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Tips/Advice For 1891 Proof Set

I have decided to embark on the journey of putting together my first 19th century proof set. I want to do this in PCGS coins only hoping to make it into the registry one day if I want. I am extremely excited for this venture but I also understand that it will take sometime to find the “right” coins for me. I was wondering if any members had any advice before I go forward. I’ve already started looking everywhere (GC,eBay, Heritage, etc) but have quickly realized that I can find a decent 1891 proof coin relatively easy. It’s finding that perfect coin that masters eye appeal/strike quality/color and so on and so forth without decimating my budget. Aka the 10k plus coins. Are there ways to get on “call list” from dealers to notify you if they have a certain coin come in? Would that require cold calling to ask or do you just have to know the right people? Anything helps!

Thanks, Grant

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    GrantuGrantu Posts: 188 ✭✭✭
    edited September 11, 2022 4:28PM

    @jesbroken said:
    First you must make a statement as to what you are striving to do. Is your copper to be BN, RB, or RD, does your nickel or silver coins need to be PR, CAM, or DCAM, do you wish blast white, rim toned or heavily toned coins. What Grade range are you looking for. All of these are facts that will greatly affect you reaching your goal. It will define your price range, your ability to find the coins and allow help from a dealer be more easily defined. Dealers looking for coins for you must be aware of these parameters in order to be successful and satisfy your needs. I wish you great luck and hope you are young enough to spend the time it will take to garner such a set.
    Jim

    Thanks! I have many of those parameters outlined but I think looking at many, many, many coins in hand will also help know exactly what I want. But as far as the basics go I’m looking for CAM for my nickel/silver and a deep toned BN for my IHC etc. Luckily, I have lots of time on my side to complete this set barring any unexpected circumstances lol.

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    lilolmelilolme Posts: 2,517 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What jesbroken stated I believe is a good starting point. To do this I have used the pcgs auction prices realized to go through what has sold in the past. Would need to do for each denomination and click to see the pictures of the coins that have sold in the past at the various auction companies.

    Also coinfacts will give an idea of the price and population of each and again view the current images (click 'view more images') that are there. Any current dealer inventory. This should help you determine what look you want and how consistent between the denominations the look can be. Also the potential of finding them over time and cost.

    https://youtube.com/watch?v=2YNufnS_kf4 - Mama I'm coming home ...................................................................................................................................................................... RLJ 1958 - 2023

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    jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,590 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Go for it. Good luck. Keep us updated with photos and changes.
    jim


    When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease to be honest....Abraham Lincoln

    Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.....Mark Twain
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    FloridafacelifterFloridafacelifter Posts: 1,185 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 11, 2022 4:41PM

    I would put together the best matching set you can achieve in terms of color, grade and appearance. Do you like white silver coins or toned silver coins? What color for the copper? I wouldn’t combine a very white quarter with a very toned dollar.

    Another way to look at it is to define your budget, then make a chart from the price guide- how much would it cost to do the entire set in proof 64? 65? 66? 67? Then pick the one you’re comfortable with and start searching.

    Legend currently has a matched 1891 proof set for sale on their site right now, but it’s more fun to put your own together- the hunt is at least half the fun if not more than half.

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    Steven59Steven59 Posts: 8,369 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Kudos to your quest - some of us are just trying to figure out how we will pay for the rising cost of Heating this year.

    "When they can't find anything wrong with you, they create it!"

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    pcgscacgoldpcgscacgold Posts: 2,660 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It will be a great set when you are done. The 1891 that Legend has right now is amazing but 66-68 grades. Wow.

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    GrantuGrantu Posts: 188 ✭✭✭

    Yeah I was just marveling at it! I don’t think I’m in that price range but definitely love how each coin complements the others.

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    pcgscacgoldpcgscacgold Posts: 2,660 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 11, 2022 5:08PM

    @Grantu said:
    Yeah I was just marveling at it! I don’t think I’m in that price range but definitely love how each coin complements the others.

    I think that is when it looks best. Grades about the same but look all the same makes it a Proof "Set" in my opinion. Northeast Numismatics has an 1881 set in NGC 64-66 grades if you want to see another one.

