Easy Question FOR ALL!! What do you think is the hardest US MODERN series set to build? posted by Six Mile Rick
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I have been building them for 7 years or so.

 

Friends,

 

Just a thought as I plunder through my recent purchases. I wondered if others had the same complications finding the greatest coins available out there. I know we all look in different areas trying to do our best at obtaining the greatest coin we can find for sale --- of course at a SWEET price.

 

I had no problems with the nickels and dimes as I may have been HOOKED up. On the other end I found it hard on Lincolns and dollars. Seems when they are collected and the collector gets tired of collecting they just disappear. Stored up for future inheritance.

 

What do you think ???

16792.JPG

 

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13,609 posts

Really nice clad quarters.

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I'd say Roosies based on what limited experience I have with moderns.

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Depends on what you consider "modern"

 

Other than silver eagles, I don't collect anying newer than 1964. There are few sets tougher to complete than Franklin half dollars IF you limit it to NGC coins with Full Bell Lines. Most of the dates/mints are fairly easy to find, but the NGC census for the 1953-S shows only 12 total! Heritage has only sold two NGC-certified FBL's this century. PCGS FBL's are easier to find, but PCGS is much more lenient in designating FBL, and the price tags have been in five figures for the two or three Heritage auctions each year.

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Meaning no disrespect to anyone, but I fail to perceive any of them as offering a challenge. If one wants, and I use the term loosely, "investor" grade pieces with moderns it is easy to have instant gratification. There is no attrition and they are usually graded with one of three grades 68, 69, and the now ever handed out like Halloween candy and supposedly theoretical, but no longer is, ever desired pristine 70. I buy the occasional modern that I see and like, but I never see them as anything other than a really pretty mass produced product or modern eye candy. When I buy it is usually raw or as a 68 or 69, as to me buying a 70 is just torching my coin budget on fire and dancing around it.

 

I think that there are challenges in collecting some of classic U.S. series. I can say I have been working on a book of buffalo nickels for the past 2 or 3 years. It is challenging to find attractively circulated examples, nicely struck peace dollars, and also attractive 19th century copper, which faced melting.

 

There are certainly many challenges in classic world coin collecting, as many of those coins faced surviving both world wars, and many other nations have had to deal with demonetization at some point in their history. I personally enjoy and feel challenged collecting coins from the Netherlands, Germany, and Great Britain.

 

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As an avid Franklin collector, I would agree with getting all FBLs but the sticking point is the 1953-S. I suppose Six Mile Rick was not specific when he asked if the modern sets were in mint state (and if so, which grade), circulated or proof.

 

In circulated, I would go with the Washington Quarters 1932-present.

 

Proof, silver eagles will be tough with that 1995-W.

 

One's challenge becomes much easier as your coin budget gets larger I must admit. I always said that if I had unlimited funds for coins, I would try to complete the Barber coins. While not the most attractive obverses, the reverses (IMO) are cool and most of these coins went into circulation so mint state coins are harder to come by. I had a hard time finding a decent mint state Barber half for my 20th century type set. I found it at a FUN show, but was looking for over a year for it.

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I, also with all due respect to everyone, have to agree with Critter. I've discussed this issue on the World boards before and argued the conclusion that US Coins really aren't that rare. And they really aren't, when you look at coins from other places in the world like Critter and I collect. That goes for ALL eras of US coins, not just moderns though it is more difficult to locate attractive US classic coins than it is US Moderns. The difficulty is mainly in putting the money together to buy the coin, rather than finding the coin. Once you have the cash, getting the coin is usually fairly easy, unless one uses one or all of the "modifiers" that have been listed here such as FBL and things like that, a 70 grade or some weird label.

 

To me, these modifiers are used to make a rarity out of something that isn't one. But to me, I also think that's one of the reasons that US Coins are so popular, is that they're not rare and one can complete a collection of them. Many World coins don't tend to work that way. For example, I've been seeking a certain Ottoman Empire 5 Para since 2009. This is a coin that lists for around $30 in the price guides, but I cannot locate one. At all. It's not that I can't find one in a certain grade or with certain strike characteristics. I just can't find one at all. Many collectors would likely find such a thing highly discouraging, and I can understand that. I, on the other hand, savor such a challenge. Moderns are the epitome of this use of modifiers to make a rarity out of something that isn't, and the US market has the highest instance of this.

 

And, and this is something I've dealt with people saying to me when I post on this side of the house before, I know that I don't collect US Coins. I'm aware of that. But I do sell US Coins, quite a few of them so I know something of what I'm talking about here. And I'm not trying to knock you guys!! US Moderns are a huge part of my business, and they are undoubtedly a hugely popular area of collecting right now. I just wouldn't call any of the series "rare" or "difficult" in the sense that is seemingly implied here, unless the challenge being referred to IS getting the finances together for a purchase.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mohawk

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I understand your concern for building any Modern Coin Series. I have completed a 2006 Modern Coin Series and have achieved 100% and first place in all competitive categories. I have spent some exceptional high prices for some of these coins but since I am a collector not an investor it didn’t matter to me. I enjoy reading the Journals and realize that some would say I could have put my money in a good rare coin as opposed to my modern coins. But I wanted to complete my Modern Series no matter what the cost. Now I have put together a Modern Series that is the only one in existenance. (combined as a Custom Set named – “2006 Completist of Postmodern U.S.Coins”)

 

Research has shown me in my Business Strikes (Mint Set) there are eight coins (15 coin combination) that I need to upgrade in order to achieve my ultimate goal. Before the Registry changed there format I was able to attain the certification number and registry owners names of nine out of the fifteen coins, the other six coins aren’t registered which makes it very difficult to track. I search as many auctions that I can in hopes of spotting any of the desired coins needed. The others I constantly watch the owner’s registry in hopes that they will sell one day. I have experienced your point on one coin that was registered and the owner withdrew his collection and now I have the certification number but I am unable to keep track of this coin. But I will always be watching wherever I can.

