After some recent frustrations with registry sets slots, I have decided to take a hiatus from Grading coins, submissions, NGC vs PCGS and even removed almost all of my Registry "competitive" sets.
The frustration has long been building with the politics in the hobby and not just with trying to get through the myriad of confusion associated with collecting any modern series and their innumerable annual issues. Whether it is SP's listed as MS or as PF's, multiple slots for the same coin but with different names, incomprehensible points assignments ( 2000 points for some $50 coins and 300 points for some $1000 coins) or Pop report/census that only even lists about 25% of an entire series--the fun in registry participation has been sapped away.
However my love of the hobby remains. This is why I have gone back to my roots--album collecting and raw coins. With my coin cabinet and chests with their velvet lined drawers allowing for better viewing, displaying and the weighted feel as I hold the coin in hand, I wonder why I waited so long. I think it was probably half because I enjoyed the sets listed on a page where I could add photos and had easy access to see which slots were needed no matter where I was. The other reason I stayed was the camaraderie among several members here that I PM on occasion, buy/sell/trade with and have been messaging with for years.
Most recently I found an old Whitman Mercury dime album with about 12 coins in it. What fun the past few weeks have been !! Although not as challenging as the old days when I tried filling albums with just the selection from the 2 local coin stores--it is still a lot of fun searching for a certain look, a minimum standard ( full reverse rims and some vertical fasces lines) and hedging on some coins to hold out for a little nicer or a few bucks cheaper.
I have re-discovered the thrill of passing up a $12 AU coin which I almost bought, and then later uncovering a $10 BU coin instead--saved $2 and a nicer coin, WIN ! The only downside is that I'll have to learn some improved restraint. As opposed to slab collecting where I may buy a pricey, graded coin once or twice a month- with the album collecting, I can add dozens of nice, quality coins for the same or less the cost.
My most recent exciting purchase was a very nice set of Merc BU coins with "several toned" coins from 1940-1945 all PDS complete. The listing was vague and the picture so-so of a single, torn out page from a thumb buster. I won the "page" of toners for just $30 ( barely more than melt). Once in hand- WOW what excitement to find that most had glorious colorful tones and 75% were BU. The 1945 even has strong separation of the midline although not complete. I picked through and have mixed and matched with some "pristine white" coins and interspersed several of the toned beauties ( the rest I carefully removed and put in flips in my coin chest to enjoy.)
Unfortunately, I am down to the 1916-D and the 1921 and 21-D to complete the set. Most of the teens and early 20's are in F/VF quality and all of the 1935-1945 coins in AU or BU. I feel at liberty to change parameters or grade limits per page in the album as I please so I've kept every coin pretty cheap to buy.
I've never collected a shield or liberty nickel set and think I might start that next with mostly "readable date" and " problem-free" coins in lower grades but with honest wear. After that maybe a Morgan "short set album of XF/AU grades--who knows it sure is a lot less complex now and no disappointments for bodybags, perplexing grading results, massive shipping both ways or 17 to 20% buyers fees!
Some photos of my recent assemblage which has reinvigorated my collecting passion. Happy Hunting E1......