Building a set - for "Love" or "Points"?
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23 posts in this topic

I am a newer collector, and I apologize up front if this is a topic that has been discussed at length.  I am working on a 7070 Type Set.  I have been exclusively collecting business strikes, but a few proofs have trickled-in (SBA or modern silver coins that are proof only - gifts from my kids).  I primarily focus on getting classic coins, and this has left me with many openings in modern coins in the set.

When it comes to modern coins, I have been looking for higher MS examples with nice eye appeal wherever possible (and within reason).  However, I can easily acquire PF70 DCAM examples of most modern coins.  These proof coins would give me more points, and generally cost less (sometimes MUCH less) than a MS68 example of the same business strike coin.

I like business strikes more, but I feel like I am doing myself a disservice from a competitive standpoint.  To be clear, my intentions are not to compete, but build a really "nice" set.  But, I can't help but to have competitive feelings on occasion - especially when I can move the points from 400 to 4500 just by buying a 70DCAM coin (and for less money than the MS example).  

Does anyone else think like me?  I often feel "silly" as I am not really competing against anyone... but the points don't seem to always reflect the value and desirability of a coin (in modern issues in particular).

The two obvious answers are:

1 - Buy whatever you like

2 - Buy both

But - wanted to know if anyone else has this same mental struggle?   

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2 minutes ago, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

I am a newer collector, and I apologize up front if this is a topic that has been discussed at length.  I am working on a 7070 Type Set.  I have been exclusively collecting business strikes, but a few proofs have trickled-in (SBA or modern silver coins that are proof only - gifts from my kids).  I primarily focus on getting classic coins, and this has left me with many openings in modern coins in the set.

When it comes to modern coins, I have been looking for higher MS examples with nice eye appeal wherever possible (and within reason).  However, I can easily acquire PF70 DCAM examples of most modern coins.  These proof coins would give me more points, and generally cost less (sometimes MUCH less) than a MS68 example of the same business strike coin.

I like business strikes more, but I feel like I am doing myself a disservice from a competitive standpoint.  To be clear, my intentions are not to compete, but build a really "nice" set.  But, I can't help but to have competitive feelings on occasion - especially when I can move the points from 400 to 4500 just by buying a 70DCAM coin (and for less money than the MS example).  

Does anyone else think like me?  I often feel "silly" as I am not really competing against anyone... but the points don't seem to always reflect the value and desirability of a coin (in modern issues in particular).

The two obvious answers are:

1 - Buy whatever you like

2 - Buy both

But - wanted to know if anyone else has this same mental struggle?   

They say when buying slabbed coins to buy the coin first, not the slab, I couldn't care less if I never got a point for anything if I loved the coins I have...as a metal detectors I know many other MD'ers who collections of finds would be happy in others trash cans but they mean something different to them, its what it means to you that matters...I have a 2014 britannia, modern, but it completed my britannia set...its a pig privy, very hard to find and possibly because every one of them was damaged, the queens face is scratched, it would never get over a 64 in my mind but it completes my set,I have no idea of points but did any of us collect anything for competition or because we love coins?.

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That’s why we do it! Screw the points. Each person has their specific likes and dislikes. I bought a lot of slabbed coins that had BP been graded because I couldn’t trust, and verify the coin first. I don’t see the real benefit of grading PF70 coins unless you know it is going to appreciate like 5he 2021 W Silver Eagle PR70 ultraCam I was lucky to obtain in those first five minutes of going on sale. The best coin I have so far. I only buy raw coins if I see appeal or obvious strengths in details such as this 1909 Barber Half. Not intending to grade it, but I like it and got a fairly good deal on itC8239842-EC18-49C9-A95A-65BAD88C7387.jpeg.7716960c92e42e69e44a77dc89415451.jpeg

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A couple of thoughts which may or may not help you; first registry fever can be a dangerous thing, and you are not alone in dealing with these types of choices.   I too have seen the point discrepancies that you are talking about for proof vs mint state coins when both can be used.   Second you have to decide and define what goals you have for your registry sets, once you have those goals the choices become far easier.   As an example one thing you can do to define your collection is pick sets that only include non-proof coins if you prefer mint state coins vs proofs.   However if a MS only set is not available or the goal is to be have a top contenting set then it may be better to lose the OCD aspect in favor of using proofs for the points values.

