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What prompts you to collect sets by date/mm of the same design??

MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,558 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited June 18, 2022 8:43AM in U.S. Coin Forum

I will confess to having once been a set builder, the type of collector who is all too common and collects coins of the same design with the only difference in them being the date or the addition of the mint mark. I think it started when I first began to collect and there were folders available to keep a collection in, mainly those old blue Whitman's. In hindsight it was as though I was told how a collection was formed and it took me over thirty years to see through that fallacy. Today I collect what I find attractive and historic. That's not to say those coins I once cherished don't possess those qualities, the point is that I don't feel I need 1oo examples of something to enjoy the design and history.

My collection transformation started around 20-25 years ago and has recently come to completion. Most of my standard US coinage has been sold but there's still more I need to part with. In retrospect, I think I was hoarding, a character flaw that can be very debilitating when it gets out of control. What remains are some albums, some slabbed coins and a box or two of raw coins.

I understand that many collectors, members here included, suffer the same as I did and have large assemblages of the same coin design. Understanding that you probably like those designs and want to have a complete "set" of the coins as struck, what prompts you to keep buying more and more of the same thing?? I have known collectors who have had 10-20 complete albums of Lincoln Cents from 1909-date, one guy who was trying to assemble a roll set of Morgan dollars, etc. It puzzles me today why we embark on such endeavors.



  • lermishlermish Posts: 1,408 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Probably just a part of the human condition. Something ingrained in us, usually men more than women, to collect things. May as well just be shiny rocks from the beach. It's all different flavors of the same ice cream and everybody has their preferences. It's an issue if one tends towards hoarding bordering on mental illness but that's not everyone who collects. Otherwise, it's fun, fulfilling, and harmless so each should do what makes them happy.

  • Eldorado9Eldorado9 Posts: 1,919 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's a great conversation. I think the main reason is, history. And those blue Whitman Folders that we grew up with! More and more, I just like to collect really beautiful, meaningful coins....The "complete" date and mint mark need is always under the surface though.

  • MaywoodMaywood Posts: 1,558 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Mr_Spud said: But for slabbed coins I don’t really enjoy collecting date/mintmark sets, I prefer type sets.

    I did that for awhile and I thought it helped me to better learn how to grade since I was looking at so many different designs.

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,495 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree with you, I generally like to collect various things that I find interesting. For the series that I do collect, each year has its own unique differences that distinguished it form the other years. However, I do think that many collectors do get stuck in the date/mintmark set building, which may have its own allure to them. It's not for me, and I find that the longer I've been collecting the more I focus on the history of the coins, and that is why I like to collect so many different areas. It allows for hundreds of years of history to be studied with a physical reminder.

  • ctf_error_coinsctf_error_coins Posts: 15,262 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Major mint error coins for the families birth years.

    A very cool way too get unique coinage for a birth year even if that's years normal coins are common.

  • Dave99BDave99B Posts: 8,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 18, 2022 1:02PM

    I personally prefer the CHALLENGE of series collecting, vs type collecting, although I've done both.

    It took me over 25 years to assemble a full set of PCGS VF Barber Quarters, all with a dirty, circulated look. I still 'upgrade' the set occasionally when I see a better VF example for a specific date/mm. I don't hoard them though, even though it kills me to pass up a nice original VF 09-O or 97-S when I see one I like, knowing how difficult they are to locate in unmolested condition.


    Always looking for original, better date VF20-VF35 Barber quarters and halves, and a quality beer.
  • coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,396 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 18, 2022 2:10PM

    Probably the same reason that makes you suffer by buying random coins, I like them. Just because two (or more) coins share a design, date, and/or mintmark does not mean that those coins are identical.

    My Lincoln Registry
    My Collection of Old Holders

    Never a slave to one plastic brand will I ever be.
  • AtcarrollAtcarroll Posts: 310 ✭✭✭

    I've been thinking about something for my next endeavor. Pick a common date Morgan, like 1883o, and try to collect as many different die states and luster types as i can. Proof like, satiny, grainy with large flow lines, etc .

  • winestevenwinesteven Posts: 3,735 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 18, 2022 8:52PM

    For decades I worked on my U.S. Type Set. Once I completed that set, including the upgrades I felt I needed, I then asked myself, “So what now?” I then put together a couple of “small” collections of series. First Two Cents (Business Strikes, only 10 coins needed), and then Franklin Proofs (only 14 coins needed).