 

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Darryl,

I have had the same amount of fun with my 2005 mint set. Also listed at Rank #1. Business strikes can be costly when you are going all top pops. Yes they all might say were crazy but then ------ they don't have the coins we have. lol

 

Later--Rick

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What I like best about clad quarters is that you can find them with effort yet they're tough enough you won't fiond many. I think the toughest moderns if you really care about quality and two sided quality are the nickels. Just finding two sided Gems can be a challenge add in qualifiers like FS or PL and youmight as well not even start because you'll never finish (FS alone may be possible but not as full Gems). The second toughest is Ikes. Just getting a nice attractive set of Ikes is tough.

 

The quarters are a real challenge in more recent years since they added some tough dates in the '90's and the '82-P is a bear. Nice dime sets from circulation are getting tougher every year.

 

One of the most enjoyable sets is FS memorials. They sound easy but they aren't as easy as they sound.

 

PL moderns are underappreciated. A few like the '74 coins will never be graded under current standards but there are lightly PL issues out there.

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It depends upon how you are trying to build your set and what set you want to complete.

 

If you are trying to build it mostly out of searching circulating coinage (as in bank rolls and your pocket change) as a "cherry picker", I agree there are many challenging sets, especially using the narrow (and in my opinion, completely arbitrary and artificial) criteria used by most US collectors.

 

On the other hand, if you are talking about going out and buying these sets in anything other than the highest grades or some other specialization (such as toned coins, die varieties and "special designation strikes", I agree with Mohawk and don't see any of these as much of a challenge. The same goes for recent classics which in some (if not many) instances are even more common in comparable quality, once again outside of specialization.

 

As for accumulating these coins as a legacy to pass to your heirs, I can see it making sense "cherry picking" because the cost is nominal and there is a limited to zero opportunity cost.

 

However, if you have in mind to buy these coins at current market price, I consider it a " shoot" which is contingent on numerous things working out for you simultaneously.

 

This also applies to paying open market prices for better quality coins below "conditional rarity" grades. I consider "conditional rarities" (and not just moderns) the worst or among the worst numismatic values but acknowledge this might not be true financially.

 

Outside of specialization, I consider most US moderns below "conditional rarity" grades both poor numismatic and financial values. They are better numismatic values than "grade rarities" but I believe the collector base disproportionately would rather buy something else but cannot afford to do so. I also believe they are a lot more common than its advocates believe, as I have commented in numerous prior topics.,

Edited by world colonial

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If we are talking about pre-clad as the definition of 'moderns', I would say fully struck gem Franklin half dollars, hands down. I have built many sets of gem BU coins and that was one I never came close to completng, not because they aren't available, but to build a rahter well matching set (I love these blast white and fully lustrous) is nearly impossible without putting a thousand feelers out.

 

Second hardest I think would be true gem fully struck up Jefferson nickels, struck to the point that the cheek chatter from the planchet doesn't show any longer. Never completed that set either, but I got close.

 

If 'moderns' includes all coins to date, then Washingtn quarters are very tough in the clad years imho. I did complete that set until they started making the parks quarters, then I lost interest in anything the mint had to offer...

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Meaning no disrespect to anyone, but I fail to perceive any of them as offering a challenge. If one wants, and I use the term loosely, "investor" grade pieces with moderns it is easy to have instant gratification. There is no attrition and they are usually graded with one of three grades 68, 69, and the now ever handed out like Halloween candy and supposedly theoretical, but no longer is, ever desired pristine 70. I buy the occasional modern that I see and like, but I never see them as anything other than a really pretty mass produced product or modern eye candy. When I buy it is usually raw or as a 68 or 69, as to me buying a 70 is just torching my coin budget on fire and dancing around it.

 

I think that there are challenges in collecting some of classic U.S. series. I can say I have been working on a book of buffalo nickels for the past 2 or 3 years. It is challenging to find attractively circulated examples, nicely struck peace dollars, and also attractive 19th century copper, which faced melting.

 

There are certainly many challenges in classic world coin collecting, as many of those coins faced surviving both world wars, and many other nations have had to deal with demonetization at some point in their history. I personally enjoy and feel challenged collecting coins from the Netherlands, Germany, and Great Britain.

 

as a lover of early US and into the classic period your post was music to my heart. You're right, the moderns can be found by the handfuls, IF you can afford to buy them all. The problem with them is that they have become so expensive (I think due to fierce registry set competition) that it is actually cheaper to collect early American rarities. The 1909-S VDB in gem red is rather common, but some of the large cents can be found in high mint state for much less, same with half cents, same with much of the bust and seated coinage. Sure, it feels good to say you own a rarity, but if you never looked up the 1909-S VDB or some of the other 'rare' keys of other series in the population guides you've been fooling yourself. No hit on the Lincoln collectors, I collected them too, who hasn't? But the value left the series and many like them long ago imho.

 

My heart always took me back to circulated bust half dollars and choice Morgan dollars, so it easy to figure out what I'd rather collect, but will agree with you on the early European stuff, I have a nice accumulation of them that I have been telling myself I would dig out and spend some time enjoying too, thanks for reminding me again ;)

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If 'moderns' includes all coins to date, then Washingtn quarters are very tough in the clad years imho. I did complete that set until they started making the parks quarters, then I lost interest in anything the mint had to offer...

 

What grade equivalent are you using as your benchmark? Maybe something else other than just the grade?