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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 3,046 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Grantu said:
    Yeah I was just marveling at it! I don’t think I’m in that price range but definitely love how each coin complements the others.

    I believe that set is an original set - the coins have been together since they left the mint so they should be very similarly toned. That is why they go so well with each other - they've always been in the same conditions.

    Coin Photographer.

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    GrantuGrantu Posts: 188 ✭✭✭

    That one is sweet as well. I’ve been looking at a lot of individual proof coins lately but not too many sets together. I have noticed that even in these great sets that they are relatively the same grades like 64-66 and maybe a CAM or two but not all the exact same. Besides availability do they choose a certain coin because they value the quality and eye appeal that coin has in its grade rather than just getting another, 66CAM for example, just to match the grade right?

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    FloridafacelifterFloridafacelifter Posts: 1,185 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Right- they don’t all have to be the exact same grade or cameo contrast, just that they look like they belong together.

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    winestevenwinesteven Posts: 4,206 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 12, 2022 1:02AM

    @Floridafacelifter said:
    Right- they don’t all have to be the exact same grade or cameo contrast, just that they look like they belong together.

    So having a bit of a grade range is ok, and as noted above, even differences in the suffix is ok too. Just focus mainly on the appearance, but don’t go nuts - the appearance of the coins in the set does not have to be exact, just somewhat close. Only YOU can determine what “somewhat close” really means!

    YOU also have to decide if you want the entire set to be in slabs of just PCGS or just NGC, or are you ok with a combination? I’m not a fan of submitting crossovers, so I suggest you make this decision early on. You also should decide if your set will be just copper, nickel and silver, or are you including gold as well? FYI, proof gold is SUPER expensive. Whatever YOU decide is good!

    Regarding finding coins, while it’s ok to contact dealers that often carry these types of coins, I strongly suggest you set up specific electronic filters with a grade range in your budget separate for each of the coins you need with Heritage, GC, DLRC, and collectorscorner.com. I’ve had tremendous success over the years finding the coins I need with those electronic want lists. Naturally, you’ll end up passing on many of the “hits” you get via email, since you may not like the appearance, but that’s ok.

    Happy Hunting!

    Steve

    Edit - I just did a very quick search on collectorscorner.com (it took me less than a minute to set the filter for the 1891 date, and the proof requirement). Once done looking at each of the coins available with that initial search, you can then plug in a figure for “Last Changed”, such as 5 days, and then click on their “Add to wish list” hotlink, and you’re all set. You’ll then get an automatic email very early each morning of coins that meet your criteria. As noted, all of this can be done in a minute or two.

    FYI, there are three cents, two nickels, five dimes, four quarters, no halves, three dollars, one half Eagle, and two double eagles currently available!

    Ignoring TPG differences, grade requirements, and appearance differences, using that list of currently available coins, you can get the cent, nickel, dime, quarter and dollar for $5,020. Only the half dollar is missing! If you also want the half Eagle and double Eagle, then take out a home equity loan, lol.

    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:
    https://www.pcgs.com/setregistry/type-sets/design-type-sets/complete-dansco-7070-modified-type-set-1796-date/publishedset/213996
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    tcollectstcollects Posts: 918 ✭✭✭✭

    it's interesting to me that a collector has the ability to buy a complete beautiful matched set or piece together individual coins of varying quality today, depending on budget

    the coins individually aren't rare

    they're available now in near perfect condition, so what's the challenge?

    I'd save up and buy something like the Legend set. It will always be breathtaking and desirable to collectors. Lower grade proofs are dreck.

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Grantu... Good luck with your set. Please keep us posted as each coin is acquired. It will be fun to watch your set grow. Cheers, RickO

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    MS66MS66 Posts: 200 ✭✭✭

    Congrats on your 5000th Like, which I note is a perfect 2:1 ratio with your post count. Well done!

    PS: and a perfect 10:1 with your LOLs.
    Amazing.

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    winestevenwinesteven Posts: 4,206 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MS66 said:

    Congrats on your 5000th Like, which I note is a perfect 2:1 ratio with your post count. Well done!

    PS: and a perfect 10:1 with your LOLs.
    Amazing.

