When it comes to collecting coins over the course of a year, I typically focus on only one segment of my collection at a time. For instance, three years ago it was Morgan and Eisenhower dollars, two years ago it was my custom set, The Use of Seated Imagery in Numismatics, last year it was completing and upgrading my Dansco 7070 type set, and this year it's my new custom set, The Coins and Medals of Laura Gardin Fraser.
Lately Ive written much about my new custom set because it consumes most of my spare time in research and represents the bulk of my new purchases. Still opportunities to buy coins and medals for other parts of my collection do arise from time to time. What is amazing is that lately those opportunities have been both frequent and diverse.
Two of those opportunities consisted of upgrades to raw coins I already owned, but had not submitted for grading. The first is an 1856 Belgian Five Centimes coin commemorating the 25th anniversary of Belgium independence and the reign of its first king, King Leopold I. The obverse of this coin features a seated image of La Belgique or Belgica and as such fits very well in The Use of Seated imagery in Numismatics.
The other is a Heraldic Art Medal commemorating Hawaii becoming a state in 1959. The obverse features a Polynesian girl wearing a grass skirt and lea standing on a beach looking out over the ocean. When I look at this piece I think of Hospitality and as such it is a fine addition to my Inspirational Ladies set. Incidentally, both the raw pieces would have graded lower. Additionally, not having to submit them saves money for the Laura Gardin Fraser medals I intend to submit.
Though my 7070 type set is complete, I still want the coins in it to be the best I can afford within my budget. For those upgrades I have a dealer/friend that frequents many of the big shows looking out for potential candidates to my set. He has a good eye for coins with pleasing original surfaces that represent both quality and value. My latest addition through him is an MS64RB 1864 large motto 2-cent piece he acquired for me at the last Baltimore show.
Even though I have my friend looking out for me, I still buy a few coins for the 7070 set on my own. With the price of gold relatively low Ive been upgrading the gold coins in this set. Just recently I purchased a MS-64+ 1911-D St Gaudens Double Eagle. This coin has beautiful orange peel surfaces with nice luster. The coin it is replacing is an MS-62 double eagle.
Finally, I had as a goal to have the eleven coins of my Netherlands Wilhelmina 10 gulden set to be graded MS-65 or higher. I started this set seven years ago and for the last two years only lacked the scarce 1898 in MS-65 or higher. Most of those two years, I scarcely gave this set a thought and then wham, not only did I have the opportunity to upgrade to MS-65 but before me was an opportunity to buy the only MS-66. Though the coin was probably a bit over priced, I snapped it up as fast as I could. Now the set is complete and perhaps the best of its kind in the world. Six of the eleven coins are graded MS-66 and six of the coins are the top pops. For a while, I thought I'd never get there, but here I am showing that you need to be both persistent and patient when it comes finding the perfect coin! Happy collecting!
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