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Grade vs date, which would you choose for type?

RYKRYK Posts: 35,786 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited February 28, 2024 7:56PM in U.S. Coin Forum

Let’s say that you were looking for a specific type coin for your collection. You can accommodate one coin. Your budget would allow you to have a nice uncirculated version of the common date (6000 in 60 or better, hundreds in 65 or better) or an AU version of a scarce date (survivors in all grades in the hundreds).

Which would you choose? Does it depend on the coin type? What other factors would guide your decision? Would it change if you were working down the grade scale, ie better date IN XF vs common date in AU?

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Comments

  • scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,734 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I will second the highest grade vote. Or most eye-appealing example. If you just want one for type, then I'd pick the coin that best showcases that design.

  • TimNHTimNH Posts: 127 ✭✭✭

    For a type set, the whole idea is to get the best of that type. Date doesn't matter at all to me, neither does mint mark, at least for this purpose.

  • ToreyTorey Posts: 131 ✭✭✭

    It's important to me that the coins all match within reason, whether that be high-grade or circulated examples.

  • alaura22alaura22 Posts: 2,646 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TimNH said:
    For a type set, the whole idea is to get the best of that type. Date doesn't matter at all to me, neither does mint mark, at least for this purpose.

    THIS

  • spacehaydukespacehayduke Posts: 5,468 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Scarce date in AU


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  • relicsncoinsrelicsncoins Posts: 7,859 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If it were only a typeset I would probably choose the highest graded example I could afford that shows off the type the best.

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  • MrEurekaMrEureka Posts: 23,930 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @RYK said:
    Let’s say that you were looking for a specific type coin for your collection. You can accommodate one coin. Your budget would allow you to have a nice uncirculated version of the common date (6000 in 60 or better, hundreds in 65 or better) or an AU version of a scarce date (survivors in all grades in the hundreds).

    How many of the scarcer date exist in similar or better grades?

    Andy Lustig

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  • BillJonesBillJones Posts: 33,472 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Grade in a heartbeat if I can find it. Rare dates, and especially rare die varieties, have become less interesting to me as I have matured as a collector. Back in the mid 1970s, I bought the finest known of a rare 1800 Bust dollar die variety. Back then, it may have cost a couple hundred dollars extra for the rarity. Now it’s thousands, sometimes tens of thousands.

    Now it’s tied for finest know. Decades from now, it could an also ran. Such is the rare die variety game. I won’t play it any more.

    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 ... ?
  • Mr_SpudMr_Spud Posts: 4,428 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 28, 2024 8:30PM

    Since I only do circulated slabbed type sets it’s obvious I’d go for AU, but would probably stretch for a 58 or 58+ with eye appeal that looks like a 64 if available.

    Mr_Spud

  • Walkerguy21DWalkerguy21D Posts: 11,141 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like those examples where you can get the scarcity for a small premium.

    The 1875P twenty cent piece has a much lower mintage than the 1875S, and is considerably scarcer in all grades, but isn’t significantly more expensive. The same for the 1867 w/rays nickel vs- the 1866, or a 13D T1 buffalo vs- a 13P T1.

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  • BryceMBryceM Posts: 11,729 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Cool question. When I did it, I chose to get the nicest coin I could for each type. This usually, but not always, meant common-date coins in high grades. Eventually I found myself breaking this “rule” a lot. Instead of a 75-S double-dime, I went with a slightly lower graded “CC” coin. You can guess which one. ;)

    For a clad Rosie, I went with a 98-W, for the cool factor. I also went with a 35 Buffalo instead of the ubiquitous 38-D. Stuff like that.

    Given infinite funds, it would be a hoot to do a type set with only key dates or other coins of note. A 1916 SLQ, 1955 DDO for the copper Lincoln, and such would be really cool. Everyone would come look at that set :)

  • lermishlermish Posts: 1,908 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For my gold type set, I have focused on scarcer dates as a priority. Over the last half year or so I sold everything I would consider common (Saints and 20th century) and am in the process of rebuilding with XF-AU coins

  • ShaunBC5ShaunBC5 Posts: 1,631 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I’m pretty much just collecting what I like at the given moment (no sets or even a type set). With that said, I’d go for the scarcer date in slightly lower grade. I’m not a variety guy but if there’s an attribute that makes a coin more interesting (rarity, variety, shorter type) I’ll jump on that first.

  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,828 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Highest grade. Easy. One of the biggest virtues of type collecting is to not make you a slave to the keys.

    In most series, the difference is far greater than AU to UNC. Look at the price of a 67 FB Merc ($100 to $200) The same money would buy you a Fine or VF 1921 or 1921-D. And it might buy you a 16D that was cut in half and soldered together.