    Thanks. I'm surprised you noticed that data, which I happened to be well aware of. FYI, while many members use the LOL hotlink to express disagreement with a comment (and I know some of the LOL's I've received have indeed been for that reason), the vast majority of the LOL's I've received have actually been in response to the humor/jokes I regularly post on this forum. If you have time to waste, I suggest you click on my LOL number, and that will then bring you to the posts where LOL's were placed in reply to my comments. Hopefully you'll get a few chuckles.

    Steve

    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:
    https://www.pcgs.com/setregistry/type-sets/design-type-sets/complete-dansco-7070-modified-type-set-1796-date/publishedset/213996
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    CatbertCatbert Posts: 6,731 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 12, 2022 8:28AM

    Some excellent advice already shared, but I have a suggestion. Of the coins required, which one do you want to be your "anchor"? I would laser focus on finding that "perfect" match to your tastes (buy it) and then incrementally find complimentary coins. It will likely take a long time, but the journey will be fun as you search for appropriate counterparts.

    "Got a flaming heart, can't get my fill"
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    GrantuGrantu Posts: 188 ✭✭✭

    @Catbert said:
    Some excellent advice already shared, but I have a suggestion. Of the coins required, which one do you want to be your "anchor"? I would laser focus on finding that "perfect" match to your tastes (buy it) and then incrementally find complimentary coins. It will likely take a long time, but the journey will be fun as you search for appropriate counterparts.

    Oddly enough I was just thinking about this. That first coin I purchase will most definitely set the benchmark for the set. I’m going to try to be patient to find the right one. Btw I greatly appreciate all the advice I have received from everyone and will definitely keep this post updated on any acquisitions in the future.

    Thanks, Grant

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    Eldorado9Eldorado9 Posts: 2,177 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fun set to put together!

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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 3,046 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @tcollects said:
    it's interesting to me that a collector has the ability to buy a complete beautiful matched set or piece together individual coins of varying quality today, depending on budget

    the coins individually aren't rare

    they're available now in near perfect condition, so what's the challenge?

    I'd save up and buy something like the Legend set. It will always be breathtaking and desirable to collectors. Lower grade proofs are dreck.

    Does that make a PR-62 DCAM quarter eagle dreck? I think there are plenty of lower grade proofs that are more attractive than their PR-68 counterparts.

    Coin Photographer.

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    tcollectstcollects Posts: 918 ✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:

    @tcollects said:
    it's interesting to me that a collector has the ability to buy a complete beautiful matched set or piece together individual coins of varying quality today, depending on budget

    the coins individually aren't rare

    they're available now in near perfect condition, so what's the challenge?

    I'd save up and buy something like the Legend set. It will always be breathtaking and desirable to collectors. Lower grade proofs are dreck.

    Does that make a PR-62 DCAM quarter eagle dreck? I think there are plenty of lower grade proofs that are more attractive than their PR-68 counterparts.

    I thought we were talking about 1c-$1 proof set. No proof gold is dreck in my book.

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    humanssuckhumanssuck Posts: 360 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Grantu said:

    @Catbert said:
    Some excellent advice already shared, but I have a suggestion. Of the coins required, which one do you want to be your "anchor"? I would laser focus on finding that "perfect" match to your tastes (buy it) and then incrementally find complimentary coins. It will likely take a long time, but the journey will be fun as you search for appropriate counterparts.

    Oddly enough I was just thinking about this. That first coin I purchase will most definitely set the benchmark for the set. I’m going to try to be patient to find the right one. Btw I greatly appreciate all the advice I have received from everyone and will definitely keep this post updated on any acquisitions in the future.

    Thanks, Grant

    Patience is a great suggestion. There are actually quite a few late 19th century proofs available, you just need to wait to find the right ones that you really like. I spent several years searching for proofs for a set I was doing, and the biggest mistake i made early on was buying ones that i didnt quite like because I thought they were harder to find than they are.

    Id suggest to use the PCGS auction records listings or Heritage archives which will give you a good idea of the quality and frequency of the pieces available on the market over time.

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    pcgscacgoldpcgscacgold Posts: 2,660 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Grantu
    Northeast Numismatics just posted 4 more early proof setts (1869, 1880, 1881, 1885. Might give you more sets to see how others have built these.

