Brett, I'm also back after about a 30+ year break. Restarted in January and had a whole new system of grading to learn so my perspective is fresh, so maybe similar to yours. The path I took was to purchase coin rolls, and also more recently started to get into cutting up mint sets. Primarily coin rolls labeled as BU for brilliant uncirculated. If I use quarters for example, out of a roll of 40 1988 quarters, only about 3 or 4 will grade at MS65 or better. The rest are too scratched from all the processes before the quarters make it into a roll. My thought on this is that I'm paying around 1.5 to as much as 2 times the face value. Meaning depending on source, I'm paying as little as $15 for a $10 face value roll. If I miss out in that nothing is worth saving in the roll, at least I get $10 to deposit back into my local bank. My risk is really $5 spent. I've been keeping away from the stupid years where everyone wants big dollars, such as 1983 Quarters.
On the mint sets, I cleaned your Village Coin Shop out of their late 1960's, 1970's and early 1980's mint sets over the prior few weeks. The prices were decent but these sets are pretty beat up. Even the envelopes were beat up. I am finding a few MS-65 coins in these sets but so far nothing spectacular. Only halfway through at this point. What I'm liking about mint sets is that I'm building a more complete collection of all years and types from pennies all the way up to the big Ike dollars
that I thought I would never collect.
As others have recommended above, learn the grading system. Get yourself at minimum 5x magnifying glass for starters. Seeing coins at 5x and when it finally hits what is considered MS65 or better, you'll be hooked like no other time in your earlier experiences as a kid. Go watch the PCGS grading video's on youtube -- they have many. What really helped me the most on learning grades was to send a few coins into PCGS. I hit a few really nice scores but also tanked big time on a few. I'm keeping my tanked coins as hands-on reference material. When you can hold a slabbed coin in your hand that didn't grade well, and look at it under 5x, you will learn very quickly why it didn't score well and learn what will have a better chance at scoring higher.
I don't consider myself an expert at this point, but that's my 2 cents. I also went way overboard on getting back in so be careful. I know I spent around $5k this year so far and a massive amount of time. At least I put some money out there and gave some smaller coin shops a small bump in sales but wow, my bank account reflects my spending... I'm done for now, I think.