Collecting Britannias



Strategies for building a top rated set!

One of my favorite coins to collect are silver Britannias. The reason I like them is that they are allegorical, featuring ?Britannia? the national personification of the United Kingdom. Another reason I like them is the design changes every year based on a single theme, ?Britannia?. However, another more nostalgic reason is my wife?s British heritage. You can imagine my delight when I found that Collector?s Society added the series as a competitive set. Most of my Britannias, having been graded, I immediately added to my set, the others I submitted for grading. This became my first set with 100 percent of the slots filled!

Now with my set filled, I am looking to the competition. The best I can hope to do is purchase the entire series in MS-69 condition. My problem according to the NGC population report is there are few Britannias graded, let alone those graded MS-69. I am not sure about the PCGS population report, but I suspect much of the same. Currently there are no coins graded in MS-70 condition. The person who gets just one coin in MS-70 condition will have the best set. Unable to purchase NGC or PCGS certified coins to upgrade my collection, I must develop another strategy to upgrade my collection.

I am considering purchasing raw coins in large lots, submitting what I feel are the best and selling the rest. Buying coins in larger lots will allow me to purchase them for less. While I am sure this strategy should achieve my goals, I have two problems. The first problem is I am not a professional grader, even if I submit the best coins, they may not return with MS-69 or 70 grades. Another problem is selling the rest of the coins at what I am sure will be a loss. Maybe I should get every coin in the lot certified. This will take some of the guessing out of the submission with lower graded certified coins tending to sell better than raw coins.

The best way to take the guessing game out of the equation is to purchase already certified coins. To do this, I have Britannias saved as a favorite EBay search. If a certified coin comes up for bids, I will know immediately. I have already purchased a 2005 in MS-69 condition and a 2001 in MS-67 condition from EBay listings. However, these listings are infrequent, and I cannot solely rely on them to build my collection.

I think the best way to proceed is to upgrade my lowest graded coins first. For instance, I currently have a 2006 Britannia graded MS-62. If I submit another 2006, and it returns as say an MS-68, I replace the 62 with the 68 and start working on the 64?s in my set until I have all 68?s and 69?s.

As you can see, these types of dilemmas are what make this hobby so much fun! Hopefully, in time, if I am patient, I will have the top rated Britannia set. Maybe, just maybe, I will find that elusive 70. I am sure it exists as a raw ?diamond in the rough? out there some place. May the one who is fortunate enough to find it win! Enjoy the best hobby in the world!





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