As a side thought; at one point I was too caught up in the registry "thing" I still very much enjoy the registry and having/improving competitive sets.  But what I have learned is that with my very limited budget levels, I have one or two sets that I concentrate on and would very much like to keep at the competitive top.   Everything else I consider more like a non-competitive custom set that I do for the love of collecting and really don't care that much about the ranking.

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Posted (edited)

Your post piqued my interest.  Love?  Or points? Or perhaps something else: doing something that apparently had never been done before.

As anyone who knows exactly where he was the day Kennedy got shot (when silver was still in circulating coins) I stopped out of coin collecting, putting away my Red Book and blue Whitman folders. It was no longer possible to collect "real" collectible coins from ordinary change.

Fast forward fifty some odd years and I was cruising thru the web after being laid up after major surgery, minding my own business, when I spotted my first French 20-franc gold rooster.  I didn't know anything about the web, eBay, PayPal, bank wires, Customs and Border Patrol, "raw" coins, "business" strikes (which were always referred to as "circulation" strikes) the Sheldon scale, TPGS and their products referred to as slabs -- and least of all, Set Registries.

Bear in mind there are only 16 dates in the 11th and last of the 20-franc series and to my knowledge no varieties, types, hits, runs, or errors.

I started with a single raw specimen and bought several more in "new" condition which in coin collecting means bupkis.

At some point, I discovered NGC, became a member and discovered their Set Registry. Only one problem: only encapsulated coins are accepted and, two years ago, only those that bore the NGC brand were eligible for inclusion. (Never mind PCGS has been encapsulating Roosters for years.)

I bought a few slabs choosing to set my sights high: MS-66.  And then I was rudely interrupted by one of life's reality checks.  The series runs the gamut from 1899 thru 1914, with 1900 and 1911 being the scarcer issues. The first eight called originals are common in Europe, while the eight others, called re-strikes, are common here in the U.S. But complicating matters is the FACT that PCGS holds sway over Europe, while NGC, and God knows how many other TPGS, and dealers dominate the domestic market.

I made a decision then and there to join PCGS, sent them my raw coins while familiarizing myself with the European market.

I love roosters but an undertaking I expected to take only ninety days, tops, became a two-year endeavor.  I knew it would only be a matter of time before my "Rooster Roster" ranked #1 at PCGS only because I chose to minimize upgrading and direct my energies to the highest known grades available.

On balance, I believe I did well.  Unavailability is my only problem but as things stand now, PCGS has declared my collection to be "Best French Set" for 2020.

Earlier, I characterized my observation of the NGC/PCGS, Restrike/Restrike, U.S./Europe demarcation as FACT.  For those of you so inclined, don't take my word for it, check it out yourself. There are purportedly dozens of Set Registrants, but only a handful have managed to complete their sets. The vast majority have languished in dormancy either because collectors realized they were in over their heads or gave up due to the paucity of earlier specimens, particularly in the NGC line.  I chose to persevere. Of course, with every certification, the population increases and the value of your relatively grade-scarce coin diminishes.  This pursuit is not for the faint of heart.

Kudos to the OP for coming up with a contemporary question and quandary that is rarely discussed.

Edited by Quintus Arrius
Acronym substitution/restating narrative.
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13 minutes ago, Quintus Arrius said:

Your post piqued my interest.  Love?  Or points? Or perhaps something else: doing something that apparently had never been done before.

As anyone who knows exactly where he was the day Kennedy got shot (when silver was still in circulating coins) I was cruising thru the web after being laid up after major surgery, minding my own business, when I spotted my first French 20-franc gold rooster.  I didn't know anything about the web, eBay, PayPal, bank wires, Customs and Border Patrol, "raw" coins, "business" strikes (which were always referred to as "circulation" strikes) the Sheldon scale, TPGS and their products referred to as slabs -- and least of all, Set Registries.

