Before getting to my question I'd like to take a moment and introduce myself. While a new member to the ANA, I am by no means new to collecting. I've been at it consistently since 1974. Why so long in finally joining will forever remain a mystery. None the less, glad that I am and will continue for life. In a future post I'll get into my collection. For now, I'll generalize it by saying it's well north of a thousand coins, mostly U.S., and stored in Air-tite ring holders. Some are in Whitman and Dansco binders, complete.
And now to the question. When I began collecting as a Boy Scout set out to earn a merit badge at the time, third party grading was unknown to me (and many others I would suspect) finding out later that only one existed. Or at least to my knowledge it was ANACS until the early eighties. So, like others, my collection grew from raw coins found in circulation or acquired through coin dealers and shows. Over as many years this has been my primary form of acquisition despite the now popular graded variety. Although I have many which are graded I still opt for buying raw with the obvious exceptions of key, semi-key and known counterfeit targets.
So the question would be, in the modern era of third party graders is it foolish to collect in their natural form? Perhaps I'm a purist. The way they feel and look in hand (gloved of course). Or perhaps it's an age thing that I somehow chose not to let go of. To defend the method of collecting, my book library has grown alongside my coin collection with series specific volumes by well-renowned authors. I also use graded examples as reference when in doubt.
Thoughts and comments are always welcome.