I’ve known for a while that finishing the 10G set might require buying some raw coins and submitting them to NGC for grading myself.
The grading credit that NGC just gave me for winning the journal awards seemingly makes this a good time / year to go for it – buy a raw 1880, 1885, and 1886 dated coin and send them in. The set would finally be complete at that point except for the 1879/7 but I’ve never felt especially committed to that variety anyway. Even the way NGC defines the set, including that variety, I’d be at 90% - good outcome for the set after 10 or 11 years of work and luck.
The problem I think I’m going to have is I can’t even seem to find examples of these things raw – in the United States anyway. There are examples that I can find for sale – if I’m willing to buy them through market places I’ve never shopped from before and get them from sellers I’ve never bought from before, some of whom may or may not speak English from what I can tell.
This wouldn’t be quite so potentially worrisome to me if it weren’t for the fact that these things are going to be about $350 each to buy and it’s not going to be easy or cheap to return one if I find out once I have it in hand that it’s ugly – shipping just to get it to me is going to be about $25 in some cases, or about 1/14th the price / value of the coin. I can only assume that won’t be refundable and I’ll have to pay return shipping if I get the thing in hand and I hate it.
Some of the pictures I see use are just ugly pictures or they make the coin look weird – which is concerning. When I’m buying a graded coin, bad pictures worry me a lot a less and I’m willing to roll dice sometimes but it’s harder to justify when the coin is raw. I’d much rather buy the coins AFTER seeing them in hand, but I don’t think I’m going to find many, if any, of these in shops locally. Recent developments at the Houston Money show may make this situation a little better but I’ll have to wait and see. ColonialCoinsUK also suggested contacting some Dutch and German auction houses, which seems a lot more promising than something like ma shops.
I’m going to have to think through whether it’s worth the risk. Because it does worry me, but I feel like not using this grading credit to try to fill in holes in that set would be a massive missed opportunity If I do manage to get the coins and get them graded – hopefully actually graded and not details graded at that point – I may still not have the grades I’d want in the long term, but it would fill out the set and I could try to upgrade from there over time.
The thought has occurred to me to resubmit some of the old MS65s I have in fatty holders and see if I might be able to bump them to MS66, padding my lead in the category a little and getting the coins into newer gen holders – which I think look nicer and which fit into the boxes I have easier. I could even take this as a relatively risk-free opportunity to try to cross my 1875 PCGS MS67. I’m also wondering if the grading credit could be applied to just re-holdering some of the coins to get the full set into the same generation holder, maybe with “Pittman Family Collection” on them so they make for a much better physical display when this is all over.
Of course, the idea of buying three or four additional gold coins this year is probably going to at least partially hinge on me getting a decent bonus this year. I'm hopeful on that front but I'm not going to get my hopes too high. If that falls through I could probably make 1 or 2 happen but maybe not all three and not until closer to the end of the year. I suppose I could forego the Sovereign I'm hoping to buy soon and put the money towards this instead, but I'd rather keep that separate from this and that just goes to some of the at times slightly odd ways my head works. That's more about treating myself after a big raise, so I want that to be it's own thing and I don't necessarily want that subjugated to this set / project.
Good news for me this week though: While the Dow took a beating on Monday and Friday the price of gold mostly stayed put and was only up about 1% week-over-week, just need to wait about 1 more week and hope for an eBay bucks deal maybe.