 

I look at both the Heritage records and population reports periodically for a number of series, including this one, even though I do not collect any US coins anymore.

 

One coin which has been discussed here a few times is the 1983-P. The last time I checked the PCGS data (since it appears to be preferred going by both the counts and prices), it was 227 or 237 in MS-66(+). I presume there are some duplicates (attempting to upgrade to a "grade rarity" which is a 67 and a four figure coin) but with the last Heritage sale I saw at $74, not representative of the actual survivors. In a prior post, I speculated that at least 500 (or a high Judd R-2) will probably ultimately be available.

 

No coin with 500 survivors is actually hard to buy except because it is not available for sale due to its current price. Even at 227 or 237, still not that hard to buy. I own a few South Africa 1940's proofs whose original mintage is 150 and I still see them often enough.

 

Using the combination of the population reports and (recent) prices, I suspect most US circulating moderns are actually a Judd R-1 (1250+) in MS-66 if the 1983-P quarter and others discussed here are representative, excluding specialization. This is a very low survival rate for the mintage and makes it difficult to find "cherry picking", but shouldn't be otherwise except because of the low price.

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This also applies to paying open market prices for better quality coins below "conditional rarity" grades. I consider "conditional rarities" (and not just moderns) the worst or among the worst numismatic values but acknowledge this might not be true financially.

 

You make some good points but you are overlooking a few things you might not know about. Most clads look like junk no matter if they are cull, eworn, or pristine. They looked like junk when they were made and half a century of mishandling or circulation has done them no good at all. Funny how that works.

 

This means that youcan get truly special and attractive coins for a song. You can find very pretty and well made specimens with light wear in circulation for face value or beautiful and pristine coins for little more. Attractive moderns can be quite scarce because nobody collected coins from 1965 to 1999 so the mint didn't care how ugly they were. They're still ugly unless you take the challenge and assemble an attractive set. These can be almost any grade and even some MS-60's are attractive. Many clads just look their nicest in low end XF. Many early dates are quite elusive above F and they'll tend to look like junk when found.

 

The pennies and nickels are no better really. A cent collection can be done cheaply but all these sets require much more effort than you probably can imagine.

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If 'moderns' includes all coins to date, then Washingtn quarters are very tough in the clad years imho. I did complete that set until they started making the parks quarters, then I lost interest in anything the mint had to offer...

 

Nice "gemmy" clad quarters are much tougher than people imagine. To me gemmy is just nice attractive well made by good dies and farirly clean. A lot of MS-64's are gemmy and a few MS-63's. Most MS-65's are at least gemmy.

 

Sure most dates aren't too difficult but the ONLY reason they aren't difficult is that there is almost no demand at all. A few dates are tough despite the lack of demand.

 

The nickels are a bear. I've got a complete set in hammered Gem to 1998 but many aren't full step and many have little problems. Lots of modern nickels will be virtually perfect on one side but you turn it over and the other side is a mess. The planchet marking on the shoulder is almost ubiquitous on many dates. There's a high correlation between being Gem on one side and being Gem on the other in all other denominations, but not nickels. If you assemble 100 Ikes with at least one side Gem at random at least 40 will be two sided Gems. In nickels you'll be lucky to have three or four two sided Gems. Niclels are tough and Ike collectors don't know how lucky they are. Sure Gem Ikes are scarce but at least you don't get your hopes dashed over and over.

 

I used to try to collect FS nickels but in those days there were no grading companies so I gave up in frustration. FS is even worse in some ways since many Full Steppers aren't even attractive, much less Gem.

 

As much as I like Ikes I can't recommend them to most collectors because they don't look good below true Gem and Gems are too scarce to collect. If you have the money then they are OK but these just aren't for everyone. They're getting tough to find "in the wild" so it's cheaper to just buy them.

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You make some good points but you are overlooking a few things you might not know about. Most clads look like junk no matter if they are cull, eworn, or pristine. They looked like junk when they were made and half a century of mishandling or circulation has done them no good at all. Funny how that works.

 

This means that youcan get truly special and attractive coins for a song. You can find very pretty and well made specimens with light wear in circulation for face value or beautiful and pristine coins for little more. Attractive moderns can be quite scarce because nobody collected coins from 1965 to 1999 so the mint didn't care how ugly they were. They're still ugly unless you take the challenge and assemble an attractive set. These can be almost any grade and even some MS-60's are attractive. Many clads just look their nicest in low end XF. Many early dates are quite elusive above F and they'll tend to look like junk when found.

 

The pennies and nickels are no better really. A cent collection can be done cheaply but all these sets require much more effort than you probably can imagine.

 

You and I have discussed this subject numerous times before. I am aware of the points you have made in the aggregate if not the specifics and in general, I do not agree with your opinion on the significance of these quality differences, just as I do not for US coins generally. I also don't believe they are anywhere near as scarce as you have stated or implied, though it isn't always clear to me how your quality standards relate to the TPG grade or those used by most other advanced collectors of these coins.

 

Other than specialization and "grade rarities", I still don't see why you think these coins are scarce. I use (PCGS) MS-66 as a proxy for "high quality" because 1) For a very low percentage, this is the "grade rarity". 2) For most others, it is the "under grade". The latter represent the :best" coins the lopsided percentage of "serious" collectors actually own or are likely to own.

 

From the combination of the price level and the current population counts, I conclude most US circulating moderns are a Judd R-1 (1250+) and if not, a Judd R-2 (501-1250). I concede that more of them are possibly less available than I believe but the available supply for most of them is artificially distorted to the downside because of the current price level which I do not believe is abnormally low, for the most part.