    The same is true in most widely collected series like Lincolns. Morgans, Peace, SLQs, etc. It is very rare for the choice to be UNC vs AU for type vs key or semi-key dates.

  • MsMorrisineMsMorrisine Posts: 32,192 ✭✭✭✭✭

    if the assembled type set has a number of coins that'd stretch the budget, then a grade set of common dates that they would all be to keep the look uniform

    but if I were to assemble a short set, i'd go for good looking census rarities. i just feel like supply-demand would help resale barring a new hoard discovery

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  • I started a 20th Century Type Set with only the keys at any grade. I only filled seven holes, 1916 25c; 1909-S VDB 1c; 1932-D 25c, 1970-D 50c; 1921 Peace dollar; 1889-CC Morgan dollar; and a 1938-D 50c. It was taking too much time, too much money, and not much fun so I gave up. Those were the only coins I ever sold for a profit. Looking back I wish I hasd kept working on the set.

  • pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,588 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I found @TomB 's response pretty spot on to my thinking. While I really like better and even rare dates, I think a lot of it depends on the series and quite possibly the age of the coin in question.

    A natural attractive 1813 AU55 Capped Bust Half, or a natural attractive 1829 in MS62/3. Give me the 1813. Maybe not fair, as the CBH series (and other early Federal coinage) has progressively changing designs.

    Switch that to say a natural and attractive 1921-D Mercury Dime in 58, or a 1928-S in 64FB, or a 1938-S in 67FB would be more difficult. I might roll with the 28-S. Best of both worlds?


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  • lkeneficlkenefic Posts: 7,812 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For Type, I've always gone with highest grade. When I did my 7070, I did make some compromises though... for the Dollars, I went with AU coins (except the Peace Dollar... low MS). I opted for XF to AU for the Halves... even though MS Walkers and Franklins aren't difficult. I mostly kept the rest of the set the same way... So, I guess it depends to a point but I like the look of an album that's mostly matched. But that's just me...

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  • epcepc Posts: 160 ✭✭✭✭

    There are many ways to build a type collection: high grade common issue; first year; last year; key issues; specific mint only; no toning; "attractive" toning; matched grade; etc. All are perfectly good ways to go about it - whatever you like. My style would be for high grade, or at least as high as I can afford...

    Collector of Liberty Seated Half Dimes, including die pairs and die states

  • alaura22alaura22 Posts: 2,646 ✭✭✭✭✭

    In registry type sets the coins are weighted and it goes by the grade of the coin and not the date of the coin. Too get the most points would mean a higher graded coin. That's always the way I have built my type sets. Yes, it's the competition that drive me to archive the highest set I can afford to compete with the other collectors.
    So to answer the question, it's grade over date

  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 45,382 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Torey said:
    It's important to me that the coins all match within reason, whether that be high-grade or circulated examples.

    For a type set, it makes no sense that they should all match condition wise. If the best Chain Cent that I can afford is VG8, why not buy a MS65 Morgan dollar to represent that series?

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • LeeBoneLeeBone Posts: 4,307 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Best example regardless of DATE/MM for me

  • coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,762 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Better dates in a quality for the grade state of preservation- It simply is not always about the highest grade but what the coin looks like at that grade.

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  • mirabelamirabela Posts: 4,961 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 29, 2024 8:45AM

    To me it depends some on what's already in the set around it and also some on how interested I am in the series in question. In my set I've got some awesome generics and some lower grade specialist's coins and I'm ok with that. One of the things I've come to like about my type set over time is its shagginess. It tells a story about my evolving interests, preferences, finances, knowledge, etc., and the attainable treasures I happened to encounter, at least as much as about the coinage itself. I do try not to put anything in it that's too wildly out of step with the look of its nearest neighbors.

    mirabela
  • JW77JW77 Posts: 460 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm a type gold collector. My strategy is sort of a combination of date and grade. I really love looking at beautiful gold with great luster, so i go for the highest grade that meets my taste; however, I try to avoid the most common date. For example, with a Saint I want a 66/66+ to avoid stacking rub on the breast and knee; however, i will pass on a 1924 and instead acquire say a 1911D or 1926. On the other hand, early $5/$10 gold, well I desire a 64 example, but for budget reasons settle for a nice AU58 example with the best luster I can find.

  • WalkerfanWalkerfan Posts: 8,952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would choose the better date in AU 55-58.

    Yes, my thoughts would change working downward. I don't like lower circulated grades. I MIGHT accept an AU 50-XF 45, if really nice, but XF 40, VF and lower are a no go for me.