    I agree with you @Maywood , not having interest in a “complete set”, requiring every date and every mint mark. Since so many coins are needed, it means buying coins of lower grades if you want to keep the set in your budget. As such, I decided to put together two “DATE” sets. With fewer coins required, AND with the ability to choose the lowest cost option for each date, I recognized I will then have that collection of coins with much higher grades compared to a full complete set. The two sets I chose to do are a Lincoln Wheat DATE set (50 coins required) and a Standing Lib Quarter FULL HEAD DATE set (only 14 coins required). Had I chosen to do complete sets, I could not have even come close to affording to put those sets together including anywhere near the high grades I have for those DATE sets!

    A day without fine wine and working on your coin collection is like a day without sunshine!!!

    My collecting “Pride & Joy” is my PCGS Registry Dansco 7070 Set:
  • TurtleCatTurtleCat Posts: 4,583 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I’ve done types and I’ve done sets. I think the date/mm pursuit, for me, is driven by a sense of completion. It’s a challenge but also just kinda neat to look and say I have one of each. So I guess at this point it is a sense of satisfaction.

    Right now on my shelf I have these sets:

    1. 20th century types
    2. 19th century types
    3. Mercury dimes
    4. Jeffersons 1938-1975
    5. Lincolns 1909-1995
    6. Washington 1932-1974

    Several of these are nearly complete and the rest totally complete.

  • matt_dacmatt_dac Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I too have only completed one full set, gold quarter eagle Indians, because they are my favorite design and for the sense of ‘completeness’. Otherwise just type coins or key dates.

  • hfjacintohfjacinto Posts: 596 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have a few sets complete as I like the history of each date/mint, but I also like type sets. I have the slabbed 7070 NGC registry which I’m missing 3 coins and also have a slabbed IHC set (missing 14 coins), in the end it’s your collection, collect what you like.

  • ParadisefoundParadisefound Posts: 8,587 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It’s a good problem to have with the access inventory you accumulated overtime.
    Just maybe some reorganization and simplify the collection is what you need.
    Let go the extras and upgrade as well as adding to your chosen set to completion.

    Most of mine are pretty coins purchased to serve my fancy …. so I am all over the place 😣
    Only now ….. returning from a little coin break; realized the need to be selectively more focus.

    Good luck! ❤️

  • rec78rec78 Posts: 5,630 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 19, 2022 2:31AM

    Albums. I like to fill albums. If it weren't for coins folders and albums, I would have never been a coin collector.
    What prompts you to collect type coins?

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I did a couple of sets years ago. CC Morgans (by date) being the special one. Now (and for many years) I simply acquire what appeals to me through theme, appearance or history. (Much like @Maywood) I find it to be satisfying and non-restrictive - no stress. Just enjoy coins and acquire what appeals to my senses. Cheers, RickO

  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,033 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 20, 2022 9:17AM

    I have done shared many of the sentiments that the opening post made about date and mint mark collections. For that reason, I was an avid type collector for many years. Yet there have been several series that I have collected.

    I once had a set of Flying Eagle and Indian Cents, but sold it many years ago. That set is neat because it covers the end of the antebellum period, the Civil War, Reconstruction and the emergence of the U.S. as a world power. Another plus is that there are only two mint marked coins to get.

    I collected the Classic Head $2.50 and $5.00 gold coins because of their connection to Andrew Jackson and the Hard Times token era.

    I collected the $2.50 Indian set because it was the only U.S. gold set I could afford in the 1980s.

    I collected the early half dimes from 1792 to 1805 because they have fascinated me since high school.

    I collected the twenty cent pieces for the same reason.

    I collected the Type I and II gold dollars because they have long been a source of interest. I started the Type III gold dollars but gave up because of the high priced rarities like the 1861-D, 1856-D and 1875 among others. Quite often too many mint marks have been a turn off for me. The Type I hold dollars were an exception because of the attraction of the Charlotte and Dahlonega Mints.

    I still have a well circulated set of Lincoln Cents from 1909 to 1940, minus the 1922 Plain because they got me started in the hobby.

    For the most part, I don’t like a series where is a seemingly endless number of mint marks to get. That’s why I would never collect the Barber coins in any detail.

    History is a major interest for me. That’s why tokens, medals, political tokens and foreign and ancient Roman coins with kings, queens are emperors on them attract me.

    Retired dealer and avid collector of U.S. type coins, 19th century presidential campaign medalets and selected medals. In recent years I have been working on a set of British coins - at least one coin from each king or queen who issued pieces that are collectible. I am also collecting at least one coin for each Roman emperor from Julius Caesar to ... ?
  • savitalesavitale Posts: 1,404 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I enjoy the goal and challenge of completing a set. A complete set of Seated Dimes is just hard, because they are scarce in straight graded condition. The Complete Variety set has several pieces that are more rare than 1804 dollars, at least according to the PCGS populations.

    My first two sets were difficult because of financial constraints. When I was a kid with a coin budget of $2 to $20 mostly, completing nice sets of Buffalo Nickels and Peace Dollars in Dansco albums was challenging.