Bear in mind there are only 16 dates in the 11th and last of the 20-franc series and to my knowledge no varieties, types, hits, runs, or errors.

I started with a single raw specimen and bought several more in "new" condition which in coin collecting means bupkis.

At some point, I discovered NGC, became a member and discovered their Set Registry. Only one problem: only encapsulated coins are accepted and, two years ago, only those that bore the NGC brand were eligible for inclusion. (Never mind NGC has been encapsulating Roosters for years.)

I bought a few slabs choosing to set my sights high: MS-66.  And then I was rudely interrupted by one of life's reality checks.  The series runs the gamut from 1899 thru 1914, with 1900 and 1911 being the scarcer issues. The first eight called originals are common in Europe, while the eight others, called re-strikes, are common here in the U.S. But complicating matters is the FACT that PCGS holds sway over Europe, while NGC, and God knows how many other TPGS, and dealers dominate the domestic market.

I made a decision then and there to join PCGS, sent them my raw coins while familiarizing myself with the European market.

I love roosters but an undertaking I expected to take only ninety days, tops, became a two-year endeavor.  I knew it would only be a matter of time before my "Rooster Roster" ranked #1 at PCGS only because I chose to minimize upgrading and direct my energies to the highest known grades available.

On balance, I believe I did well.  Unavailability is my only problem but as things stand now, PCGS has declared my collection to be "Best French Set" for 2020.

Earlier, I characterized my observation of the NGC/PCGS, Restrike/Restrike, U.S./Europe demarcation as FACT.  For those of you so inclined, don't take my word for it, check it out yourself. There are purportedly dozens of Set Registrants, but only a handful have managed to complete their sets. The vast majority have languished in dormancy either because collectors realized they were in over their heads or gave up due to the paucity of earlier specimens, particularly in the NGC line.  I chose to persevere. Of course, with every certification, the population increases and the value of your relatively grade-scarce coin diminishes.  This pursuit is not for the faint of heart.

Kudos to the OP for coming up with a contemporary question and quandary that is rarely discussed.

i always knew u were from a parallel universe....so in '63 u had the web, ebay, paypal, tpgs, slabs, set registries?....did u know al gore as well?...did u get out of hospital in time to go see the  mona lisa in wash dc, or go see dr. no at theatre, did u stand in line to get ur zip code, ...yea i didnt get to do any those things either....small world...

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7 hours ago, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

I am a newer collector, and I apologize up front if this is a topic that has been discussed at length.  I am working on a 7070 Type Set.  I have been exclusively collecting business strikes, but a few proofs have trickled-in (SBA or modern silver coins that are proof only - gifts from my kids).  I primarily focus on getting classic coins, and this has left me with many openings in modern coins in the set.

When it comes to modern coins, I have been looking for higher MS examples with nice eye appeal wherever possible (and within reason).  However, I can easily acquire PF70 DCAM examples of most modern coins.  These proof coins would give me more points, and generally cost less (sometimes MUCH less) than a MS68 example of the same business strike coin.

I like business strikes more, but I feel like I am doing myself a disservice from a competitive standpoint.  To be clear, my intentions are not to compete, but build a really "nice" set.  But, I can't help but to have competitive feelings on occasion - especially when I can move the points from 400 to 4500 just by buying a 70DCAM coin (and for less money than the MS example).  

Does anyone else think like me?  I often feel "silly" as I am not really competing against anyone... but the points don't seem to always reflect the value and desirability of a coin (in modern issues in particular).

The two obvious answers are:

1 - Buy whatever you like

2 - Buy both

But - wanted to know if anyone else has this same mental struggle?   

guess u could do two registry sets....one competitive n one custom non-competitive....

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@zadok As you may be aware, I stopped out of the hobby shortly after silver coins were removed from circulation.

I stepped back in when I was home-bound after a hip replacement in 2019 with few diversions other than television and my wife's internet-equipped phone. (My antique is strictly talk and text.)

I had little working knowledge of the hobby in the years since.  Most members know (and have grown tired of hearing) my story. And that's putting it lightly.

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8 minutes ago, Quintus Arrius said:

@zadok As you may be aware, I stopped out of the hobby shortly after silver coins were removed from circulation.