 

I don't know if most MS-66 are good enough for you but even if not, it certainly is for the lopsided percentage who prioritize these series. The example I gave you of the grade distribution in the top 100 PCGS Ike Registry sets makes it apparent that this is true because if it wasn't, I would expect that these sets would have contained higher grade coins, as there certainly is no shortage of them, even with the current population counts.

 

I have agreed with you in the past that the survival rates are very low in the better or best quality. So, yes, I understand that completing sets by "cherry picking" is time consuming. However, any coin which is an R-1 or R-2 is not hard to buy, except because of the low price, whether it is a modern or not. Because practically all US moderns sell for low prices under the US price level, the TPG counts are frequently low and this can also make it harder to find them. Neither means that the coins are actually scarce, except maybe when compared to their most recent classic predecessors which disproportionately, are not scarce at all either.

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Sure most dates aren't too difficult but the ONLY reason they aren't difficult is that there is almost no demand at all. A few dates are tough despite the lack of demand.

 

In general, I do not believe that increased demand makes it harder to find a coin. It mostly means that it will cost more to buy it. If anything, higher demand makes it easier to buy most coins, whether modern or otherwise.

 

Seems to me that all along you have assumed that demand means that a large percentage "are locked" away for long periods and not made available for sale, regardless of whether prices increase significantly or not. This is or may be true for a (very) low percentage of coins, but most of the time (substantially proportional) higher prices will result in higher turnover.

 

I believe there is plenty of demand for these coins, but disproportionately only at nominal prices under the US price level. This is what I see makes it harder to find them.

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You and I have discussed this subject numerous times before. I am aware of the points you have made in the aggregate if not the specifics and in general, I do not agree with your opinion on the significance of these quality differences, just as I do not for US coins generally. I also don't believe they are anywhere near as scarce as you have stated or implied, though it isn't always clear to me how your quality standards relate to the TPG grade or those used by most other advanced collectors of these coins.

 

This is much of our difference. You seem to have something of a knee jerk dislike for moderns but even more you just don't understand my terms despite my defining them on numerous occasions. Of course my definitions are bourne of experience and even experienced opinion varies so I hardly expect everyone to see eye to eye with my conclusions or definitions.

 

Let me explain the different way I grade again. First you must understand that I don't grade circulating moderns like other coins because they are nothing like other coins. Coins used to be made to strict standards and if they deviated too much the problems were fixed. There wasn't much quality control between 1965 and 1998. Stated another way, the standards were lowered. This combined with the difficulties of strilking cu/ ni clad combined to result in the vast majority of the output looking like junk. There was no quality control because there were no "customers", no collectors. The only customers the mint had were the banks and vending machine operators so if the coins went through counters they were "good enough". But a few coins were well made anyway and no one noticed. Most of these got scratched up at the mint and Fed but a few made it into circulation and no one noticed. The vast majority of even the few well made coins have been lost, destroyed, or ground up in circulation.

 

This leaves between about 50,000 and 10,000,000 of each regular issue modern still in original condition but the bulk of these are not attractive coins. Most old silver coins were produced in a very narrow range of grade from about MS-64 to MS-67 and everything depends on the state of preservation. Two coins look just about the same in VF or BU. But this doesn't apply to clads. They were produed in terrible conditions with worn dies made from worn hubs and at too low a pressure and with badly aligned dies on defective planchets. The coins were then mangled in the machinery and dumped in circulation as those that didn't work in counters were returned to the mint. You can call one of these coins in Unc condition anything you want but when detail is missing I can't call it Gem. To me a Gem coin can have NO major defects at all. This means unsightly planchet marking or misalignments can't be Gem no matter how clean the surfaces. This means that worn dies can't produce a Gem. A gem must be a well made coin relatively free of marks. It can't have corrosion or unsightly toning. A "gemmy" clad is simply a coin that just misses Gem in one or more parameters.

 

Services allow some strike weakness in poorly struck issues like the '82-P quarter. They allow much more die wear because there are no mint sets to get specimens without die wear. They grade nice attractive coins with major issues to be MS-66 because otherwise there would be no high grade coins. If a collector defines his standards along any parameters and completes a collection it will be worty of the name "collection" but this doesn't mean that his collection is necessarily PL or that the coins share attractive toning or that they are true Gems which are well made from good dies.

 

Nice attactive clads are tough in any condition at all. You say there are hundreds of every date but this isn't exactly true and, more importantly, it's not really relevant to our disagreement on the issue. It's not true because coins like the '82-P quarter may not even exist in true Gem. Sure, there are some very clean coins out there but they tend to be poorly made. I've seen a very few gemmy examples of this date from extensive and systematic searching beginning in 1982 but haven't seen a coin that is no question Gem. More importantly the number that exist is somewhat irrelevant if lower grade examples are unattractive and widely considered "uncollectible" as is quite possible. These unattractive coins can be used as placeholders but collectors will find when they go to upgrade that the ugly VF '69 quarter or the beautiful F specimen they are just as hard to upgrade from circulation as a chBU '82-P is to upgrade to something similar to a true Gem.

 

Moderns are different than older coins. They were made differently and they need different terminology to describe them and they will almost certainly be collected differently someday.

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In general, I do not believe that increased demand makes it harder to find a coin.

 

In general I'm in complete agreement. Indeed, demand can make a coin far easier to find and it can even be TPG'ed and googled.

 

But in specific I couldn't disagree more. High grade and currently valuable moderns are all over out there available for almost nothing. They can be found in dealer stock for a dollar or in mint sets for face value. This simply means there is no demand for moderns. This is reinforced by a few simple observations; take the '83-P quarter for instance. In true MS-64 this coin is somewhat scarce. It is far far far scarcer than a '16-D dime. Don't get me wrong, it might be far from your definition of "scarce" but terms are relative. If there were any demand for nice wellmade and attractive '83-P quarters this coin would sell for a massive premium. The date was fairly well made since they fixed most of the problems with the '82 but it was scratched up a lot.

