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The challenge of finishing the 10G Set…



I’ve known for a while that finishing the 10G set might require buying some raw coins and submitting them to NGC for grading myself.

The grading credit that NGC just gave me for winning the journal awards seemingly makes this a good time / year to go for it – buy a raw 1880, 1885, and 1886 dated coin and send them in. The set would finally be complete at that point except for the 1879/7 but I’ve never felt especially committed to that variety anyway. Even the way NGC defines the set, including that variety, I’d be at 90% - good outcome for the set after 10 or 11 years of work and luck.

The problem I think I’m going to have is I can’t even seem to find examples of these things raw – in the United States anyway. There are examples that I can find for sale – if I’m willing to buy them through market places I’ve never shopped from before and get them from sellers I’ve never bought from before, some of whom may or may not speak English from what I can tell.

This wouldn’t be quite so potentially worrisome to me if it weren’t for the fact that these things are going to be about $350 each to buy and it’s not going to be easy or cheap to return one if I find out once I have it in hand that it’s ugly – shipping just to get it to me is going to be about $25 in some cases, or about 1/14th the price / value of the coin. I can only assume that won’t be refundable and I’ll have to pay return shipping if I get the thing in hand and I hate it.

Some of the pictures I see use are just ugly pictures or they make the coin look weird – which is concerning. When I’m buying a graded coin, bad pictures worry me a lot a less and I’m willing to roll dice sometimes but it’s harder to justify when the coin is raw. I’d much rather buy the coins AFTER seeing them in hand, but I don’t think I’m going to find many, if any, of these in shops locally. Recent developments at the Houston Money show may make this situation a little better but I’ll have to wait and see. ColonialCoinsUK also suggested contacting some Dutch and German auction houses, which seems a lot more promising than something like ma shops.

I’m going to have to think through whether it’s worth the risk. Because it does worry me, but I feel like not using this grading credit to try to fill in holes in that set would be a massive missed opportunity If I do manage to get the coins and get them graded – hopefully actually graded and not details graded at that point – I may still not have the grades I’d want in the long term, but it would fill out the set and I could try to upgrade from there over time.

The thought has occurred to me to resubmit some of the old MS65s I have in fatty holders and see if I might be able to bump them to MS66, padding my lead in the category a little and getting the coins into newer gen holders – which I think look nicer and which fit into the boxes I have easier. I could even take this as a relatively risk-free opportunity to try to cross my 1875 PCGS MS67. I’m also wondering if the grading credit could be applied to just re-holdering some of the coins to get the full set into the same generation holder, maybe with “Pittman Family Collection” on them so they make for a much better physical display when this is all over.

Of course, the idea of buying three or four additional gold coins this year is probably going to at least partially hinge on me getting a decent bonus this year. I'm hopeful on that front but I'm not going to get my hopes too high. If that falls through I could probably make 1 or 2 happen but maybe not all three and not until closer to the end of the year. I suppose I could forego the Sovereign I'm hoping to buy soon and put the money towards this instead, but I'd rather keep that separate from this and that just goes to some of the at times slightly odd ways my head works. That's more about treating myself after a big raise, so I want that to be it's own thing and I don't necessarily want that subjugated to this set / project.

Good news for me this week though: While the Dow took a beating on Monday and Friday the price of gold mostly stayed put and was only up about 1% week-over-week, just need to wait about 1 more week and hope for an eBay bucks deal maybe.



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When I buy raw and certified coins from a foreign seller on e-bay I look for a couple of things. One, I try to determine if the seller is a legitimate dealer. Legitimate dealers tend to have an e-bay store. Next I look at the feedback score. For instance, the Argentinian seller of a raw Spanish 5-peseta pattern I bought last year had a 100% feedback rating with over 11,000 entries. The dealer had also been on e-bay since 2004. Still I thought the risk was worth it since I felt the cost was relatively reasonable. As the story goes I had it conserved and it returned at MS-63. What made it especially sweet is that the top NGC graded coin is an MS-64. Some years ago I went out on a limb for a raw Austrian 1908 100-corona gold coin from a German seller on e-bay. Here again the seller is a well known German dealer. The coin had a rim ding only visible from the obverse of which I was fully aware. I knew that I'd get a hefty discount for the coin of which a problem free coin is much more costly. My only worry was if the coin was genuine. It came back from NGC as an AU-details coin putting to bed any worry of it not being genuine.

One time I was burned when I bought a raw gold coin from a seller who was not a dealer. When I took my coin to a local dealer, he promptly announced it as a fake. Fortunately, the seller who was a US based seller took the coin back and refunded my money. I also got burned on a St Gaudens double eagle. Enough is enough and this subsequently led to my personal policy of buying NO uncertified gold coins. This policy has served me well ever since. The 1908 100-corona was bought before these incidents. 

There is risk in buying raw coins from e-bay sellers especially foreign sellers. With risk comes great opportunity for gain or loss. When it comes to risk assessment everyone has to determine what level of risk they are comfortable with and are willing to take. Good luck and happy hunting. Be patient though, it may take a number of years to meet your goal. Patience is key. It's that gotta have it kind of thinking that gets most of us including myself in a lot of trouble. Then again there's the old adage that if its too good to be true, it probably is. Enough of rambling, I know that you are a very diligent and conscientious buyer and that you will make good buying decisions.  

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4 hours ago, gherrmann44 said:

Be patient though, it may take a number of years to meet your goal. 

Well, the set is 10 or 11 years in the making at this point. I'm really wanting to take on the moon-shot of getting an 1880, 1885, and 1886 this year and using the grading credit from the journal award to get them graded, just to finally have a date set of the coins, even if the coins later get replaced or upgraded. There was a time when I'd said I wanted MS65+ for all of these but I did get an MS64 1887 when it came up - it's the 2nd lowest mintage year.

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Are you familiar already with numisbids?

That opens you up to tons of reputable auction houses in Europe and even a couple in Japan.

Heritage also has a "secret" Netherlands branch, formerly MPO auctions, and what's on their menu doesn't show up on the regular heritage website.  They always have some of the rarest and best ducats.  I don't know about the coins you are collecting here, but dutch is dutch right?

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As deposito highlighted 'numisbids' is worth a look, I also use 'sixbid.com' as that also covers many auction houses although the auction lot descriptions are not always in English so you may have to search holland and the netherlands and the numerous different ways of spelling William in several European languages! I find it is often quicker just to scroll through the auction listings.

I find 'transferwise.com' makes it easy and cheap to do bank transfers in many currencies as an interesting coin could appear anywhere in the world - I have bought from the US, Poland, France, Spain and Italy so far this year, they have also improved their bank transfers to Japan which seems to have an increasing number of quality European coins appearing (but be aware of extra charges when buying from Japan).

Good luck.



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Munthandel Henzen is on MA Shops but he has their own website, and he may "deal" with you if you go there direct. He appears to have what you are talking about (1879/77) if you scroll to the bottom of his page https://www.henzen.org/

I have bought some rare ducats from him, he fedexes to USA within a few days, I have never tried to return anything

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On 2/1/2020 at 9:24 PM, deposito said:

Are you familiar already with numisbids?


On 2/2/2020 at 4:34 AM, ColonialCoinsUK said:

As deposito highlighted 'numisbids' is worth a look, I also use 'sixbid.com' as that also covers many auction houses....

Thanks for the information, from both of you. I'm going to be waiting, probably for 4 or 5 more weeks, to see if I'm going to have the budget to move on any of this in the short term. So I'll see if I get to start moving on this in March and, if so, I'll start checking these out more. Otherwise I'll probably have to wait a couple more months. :)

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