I stepped back in when I was home-bound after a hip replacement in 2019 with few diversions other than television and my wife's internet-equipped phone. (My antique is strictly talk and text.)

I had little working knowledge of the hobby in the years since.  Most members know (and have grown tired of hearing) my story. And that's putting it lightly.

just couldnt resist...just put in some ............when u r changing time zones, time warping, universe jumping or changing thought trains....i usually pick up on those...

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@Coinbuf Good advice there.  I am not planning or trying to be #1.  But, I can see how anyone can catch "the fever".  There's solace in knowing that the choices I grapple with are shared amongst other collectors that participate in the registry.  (btw: I absolutely love your Lincoln Cent Collection - top notch!)

@Quintus Arrius I like your pioneering nature, and it paid off for you.  Your Gold Rooster set is outstanding.  

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3 hours ago, zadok said:

just couldnt resist...just put in some ............when u r changing time zones, time warping, universe jumping or changing thought trains....i usually pick up on those...

Really appreciate your bringing this to my attention.  I have since restated the narrative. (thumbsu

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Having almost completed my peace dollar date set which is made from ngc and pcgs i wanted to go all in on one other other but as I just began I wanted to upgrade over time going ms65 to begin the to see how high I can go from my bb card dealing and buy sell coins n stuff...but it seems to be harder to find premium ngc slabbed peace dollars, it seems to be more pcgs and can combinations...but one thing for sure, no point chasing, I don't have that kind of money to tie up for my grandson without me relenting and selling en mass to fund the next season of 'insufficiently_thoughtful_person with money'..lol

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Posted (edited)

THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF THE SET REGISTRANT. (Not for set registrants only!)

Saw an ad today for something that got me to thinking about that gap-toothed smile in my Rooser collection I call The Herostratus Hoard on NGC (which has maintained its presence among the Top Ten sets at NGC) for the past two years.

An encapsulated 1912 PCGS-graded at MS-66 was offered for sale overseas for $700.  I decided then and there the extra '12 I picked up for $200 less by the same TPGS and grade here in the U.S. for no other reason than to cross-grade it, will go in today. 

For those who wonder, "What's the point?" and, "What are you planning to do with that odd-ball 1904 MS-63 ANACS which has long since been upgraded?" welcome to the "fever."  

My NGC "short" set will be complete, a straight MS-66, from 1907 thru 1914. "But what are you going to do with the seven MS-66's and 66-pluses graded by PCGS,  now that they have long since been upgraded to MS-67?"  Sell them?  Trade them for additional upgrades?   Use them to start a new set #2?  Or how about trading the surplus and six raw 🐓 to take the NGC short set to its natural conclusion?

Luckily, the last question has been answered for me.  A new collector hell-bent on doing the same thing I did at PCGS (completing a near upper-tier collection) has dashed the dreams of several collectors, at NGC -- including mine.  And I have already proven myself at PCGS.  WHAT'S TO BE GAINED BY CLIMBING MT. EVEREST TWICE?

Looks?  Nope.  Points? Superfluous and, excuse the pun, pointless.

For those interested in exactly what closing the gap-toothed smile is going to cost me, try about $100. What most collectors who urge others, "Why don't you just send it in, and when you get 'it' back, you can rub it in our faces?" don't fully appreciate is the truth is a lot more complex and costly. Have you ever sat down and really studied a submission form? There are a dozen options to consider, grading (if your coin is even eligible) being but one of them.  There is a fee for everything: grading tier chosen, type of holder, type of label, speed of service, turn-around time desired, a mandatory handling fee, insurance, registration, insurance, shipping materials and postage -- coming and going.

A so-called war-time nickel in average condition is lovely.  Your First-Strike Limited Edition MS-69 is visually enticing, but is it worth the price of certification? Incidentally, over at PCGS, certification cost and insurance are determined by the Fair Market Value of the modest coin you just purchased from the Mint or on eBay, otbidding three dozen collectors. This is why Set Registrants set their sights high and why the garden-variety coin collector is content to fill holes in cardboard holders.  Unless your pre-conceived goal is perfection, you may spend the bulk of your time and money seeking to attain it but never quite achieving it.  To collectors, completion can mean two different things:  filling every hole or slot, or acquiring the finest coin example known to exist.  In the case of the latter,, one must resign himself to the possibly inevitable,  1/0: population 1, none finer, becoming 1/1, overnite or in the blink of an eye reducing your unique specimen to second-best with a corresponding pro-rated reduction in value and desirability.