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  • ToreyTorey Posts: 131 ✭✭✭

    @PerryHall said:

    @Torey said:
    It's important to me that the coins all match within reason, whether that be high-grade or circulated examples.

    For a type set, it makes no sense that they should all match condition wise. If the best Chain Cent that I can afford is VG8, why not buy a MS65 Morgan dollar to represent that series?

    Not grade-wise but looks, I prefer similar surfaces in a set. Toned/Untoned/Crusty etc. Grade is irrelevant compared to eye appeal in a type set.

  • JimTylerJimTyler Posts: 3,048 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You said nice uncirculated or AU. If I can wait for a nice AU then AU.

  • Manifest_DestinyManifest_Destiny Posts: 3,593 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pursuitofliberty said:
    I found @TomB 's response pretty spot on to my thinking. While I really like better and even rare dates, I think a lot of it depends on the series and quite possibly the age of the coin in question.

    A natural attractive 1813 AU55 Capped Bust Half, or a natural attractive 1829 in MS62/3. Give me the 1813. Maybe not fair, as the CBH series (and other early Federal coinage) has progressively changing designs.

    Switch that to say a natural and attractive 1921-D Mercury Dime in 58, or a 1928-S in 64FB, or a 1938-S in 67FB would be more difficult. I might roll with the 28-S. Best of both worlds?

    This is a good answer. It all depends on the series.

  • RYKRYK Posts: 35,786 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @MrEureka said:

    @RYK said:
    Let’s say that you were looking for a specific type coin for your collection. You can accommodate one coin. Your budget would allow you to have a nice uncirculated version of the common date (6000 in 60 or better, hundreds in 65 or better) or an AU version of a scarce date (survivors in all grades in the hundreds).

    How many of the scarcer date exist in similar or better grades?

    For the sake of argument, let's say that for the scarcer date, there are 75 in 60 or better and 15 in 65 or better). How does that affect your analysis. What if I said it was 10 in 60 or better, for example? These are all actual considerations. I will give some examples later on.

  • airplanenutairplanenut Posts: 21,898 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TomB said:
    It depends-

    A perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal 1839-O Reeded Edge half dollar in AU55 (likely around $7k given those parameters) or a perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal 1838 Reeded Edge half dollar in MS64 (likely around $7k given those parameters). I'd probably take the 1839-O.

    A perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal 1932-D Washington quarter in AU58 (likely just under $1k given those parameters) or a perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal generic date in MS67+ (perhaps as much as $1k given those parameters). I'd probably take the generic date.

    I'll pose a question to you: if all else were equal (value, scarcity, etc.) but the 1839-O were simply dated 1839 with no mintmark, would your answer change? In my mind, the prominence of the mintmark on this particular coin--not to mention it being the only bust half dollar of any kind to carry one--makes it unique and intriguing, beyond a generic type coin. A similar example at a lower price/price differential is the 1851-O three cent silver. My want list has two three cent silvers on it: 1851-O and a nice uncirculated type 1. The combination of the two is beyond my coin budget, but the only reason 1851-O is on the list (as opposed to any of the few days for the type) is because of the large and unusual mintmark (and it's not even on the obverse like with the 1839-O half).

    I certainly see your point and don't necessarily disagree with your approach, but I do think there's more to it than just a basic example of better date versus common date.

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  • coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,752 ✭✭✭✭✭

    For myself high grade wins every time over key date when building a type set.

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  • johnny010johnny010 Posts: 1,075 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I look for both when possible.

  • breakdownbreakdown Posts: 1,952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would go for the rarer date. I have always been a series collector though so rare dates are more interesting to me. As an example, I find certain coins very close to cheapening a type set. Think 38-D Buffalo nickel or 1904 Double Eagle.

    "Look up, old boy, and see what you get." -William Bonney.

  • alaura22alaura22 Posts: 2,646 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @breakdown said:
    I would go for the rarer date. I have always been a series collector though so rare dates are more interesting to me. As an example, I find certain coins very close to cheapening a type set. Think 38-D Buffalo nickel or 1904 Double Eagle.

    I'd be very happy to add a 38-d Buffalo in MS-68 and a 1904 Double Eagle in MS-66 to my set :)

  • messydeskmessydesk Posts: 19,679 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A type set is for the ideal coins for the type given your budget. This means that not just high grade, but also a solid strike and high level of detail on the hub is desirable. This will usually be an early year, where the hub is still sharp. For a Lincoln cent, I'd rather have a 1916 in 65 than a 1955-S in 67, even though the 55-S would be half the price in the higher grade. The difference in the amount of detail on the respective coins makes the 1916 a much better type coin while taking the 55-S off the table.