    I like working toward a goal.

  • Joe_360Joe_360 Posts: 1,484 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My Father started me out with Wheat cents. Both of my Brothers also have full sets... Happy Father's Day!!

  • FranklinHalfAddictFranklinHalfAddict Posts: 639 ✭✭✭✭✭

    When I was first getting into collecting seriously I wasn’t exactly sure how I was “supposed” to collect coins. I didn’t know what to buy or why I should buy this coin over that coin.
    From my initial readings on various forums it seemed like I was supposed to collect a whole series so that’s what I started. I began assembling a set of Franklin halves about 10 years ago and am about 65% finished now if I had to guess. Gradually over the years I became less focused on that set and have become more of a type collector.
    If the right coin at the right price comes along for my series I will buy it, but I’m more focused now on any coin that catches my eye, whatever that might be.
    Maybe someday I’ll finish my Franklin series, maybe I won’t. Either is fine with me as long as I have a collection I am proud of and enjoy looking at.

  • FranklinHalfAddictFranklinHalfAddict Posts: 639 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Atcarroll said:
    I've been thinking about something for my next endeavor. Pick a common date Morgan, like 1883o, and try to collect as many different die states and luster types as i can. Proof like, satiny, grainy with large flow lines, etc .

    I think that would be fun but instead getting one of every possible grade of the same date until it gets cost prohibitive in the upper MS grades.

  • The_Dinosaur_ManThe_Dinosaur_Man Posts: 742 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's about the journey, not the end result.

    Collecting by date and mintmark for me is because I like building towards a known and documented goal. The list is created, finding the best of the best isn't a requirement, and getting that next piece even if I wasn't looking for that date & mm at the moment is a thrill.

    Be that seated dimes and half dimes, or Lincoln Cent proofs, or Bahamas starfish pennies. Just finding them is a simple joy.

    Custom album maker and numismatic photographer, see my portfolio here: (http://www.donahuenumismatics.com/).

  • WilliamFWilliamF Posts: 832 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 20, 2022 9:40AM

    Mostly just the challenge and having an end goal to work towards :)
    Working on a date (and major varieties) set of large cents (1793-1857). It's been the single most enjoyable series I've collected and it is a goal that is actually attainable, there are about 15 coins in the series that cost in excess of $800 in the lowest grade but most of the dates and varieties are obtainable in pleasing mid-grade examples for pretty cheap.
    In my set I have coins graded from PO1 to MS64 and every one of them is unique and incredible in it's own right.
    Already been working towards this for the last 5 years and it's a series I can see myself working on for the next 20 years as time and funds allow, I have close to 30 dates and varieties left get to "complete" the series but I am constantly upgrading and switching out whenever I find a coin that strikes my fancy :)

    ."It's a dangerous business... going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to" -JRR Tolkien_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Outstanding BST transactions as a seller, buyer and trader with: ----- mustanggt, Kliao, claudewill87, MWallace, paesan, mpbuck82, moursund, basetsb, lordmarcovan, JWP, Coin hunter 4, COINS MAKE CENTS, PerryHall, Aspie_Rocco, Braddick, DBSTrader2, SanctionII, Histman, The_Dinosaur_Man, jesbroken, CentSearcher ------ANA Member #3214817

  • 3stars3stars Posts: 2,270 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I picked up a 1914 Canadian $5 gold that caught my eye, and my brain immediately said “only five more to complete the series, might as well finish it”. Now completing the 1912-1914 $5 and $10 Canadian gold set…

    Previous transactions: Wondercoin, goldman86, dmarks, Type2
  • ashelandasheland Posts: 22,184 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm mostly a type collector, but I've mentioned before, I could consider Indian Cents as a set or Gold Dollars, they're cool sets and the coins aren't necessarily boring as they have so much character from year to year, strike anomalies, etc.
    The only thing keeping me from doing both sets is my limited finances. So multiples of both types suits me fine, even if I never complete the sets...

  • MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 23,730 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 20, 2022 8:56AM

    One advantage to collecting a series is that there's a limit to what you "need". And for those of us who are a bit compulsive, that's better than simply buying whatever you like, whenever you see it, whatever it is.

    Another advantage to collecting a series is that you're more likely to recognize unappreciated rarities, and that knowledge will help you get more numismatic bang for your buck. Granted, that's not as big a consideration in US coins anymore, now that the pop reports have made that info available to anyone with an internet connnection. But when you're collecting world coins, where it's still early in the game and pop reports have yet to fill out with data, unappreciated rarities abound.

    Andy Lustig

    Doggedly collecting coins of the Central American Republic.

    Visit the Society of US Pattern Collectors at USPatterns.com.

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