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    daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:

    @tcollects said:
    it's interesting to me that a collector has the ability to buy a complete beautiful matched set or piece together individual coins of varying quality today, depending on budget

    the coins individually aren't rare

    they're available now in near perfect condition, so what's the challenge?

    I'd save up and buy something like the Legend set. It will always be breathtaking and desirable to collectors. Lower grade proofs are dreck.

    Does that make a PR-62 DCAM quarter eagle dreck? I think there are plenty of lower grade proofs that are more attractive than their PR-68 counterparts.

    No. A PR 62 DCAM in a PR 68 holder is dreck. Regardless of the denomination.

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    BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,630 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I did that with a 1913 Proof set which included the two Buffalo Nickels. I built the set slowly over time going to the shows. I tried to get the silver coins to match as close as possible buying them with the classic blue toning. I did buy the dime in PR-67 and paid too much for it, but the others were in PR-64. I liked the quarter best of all.

    Today I go to fewer shows, so Internet became the source for some coins when I was building the 1936 to ‘41 sets. I already had a 1942 set when I started.

    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 ... ?
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    FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 3,046 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @daltex said:

    @FlyingAl said:

    @tcollects said:
    it's interesting to me that a collector has the ability to buy a complete beautiful matched set or piece together individual coins of varying quality today, depending on budget

    the coins individually aren't rare

    they're available now in near perfect condition, so what's the challenge?

    I'd save up and buy something like the Legend set. It will always be breathtaking and desirable to collectors. Lower grade proofs are dreck.

    Does that make a PR-62 DCAM quarter eagle dreck? I think there are plenty of lower grade proofs that are more attractive than their PR-68 counterparts.

    No. A PR 62 DCAM in a PR 68 holder is dreck. Regardless of the denomination.

    I believe you misunderstood the question. The PR62 DCAM is in a PR62 DCAM holder. Is it dreck if that's a quarter eagle?

    Coin Photographer.

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    tcollectstcollects Posts: 918 ✭✭✭✭

    I would say that a PR62 DCAM quarter eagle would be such a cool coin, not always found on the largest bourses, auctions, or online that even if it was way overgraded, it woudn't be dreck. It would be overgraded, but not dreck. The 1c - $1 can be found anytime, so unless there's something special about them like high grade or originality, they're all dreck.

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    GrantuGrantu Posts: 188 ✭✭✭

    @tcollects said:
    so unless there's something special about them like high grade or originality, they're all dreck.

    I think that’s where the challenge comes in for collectors wanting to put together early proof sets. Yeah you can put together a set of random coins in a couple days to a week at most. But where I personally think the challenge comes in is finding nice original pieces within your specific budget, that also look nice together. No one collector is the same, so likes and dislikes vary greatly from collector to collector across our great hobby.

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    daltexdaltex Posts: 3,486 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @FlyingAl said:

    @daltex said:

    @FlyingAl said:

    @tcollects said:
    it's interesting to me that a collector has the ability to buy a complete beautiful matched set or piece together individual coins of varying quality today, depending on budget

    the coins individually aren't rare

    they're available now in near perfect condition, so what's the challenge?

    I'd save up and buy something like the Legend set. It will always be breathtaking and desirable to collectors. Lower grade proofs are dreck.

    Does that make a PR-62 DCAM quarter eagle dreck? I think there are plenty of lower grade proofs that are more attractive than their PR-68 counterparts.

    No. A PR 62 DCAM in a PR 68 holder is dreck. Regardless of the denomination.

    I believe you misunderstood the question. The PR62 DCAM is in a PR62 DCAM holder. Is it dreck if that's a quarter eagle?

    I believe you misunderstood my point. A coin is dreck if it is ugly, damaged, AT, or in a grossly overgraded holder. Think a coin that was submitted 30 times until the service finally made a mistake and gave the submitter the grade he wanted. A coin is dreck if no knowledgeable buyer would even consider paying a "reasonable" price for the grade.

    A correctly graded PR 62 DCAM is never dreck. Neither is a fairly graded F 12. They may be widgets, but never dreck. On the other hand, proof gold, at least classical proof gold is never a widget, no matter the grade or how ugly and abused.

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