 

The price guides list a graded example of this coin for less than the wholesale price for a BU roll coin!!!

 

There is no other possible conclusion than that there is almost no demand. Nicer coins fill registry sets and there's no demand for coins in lower grades. Most of the '83-P's in sets sold to the public are just sliders. There's no demand left over for scarce coins.

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cladking,

 

This has been a very interesting read.

Thanks for getting involved. ;)

 

Rick

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cladking,

 

This has been a very interesting read.

Thanks for getting involved. ;)

 

Rick

 

My pleasure.

 

My point, as always, is just that everything on the individual level is determined by perspective and on the interpersonal level, everything is relative. While I could be completely "wrong" about moderns the fact is they are an extremely inexpensive way to get into coin collecting and "important" collections can be assembled on a shoestring budget. There are billions of them in circulation which each mark the passage of time and record their travels while acting as little "advertisements" for collecting modern coins.

 

If many collectors ever wake up to them "everyone" will see them from a new perspective.

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This is much of our difference. You seem to have something of a knee jerk dislike for moderns but even more you just don't understand my terms despite my defining them on numerous occasions. Of course my definitions are bourne of experience and even experienced opinion varies so I hardly expect everyone to see eye to eye with my conclusions or definitions.

 

Moderns are different than older coins. They were made differently and they need different terminology to describe them and they will almost certainly be collected differently someday.

 

To prevent an inordinately long post, I have extracted this portion of your reply.

 

I don't have anything in particular against moderns, even though I disagree with your position and do not buy them. I don't know what makes you think that I do. I don't see you much here anymore but I make the related points for other coins, whether they are modern or not, including South African Union on the BoB forum which is one of my primary series.

 

The reason I disagree with you on this particular aspect is because I know that almost no other collectors consider what you just described anywhere near as important as you do. Because if they did, then the prices would reflect it which they do not.

 

In your last post, you provided some clarification on how MS-63 to MS-65 conforms to your criteria somewhat. What I am trying to tell you is that if you do not find an MS-65 or MS-66 good enough, it isn't going to change how most other collectors see it.

 

I know that these coins are hard to find in circulation or searching rolls as a "cherry pick" and I wouldn't expect to complete any series with any better coins doing so. I consider this obvious and don't see why anyone thinks it should be for coins that have been in circulation up to 77 years. I presume this also applies to those 25 or 30 years, such as the 1989-P quarter if looking now. If I were to attempt to do what you have done, I would not expect to find even one 1989-P quarter that would meet your criteria, regardless of what TPG grade it received.

 

However, this still doesn't mean the coins are even scarce relatively, except when compared to recent classics struck after 1933 and silver dollars because they are not outside of specialization and "grade rarities" and are mostly difficult to locate because of the low price.

 

The counts are what they are and going by common sense, I believe it should be apparent that in the "under grade" which by default is usually an MS-66, US moderns are usually a lot more available than is apparent in the population reports today and that most collectors of these series find them acceptable, whether you do or not.

 

As for your last statement, you might be right about the use of different standards (a variation of EAC), though I don't believe it will ever be important to more than a relatively low number.

Edited by world colonial

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In general I'm in complete agreement. Indeed, demand can make a coin far easier to find and it can even be TPG'ed and googled.

 

But in specific I couldn't disagree more. High grade and currently valuable moderns are all over out there available for almost nothing. They can be found in dealer stock for a dollar or in mint sets for face value. This simply means there is no demand for moderns. This is reinforced by a few simple observations; take the '83-P quarter for instance. In true MS-64 this coin is somewhat scarce. It is far far far scarcer than a '16-D dime. Don't get me wrong, it might be far from your definition of "scarce" but terms are relative. If there were any demand for nice wellmade and attractive '83-P quarters this coin would sell for a massive premium. The date was fairly well made since they fixed most of the problems with the '82 but it was scratched up a lot.

 

The price guides list a graded example of this coin for less than the wholesale price for a BU roll coin!!!

 

There is no other possible conclusion than that there is almost no demand. Nicer coins fill registry sets and there's no demand for coins in lower grades. Most of the '83-P's in sets sold to the public are just sliders. There's no demand left over for scarce coins.

 

This reply of yours sums up why we have completely different opinions on this subject.

 

The statement I have in bold is a contradiction and makes no sense unless you are talking abut the same obscure die varieties you have in the past which hardly anyone wants. If you are, there isn't anything unusual at all about it because as I have explained to you repeatedly, die variety collecting isn't widespread outside of a handful of series, there isn't any reason for more than a minimal number of collectors to ever want them and you certainly have never provided one in any post I have ever read. This is equally true of all the classic predecessors which you have used as a basis of comparison where there is almost no die variety collecting either, except maybe for the Lincoln cent. (edit: I realize now you are referring to "cherry picking" and agree but in this context only.)

 

The comments you made about the 1983-P quarter, this is why I have told you your quality standards are not relevant to practically all other collectors. The only conclusion I can draw from your post is that a PCGS MS-66 is your MS-64 or lower which is a point I brought up once in our prior conversations. How else can you conclude that a coin with a current count of 245 (MS66 and MS67) is scarcer than one with a count of 166 (MS-64 and better)? This even though it should be obvious the 1916-D has a lot more duplicates and the 1983-P a lot more coins ungraded.

 

Using what you just did as the basis of your statement of a lack of demand, there is no reason to believe it will ever materialize because there is concurrently no reason to think that the current numismatic minutia which is applied to US coins today with TPG grading, "special designation strikes" and CAC is going to be expanded exponentially (on steroids) in the future to satisfy your preferences.

