As a first entry, it's only befitting that I explain how I got into the numismatic hobby and why I choose to augment it with NGC's grading services. I grew up with my grandfather, but never knew my great-grandfather as he passed long before I was born. My great-grandfather was the first of us 3 that got into the hobby of collecting coins and used cardboard albums to display his collection. I do not know if he shared his collection to those outside of family nor do I know any of the stories behind the coins he collected and why. I wish I could go back in time and meet this man and ask him these burning questions, outside of looking at old photos and his Familysearch information that I came across during my search to compile my family tree.
I'll bring up my genealogy in a later entry, as going into it now would be too much of a divergence in my opinion. Now for my grandfather, as mentioned prior, I grew up with him pretty much my entire life. He passed a few years ago and it devastated me. It was through his passing that I inherited his entire collection, that including the coins from my great-grandfather. He was a family man to the core, and it showed. He always did what he could for his grandchildren to have the best they could. I started my coin collection around late 2003, early 2004. From then on, every Christmas, my grandfather would always get me the yearly mint set from the U.S. Mint. I know it was solely from him because they stopped after his passing, which makes the reason I do this all that more important to me.
Every time I would come over, he would show me his collection or tell me about the latest coin he saw in ads from magazines or TV. He also would bring up his fascination with gold, which stemmed from his coin collecting. He always wanted me to buy gold. With hindsight being 20/20, which is sadly not my prescription, I should have asked if I could get a 1/10oz back when I was a wee lad. When I inherited his collection, I came across some novelty "gold plated" coins that are replicas of Gold Buffalos, Gaudens, and some other high value gold coins that I may or may not highlight for those curious. When I saw that they were copies, my heart sank for a few reasons; first being that I hope that he didn't buy them thinking they were the real deal, the second being that charlatans exist in this world that make these types of products just to make a quick buck from those less informed. Again, another reason to drive me to grade his collection.
My grandfather loved that he and I shared a common hobby and saw it as a bonding experience. I loved opening each mint set every year, it made me ecstatic. I'd do anything to see him again and tell him what I was doing in his memory, I miss him every day. Each coin of his I grade, I feel brings me closer to him. It preserves a part of him that I can show others. As for my great-grandfather, I preserve his collection in the same manner despite me never even meeting him once. I'm only a spring chicken compared to most in the hobby but I want to carve out a name for myself, and them retroactively.
Bit of a long read, but it's here for those who want to read it. I'm a bit busy, but I will respond to comments when able.