  • alaura22alaura22 Posts: 2,646 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @messydesk said:
    A type set is for the ideal coins for the type given your budget. This means that not just high grade, but also a solid strike and high level of detail on the hub is desirable. This will usually be an early year, where the hub is still sharp. For a Lincoln cent, I'd rather have a 1916 in 65 than a 1955-S in 67, even though the 55-S would be half the price in the higher grade. The difference in the amount of detail on the respective coins makes the 1916 a much better type coin while taking the 55-S off the table.

    Of course some type sets require both of them

  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,725 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @airplanenut said:

    @TomB said:
    It depends-

    A perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal 1839-O Reeded Edge half dollar in AU55 (likely around $7k given those parameters) or a perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal 1838 Reeded Edge half dollar in MS64 (likely around $7k given those parameters). I'd probably take the 1839-O.

    A perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal 1932-D Washington quarter in AU58 (likely just under $1k given those parameters) or a perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal generic date in MS67+ (perhaps as much as $1k given those parameters). I'd probably take the generic date.

    I'll pose a question to you: if all else were equal (value, scarcity, etc.) but the 1839-O were simply dated 1839 with no mintmark, would your answer change? In my mind, the prominence of the mintmark on this particular coin--not to mention it being the only bust half dollar of any kind to carry one--makes it unique and intriguing, beyond a generic type coin. A similar example at a lower price/price differential is the 1851-O three cent silver. My want list has two three cent silvers on it: 1851-O and a nice uncirculated type 1. The combination of the two is beyond my coin budget, but the only reason 1851-O is on the list (as opposed to any of the few days for the type) is because of the large and unusual mintmark (and it's not even on the obverse like with the 1839-O half).

    I certainly see your point and don't necessarily disagree with your approach, but I do think there's more to it than just a basic example of better date versus common date.

    An excellent question, which is what I expect of you, grasshopper. Yes, my reasoning would change and for the exact detail you mention. That enormous, obverse O-mintmark is just amazing and I also have similar feelings as you do with respect to the 1851-O three cent silver.

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  • jmlanzafjmlanzaf Posts: 31,828 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @breakdown said:
    I would go for the rarer date. I have always been a series collector though so rare dates are more interesting to me. As an example, I find certain coins very close to cheapening a type set. Think 38-D Buffalo nickel or 1904 Double Eagle.

    So an MS67 38D Buffalo "cheapens " the set but a G06 1913-S Type 2 for the same money enhances it?

  • 1946Hamm1946Hamm Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The whole idea of a type set is to show the different types of each series and the different designs of our nations coins. When I built my set I wanted coins in Ef or better so the intended design stands out. Many of mine are first year of issue and sometimes the last year. The whole idea was to show what the designs should look like in each series. What is included is up to each persons choice. I started my set at 1800 and it goes to about 1986 including the early commems. and the gold issues from 1836 and up including the gold 11 piece early commems. I chose Ef or better because I didn't want to worry about upgrades later. Do whatever makes you happy.

    Have a good day, Gary
  • RYKRYK Posts: 35,786 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think that there is the assumption that a coin “for type” is necessarily for a “type set”. In the hypothetical, a coin for type might be just because one wants to have a coin of a particular design, but not necessarily to complete a set or be related to any other coin in the collection.

    I believe I have resolved the issue with a third option, one that I do not believe was brought up in this discussion. I will know for sure next week.

  • jesbrokenjesbroken Posts: 9,246 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My first 7070 was in VF-XF. My 2nd I decided to go with higher quality coins and that didn't last long before I ran out of funds to do anything. Now my 3rd I'm striving to have it at VF-XF and only lack the Seated Liberty Dollars. I believe I would have to stick with the coin's grade moreso than the date for cost issues.
    Jim


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  • LukeMarshallLukeMarshall Posts: 1,904 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If it was a 1917 type one standing liberty, Im okay with not having a Full Head , but I prefer a Full breast.

    It's all about what the people want...

  • RYKRYK Posts: 35,786 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @airplanenut said:

    @RYK said:
    I believe I have resolved the issue with a third option, one that I do not believe was brought up in this discussion. I will know for sure next week.

    Buy the high-grade key date and don't tell your wife?

    I did a variation of this: doubled the budget, and DID tell my wife. :o

  • DisneyFanDisneyFan Posts: 1,658 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TomB said:
    It depends-

    A perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal 1932-D Washington quarter in AU58 (likely just under $1k given those parameters) or a perfect, original, un-messed with, great eye appeal generic date in MS67+ (perhaps as much as $1k given those parameters). I'd probably take the generic date.

    Great example. I would do the opposite.

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