 

Your comparison of the price between these two coins is also irrelevant. The 1916-D is a "key date" and an aberration, even within recent classics. It makes as little sense as your prior comparison between Ikes and Morgan dollars. There is no reason to believe the 1983-P quarter will ever be a "key date" except as a "grade rarity" because any claim that it should be one leads to the implausible outcome where a disproportionate percentage of other moderns will achieve similar status and far exceed what exists for recent classics today. Another one is the 1970-D half which you also used as an invalid comparison with the 16-D in the "Top 100" thread on the PCGS forum. Both are apples to oranges comparisons.

 

The last comment I will make for now is that there isn't anywhere near the demand for common (post 1933) classics as you have implied in the past. Yes, these coins are more expensive (a lot proportionately) and yes, they are a lot more popular than moderns but most of them are nominally priced and per your definition, there isn't much demand for them either. Multiple comments have been made in the past both here and on PCGS by dealers who described their experience in buying sets of classics. The "key dates" are easy to sell while most of the rest are not.

 

Edited by world colonial

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I don't have anything in particular against moderns, even though I disagree with your position and do not buy them. I don't know what makes you think that I do. I don't see you much here anymore but I make the related points for other coins, whether they are modern or not, including South African Union on the BoB forum which is one of my primary series.

 

I didn't mean to suggest there's something wrong with not collecting moderns. Everybody doesn't have the same taste or look for the same thing in a collection. However you do seem to sometimes offer opinions on the lack of desirability of collecting later date coins. We all understand they are different which is why we all mostly agree that they have different defining characteristics than older coins even though there's less agreement on the exact date they began. We all agree that a scarce silver eagle or an Ike dollar is fundamentally different than a silver trime or French gold. We also all understand that the economics and supply/demand factors are different. We know preservations and manufacturing differences exist.

 

The reason I disagree with you on this particular aspect is because I know that almost no other collectors consider what you just described anywhere near as important as you do. Because if they did, then the prices would reflect it which they do not.

 

This is the place where we just can't seem to see eye to eye.

 

Numismatics was always the "hobby of kings" and much of the reason was that it required a king's wealth to collect coins until recent times. There weren't a lot of coins, they didn't travel far, and they were precious metal. There was no google to locate a coin from a distant kingdom and no post office to deliver it. The number of collectors was low even through the 19th century. The growing numbers were made possible by the growing number of wealthy Americans who could afford coin collecting. Most collected a few moderns but the focus was on old US and foreign coins.

 

Everything changed in the 1930's largely as a result of the depression. People weren't working and had time on their hands. B Max Mehl and others promoted coins and collecting and coin collecting became a mass market. They collected moderns mostly because these were what were available cheaply. The public snapped up large numbers of coin boards and circulating coinage was scoured for the rare dates to fill them.

 

Everything changed in 1965. The mass market survived but collectors began concentrating on old coins and almost no one at all collected moderns. This situation couldn't last because without moderns the hobby was starved for new collectors. It started shrinking in terms of total numbers of collectors and continued shrinking right up to 1999. Now it's a mass market again with tens of millions of inactive collectors starting families and working hard.

 

There still isn't much demand for most moderns. Scarce platinum goes for a song, high grade eagles get little attention, even important state quarters are often go begging. Early clad is still being ignored altogether. But it is a new generation coming up and it will be bigger and better than ever when it matures. No one knows what they'll collect or value but it's a safe bet all trends eventually revert to the norm. They will be collecting coins and someone will own every coin made between 650 BC and 2015. It seems pretty logical that ANY scarce or rare modern might have a rather high valuation.

 

Personally I tend to favor coins that were made for circulation and issues where most actually circulated. Of course the new generation might not care much but if they care at all about circulating coins then clads won't be ignored.

 

You can cite numbers all day about the hundreds of moderns graded but these numbers are a tiny drop in the bucket to satisfy mass markets.

 

I presume this also applies to those 25 or 30 years, such as the 1989-P quarter if looking now. If I were to attempt to do what you have done, I would not expect to find even one 1989-P quarter that would meet your criteria, regardless of what TPG grade it received.

 

There's nothing wrong with a 1989-P quarter from circulation and people can include one in an important collection. Most now are unattractive VF+ and they're surprisingly difficult in nice attractive XF/ AU. I suppose it's because the date tends to have a mushy strike and low rims that allow the surface to be marred by collisions. The relief is low on the date which makes wear appear even more severe than it actually is. Roll coins exist but aren't common and mint set coins are well made but often scratched. I find the date more interesting as a circulating coin but nice Gems are highly desirable for the date.

 

 

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I had said;

 

"High grade and currently valuable moderns are all over out there available for almost nothing."

 

... is a contradiction and makes no sense...

 

The services have graded in excess of 20,000,000 classic coins and they "are everywhere". These coins aren't graded unless there is demand and a high valuation yet there are 20,000,000 of them. You can't go to a coin show and find an XF 1822 dime in the junk box for a dollar because they all reside in slabs and sell for a lot of money. Rarely will such a coin appear in a coin shop mixed with junk silver. For the main part they've all been found and are among the 20,000,000 + graded coins.

 

But this simply isn't true of valuable moderns. A 1965 Cameo PL penny is rare and sells for a great deal of money but if one comes into a coin shop the dealer is likely to just toss it with the rest of the SMS's, hand it back to the owner and tell him to spend it, or put it in the cash register. If you go to a major coin show and look for old rarities you'll find hundreds of them and they'll be priced accordingly for the main part. But if you look for modern rarities you can buy everyone you see and walk out with a small handfull for a few dollars. With some exceptions most modern rarities are "still in the wild". There's not as much of the "low hanging fruit" as there was twenty years ago but it's still out there. There arew still mint and proof sets as well as the numerous otyher mint issues since 1965 and many of these have never been searched for Gems or varieties.