Welcome to the other side of Set Registries.  And thank you OP for allowing me to further expound on my views.  [My sincerest apologies to those who feel congenitally compelled to continue to allow members like me they universally dislike to allow me to push their buttons by forcing them to read everything I write despite public declarations, ad nauseam, to the contrary.]

Edited by Quintus Arrius
Adhering to a uniform system of citation.
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7 hours ago, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

 

@Quintus Arrius I like your pioneering nature, and it paid off for you.  Your Gold Rooster set is outstanding.  

I have some good news and some bad.  First the good:  I appreciate the compliments from a fellow member.  Now the bad:  By saying anything nice about me or my Roosters, you've made, conservatively speaking, about a hundred new enemies.    😉

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@Quintus Arrius No worries at all.  I like the anecdotes, and insight into other collector's strategies.  As for making enemies, I am not overly concerned about that either.  I learn from those that dislike me, just as I learn from friends.  I am an equal opportunity nerd.

I am trying really hard to NOT upgrade my sets by buying the "right" coin the first time.  Maybe this is naive, and I will immediately start upgrading the moment the 7070 is finished (at the very least, the Type Set allows one to pick different dates/mints when upgrading :grin:).

The only set that I have drawn very strict lines around is my Braided Hair Half Cent set.  Every single one of those coins has to be 63-64 and a true red/brown (not just saying "RB" on the holder).  Fortunately, it's only an 8 coin set.  Unfortunately, two of those years will be very difficult to find in a very nice RB.  Again, maybe I am being naive, but the color & surface mean much more to me than the grade.  I would rather drop to a 62RB with a lot of red, than buy a 67BN with an amazing low population.  

The Braided Hair set directly conflicts with the mentality that I mention above on the Type Set, but I think that it's because there are no "gimme" coins (Lincoln Memorial, Roosevelt Dime, Jefferson Nickel, etc.) in RB Half Cents.  Half Cent proofs (like many other early/classic proof coins) can be wildly expensive.  So, it's easy, and prudent, to collect only business strikes in HC.

I do draw a distinction between early/classic and modern proofs in terms of numismatic value.  With early/classic proof coins, I would have to be very deliberate and thoughtful on the approach.  With modern proofs, the price of admission gives me much more flexibility.  For the record, I do like modern proofs a lot - they are about as perfect as a coin can get.  This post is not meant to speak disparagingly about modern proof coins at all... but to speak about the mental "whipsaw" challenges I have when considering modern proofs for my Type Set.

Thanks to all that have replied... If others have had the same feelings, or feel completely opposite - chime in.  This is a "safe zone".

 

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Posted (edited)

I always collected for the love of collecting ... the 69 to 70 grade seems like biggest scam to me on Modern coin market owning a 70 seems like an ego thing for registry sets ... take that MS70 or PF70 see if dealer buys it back at premium since it has a 70 grade you’ll be surprised not a lot dealers or any dealer that I know of will pay you a handsome fee buy back for a “common coin” that was mass produced in high numbers just cause it has a 70 grade ... but hey that’s way I see it , I stick with rarer world coins or buy raw gold bullion or classic graded coins 

 

just a little joke , send all them 69’s to John Albanese see if he will CAC green bean  all of them ? Maybe even CAC gold bean a few ... it’s a no wonder why they don’t accept newer “modern” coinage for CAC 

Edited by Jason Abshier
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@Jason Abshier Totally agree with you.  First off, a ton is risk in modern MS70 coins.  Milk spots, finger prints, ugly toning can all appear over time.  A clad Kennedy from 2002 has not had the span in "coin years" to mitigate these risks to any degree.  Even if your coin is truly MS70 today, it may not be tomorrow, and I am not touching over-graded coins.  I personally cannot tell the difference between a MS69 and MS70, so I truly have no business owning anything MS70 (but I do).  

