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Overall Achievement of Zero Points

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We all set goals in our collecting pursuits, and when we successfully reach a goal there is a sense of overall achievement. The NGC Registry sometimes recognizes these accomplishments by awarding a user’s set with the designation of “Overall Achievement.” But usually, a collector’s sense of achievement is solely personal, since his/her set is sometimes lost within the rankings of hundreds of other sets - or the complexities of the set is lost on everyone but the person who built it.

For instance, I thought a complete set of twelve U.S. silver war nickels (i.e., “Jefferson Wartime Nickels 1942-1945, Circulation Issue”) was not very challenging, which is demonstrated by the existence of over 400 sets in the registry. Since I already had a few wartime nickels designated as being part of the “Omaha Bank Hoard,” I decided to challenge myself to try and complete a set of just Omaha Bank Hoard pedigree nickels. It took me almost 15 years to complete the set, finally having to settle for a PCGS coin for the 1944-P. The grades on all the dates and mint marks are MS-65 and MS-66 (except for the over-date error), but my complete set currently only ranks as the 161st best set. In this case, my “overall achievement” is strictly personal, because what NGC admin is going to dive into the intricate details of over 400 sets of war nickels?

If you're curious about the Omaha Bank Hoard, Mark Borckardt of Heritage Auction Galleries said: "Heritage purchased the Omaha Bank Hoard in its entirety in 2004. The man who owned the coins is very private and doesn't want a lot of details disclosed. I can tell you that the hoard consisted of over 320,000 coins, all in rolls, that were saved by one man starting in the late 1930s and continuing until the early 1970s.”

Another registry set, called "21st Century Type Set, Mint State Only," also did not appear to be very challenging. When I first noticed this new collecting category, I didn’t have many current coins from the twenty-first century, at least not in slabs, but I did have a presidential dollar that had a generic grade of “Brilliant Uncirculated,” so I tried to add it to this registry. Boy was I surprised when the coin garnered exactly zero registry points. I thought to myself, “If only this uncirculated coin was graded MS-60, instead of Brilliant Uncirculated, then I’d earn some registry points!”

Anyway, my thoughts quickly changed back to “How can I make this set challenging, like I did with the War Nickels?” Then it occurred to me that it might be possible to complete this registry set with all so-called “Brilliant Uncirculated” coins, thus creating the only complete registry set with “zero points!”

But this idea has proved a lot more challenging than I originally thought, especially since some of the coin types appear to be unavailable from NGC with the generic “Brilliant Uncirculated” grade. I then tried adding a coin in an NGC “Sample” slab, but it added points to the registry, so I had to delete it. Then I tried adding a coin with the generic grade “Gem Uncirculated,” but it also added points to the registry, so I had to delete it too. These incidents were indeed “Lessons Learned” for me, but I remain determined to find all 17 coins for the 21st Century set and not earn a single registry point in the process!

Of course, I named my special set “Zero Points.”

At the end of February 2023, I have found 11 of the coin types needed for the “21st Century Type Set, Mint State Only,” which means the set is 64% complete. My ranking against other sets? Funny you should ask… My “Zero Points” registry set currently ranks as the 105th best set. Of course, every time a new user starts a set in this category, even with one straight-graded coin, that person’s set shoots above my set in the rankings. Furthermore, the sets that are ranked just below mine all contain just one coin, graded Brilliant Uncirculated, of course.

I still need to locate six type coins, specifically graded “Brilliant Uncirculated,” to complete my special set - and I am finding the hunt to be quite formidable. The coins I currently need are: 1¢ LINCOLN MEMORIAL (2000-2008); 5¢ JEFFERSON, MONTICELLO (2000-2003); 5¢ JEFFERSON, WESTWARD JOURNEY (2004-2005); 10¢ ROOSEVELT, CLAD (2000-DATE); 25¢ D.C. AND U.S. TERRITORIES, CLAD (2009); and 25¢ CROSSING THE DELAWARE, CLAD (2021).

My goal is to find as many of these last six coins as possible by the end of the year, and perhaps grab the attention of the NGC staff responsible for granting the “Overall Achievement” designation. Of course, the worse case scenario would be if my set attracts the wrong kind of attention and NGC suddenly begins awarding registry points for the generic grade of “Brilliant Uncirculated.”

If you’re curious about my “Zero Points” set, please check it out at: https://www.ngccoin.com/registry/competitive-sets/378118/

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Recommended Comments

On 2/27/2023 at 6:05 PM, Sandon said:

I think that these "BRILLIANT UNCIRCULATED" coins would be scored as at least MS 60s if the administrators were asked to do so, but apparently @Captainrich doesn't want them to.

They would be scored as 60 if a score was requested, as NGC assigns the adjectival grade of BU to coins that would grade in the 60-70 range and they would stick to the low end. Cap' better hope no one reads this a wants to pi.. in his Wheaties by requesting a score for one of these. I like that the OP is finding unique ways to collect but this one is a gamble, especially since they have no control of points being assigned. Being a Futurama fan, I also enjoyed his Feature Photo at the top of the Journal Entry. (thumbsu

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I love the different takes on the hobby, and how goals are as individual as the people who set them.  I took my registry sets private, because I wanted to not get caught-up in the "upgrade for points" game.  I will put it back-up as my sets complete, and by then I will be done and not tempted to upgrade.

I love what you did @Captainrich!  You turned the registry on its head, and set your own requirements that pay off in satisfaction as a collector, rather than points.  Kudos in your ability to create a unique, interesting collection without the pressures that the registry can create.  Truly something to be proud of from many vantage points. 

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I am normally not a fan of collecting labels instead of coins, but, in this case, I really like the idea. This isn't one of those sets that can be assembled in a short time if you have plenty of money. This one looks to be a real challenge. It may, in fact be impossible, as some of these coins/slabs may not even exist. Congrats on having such a great idea, and good luck with your hunt.

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"Overall Achievement" is given to the collector and when they win all of their sets get that "Overall Achievement" ribbon / tag.

If you're looking to win for a particular set (which I totally think you could do with something like this), I think you're aiming for a "Best Presented," as I don't think you'd win a "Best US" or "Best World" or "Best Modern" or anything like that with a label collecting set (totally not dinging the set, just a commentary on the types of sets that normally get those awards). 

However, if you end up collecting enough of these odd-ball sets, NGC might give you an "Overall Achievement" as a collector for all of them / all of your projects / collecting accomplishments - completely subject to the judges' tastes and feelings. 

I agree with you though in that it's about doing what you want and having fun - I've joked that my Zimbabwe Type set may forever be #1 just because I'm probably the only one crazy enough to "waste" over $1000 and hundreds of hours building it. Same thing for my 500 Lire set and maybe my Venezuelan coin set now. lol But I agree with the others that anything linked to NGC registry points is always a risky gamble because points change all the time - sometimes because people request it, sometimes because NGC reviews them on their own periodically, sometimes because NGC has a policy change and something that was 0 points or non-competitive isn't anymore. lol 

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