable income. Coin collecting has been a hobby for thousands of years and because it is becoming more popular today, the supply of the best material will be purchased. So now is the best time to invest in a carefully selected numismatic item to get the greatest return on your investment as it becomes more desirable.

The US may no longer be the center of the numismatic world. As you consider the thousands of years of coins throughout empires and countries in the entire world, it brings to light that US coins are overvalued. Or, the case may be, that other countries coins are undervalued. That may change as more and more international players get into the market. Even though it may be overwhelming to consider the amount of material in the world market: ancient coins, medieval coins, world coins, and banknotes, it is worth doing your research to purchase the right item. With the current trends in collecting, your investment will pay off quite handsomely.

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2014 New Year’s Leadership Resolutions

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andrew brunhart resolutions2013 saw many, many books published about the strategies of an effective leader, and no doubt 2014 will bring even more. As the US economy continues to grow, and with it Start Up culture, more and more people are holding the magnifying glass up to people in leadership roles, trying to determine how and why some succeed while others fail.

There are a few basics we all know. We all know an effective leader gives and inspires trust and respect, and possesses emotional intelligence, self awareness, communication and listening skills, and the ability to to withstand pressure and handle responsibilities. But what are some other qualities that can be useful? Here, on the brink of 2014, let’s take a moment to consider what our New Year’s leadership resolutions might be. Here are just a couple possibilities:

  1. Knowing thyself better. Many leaders try to mimic tactics used by other leaders, and with startlingly less success. While being inspired by the examples set by mentors or competitors is great, it’s also important to know who you are and to stay true to yourself. Forget how John Q. Successman inspires trust–how do you inspire trust? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but originality and sincerity go a long way.
  2. Stay excited and stay urgent. Things are moving faster and faster every day, and neither you nor your company can afford to live on the back foot. This doesn’t mean anxiety for anxiety’s sake, but it does mean make sure you’re pushing your employees to work to their full potential. Expect the unexpected and strive to be two steps ahead at all times.
  3. Recognize that collaboration is king. When times are tight and companies are forced to cut corners, teamwork and group bonding are often the first thing to go, but this is wrong. Collaboration–when each employee is willing to go to bat for the others, and knows they’d do the same–is the only path to success.
  4. Lead in thought as well as action. Always be looking at numbers and sussing out patterns in whatever your industry is. Establish your own process that fits your company’s mission uniquely and efficiently, and always be ready to adapt that process as things change. At the same time, involve yourself more in the day to day. Know as much as you can about every single responsibility you delegate.
  5. Don’t be so afraid to take risks. Have infectious enthusiasm and passion for exploring new possibilities that no one has dreamed of before. While employees should always trust their coworkers and superiors without reservation, movement forward really only happens in situations where individuals are taken out of their comfort zone. Work every day to find this balance of safety and risk.

Which of these do you need to work on the most in 2014?

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