 

Dealers are wising up a little now days and will at least check the S penny in the '70 set for sm dt but they don't have the knowledge of moderns to spot everything. They aren't familiar enough with the markets to know what's worth "bothering with". So these coins are out there and available for little cash outlay. Of course some are so tough it's easier and cheaper to just buy a graded specimen but I think all modern collectors should familiarize themselves with the issue before spending a lot of money. Otherwise you'll end up with a bunch of Gem '72-D quarter that weren't nearly as cheap as you thought they were. You'll end up with PR-70's of an issue that is only common in 69 and 70.

 

... unless you are talking abut the same obscure die varieties you have in the past which hardly anyone wants...

 

Not all modern varieties are "subtle" or "obscure". I collect even the most subtle but I can see why most don't. Some of these varieties are very important, very dramatic, and very elusive. The ones that appear in mint sets are all "common" but most don't appear in mint sets at all.

 

Another one is the 1970-D half which you also used as an invalid comparison with the 16-D in the "Top 100" thread on the PCGS forum. Both are apples to oranges comparisons.

 

If I recall correctly I was referring to the PL half dollar. It accounts for only about 2% of mintage and only some 25,000 survive. Many of these are unattractive. I believe the '70-D half is a very important coin in its own right and part of what makes it so important is that the coin was so ignored the PL's weren't even recognized until recent times. Gem PL '70-D's can be spectacular and are far from being "common". There can be no hoards of these to suppress the price if demand ever materializes. There are no "old collections" to create the supply for the market. By the time all these are spoken for there could be far fewer than 25,000 still in existence.

 

 

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Full step Jefferson Nickels - some of these can be extremely difficult to find with full steps for many dates in the 1960s and 1970s. There are even some surprises after that.

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I am aware of everything you said. Yes, I disagree with you but though I have my biases and preferences, my position is primarily based upon the apparent evidence of how collectors actually act, not what I prefer.

 

In this instance, you are applying much stricter quality criteria than current TPG grading. Obviously, these coins are as scarce as you claim by your criteria since you can define it as you like, whether anyone else agrees with it or not. There is no more significance to it than there would be if I (or anyone else) were to do so for one of my series which also does not reflect how most others collect it.

 

On the supply, the fact remains that I or anyone can buy any of these coins on demand or on short notice in "high quality" just as most other US coins, except when this narrow and arbitrary quality criteria is applied.. No coin which can be bought like this is remotely scarce. Those low mintage bullion coins, they aren't scarce either and the idea that they sell for a "song" is ridiculous. There are more of those coins in their existing quality than any others except the ASE and maybe SQ.

 

Let’s say for the sake of discussion your quality criteria is the “correct” one. What exactly does this mean for collecting moderns coins and their prices?

 

First, yes it would make completing a set challenging but then, I have already admitted to you that doing so by “cherry picking” already is one. Any series can be turned into a challenge through the intentional application of narrow and in my opinion, artificial definitions of “scarcity”. This is exactly what at least 95% of US collectors already do without the additional exaggeration you described since the lopsided proportion of US coins can be bought on demand or on short notice given how common they are and the current availability of most higher priced coins.

 

Second, on the demand, your grading criteria alone won’t change the preference for these coins in the aggregate at all, now or later. If the consensus agrees with you later, then the population counts need to be shifted one or more grades lower on the Sheldon scale. As an example, if most of the current 226 PCGS MS-66 1983-P Washington quarters are really MS-64 and the 13 MS-66 + a MS-65, then presumably this would result in the reduced number of “accurately” graded coins being preferred a lot more and selling for (much) higher prices.

 

Concurrently, the majority of currently “incorrectly” graded MS-66 (never mind MS-65 and lower grades) might sell for less which I know you don’t think should happen. I know you disagree with this statement but the other specimens which constitute the vast majority, why would others want them any more than they do now? If by your own admission most current MS-66 aren’t really that high quality and by observation and common sense are known not to be remotely scarce, why does it also surprise you that the demand is so low now as you claim? I consider the difference between your criteria and current TPG standards trivial but you think it’s a big deal. So logically by your own criteria, others disproportionately won’t want them more either just as they don’t now except at nominal prices. Or perhaps you are going to try to have it both ways where many more should and will want them anyway, regardless that they do not meet your standards for a high (enough) quality coin?

 

I am aware that scarcity is relative but according to current practice which I did not define, the only coins which are more common than pre-1999 US moderns are many post 1933 US classics and many Morgan and Peace dollars. None of these coins are remotely scarce except due to the same narrow application of US practices. By your quality standards, apparently many US moderns are also scarcer than pre-1933 WLH, (1932) Washington quarters, Mercury dimes, Buffalo nickels and Lincoln cents. None of these coins are remotely scarce or hard to buy either, with exception of the same narrow US quality criteria. Given the opinion you have expressed in these posts, the next thing you are going to try to tell me is that many of these moderns are also scarcer than one or more earlier US series, such as the Barber coinage.

 

Contrary to what you have repeatedly claimed, I don’t see the current demand for US moderns as unusual at all because the coins you always use as your baseline for their “appropriate” popularity are an aberration which doesn’t exist anywhere else, not in US collecting or otherwise. In the Krause thread, I previously provided my explanation for the existing apparent collector preference for these series, both in 1965 when clad coinage was introduced and currently.