Then there is the matter of low vs high mintage, and more importantly survival/population, future outlook on resale, etc.  For the record, I think that 99%+ of modern coins will fail to appreciate, just as I predict 99% of start-up organizations to fail.  There is a glut of modern coin designs, and even the most rare of them is still pretty common by collecting standards.  To say, "I know this/that 2021 coin will appreciate" is optimistic given that there is no trend on that coin.  There will be breakout modern coins that do well in the long run, but no numismatist in 1932 expected the Denver to outperform the San Francisco when the Washington Quarter was released.  Again, the major risk is not having a timespan of performance to measure, so speculative volatility will drive that market to a greater degree.

BUT....if I am going to build a Type Set on the registry, I have to either get them or live with the incomplete set.  For me, whether or not to buy moderns is an easy, "yes."  I like them, I can afford them, and I am not worried about modern coin futures at all.  And... to help soften the blow - I only need one of each modern type :grin:.

   

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Posted (edited)

I have nothing against people who collect 70 graded coins , but when new person getting into the hobby . I often tell them if you want make money in future on modern bullion coins ? Buy them raw don’t pay high high premiums for graded modern bullion coins like ASE or AGE , Gold Buffalos ... Thats where the hobby took down fall I don’t believe bullion should be graded it’s precious metal meant to be used for hard times but only ones making a nice profit off bullion right now are dealers and people driving the market to buy the graded bullion see for your self buy some graded ASE take them back to dealer see what they pay you ? Barely spot price . 
 

the only coins that maybe worth collecting are bullion coins wise and expect a nice premium in future are with very low mintage , take libertads for example a lot years had very low mintage some are becoming very scarce on market prices are going up 

Edited by Jason Abshier
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47 minutes ago, The Neophyte Numismatist said:

 I personally cannot tell the difference between a MS69 and MS70,

I don’t believe the graders even spend time to look at a very large bulk loads of ASE coming in for grading imagine having look at 200-400 ASE every week from different large dealers sending in for bulk submission the graders’ eye vessels would literally pop ! I bet they take the whole box and pick out maybe 2 or 3 and say these one will get 70 grade the rest are 69s 

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I just started collecting the ASE and I think they are a great looking coin. I find for my pocket they are more reasonable than most older coins price wise and some are worth more than others already. Don't get me wrong I still love it when I find a deal on a good looking Morgan or Peace or any Silver for that matter Who is to say what something will be worth down the road. I remember the 2000 New Hampshire quarter came out and the next year 2001 The Old Man of the Mountain fell down. I started saving the pocket change quarters in hopes that they would be keepers some day. I have $70 worth of quarters and that is all there worth, So ya never know LoL   

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Posted (edited)

The ASE is a beautiful coin, and I think the T1, V75, T2 varieties make it a very interesting series.  I have a 2020 "Emergency Strike," Minted in Philly when West Point shut down for COVID.  I just thought that was neat.  "Buy what you like" is a difficult proposition when I like it all... and the Type Set has been my solution to that.  So, thankfully... I have one ASE :grin:

I do a lot of coin roll hunting, too.  I really enjoy it, and I am constantly building circulated sets of coins.  My State Quarter Set (P/D) is worth less than the album that houses it, I don't care.  Jigsaw puzzles would yield less for my time.  I look for errors, and I getting a little better at finding them.  It's a different skill in the hobby entirely, and I really like it - albeit I am not proficient in errors.  But there is a lot of learning in CRH, for sure.  It's just fun!

Edited by The Neophyte Numismatist
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I’m taking a break from collecting classic coinage and world coins , I finally kicked the bucket and started collecting the Modern $1 silver commemorative coins (1984-present) I’m trying to get a whole series put together all NGC graded MS69 and PF69 should take me a year or two ... I can find most of them for just a little over melt value +plus small premium average $30-$35 considering it cost a dealer at one time to submit coins for slabbing+price seems about right to me ... They ain’t everyone favorite coin I agree some year issues are an ugly design... 

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