About 11 years ago now, during my last year as an undergraduate, I helped by step-father build a group of mint sets - one for all of our birth years.
We worked together on it all summer, hunting down coins and mint sets, sifting through mint sets looking for coins that we would later submit ourselves, going to coin shows together. It was a lot of great fun and when it was all said and done we completed most of the sets. The 1958, 1982, and 1983 sets remained unfinished. We were going to try to go back and finish those later but it's been a wild ride the last 10 years for both of us. I've gone through a lot of life transitions.
I think it has been over 10 years since any coins were bought for any of the sets.
The sets came up recently in discussion with my step-father when we were having dinner for my birthday. Today they came up again while we were talking on the phone and he talked about wanting to do something about the 1983 set. It was only 20% complete, the most empty set of all of them. All of the others were over 50% complete.
I was at a computer at work with nothing better to do this morning so I decided to start looking around on eBay. I found several coins for sale that could have filled holes in the 1983 sets, and then looked and found coins for the 1982 and 1958 sets, and some possible strong upgrades for the 1986 set. The 1986 set is my year and also happens to be my wife's year, so I have my biases.
I emailed my step-father links to the coins I found so he could check them out. I told him I was only sending them for his information - what he did, if anything, was his call.
He called me back tonight and told me he was thinking about picking up 4 of the 1983 coins and upgrading 2 of the 3 1986 coins I found. I jokingly pointed out that, while I was all for making the 1986 set stronger, those would be upgrades and it might work better for his overall plan / goal to fill holes - I'm honest about my biases for the 1986 set but I always feel compelled to point out if that might not be the best approach for him. He got a laugh out of me. I had to let him go to focus on my son but I told him to let me know what he decided.
He emailed me later and let me know that he had gotten those six coins. They'll make great new additions to the sets - the first new coins in a decade.
The whole thing got me thinking about the changes in the last 10 years. We'd made good progress on a 2007 set, but since then we've had new babies in 2010 and 2016, with a new one coming in 2019. None of those sets are likely to be addressed in the near term. I don't think any of us have the stomach for that level of undertaking right now.
My sister and I have both gotten married since this project was carried out. I lucked out with my wife, another 1986 baby, but my sister's husband was born in 1984. So that may become a new challenge / set to conquer.
I'm also staring to make some sets I'm calling the "Atherton Family sets" - 1920 and 1924 sets for my Grandparents. This will be a separate undertaking of mine, separate from what I've done with my step-father, and it'll take me years to pursue it probably, but it's something I'm going to want to do.
It has felt really good to revisit these sets, think about that now long-ago summer, and finally move some of these old sets a little closer to completion.