 

This is also aside from the demonstrated evidence that US collectors don’t actually prefer them anywhere near as much as you seem to believe and this is obvious from the Heritage archives where anyone can see the sales volume at different price points.

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If I recall correctly I was referring to the PL half dollar. It accounts for only about 2% of mintage and only some 25,000 survive. Many of these are unattractive. I believe the '70-D half is a very important coin in its own right and part of what makes it so important is that the coin was so ignored the PL's weren't even recognized until recent times. Gem PL '70-D's can be spectacular and are far from being "common". There can be no hoards of these to suppress the price if demand ever materializes. There are no "old collections" to create the supply for the market. By the time all these are spoken for there could be far fewer than 25,000 still in existence.

 

My recollection is that you were referring to "gems" but regardless, in the PCGS thread, you also compared the price and scarcity to the 16-D dime. If you were comparing PL to the 16-D generically, this makes even less sense because to imply that the 70-D demand is going to increase so greatly is pure wishful thinking, whether it is PL or not.

 

You have consistently compared the price levels and popularity to recent classics using exaggerated claims of their demand. What I have been telling you is that the demand for these classics isn't remotely what you claim it to be, not even close.

 

Outside of "key" dates and the higher grades (depends upon the coin but usually an MS-65 or MS-66), the prices of these coins aren't really that high though they are high for the supply. But the primary reason for this as I also told you is because most collectors prefer higher grade coins today, can't afford the coins they used to buy from other series and the supply of the earlier series is relatively limited anyway, even in average circulated grades.

 

As I also told you in the Washington quarters thread, maybe out of as many as 200,000 "serious" collectors, 500 have as much in their sets as I do in my collection which is worth about $50,000, as the entire circulation strike set in the "under grade" with maybe the 32-D and 32-S in a 64 seems to be worth less than mine. This is potentially out of as 100,000 among all US based collectors. Combining all of the most widely collected classics excluding the Morgan dollar and 20th century gold (since these are disproportionately "investment" coins), maybe somewhat over 10,000.

 

The combination of what I am telling you should make it self-evident that since outside of "keys" none of these classics sell for "high prices" with any kind of large supply, a coin like the 70-D isn't going to either, except as it does now.

 

 

Edited by world colonial

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In this instance, you are applying much stricter quality criteria than current TPG grading. Obviously, these coins are as scarce as you claim by your criteria since you can define it as you like, whether anyone else agrees with it or not. There is no more significance to it than there would be if I (or anyone else) were to do so for one of my series which also does not reflect how most others collect it.

 

By any standard Gem moderns are tough. If you primarily look at them by one criterium then they aren't as tough but well made and pristine coins are not easily found. Even MS-60's of some dates are not common.

 

People can collect what they like and I'm not trying to tell them how. I am merely observing that most classics were well made and most moderns are not. This is a fundamental difference. And one of many possible collecting parameters. All collectors appreciate quality and things like new dies, PL, or well stuck are among the factors which constitute quality. Finding good quality on any parameter can be more difficult with moderns.

 

On the supply, the fact remains that I or anyone can buy any of these coins on demand or on short notice in "high quality" just as most other US coins, except when this narrow and arbitrary quality criteria is applied.. No coin which can be bought like this is remotely scarce. Those low mintage bullion coins, they aren't scarce either and the idea that they sell for a "song" is ridiculous. There are more of those coins in their existing quality than any others except the ASE and maybe SQ.

 

So? The low supply in slabs represent a low demand. That most are available represents an efficient market not huge supply.

 

I know you disagree with this statement but the other specimens which constitute the vast majority, why would others want them any more than they do now? If by your own admission most current MS-66 aren’t really that high quality and by observation and common sense are known not to be remotely scarce, why does it also surprise you that the demand is so low now as you claim? I consider the difference between your criteria and current TPG standards trivial but you think it’s a big deal. So logically by your own criteria, others disproportionately won’t want them more either just as they don’t now except at nominal prices. Or perhaps you are going to try to have it both ways where many more should and will want them anyway, regardless that they do not meet your standards for a high (enough) quality coin?

 

I don't think most MS-66 slabbed '82-P's are "junk". There's probably not one I wouldn't be proud to own. I just don't think they are all well struck from new dies. But they are still scarce coins because most '82's went straight into ciorculation and most of the few saved were scratched. The fact I consider most overgraded has no bearing on the fact that these coins still represent most of the best coins in existence for the date. Just because there may be MS-64's I'd rather own than some 66's detracts nothing from ANY MS-66. No matter what you call it or how you grade it nice quality clads can be very elusive.

I am aware that scarcity is relative but according to current practice which I did not define, the only coins which are more common than pre-1999 US moderns are many post 1933 US classics and many Morgan and Peace dollars. None of these coins are remotely scarce except due to the same narrow application of US practices.

 

So? Price of collectibles has far more to do with demand than with supply. "Common" Morganm dollar have high prices because these are great old large silver coins with widespread appeal. There is remarkable demand. Much scarcer Ikes sell for peanuts because the demand doesn't exist.

 

Contrary to what you have repeatedly claimed, I don’t see the current demand for US moderns as unusual at all because the coins you always use as your baseline for their “appropriate” popularity are an aberration which doesn’t exist anywhere else, not in US collecting or otherwise.

 

Lack of demand for moderns isn't the least unusual or out of the ordinary. As previously stated in this very thread this was the norm from 750 BC to 1931.

 

But the market has changed and now it's a mass market. Lack of demand for moderns is virtually impossible. Tens of millions collect or have collected states quarters. If collecting is to remain a mass market then there will necessarily be demand for moderns. But the demand for older moderns has yet to materialize. Perhaps it never will but the fact remains that the coins are cheap because of the lack of demand and not because of any excess in supply.

 

 

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